DIY Head Gasket Advice MP5

Hey y'all! This is my first post, hope someone can help me out with my lil problem. I almost overheated my car last week while driving on some back roads, and realized there was no coolant in the reservoir because it had all been purged out of the overflow tube. The purging first happened a couple months ago on a hot day after a 4 hr drive and I thought it was just a fluke, but it happened more recently and after that incident hadda get it checked out. Turns out I have a small leak in my head gasket that's causing some CO to get into the cooling and pressurizing it, and all that fun stuff. One shop said they can fix it for $2200 and another said about $3k, or $800 for a ceramic fix which works 90% of the time or something. I'm not super familiar with cars and motors as I'm just starting out, but I know a couple things and am willing to learn. The car's my daily, but it's not crucial for work so I can afford to have it sit for a couple days. Would y'all advise me to just get it fixed by a shop, do the cheap ceramic fix, or do it myself? If anyone's replaced their head gasket and has any advice or knows if its a very hard, or manageable job to do, that would be much appreciated!
 

pcb

The Diagram Dude
:
2002 MP5
If it were me, I'd try something like this...

Keep in mind that my car is worth $250 as scrap.



Screenshot_20210622-162524_Brave.jpg





 
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pcb

The Diagram Dude
:
2002 MP5
Yes.
You have to follow the directions and flush the system properly or you could plug everything up.

But it looks like if you do it right, you can fix your car for $20 instead of $800 or $3,000.

It's probably similar to the ceramic fix, but you do it yourself for $20.
 
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BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
Hey y'all! This is my first post, hope someone can help me out with my lil problem. I almost overheated my car last week while driving on some back roads, and realized there was no coolant in the reservoir because it had all been purged out of the overflow tube. The purging first happened a couple months ago on a hot day after a 4 hr drive and I thought it was just a fluke, but it happened more recently and after that incident hadda get it checked out. Turns out I have a small leak in my head gasket that's causing some CO to get into the cooling and pressurizing it, and all that fun stuff. One shop said they can fix it for $2200 and another said about $3k, or $800 for a ceramic fix which works 90% of the time or something. I'm not super familiar with cars and motors as I'm just starting out, but I know a couple things and am willing to learn. The car's my daily, but it's not crucial for work so I can afford to have it sit for a couple days. Would y'all advise me to just get it fixed by a shop, do the cheap ceramic fix, or do it myself? If anyone's replaced their head gasket and has any advice or knows if its a very hard, or manageable job to do, that would be much appreciated!
Just thinking through the logic here. I'm not sure about labor, but a new (junkyard) engine for one of these cars in good condition probably wouldn't cost too much more than what your mechanics are quoting you for just the headgasket job.

Additionally, (at least in my area) these cars aren't worth much more than $3k. I don't have a solution to suggest, but logically if it was me, I'd be extremely hesitant to spend anywhere near that much money without also considering the value of the car overall and how much money I want to spend on it versus getting a new vehicle.

(Then again, if it's me, I'll most certainly do the non-fiscally responsible thing...because I really love my Protege5, but at least I'll be trying to do the work myself to make it cheap)

Food for thought.
 
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Just thinking through the logic here. I'm not sure about labor, but a new (junkyard) engine for one of these cars in good condition probably wouldn't cost too much more than what your mechanics are quoting you for just the headgasket job.

Additionally, (at least in my area) these cars aren't worth much more than $3k. I don't have a solution to suggest, but logically if it was me, I'd be extremely hesitant to spend anywhere near that much money without also considering the value of the car overall and how much money I want to spend on it versus getting a new vehicle.

(Then again, if it's me, I'll most certainly do the non-fiscally responsible thing...because I really love my Protege5, but at least I'll be trying to do the work myself to make it cheap)

Food for thought.
Ok, for sure! I'll definitely give it some thought because she is a little ran through. It's at about 197k, but this is the only major problem she's had in the history according to the last owner, and while I've had it. I got it cause it was functional since I'm still in college, and is a fun car to drive around. I was planning to eventually put more money into it down the road and build it up a little until I can get a different project car or maybe just keep this one because I just really really dig it. So new motor was definitely on the radar, I just don't have the proper equipment for it :/ I'll keep that in mind though thank you!
 
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BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
Ok, for sure! I'll definitely give it some thought because she is a little ran through. It's at about 197k, but this is the only major problem she's had in the history according to the last owner, and while I've had it. I got it cause it was functional since I'm still in college, and is a fun car to drive around. I was planning to eventually put more money into it down the road and build it up a little until I can get a different project car or maybe just keep this one because I just really really dig it. So new motor was definitely on the radar, I just don't have the proper equipment for it :/ I'll keep that in mind though thank you!
Yeah, and for that reason I definitely like PCB's solution if it works. If the rest of the car is good for the mileage, it might not be a bad idea to put a new engine in and breath new life into it if you can do it very cheaply and you really do like the car. I don't know that I'd personally put money into a 200k engine with other known issues without also proactively addressing them with a full rebuild.

I've come to the point where I'm not going to spend more than I need to on mine. It's just not a very practical platform and I'll never get my money back from those mods.
I have a spreadsheet where I keep track of any P5 related expense, and it's hard to look at but helps me not spend money on my car. Car's are expensive, even without mods. I agree with you that it really is a great college car for sure though 😉.
You do what's best for you, but I'd advise you to really consider whether you want to sink that money in or not, unless it's an all-out project/track car. Just my thought on it.
 
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:
2003 protege 5
I did this recently to "retire" a car to the state. The head gasket blew and it wasnt financially feasible to repair it. We used something that looked like it had copper flakes in it. After alot of research we did it because it only had to drive 10 miles and pass a visual inspection. It did that with no problem. Then they crushed it and paid us. I told that story because of 1 point. It only had to drive 10 miles. Using a "fix in a can" might work - but for how long no one can say. By using it you are accepting the risk of it failing again down the road and usually at a very inconvenient time for you. Please understand that.
 
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pcb

The Diagram Dude
:
2002 MP5
Using a "fix in a can" might work - but for how long no one can say. By using it you are accepting the risk of it failing again down the road and usually at a very inconvenient time for you. Please understand that.

That's true.
I recently had my overflow tank go empty and realized my rad was leaking.
I tried a bottle of "fix in a can" and it didn't work, so I had to replace my rad.

The OP went for two months without a problem so it sounds like his leak is very small and only leaks on a long hot drive.
It sounds like he's not getting antifreeze in his oil either.

If it were me, I'd still try the "fix in a can" and keep premixed antifreeze in the car just in case.

He should be able to buy enough time to figure out what he wants to do.

PS,.. To the OP.

Our temperature gage is a dummy gage that is controlled by the ECU.
It starts off at the cold mark then warms up to just under the halfway mark, then stays there and doesn't move until the temperature is REALLY hot.

By the time the temperature gage starts rising above the halfway mark, you are not far away from warping your head.

So keep a really close eye on your temperature gage and your overflow tank while you figure out what you are going to do.
 
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Our temperature gage is a dummy gage that is controlled by the ECU.

Good to know, I knew ford did this and I'm not too sure how much of this car is ford influenced (doesn't seem like much though). Maybe I will start monitoring that temp on torque to be sure it's not climbing on mine as I get a better feel for how it's doing mechanically.
 
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