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Old 03-17-2013, 10:16 AM #1
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head gasket repair leads to piston through head

Hi guys.
Looking for some advice.

the head gasket failed on my 97 4 runner - 198K miles. I took it to the guys I have been using for years to keep my old SAAB running. they machined the heads, replaced the timing belt, water pump, radiator. they kept the car a day extra because they said the timing sounded funny, but then I picked it up after they said they had fixed that.

less than two weeks later and probably the third time the car had been driven any distance after that, it threw a piston rod through the head. which of course meant the engine was trashed. I paid 2800.00 for the first repair, my saab guys quoted me 4500 to replace the engine so I had it towed to falls church where another shop replaced the engine for about 2700. I feel like the guys must have missed something on the first repair because I was hoping to get another 30K miles out of if before another major repair. what do you all think ? I am pretty unhappy with my saab guys and kicking myself for not picking a toyota only shop for the first repair.

any advice appreciated.
thanks
theresa

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Old 03-17-2013, 12:36 PM #2
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Only scenarios I see leading to this:

Something left in the engine on the first start up that cracked a piston which later finished cracking

massive amount of material taken off of the head raising the compression VERY high to cause the kind of detonation it would take break the piston.

They mixed a lot of coolant in the oil and you hit the local race track and ran the engine at redline for a long time destroying the bearings very quickly and then continued to drive it until the rod bolts let go and sent the rod out of the block.
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Old 03-17-2013, 12:43 PM #3
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isn't the shop responsible?

they do have a 12 month warranty right?

This may be covered by MD state law. I suggest you take them to court. Also consider an engine swap - much cheaper.


Ohh and don't let SAAB guys work on your Toyota. Find an all Japanese shop or at least someone with years of Toyota experience.


Quote:
I feel like the guys must have missed something on the first repair because I was hoping to get another 30K miles out of if before another major repair. what do you all think ?
I think you are paying WAY too much money for only expecting 30k miles out of it. That is near crazy. You can buy a complete engine with about 100k on for $1800-$2500. Then have it put in for $500.
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Old 03-17-2013, 01:27 PM #4
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one other thought...if they did have the timing off (and they indicated a timing issue) and misaligned the valve train that may have led to piston slap on the valves? This in conjunction with over-milling the heads could have contributed to the failure.

In that case other cylinders probably would have been damaged as well.

Sorry to hear about your experience!
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Old 03-17-2013, 01:34 PM #5
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The Saab shop is responsible, they messed it up. If they're not willing to cover their error then it's time for small claims court.
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:35 PM #6
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This is why I would never let a shop repair my vehicle, I don't want the 19 year old high school drop outs working there to touch it! Also, it sounds like you are way over paying! I've repaired the head on my pickup and replaced the head gasket 3 times since I bought it in '81 and haven't had any problems. Also, it only cost about $100 or less in parts each time except when I had to replace the head once and that was around $150 or so I think.
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:23 PM #7
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Rebuild toyota engine may do 100K miles max If you find a good used (even 180 K miles) toyota engine that will run 100 miles easily.

Rebuilding is good for Mitsubishi, Dodge, Chevy, Isuzu, ford, honda, nissan engines etc, but not a toyota.
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:26 PM #8
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Quote:
Rebuilding is good for Mitsubishi, Dodge, Chevy, Isuzu, ford, honda, nissan engines etc, but not a toyota.
WHY?

This comment is very loco.
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:01 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nissanh View Post
Rebuild toyota engine may do 100K miles max If you find a good used (even 180 K miles) toyota engine that will run 100 miles easily.

Rebuilding is good for Mitsubishi, Dodge, Chevy, Isuzu, ford, honda, nissan engines etc, but not a toyota.
are you high... ? 100k miles max for a toyota rebuild? GTFO ---->


and to the OP, yeah your first mistake was letting a saab shop work on your toyota. it could be a thrown rod but id think that would be evident. i have a feeling they either left something in the motor or maybe they put in the wrong plugs, like maybe a spark plug that ways too long, and it hit the piston or something idk. -that would make sense to me with them keeping it another day because they heard a noise... they pull the plugs, find out they used the wrong plugs(ones that were too long) and then instead of pulling things back apart to check they just tossed different plugs in and sent it out the door... either way, this is clearly the shops fault and they should be covering the repairs/replacement of your motor.
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Last edited by the great him; 03-18-2013 at 12:22 AM.
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:54 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nissanh View Post
Rebuild toyota engine may do 100K miles max If you find a good used (even 180 K miles) toyota engine that will run 100 miles easily.

Rebuilding is good for Mitsubishi, Dodge, Chevy, Isuzu, ford, honda, nissan engines etc, but not a toyota.
Crazy talk!
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:54 PM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nissanh View Post
Rebuild toyota engine may do 100K miles max If you find a good used (even 180 K miles) toyota engine that will run 100 miles easily.

Rebuilding is good for Mitsubishi, Dodge, Chevy, Isuzu, ford, honda, nissan engines etc, but not a toyota.

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Old 03-17-2013, 07:54 PM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nissanh View Post
Rebuild toyota engine may do 100K miles max If you find a good used (even 180 K miles) toyota engine that will run 100 miles easily.

Rebuilding is good for Mitsubishi, Dodge, Chevy, Isuzu, ford, honda, nissan engines etc, but not a toyota.
head gasket repair leads to piston through head-421969_377251438971719_336320923064771_1329120_1706940000_n-jpg




were you dropped as a baby!?!
head gasket repair leads to piston through head-319917_10150317602578443_579683442_8036781_866308506_n-jpg

head gasket repair leads to piston through head-402093_353427148020815_336320923064771_1270966_94038195_n-jpg

head gasket repair leads to piston through head-422080_208210462620329_1831723843_n-jpg
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Old 03-18-2013, 12:07 AM #13
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How did it run for the two weeks between getting it back and then the failure?

Don't be so quick to throw it on the shop. There have been a few cases of 5VZ's throwing rods. It very well could be a coincidence.
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Old 03-18-2013, 12:19 AM #14
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Quote:
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How did it run for the two weeks between getting it back and then the failure?

Don't be so quick to throw it on the shop. There have been a few cases of 5VZ's throwing rods. It very well could be a coincidence.
true, if however it is not a rod through the block id be right back to pointing fingers at the shop... these motors are not bad motors and the rod through the block is not very common, but like i stated earlier it is pretty much this motors only achilles tendon everything else is fairly easily fixable or otherwise not gonna cause serious issues. i wouldnt go so far as to say they are rare, but they are for sure not common -more rare than a Elocker if that makes any sense...
@PitbullRescuer , i know you know this, im just stating this for the record and clarifications sake
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Old 03-18-2013, 01:21 AM #15
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i have a feeling they either left something in the motor or maybe they put in the wrong plugs, like maybe a spark plug that ways too long, and it hit the piston or something idk.
I don't think they make a spark plug long enough (with the correct diameter) to hit the piston. Unless they machined .250" off the head. If you've ever taken the heads off you'd see it would take a pretty long plug.

Check the intake and exhaust surfaces. Many shops use Scotch Brite pads to quickly remove old gasket material. These pads leave very fine abrasives in any open area. These abrasive get sucked into the oil before the oil filter can filter them out they have already damaged the main/rod bearings. Which soon results in a major failure.
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