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2004 Inf G35 Blown Head Gasket


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birdland1982
Novice

Apr 8, 2013, 8:55 PM

Post #1 of 6 (5273 views)
2004 Inf G35 Blown Head Gasket Sign In

My 2004 Infiniti G35 V6 with 123,000 miles on it overheated on my way to work. I saw white steam coming from hood, immediately pulled over, and had it towed to my mechanic.

My mechanic replaced the thermostat, water pump, and radiator. However, after making those fixes he determined that the head gasket is blown. He hasn't given me a clear answer as to why he thinks this (there are some language barrier issues), only that after making the initial repairs he wasn't satisfied with how it was running and eventually took it to the Infiniti dealership for them to run some test (?). He doesn't have any printed out test results or anything to show me. The mechanic is a friend of a friend, so I don't think he is trying to rip me off, but I want to make sure he hasn't somehow made a mistake in diagnosis.

Questions:

(1) What evidence should the mechanic be able to show me to prove that the head gasket is actually blown? Should I get a second opinion, and if so, how do I go about doing that?

(2) He is quoting me $2,500 to replace the head gasket and resurface the head OR $3,500 to replace the entire engine with a used engine with 75,000 miles on it. At this point, I am planning on making the repairs, then selling the vehicle so I am not out the money. Would it be worth it to spend the extra $1000 to replace the engine rather than just repair the head gasket? In other words, if I spend an extra $1000, will it (a) be significantly easier to sell my vehicle or (b) will my vehicle command a better price than if I were to just make the less expensive repair?

Thank you so much for the advice.


nickwarner
Veteran / Moderator
nickwarner profile image

Apr 8, 2013, 9:13 PM

Post #2 of 6 (5262 views)
Re: 2004 Inf G35 Blown Head Gasket Sign In

When you overheat an engine badly enough to blow past the pressure cap of the cooling system, you can very easily rupture your head gasket. Many new engines use aluminum for their cylinder heads, especially import cars, and they are more prone to warpage from this than iron heads are. He may be correct about this but it is a valid question to ask him to back up his findings.

A blown head gasket can be determined by a combination of tests. A five gas analyzer probe held over the overflow tank while the engine is running can detect hydrocarbons from combustion gasses getting from the cylinders into your cooling system. There are also chemical tests meant to detect the same thing.

A cylinder leakdown test would reveal which cylinder or cylinders were leaking.

The spark plugs could be removed while pressurizing the cooling system to see if coolant gets into any of the cylinders.

A compression test would show compression losses, but it would need to be verified that it was due to the head gasket and not a different mechanical issue.

I do wonder about why he has no paperwork from the dealership. Perhaps he has a friend who is a tech there and thats what he means. You may want to bring someone who speaks spanish with you to get past the language barrier. If you wanted a second opinion, you would need to pay a tow truck to haul it to a different shop and pay them to do a diagnostic on it.

I don't know why you would lay out thousands in car repairs and just turn around and sell the car. May as well drive it and get your money's worth. I'm assuming the car isn't a complete POS or anything as I can't see it, but the mileage isn't too extreme. The engine work, no matter which route you go, isn't going to raise the value of this car in the least. Book values are based on a vehicle being in good mechanical condition. The cost of keeping it that way is simply a cost of ownership. It will certainly be worth more than a car with a blown head gasket that can't be driven, but its not going to be worth more than an 04 G35 with 123k on it is.


birdland1982
Novice

Apr 8, 2013, 9:34 PM

Post #3 of 6 (5252 views)
Re: 2004 Inf G35 Blown Head Gasket Sign In

Thanks, Nick. I appreciate the advice and will ask for some of the evidence you suggest.


MarineGrunt
Enthusiast
MarineGrunt profile image

Apr 9, 2013, 10:20 PM

Post #4 of 6 (5195 views)
Re: 2004 Inf G35 Blown Head Gasket Sign In

What would worry me is that he took it to a dealership to have them test for a head gasket leak when he says he's a mechanic. I'm no professional mechanic like Nick and some of the other guys here but have always worked on my own vehicles. I'm pretty confident that I could track down a blown head gasket. If he didn't have the right equipment I would think he would know that there are auto parts stores out there that have a free tool loaner program. I could see having another shop check it out of it was having a problem that was tough to diagnose but a blown head gasket shouldn't be all that difficult. Then again, I've never worked on an Infiniti so I don't know if there's anything special about it that makes it tougher to diagnose than most.

I too wouldn't drop the money into and then sell it. 123,000 miles isn't all that high. As long as the rest of the car is in decent shape, once the head gasket is fixed, it should be good to go. I just did a head gasket in one of our vehicles and it's one of the reasons I plan on keeping it. I know I won't have to worry about it blowing another head gasket for another 100,000 miles or so.


birdland1982
Novice

Apr 9, 2013, 11:20 PM

Post #5 of 6 (5189 views)
Re: 2004 Inf G35 Blown Head Gasket Sign In

I appreciate your thoughts. I paid a visit to the shop today and got a more thorough explanation. My mechanic said that to him it had to be. blown head gasket because "it wasn't leaking fluids but was still overheating.' As Nick suspected, my mechanic had taken it to a tech at the Infiniti dealership who he is friends with. The tech returned the car with the diagnosis of blown head gasket. The tech didn't provide any paperwork, I am guessing because he did it as a favor. My mechanic made it sound like it didn't take much for the tech to diagnose it, like perhaps he didn't even run tests. The dealership is leas than a block from the mechanic, which probably explains why he took out there as opposed to some other method of diagnosis. My mechanic understood my desire for a second opinion and (as Nick also suggested) he suggested I call the dealership to setup a $150 inspection that would generate some paper documentation of the need for a head gasket repair. I went off to call the dealer, but then decided that, since the mechanic had basically already gotten the second opinion from the dealership, I should save the time and $150. I figure, if the mechanic were trying to rip me off, why would he be so confident about sending me off to get a second opinion. So, I asked them to give me a quote for a new engine, which they will give me tomorrow. I am planning to keep the car. Even after I told them I want the quote, they still said that they would be happy to help me arrange a second opinion should I want it, which makes me more confident in their honesty.


nickwarner
Veteran / Moderator
nickwarner profile image

Apr 10, 2013, 6:59 PM

Post #6 of 6 (5170 views)
Re: 2004 Inf G35 Blown Head Gasket Sign In

His dealership friend could've tested it pretty easily by holding a 5-gas analyzer by the coolant overflow tank to check for hydrocarbons. Still don't know whyt you would want to change the whole engine for just a head gasket. This is a pretty common job and as long as the bottom end is in good shape there is no need to replace the whole engine.






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