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1997 Catera
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4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,
First and foremost, Thank you for all the answers that you have given me indirectly over the last couple weeks. Here is my situation:
I bought a '98 cat knowing that the Oil Cooler would have to be changed (based on the symptoms that I have read here), the valve cover gaskets (as preventative measures) and the Heater Control valve (which I believe is leaking). I now get a coolant leak at the front of the engine, about 20 minutes after shutdown, which I believe is the water pump. So I am in the process of correcting all these items to include the thermostat and was wondering, since I am halfway there, should I just change the Head Gasket. I don't believe that it is leaking, but I'd hate to find out later that it is. Plus, the costs of the parts make me think twice, but should I pay now and smile later OR??????
 

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97 Catera
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15 Posts
Changing head gaskets is no simple task , speacialy with motor in the car , What makes you think the head gaskets need changed ?
 

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1997 Catera
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4 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I don't think it is, but the previous owner had mixed the Dex Cool and Green stuff causing the sludge. I figured this was a good time to clean, and it would piss me off if in 6 months I had to do it anyways. Thanks
 

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481 Posts
Hello All,
First and foremost, Thank you for all the answers that you have given me indirectly over the last couple weeks. Here is my situation:
I bought a '98 cat knowing that the Oil Cooler would have to be changed (based on the symptoms that I have read here), the valve cover gaskets (as preventative measures) and the Heater Control valve (which I believe is leaking). I now get a coolant leak at the front of the engine, about 20 minutes after shutdown, which I believe is the water pump. So I am in the process of correcting all these items to include the thermostat and was wondering, since I am halfway there, should I just change the Head Gasket. I don't believe that it is leaking, but I'd hate to find out later that it is. Plus, the costs of the parts make me think twice, but should I pay now and smile later OR??????
Just my gut feel, nothing more:

I would not change the head gaskets absent clear and present need. I might just gently check the head bolt torques and then get the heck out of there.

The Cat head gasket does "heavy labor". It has to compensate for and accommodate the significantly mismatched thermal coefficients of expansion of the aluminum heads and the cast iron block. Thus, Cat head gaskets are at risk if the engine has overheated significantly. If this has happened to your car, new head gaskets might be appropriate, or even necessary.

But if care has been taken not to overheat the engine, I would leave well enough alone.

:rant2:

And BTW for others, no Catera engine should ever be permitted to overheat. Even a single episode can be tantamount to a death wish for your engine, threatening head gasket, valve train, etc.. Don't do it! :eek:

Remember successful mating of aluminum and cast iron has limits, and those are TEMPERATURE limits. Get the temperature up high enough and the expanded aluminum heads will tend to lift near to their centers, imperiling the head gasket there and messing with the valve action as well. Don't even THINK about doing this.
 
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