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Head Gasket Advice

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by BrownHouseChris, Jul 3, 2023.

?
  1. Drive it around town till it dies

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Try the gasket seal in a bottle

    1 vote(s)
    12.5%
  3. Look for a replacement motor

    5 vote(s)
    62.5%
  4. Set the 15 year old on it for a head gasket attempt

    2 vote(s)
    25.0%
  1. BrownHouseChris

    BrownHouseChris New Member

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    Dear Prius Fans,
    I come to you seeking advice. This may be a little long, but please stay with me.

    I have a 2010 Prius with 188,000 miles that recently began starting rough and throwing the CEL. The dealer suggested replacing plugs and coils, and also suggested a possible "coolant intrusion". I take that to mean head gasket problem.

    I also have a 15-year-old who is technical, clever and a budding gearhead (I am not a gearhead but I sometimes like a project). Together we first replaced the plugs and coils, but got the CEL again quickly. After reading through this forum the EGR and intake manifold seemed like the next place to turn. So we spent a weekend taking everything apart and cleaning: EGR cooler, EGR valve, EGR pipe, and intake manifold. We installed an oil catch can too.

    Prius ran fine around town for a few days after all this, but today again misfired on a cold start, and the coolant level was noticeably lower when I checked later (no CEL yet, though). So, the head gasket seems to be bad, or getting there, from what I've read.

    So now I have decisions to make. This is our 3rd car, which we were thinking we would give to the kid when he turns 16. But now it seems like its life is near an end unless we replace the motor or do the head gasket. Here are the options I can see:

    1. Drive it around town till it dies (it's not worth very much at this point I think)
    2. Try the gasket seal in a bottle (I know that's a bad idea, but if it's dying anyway then why not)
    3. Look for a replacement motor (I expect I'd have to have a shop install it for me)
    4. Set the 15 year old on it for a head gasket attempt (this seems like a huge job, but maybe not with enough time and video tutorials?)

    Am I missing an option? If not, what's your vote?
     
  2. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Senior Member

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    Picture of the car Is the car in poor conditions? Has the ABS pump accumulator main part been dealt with over $1,000? So you're at just the head gasket you've never done anything to the brakes like the accumulator pump the big part not pads and rotors? So then you're at the very beginning of the expensive things that go on this model. I have two of these my 13 persona rather than spend money on shops and mechanics labor time doing things I bought a Japan domestic market engine for about $1,200 14 ship to my door while I was at it I also got the same mileage same company transmission so I would have a low mileage transmission and engine to bolt together dropping my car which had about 200 plus thousand miles on it that all cost in one shot. Engine transmission installed in the car plus fluids etc was right around $2,180 now if you can rebuild your head gasket rebuild your engine and all that for around that price then go for it but the open deck design of the 2ZZ engine is not one that I would want to be spending money on machine work and the local mechanic work in my area as that stuff is very costly putting an engine from another market in my car where they know what they're doing generally they don't tear up things in the Asian market like we do here until it's time to here it's very hard to find qualified people to do the work correctly and then when you do it is very expensive here in the West things to keep in mind. So as you see by looking on this list people are paying $8,000 and things like this for engines in 2010 to 2015 Prius completely ridiculous That's another whole car without the problems from almost any maker depending upon how new you want .
     
    Mendel Leisk likes this.
  3. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Do the head gasket.

    Plugs and coils is a waste of time and money. EGR and intake manifold cleaning is good, but about 100k too late. How’d it look btw?

    some info in my signature; on a phone turn it landscape to see signature.
     
    BrianStranded likes this.
  4. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    I didn't see "Time Machine" or 'rectractive oil changes/checks' in the poll menu, so I didn't vote.

    First of all, I'd quantify "Not Worth Much" before proceeding.
    My company (Big Bell) went through a hybrid dalliance in the 2010's and both of my usta-cars (2010's G3s) are still in service with their original head gaskets.
    You've been keeping up with current events, right?
    I'm sure you're already looped in on the fact that used cars are not worth 'not much.'

    You also have a nearly No-Lose situation:
    A 15-year-old who is technical, clever and a budding gearhead who wants access to a near 15-year old car a year from now, and a demonstrated ability to perform basic maintenance.
    You might even have the place to do the work and the kid certainly has the time.

    Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

    SO.....
    Let the kid tackle the head gasket replacement OR sell the car, priced accordingly and with full disclosures - maybe even on this forum and put THAT money aside on another project car.

    Either way, DO NOT drive the car until it's repaired!
    Water does NOT compress very much!
    TRUST ME!!!!
    The 'SS' in my handle designates me as a submariner, and some people from a company in the PNW just did the theory-to-practice on that.

    There's only one way to fix the problem with your G3, and you're most of the way there already.
    You fixed the CAUSE of the head gasket failure, now all you have to do is replace the gasket itself!
    There are extensive Yoo-Tube videos on HG replacements in addition to the EGR and TB cleaning that you've already done together.

    You're tee'd up perfectly for a guaranteed shot at instilling in your 15-year-old clever budding gearhead some ownership in the car ownership experience.

    Frankly I do not see much of a downside here.
     
    #4 ETC(SS), Jul 4, 2023
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2023
    JohnPrius3005 and Doug McC like this.
  5. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Number 4 for sure... The knowledge and experience your kid will gain is way more important than how you manage your family's fleet. Especially because if he gets good at this stuff he can manage the fleet for you and save you big money over time. Of course the kid has to watch lots of videos and learn this stuff thoroughly and still be interested otherwise you risk having a car that got taken apart but never put back together.
     
  6. Doug McC

    Doug McC Active Member

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    I agree, do the HG and let the kid do it (even if it gets screwed up, and you have to do a do over, the experience will be more than worth it).

    Regarding the EGR cleaning: check out what The Car Care Nut has to say about that (YouTube). You might benefit greatly from his advice.
     
  7. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    He doesn’t clean anything, and recommends parts replacement only??
     
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  8. Doug McC

    Doug McC Active Member

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    His reasons are interesting. FWTW
     
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  9. BrownHouseChris

    BrownHouseChris New Member

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    Thanks all. I think I'm leaning towards letting the kid take a crack at it, with some help. We have a local mechanic who was really impressed when we told.him the lid was doing the EGR cleaning, and offered to help in any way he could. So I've reached out to see whether we can hire him to help/supervise during the tricky bits when the head is off. I do think the experience of trying the job will be really appreciated by my kid.

    And after all this, I can task him with doing the EGR on our other Prius (2014 V, 105,000 miles)!
     
  10. BrianStranded

    BrianStranded Member

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    No…after all this you can task him to change the headgasket on your other Prius because that is what you’ll need.

    A headgasket job isnt super duper expensive…unless you do what I did and change everything out while the car is dissected. But a proper headgasket job clears your car for another 100k miles of driving, please let your kid do it. Once he changes the headgasket he’ll be the car’s master.
     
  11. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Mr. F, JohnPrius3005 and Brian1954 like this.
  12. BrownHouseChris

    BrownHouseChris New Member

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  13. BrownHouseChris

    BrownHouseChris New Member

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    Hi all, last update. The kid buttoned up the car and fired it up today. After tightening one hose clamp on the cooling system it ran like a dream. I can honestly say he did it all himself, I hardly lent a hand. A local mechanic gave him some guidance, and the people at the machine shop were also really helpful. But it all really came down to this diligent kid. I'm a very proud dad tonight. PXL_20230807_210838751.jpg
     
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  14. BrianStranded

    BrianStranded Member

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    Hell yeah!!
     
  15. Kromis

    Kromis Junior Member

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    As the kids say these days... POGGERS!
     
  16. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    That's Great! I hope it is all working properly and will so for 2-300,000 miles!!!