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Head gaskets blown?
I drive a '99 Outback with 124k and had last week after the temp gauge went up the radiator and the thermostat replaced. Didn't solve the problem unfortunately. Gauge goes still steadily up, but sometimes also comes down. I searched this forum and I was gathering info to find out if the head gaskets are possibly blown, which is a common problem for the engine. I came upon to check if the water pump is still working correctly, are there air pockets in the radiator (had the coolant replaced), is the thermosat placed right and if there is oil in the coolant?
At the moment when I am driving the temp gauge goes up, never to the max though, but still high. When I drive a bit with higher revs the gauge comes down, sometimes even to normal level, but it is still not OK of course. There is a (coolant) smell coming from the engine when I stop driving.
I am going to the garage to have it checked out tomorrow (he wants to do an emission test), but these are my questions:
- any thoughts on what I described above, is there more to look for?
- if the head gaskets are blown, I am looking at a repair of around $1500-2500. Of course I don't like throwing money into it if it is not worth it. What are the common results of those who had it repaired, did the car last?
- my garage already told me that if the gaskets are blown he is not doing the repair. I am in the direct Philly area, aside from dealers, does anyone know a reliable independant garage?
It is probably still cheaper to repair the car than buying a new one, but on the other hand how much is enough?
thanks for your advise