head gasket replacement
have a 2002 outback limited wagon with 80K miles, 2.5L. got a quote for $3200
to replace the head gasket, seems high, even for San Francisco. any thoughts?
Also, how long can I drive on it with a blown gasket without doing serious damage
to the engine?
That price seems high but you have to remember your subaru has a boxer engine meaning the cylinders are horizontally opposed, which means the head gasket is difficult to get to because its not on top of the engine, its on the side. This could explain why the price is higher than normal. As for driving with a blown head gasket, put some radiator stop-leak in your radiator (heaps of it), dont rev the engine too high, carry lots of water with you and keep an eye on the engine temp. You can use pepper instead of the stop-leak stuff but you have to use heaps of it. You should be able to drive it around for a couple of weeks.....hopefully. Good luck!
Get other estimates. Don't go to dealers, go to specialists that work on your type of car. Ask around about the garage you are going to also. That sound like the cost of a complete engine rebuild. $1,000 sounds high, but it appears to be labor intensive. Don't use anyone that tells you, "The book says that's the cost." Go on line, look for Subaru repair garage and call and talk to the owner. DO NOT pour any stop leak into your radiator unless you want to pay for a complete repair.
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