So, my 97 with 137k finally showed me the sign of a failed head gasket. It seemed a long time ago that at least one of them was leaking. Now I have a cylinder misfire, leaking coolant, white smoke coming out of the tailpipe. I did an oil change, put new plugs in it for cheap insurance. Oil looked OK, but the coolant may be leaking in small amounts directly into the cylinder and burning off. Didn't help.
Now I am looking at a couple options.
OPTION #1- I have the shop manual, some friends that are willing to help me, and a second car I am thinking of tearing that thing apart, replacing the timing belt in the process. I would hate to have to pay somebody $1000 (!!!) just for labor, when I am not in a rush to get it fixed (that would be OPTION#2). Head gasket set- around $165, timing belt set- around $170, 2 head bolt sets- around $52. Shaving the heads- around $150 for both. These would be the main expenses. I may also replace the thermostat. I am sure there will be more stuff to replace.
OPTION #3- that Lingenfelter LS1/LS6 Conversion kit minus exhaust manifolds for $1000 is starting to look more and more attractive...
Any opinions, input and experience would be greatly appreciated.