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I`m interested in buying a 2.3 9000 - `97 with approx 130,000 miles on it - headgasket has very recently been replaced & wonder if others who`ve done this can advise:
Is it symptomatic of potential problems elswhere or just a fairly routine failure on a 2.3, which once fixed (professionally) will mean the engine is back to being sound for several more thousand?
Any experiences valued!
Thanks

 

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It depends very much on the car - a head gasket failure can be indicitive of lack of maintenance, though it can fail on a well maintained car. Look at other work that has been done recently - has it been well serviced or has it a poor or incomplete service history. Make sure that you view the service history (if possible) and not just accept the dealers word for it.

Also given the miles, has it had the timing chain done? What about the gearbox can you easily select all the relevant gears?

A cylinder head gasket that has been properly replaced should not be taken as a negative on it's own (unless at very low mileage). Look at the rest of the car, and if buying from a dealer get others opinions of the garage.

Kenneth
 

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Headgaskets usually fail from an overheating incident.. sometimes from hi mileage as well. a 100% repair if done competently.. But have seen engines where aledged 'pros' failed to bother to replace a V worn Chain with the subsequent destruction of the engine.. with the excuse: I wasn't asked to fix that.
Worth having it carefully checked out by a known/proven competent mechanic... v cheap insurance in any case.
 

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Also note that the head bolts are well known to slacken off over the years. This means the gasket is much more likely to fail - so dont assume overheating. I re-torqued mine at about 120k miles and they were certainly no-where near factory spec.
If it has been done properly by a competent garage with receipts and has done a good few thousand miles since the job then I dont see why this should worry you.
At 130k miles, a well advised owner might also do the cam chains at the same time while its all apart.
 
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