: What is the probability of head gasket failure?



mgturbo1
01-19-09, 11:03 AM
What is the probability of head gasket failure on a 1999 STS with 70000 mi that has been properly maintained?:)
Should I keep it?:confused:
Upgrade to a 2003?:)
Fix it before it fails?:(

chubbyranger
01-19-09, 11:19 AM
Buy a lottery ticket. If it has been properly maintained you are ahead of the game; that said we all know (at least I do) that 1999 is more susceptible to HG failure than post-2000 N*. The rest is economics and preference. If you like the 2003 (MagRide tempts me) and have the cash then maybe you should trade up. If you don't have $3500 in cash for HGs should they go its certainly easier to get financed on a trade than a loan for repairs. The one option I'd take off your list is a preemptive fix. I got lucky and got all 3 (cams, HGs and case halve seal) done at once because they all pooped at the same time. For me trading up isn't really an option because I'd get killed for value compared to what I've got into it. It all comes down to what you can find and how good a deal you can make.

Ur7x
01-19-09, 11:31 AM
For me this would be a total no brainer...
The 2003 engine is significantly better then the 99.
If the 99 blows the car is worth next to nothing... trade it today!
(and then replace the crank sensors on the 2003 ;) )

VIPERRACING
01-19-09, 11:56 AM
What is the probability of head gasket failure on a 1999 STS with 70000 mi that has been properly maintained?:)
Should I keep it?:confused:
Upgrade to a 2003?:)
Fix it before it fails?:(

There is no probably, it will fail. I bought my 99 sts brand new and all maintenance was up to date and the car was never beaten on and the gaskets had to be done shortly after 70,000 miles. I would highly recommend that you trade it in unless you don't mind spending $4000 on a car that is only worth $4000, if your lucky. On another note, the head gaskets are not the problem its the stretching of the head bolts that cause the head gaskets to fail. Does your car have a rough idle when you first start the car?

Ranger
01-19-09, 05:55 PM
No one knows the probability except Destroyer. He will guarantee you it is 100%, but he just can't get over his going. He'll be by soon with his soap box.
Don't fix what ain't broke. It may never go. Fix it when and if it happens. Keep or trade is a decision that only you can make.

Submariner409
01-19-09, 06:12 PM
If you look at the sticky at the top of this forum concerning head gasket failure and click on the poll results in the lower right corner, you'll get an idea of how many people familiar with CF have had the problem. The result is a fair idea of the failure percentage of cars in the field, given the small number of respondents.

tateos
01-19-09, 08:18 PM
My original '97 Northstar HG failed at around 89K, the replacement used engine HG failed 2 years later (with around 102K on it), so I think VIPERRACING is on the right track - maybe not 100%, but surely pretty close to that.

If you like the car enough to fix it if it fails, then just keep it and and enjoy the ride. I've owned my '97 ETC since new - I repaired the 2nd engine (what I should have done the first time) and still drive the car. Chubby's right - the 2003 would definitely be sweet - 4 years newer and with added features, but all that costs $, and remember, that 2003 engine's HG could fail (not likely, but not unheard of)

C0RSA1R
01-19-09, 11:42 PM
No one knows the probability except Destroyer. He will guarantee you it is 100%, but he just can't get over his going. He'll be by soon with his soap box.
Don't fix what ain't broke. It may never go. Fix it when and if it happens. Keep or trade is a decision that only you can make.

Well, heck, I love Caddy's and the N*, but I'll also make a 100% guarantee that the HG fails. Extruding the timeline out to infinity, of course, it's going to fail. However, if you want a guarantee that it will not fail within a particular timeframe, this cannot be done. It could fail the next time you back out of your driveway, it could fail two weeks from next Thursday when you pass that damn RAV4 on the highway, or it could fail in five years, after you've sold it, and the kid who's driving it decides to WOT and gets a cloud of steam and an overheat warning as a response.

That said, stop worrying about it. Or, if you are going to worry about it, open up a new savings account in a bank that's out of the way (and on good, solid footing as far as this economy goes), and stash money in there until you've got about $3,000 stored away. Then stop worrying. When it goes, if you're still the owner, you've got the money right there to fix it (it might be slightly more, but it's not going to be the sticker shock of needing $3,000 for repairs when you've only got $700 in your checking account and payday is still a week away). My view is, if you're a car guy who likes owning a luxury car, but you're not on the rich side, the smartest thing you can do (aside from learning from the pros on this site how to do repairs yourself) is to have a "broken car fund" that you can dip into for repairs. Assuming you don't buy the car with serious problems, and you have a little bit of budget leeway, just take some money and stash it. It's the old Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared. This goes for BMWs, Mercs, Jags, Lex - anything with expensive parts. Any car can break, and each car has it's own little quirks.

On the bright side, if it doesn't go and the car is sold, you can spend it on something nice for the missus or something nice for yourself. Unless you buy another N*. In which case, leave it there. Not bashing the N*, but since HG repairs are pricey and (going by this board) at least slightly more likely on a N*, might as well have that nest egg. I bought my 98 ETC back in August, and my war chest is just about there.

(Or, do what I'm probably going to do, and get it fixed by 97Eldo the minute you have $2000 saved up - if you're close to Ontario, Canada. He seems to have developed a rather foolproof repair method, and $2k buys you a 5-year warranty - though even the N* doubters on this board agree that his solution should be good for at least 10, assuming it ever blows.)