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Discussion Starter #1
I noticed a some coolant loss several months ago, after some smelling coolant ocasionally :( . I topped it up, looked for leaks - found none - and kept an eye on the engine oil. It was fine until now, looks a little milky :mad: . I highly suspect the head gasket, although I have not perfomed any tests to confirm this.

Does anyone have any recomendations for which brand of head gaskets are best for 96 3.4L v6? I've searched the threads, but can't find anything on this.

I am considering doing the repair myself, would appreciate any advise on this.
 

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I'd stick with OEM toyota parts, and make sure you get your head pressure tested and checked for cracks. :D
 

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Also be sure to torque your head in the correct sequance, those heads will warp if not done in the right order. :2cents:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hey, AK98Taco and 99ARTaco, thanks for the input.

I'll try to diagnose the extent of the problem today, hopefully nothing worse than a blown gasket. I was wondering if the $60-$80 head gasket sets avialable on e-bay were worth crap. I'll take your advise on using OEM toyota parts. I'm NOT if the mood to experiment with dubious parts on this project.

I've never dug deep into the 3.4L, is this something for an amateur mechanic? Toyota is asking $1200+ for labor, and almost $400 for parts. My local small-town garage :confused: will do this for $600-$700 plus parts, but I've had stuff worked on there before, and there was enough parts missing to build half a motor when they were done :mad: , plus the engine compartment looked like a tornado had gone through it :mad: :mad: . Luckily it still ran.
 

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I tell you this from experience: fix everything the first time. If there is anything that might need replacing, do it.

During the head gasket replacement will be a good time to replace the timing belt and water pump. If the plugs, wires, or anything else haven't been replaced since new, replace them.

I did a head rebuild on my motor to fix a burnt valve. Whole gasket kit, new wires, yada yada yada, about $1,500 including all the head work at a machine shop. Replaced the water pump and other stuff while everything was easily accessible. That saved me time. Also did the MAF, oxygen sensors, etc. hoping to cure a lean condition. However, there were other parts that could have been replaced, like injectors, which happened to be bad and cost me an entire engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
AK98Taco said:
I tell you this from experience: fix everything the first time. If there is anything that might need replacing, do it.

During the head gasket replacement will be a good time to replace the timing belt and water pump. If the plugs, wires, or anything else haven't been replaced since new, replace them.

I did a head rebuild on my motor to fix a burnt valve. Whole gasket kit, new wires, yada yada yada, about $1,500 including all the head work at a machine shop. Replaced the water pump and other stuff while everything was easily accessible. That saved me time. Also did the MAF, oxygen sensors, etc. hoping to cure a lean condition. However, there were other parts that could have been replaced, like injectors, which happened to be bad and cost me an entire engine.
Thanks, AK98

I plan on replacing the timing belt, it has 70,000+ km on it. Possible the tensioner, too. Likely the water pump as well. I'll check valve tappet clearance, replace plugs, etc. Do you recomend replacing the injectors too :confused: ?
 

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I was recently in your same situation with two cracked heads and a budget. Ended up replacing them myself with some expert help in the garage at home. As far as rebuilds go it was about as easy as it gets, however that's not to say it isn't an extensive project. I had the time, another vehicle to drive and the space, all in it took about a month of evenings and weekends. I'm no professional but have some prior experience working on motors. But did have help during the project from someone who has done this before.

AK98 gave you some great advice (as usual) as far as replacing everything while you're in there. T-belt, H20 pump, thermostat, idler bearings, crank seal, plugs, crank sensor, belts. The oem gasket kit will include new gaskets for everything, even new o-rings for the injectors. It's a good time to pull them and have them flow tested/cleaned.

Like AR99 said have a good machine shop inspect the heads to make sure they're ok. And pull the radiator, it will make life much easier on you. Borrow or get an air compressor if you don't have one. Air tools are invaluable for a project like this.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, n.

curious, how much did parts cost you for the whole project?
 

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TacoT96 said:
Thanks, AK98

I plan on replacing the timing belt, it has 70,000+ km on it. Possible the tensioner, too. Likely the water pump as well. I'll check valve tappet clearance, replace plugs, etc. Do you recomend replacing the injectors too :confused: ?
My pleasure.

I don't recommend replacing the injectors, just more or less suggesting that if you have any concerns about a certain component or think it might possibly, even remotely, be a good idea to replace something, do it. Easier to do it when the motor is apart.
 

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nemesis said:
idler bearings, crank seal, plugs, crank sensor, belts. The oem gasket kit will include new gaskets for everything, even new o-rings for the injectors. It's a good time to pull them and have them flow tested/cleaned.
Very good suggestions!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
nemesis said:
Approx $1,800
OUCH!

I hope, with a lot of luck to stay under 600 - but only if my luck holds out and the heads are fine. Thanks for the info, I have an idea how high things could run.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks to all of you for your advice.

I'll do the diagnosis soon to determine what all is involved, then roll up my sleeves and have at it this coming weekend.
 

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If I remember right, my 95.5 was recalled for defective head gaskets. Are yours original?

Is was a while back, tho.
 

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Yep, my 96 was in the recall program for head gaskets. There is a tab that sticks out from under the head that somehow indicates if it has been replaced with the new one. Maybe somebody here knows how to tell if you have the original one or the new one. Your friendly neighborhood Toyota service department should be able to tell you if your truck has been repaired under the head gasket program. I do not know if they are still replacing original gaskets or if the time limit is expired. It might be worth checking it out.
 

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TacoT96 said:
OUCH!

I hope, with a lot of luck to stay under 600 - but only if my luck holds out and the heads are fine. Thanks for the info, I have an idea how high things could run.
I think your estimate is pretty low. Realistically you'll be well over $600. Prob looking at approx $400 for the head work, approx $300 for the head gasket kit, approx $200 for t-belt, h2o pump, and therm. Then you're looking at all the other parts mentioned, and all the misc. tools you'll have to buy that you prob don't already have (I know I had to.) Remember all the fluids as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
arrowpilot said:
If I remember right, my 95.5 was recalled for defective head gaskets. Are yours original?

Is was a while back, tho.
bluzharp said:
Yep, my 96 was in the recall program for head gaskets. There is a tab that sticks out from under the head that somehow indicates if it has been replaced with the new one. Maybe somebody here knows how to tell if you have the original one or the new one. Your friendly neighborhood Toyota service department should be able to tell you if your truck has been repaired under the head gasket program. I do not know if they are still replacing original gaskets or if the time limit is expired. It might be worth checking it out.

I checked with a dealer, they have no record of my truck having any head work done on it. They also say the '96 v6 was never recalled due to defective head gaskets. Toyota has never contacted me regarding this recall, either.

Armed with this info, I'll talk to them and see if they will cover anything under the recall.

Thanks to y'all for the info on this project. I'll see how this turns out.
 
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