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I will be acquiring a base 9-3 with a bad head gasket this weekend and am doing some research on repairing it. Right off the bat, here are some of the questions I have...

Is this considered the B204 engine and is it T5 or T7?

Which head gasket kit should I get? Looks like rock auto has Fel-Pro and Apex kits. Fel-pro kit lists stem seals, but it looks like the Apex kit has them too, it just doesn't have an itemized list like Fel-Pro does. Apex price is about $25 less though. Getting the job done cheaper is definitely a plus, but I will pay the extra if it really does mean the quality is better. Seems Apex is a good brand though and should hold up just as good.

Anything with the timing I should worry about or replace? I think I read that there are marks to go by, so that should make things easier. The vehicle has 200k on it though...

Are there any upgrades or other parts I should replace while I'm doing this? I read something about swapping to a shorter belt, but didn't see anything else on what exactly that means or the benefits.

Not going to be going for performance with this car, unless you consider getting as high of MPG as possible performance. So if there is anything I can do to help with mileage, I'm all ears. Unfortunately it is an automatic, so that is probably going to limit the possibilities for high MPG, but at least the GF can drive it then I suppose...

Any help will be much appreciated. Found a few threads with some decent info, but nothing really solid on the procedure that made me feel like I knew everything I needed to know. I do have WIS, so that should help when I actually get in there and start to get things back together.
 

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I just added a .pdf to the head gasket thread a few below this one. The .pdf is specific to the B204 / T5 cars, but some of the info might be helpful. BTW, your car should be a B205 / T7.
 
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