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Should I do just the head gasket, or rebuild the entire engine?

  • Just the head gaskets.

  • Rebuild the entire thing.


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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

My Xterra emits a white cloud from the tailpipe that only thins out once the engine has warmed up, but it's still quite a lot. I haven't spent a lot of time tinkering around to find out exactly what's up yet, with the holidays, work, and school.

That said, assuming the worst that it needs a head gasket, my question is this; if I am going to go through all the trouble of doing the headgaskets and front end work, might I just as well pull the motor and do a full rebuild? It's a 2002 with 167k on it. I've got to replace the radiator support while I'm in there, so pretty much the engine bay will be wide open as it is. There are some rusty lines and such that I could deal with right then with everything out.

Or am I overthinking it?

PS: This machine is being built strictly for offroad abuse/winter beater. It isn't even plated yet.
 

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It depends on money and the amount of damage. Mine was weeping, but it wasn't to that point. My mechanic did it, and with Cat replacement on the driver side was 3,000 bucks. It was roughly 178,000 or under, and today it's at 230,000. I regret it, and I don't. I love the car, but sometimes I don't. I have no car payment, but I ran the up the debit fixing the vehicle. Three months after the heads was the fuel pump and sender had to be replaced for me. My Xterra is my daily driver, and I need to get another car and use it as a backup.
 

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I would first make sure you actually do have a blowing head gasket before anything else. If you live in a cold environment, which you said it will be a winter beater, then when it's cold, white smoke is technically normal, and will go away once it's warmed up, or at the very least, will thin out a lot. Sometimes you can smell the exhaust (Not too much, lmao) and if you smell that sweetish scent that coolant has, then possibly. But that's not the proper way to diagnose it at all. I'm no expert, but if you like the vehicle that much, then maybe look into replacing it. I'm not sure about the entire engine though. Generally they're pretty decent engines, but if you have the time and money and feel like there's some damage, I guess why not? I had a 1997 Subaru Outback before my X and the head gasket blew, around 200k miles, and I didn't think it was worth it to fix it, so I junked it. I guess it's up to you though! Good luck with it, let us know what you do :).
 
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