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Your Opinion? Head Gasket or Cracked Head?

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Old Jan 12th, 2018, 15:47   #1
pierremcalpine
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Default Your Opinion? Head Gasket or Cracked Head?

Hi gang,

I came across an S40 for sale for pennies but there's apparently a head issue. I've cut and pasted the email that I got back from the seller providing more detail on history and work done to date.

I've already got a V40 that I'm quite happy with but Im pretty confident that I can fix this thing pretty cheaply and resell for a modest profit.

What I'm trying to get a better handle on risk-wise is, assuming this car previously overheated (let's say because the rad leaked maybe) what is the likelihood that the head is still good and just needs to be resurfaced vs. head being cracked and needing to be scrapped?

For any of you who have had to get into this kind of work, what kind of $'s did you put into having head assessed by a pro and/or having head reconditioned?

Any info you could provide would be appreciated.

P

Email from seller:

251Km

It is a Volvo. So it has its usual small perks related to this model.

It has never left me stranded, it started -30c without any issues. I needed a bigger car so instead for sinking more money into the car I purchased a station wagon.

It has been in the family since 1 or 2 years old, was purchased from Volvo Villa.

It had regular maintenance at Volvo and then Green and Ross.

I bought the car two years ago from my aunt.

I did:

tune up ( plugs, wires, air filter, cabin filter )
timing bel, tensioner, water pump
serpentine belt
thermostat, housing, seal
coolent reservoir
radiator and related hoses ($600 )
control arm
transmission service with Volvo full synthetic oil
replaced the remote controls
always used full synthetic oil
breaks have been serviced

and probably more just have to look up the details


car has a head gasket issue. I was loosing coolant, but no real dripping under the car. changed all parts related to coolent loss, see above, but as it continued, the last resort is the head gasket. I usually used up a jug of premixed coolent in about 2 weeks. I was quoted by my mechanic about 500 to fix the gasket, mostly labour, as the gasket is not expensive.

usually Volvo issues:

the heater relay, sometimes blows the warm air faster sometimes slower on its own, but heater works. not worth to service because it will happen again according to Volvo, so as long as the heater works, leave it alone.

cd player does not work, radio is fine. replacement unit is 40 bux at the used Volvo place

cigarette lighter does not work, replacement is 10 dollars plus labour

power antenna stem came apart, motor works, reception works, I have the parts

it has been sitting so discs have to be machined and breaks checked but car starts, runs and and drives
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Old Jan 14th, 2018, 00:51   #2
canis
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Default

Well, in my opinion, unless you can see the car running (and by that, i mean start it from cold and observe it for as long as you want to, even half an hour, which most people won't allow [they say for fuel reasons so take a gallon with you] and monitor it closely) it's a huge gamble. How much is the stake?

Me, I'd want to arrive having made no promise to buy. I'd want to see it start from cold. I'd want to check it's fluids before it starts. Then (with the bonnet open) I'd want to stare at it until it's hot enough for the fan to come on. During this process I'd be feeling the demister air, the radiator hoses and the radiator itself, to test their warmth by hand. I would also be listening carefully, watching the exhaust colour, occasionally putting my hand over the tailpipe (looking for water droplets, expected when cold but not when hot), sniffing it here and there, watching coolant level ... basically the works.

I hate buying cars, and am always suspicious. Remote buying is even worse. Basically, it's a gamble, and how much are you willing to risk?

I'd also be looking to see a bright shiny new timing belt, water pump and pulleys. Sellers have been known to tell the odd pork-pie. From time to time.

As with buying ANYTHING (and this is a rule for life) what is it worth TO YOU?

Good luck with it, if you decide to take a punt on it.
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Old Jan 14th, 2018, 18:30   #3
pierremcalpine
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Thank you, CANIS. I did a bit more research, too much risk in pursuing this.
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Old Yesterday, 20:23   #4
patrick264
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As with buying ANYTHING (and this is a rule for life) what is it worth TO YOU?

Now that's a good rule imo
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