Yet another (over)blown head gasket thread

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by AlbusB, May 12, 2022.

  1. AlbusB

    AlbusB New Member

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    Santa Cruz, CA
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    2013 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    I just Bought a single-owner, seemingly well maintained 2013 off craigslist with 136,00 mi for $11K (feel free to tell me if I paid too much) about 2 months ago. Drove for about 500 mi with no problems, getting 52 mpg highway, just long enough to fall deeply, madly in love. Insert the usual progression of engine lights, error codes, rough cold starts, pointless plug and coil replacements, final diagnosis by Santa Cruz dealership via hydrocarbon test of coolant: blown head gasket with accompanying $5700 estimate for repair (gasket replacement only).
    I've put in enough hours searching this forum on the issue to feel like I know you all and your opinions on the matter, but if you're not sick of the topic I'd love your opinions on what I see as my options:
    1. Do it myself - I probably could struggle my way through it, but don't have a great space, or much time to do it in.
    2. local highly regarded shops: asking $3600-$4200 to do the head gasket though interestingly none of them seem to have much experience doing it on these cars it or knowledge of this issue with gen 3 motors in general. Many of them also want to charge $100-$200 to re-diagnose before they'll even give me an estimate which I'm guessing is going to be in the same ballpark.
    3. Gasket Masters - I talked to them today about some of their negative reviews and they said that they did have some people scamming them trying to say they had work done with no evidence. I know some people have opinions on their quality of work but they would seem to have the most experience with this issue, include full EGR system and manifold cleaning, and will do the head gasket in their shop for $1550 or a used, rebuilt by them engine for $3150. I also just like them.
    4. Gen 4 swap: I found a highly regarded independent shop in San Francisco - Luscious Garage that will do the gen 4 swap for $6500- 8000 (or more). They are very aware of the issue and say they don't even do the gaskets and at this point only do the gen 4 swap.
    5. Take $5k trade in value at dealership.
    Thanks for any input!
     
    PriusCamper likes this.
  2. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    If you lived in a more affordable part of the country Gen4 swap would make the most sense but not if you have to do it in most expensive city on the west coast. You need a small time rural mechanic that does large numbers of engine swaps if you want a good price and that's many hundreds of miles from you. But keep looking because that's the best long term solution.

    And considering where you live and fact that I used to live in that beautiful town, I'd spend all your hard earned money at gasket masters because that's the most reasonable price.
     
  3. ToyXW

    ToyXW Active Member

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    I have no personal experience with them, but those Gasket Masters prices seem reasonable assuming they offer a warranty on their work. I had Maxat Hybrid Repair in West Sacramento do my head gasket at about 130K and it's still going at 200K...

    He'll be doing an engine swap in a Highlander hybrid for me next week too.
     
  4. AlbusB

    AlbusB New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback @PriusCamper, that's the direction I'm leaning as well. Would you do the gasket repair or the swap in my situation?
     
  5. AlbusB

    AlbusB New Member

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    IV
    Thanks @ToyXW I will give Maxat a call and see if they would do the gen 4 swap.
     
  6. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    I'd set a deadline to commit to go gasketeering and try everything I can think of before that deadline to find a talented hillbilly that has trucks full of engines regularly rolling into his shop who will also watch the youtube videos about Gen4 engine swap.
     
  7. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Gasket Masters trained the mechanics in our shop who do HG replacements. Looks to me like they know what they are doing. And the gasket itself looks better than the OEM gasket.
     
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  8. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    They are aware they can make more, and easier money to do this....

     
  9. AlbusB

    AlbusB New Member

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    if the gen 4 swap is easier money, I'm surprised Gasket Masters isn't doing it. I asked but they said they don't due to all the possible complications.
     
  10. EH6TunerDaniel

    EH6TunerDaniel Junior Member

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    Jesus you could ship your car to Texas and have me do the swap and come out ahead for those prices. That is ridiculous. My swap doing it DIY and a bunch of maintenance stuff at the same time was around $2k.

    I say find a different shop to do the gen4 swap, or DIY it. If you think you could do the head gasket then i think you could definitely do the swap its much easier.
     
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