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Old 02-21-2018, 08:58 AM #1
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Curious; are head gasket issues inevitable?

Just wondering, are leaking head gaskets inevitable with our high mileage 3rd gens? How many mile do you have on your 3rd gen and still have your factory head gasket?

We have three 3rd gens in the household. a 97 with 302K, a 2001 with 235K and a 2002 with 244K. No head gasket issues.

Any preventive maintenance or precautions we can take?
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:02 AM #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sakoluvr View Post
Just wondering, are leaking head gaskets inevitable with our high mileage 3rd gens? How many mile do you have on your 3rd gen and still have your factory head gasket?

We have three 3rd gens in the household. a 97 with 302K, a 2001 with 235K and a 2002 with 244K. No head gasket issues.

Any preventive maintenance or precautions we can take?
I have ~230k on my 97 and I've only had to replace my valve covers due to a small oil leak. No head gasket replacement yet for me.
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:20 AM #3
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230k no issues with ours.
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:23 AM #4
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With that many miles on them, you should just keep doing what you've been doing.
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:33 AM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sakoluvr View Post
...

Any preventive maintenance or precautions we can take?
Only "inevitable" stuff are lbjs and radiators getting too old thereby cracking.

Don't let engine overheat and there will be no head issues.

Mine has 294k on original everything under hood minus lbjs and radiator. Luck.
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:41 AM #6
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Radiators are on the short list. Just did LBJ's on the '97 and this weekend we will do the 2001 and maybe the 2002. Valve cover gaskets are next for the '97 then probably radiators.
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Old 02-21-2018, 11:08 AM #7
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From my casual observations, it seems that the 4runners with head gasket problems are not following the recommended maintenance for the water pump.
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Old 02-21-2018, 11:12 AM #8
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^^^ Make sure to stay with OEM valve cover gaskets and spark plug seals. I went with aftermarket and had to do it again after 6000 miles.
Yes, the LBJ and the radiator are the only 2 things I replaced for 210K miles.
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Old 02-21-2018, 11:21 AM #9
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Also, freshen up your coolant every couple years or so. Once it gets old it can get acidic (I think) and start attacking the gaskets.
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Old 02-21-2018, 12:36 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JZiggy View Post
Also, freshen up your coolant every couple years or so. Once it gets old it can get acidic (I think) and start attacking the gaskets.
Agree - you can get some electrolysis going which can potentially impact the head gaskets.....this is a big problem with Subaru's. You can check it with pH strips or a multi-meter....

How to test for electrolysis | Vehicle Enhancement Labs

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Old 02-21-2018, 12:46 PM #11
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Inevitable yes, just about everything in life is. But, there are lots of people with 300k plus miles who have never had a head gasket problem.

The 3.0 V6 in 2nd gens were definitely notorious for blowing head gaskets.

The 3.4 V6 is not immune from head gasket problems but I wouldn't call it a "common" problem.

I will say that based on all of the reading on here, the 3.4 is sensitive to being overheated compared to other engines. This is why I highly suggest people monitor their coolant temps via an ultra gauge/scan gauge or OBD2 reader. I have an alarm set on my ultra gauge to go off if the coolant ever exceeds 215 degrees.

Doing basic mainteance like changing radiators, WP's, hoses and coolant flushes should help reduce the likelihood of any HG issues.
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Old 02-21-2018, 01:11 PM #12
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I made it to about 285k when my stock head gasket went.

I think it had to do with the urd 7th injector kit's boost tee though.

I had the kit installed for a little over a week before the gasket failed. Found out I had a faulty boost tee that was completely blocked off. Coincident? maybe.
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Old 02-21-2018, 01:34 PM #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckaroo View Post
Agree - you can get some electrolysis going which can potentially impact the head gaskets.....this is a big problem with Subaru's. You can check it with pH strips or a multi-meter....

How to test for electrolysis | Vehicle Enhancement Labs

Buckaroo
Yes , I had 2 Subaru gaskets go out neither were over heated, one with ~200k developed a small coolant leak to the exterior( while the other at 90k got a small oil leak into the coolant. It was so common they named them "mode 1, mode 2, & mode 3" 1 leaks exterior, 2 leaks interior, & 3 leaks both. Reportedly Subaru used an inferior gasket material, then developed a special coolant that wouldn't eat the gasket. If you didn't use dealer coolant you would eventually suffer.
When I was searching for my 4runner I noticed a lot of them stated
"new head gasket" , with several even being below 100K miles which worried me. But three friends have similar year Toys with over 300k and no HG.
Regardless my newly acquired 1998 with 160k will be getting red coolant, OEM radiator, aux trans cooler, timing belt et all, and new complete suspension. I have all the parts but am working on the interior, and am battling the sunroof rails/cables. Totally not worth it but I kind of want the sunroof..LOL.
Can anyone recommend what temp gauge/sending unit for coolant temp ?
Thanks
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Old 02-21-2018, 02:35 PM #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbo8 View Post
I made it to about 285k when my stock head gasket went.

I think it had to do with the urd 7th injector kit's boost tee though.

I had the kit installed for a little over a week before the gasket failed. Found out I had a faulty boost tee that was completely blocked off. Coincident? maybe.
A little lean detonation under boost is *hard* on head gaskets. Not to mention pistons and rods too. I've learned this after making 350 - 400 hp from a 2.3L 4 cylinder turbo. A lean boosted engine has a lifespan measured in seconds.

FWIW we have 2 4Runner. One is at 297K, the other at 219K, no HG issues. Both have had their valve cover gaskets replaced, though. *GENTLY* tightening the reachable bolts puts if off for a while, but replacing them is the only real fix.
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Old 02-21-2018, 02:50 PM #15
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Quote:
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Any preventive maintenance or precautions we can take?
Keep all fluids up to date, keep up on engine maintenance.

Replacing the coolant on schedule keeps corrosion at bay, keeping the radiator and cooling system happy (my OEM radiator was still perfect internally at 277k miles - I checked after I replaced it). Similar for oil changes keeping the 'oil' side of the engine internals happy. Same for trans and diff fluids.

Replacing the mechanical stuff (thermostat, water pump, timing belt, pulleys, acc belts, seals/gaskets) keeps the rest of the motor happy (no oil leaks means no low oil, belts happy means radiator fan keeps working, etc.).

-Charlie
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