Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Blown head gasket 1995 4 runner

Long story short, widowed, no family and friends have done all they can. Got laid off, unemployment got cut off a month early and I’m scrambling for employment. Rented a room to cut expenses only to find out no kitchen privileges. The landlady told me other tenants paid their rent but spend all their time with a girlfriend. Landlord is a car buff (Chevy guy) sent me to his mechanic. Car repair/small used car dealer. They told me to sell it and let a family take it to Mexico for a cheap engine rebuild they quoted $2500 and indicated they did not want to do it. They did NOT offer me any used car as they require 2 yrs on job and 2 yrs at current residence.

I’m in AZ and 115 degree days are here. Jobs require under penalty of perjury guarantee of reliable transportation and the bus is not reliable because responsible people have cars and drivers licenses. Plus it gets around that pesky illegal alien issue without mentioning it.

I read in a previous column to use sodium silacate as a last option but that is what was used to disable engines on cash for clunker cars. I’m trying so hard to remain positive but need a few weeks months to put into this car as they quoted me the dealer cost of a rebuild so it looks like they do not want my business unless it is at a premium that I do not have. And I am aware they are buddies with my landlord he eats lunch with them several times a week. His wife has requested I pay rent early. I am trying so hard to be independent and not bother others but it seems like everyone is being very by the books and not doing me any favors while saying they’ve done all they can for me. Thank you very much

Toyota says my vin number is not a correct one for any head gasket recall I heard Michael
Toyota in Fresno honored it but they told me they know nothing and why am I calling out of area?

How Was It Determined That You Need A Head Gasket?
Why Would That Cost Anywhere Near $2500?
Is This A 4-Cylinder Engine?

I’m not sure what you are asking.

Is the $2500 too much for an engine rebuild? Not if you want the engine to last.
If you want the cheap job…there are people out there that will sell you that, but the engine won’t last and they turn you away when the engine dies an early death.

1995 is getting pretty old to bother installing a used engine, but that will cost as much.


The mechanic told me the head gasket was going to go sooner or later. They quoted me the price knowing I can’t afford it yet $2500 not get a decent used car, either. They didn’t offer to keep an eye open for a decent used car for me, just told me to sell it so someone could take it to Mexico for an inexpensive rebuild.
I try to be wise with my money and while I’m thrilled to get a bargain at the dollar store, that does not mean everything there is top quality and sometimes more money is involved. The car is a V6 3.0 engine. I’ve read about people swapping out the 3.0 for 3.6 and I wish my husband had done that and all his friends and family disappeared with him. Kinda humbling, save for a couple who said they lost all respect for him and would vouch for me for job references.
I got the quote from $1400-1800 is their range for my area (Phoenix near Scottsdale, AZ) correction 1600-2100 for 1995’s.
What am I asking? I’ve reduced my living expenses as far as possible, even to having no kitchen. My housing, employment, and transportation oh face it my adulthood, self respect and independence are hanging by a thread and I’ve found that my church helps those with potential and the unsaved, but if a believer hit hard times, they tell you to go to family that does not exist. If there is a workable solution, it’s evading me and I’m not going to be adopted into the refugee community just because I am falling through the cracks and it all seems to hinge on the low wages being offered. Roommates are not a good option, I have had 100% rip off rate and if you ever want to be entertained, just try answering a few of the ads and see how many people are really looking for someone to party with, or just move you in, scare you away and have a garage sale. The cops are aware of it but people generally feel it is not worth the cost, to just write it off.
I’ve never been a person to quit til after ever solution has not been considered.

"The mechanic told me the head gasket was going to go sooner or later. They quoted me the price knowing I can’t afford it yet $2500 not get a decent used car, either."

Everything on every car “goes sooner or later.” Why was the mechanic working on this vehicle. What problem(s)/symptoms were you having with it?

Was it fixed for now? Does it still have problems/symptoms?

Are you trying to buy a different vehicle, sell this one, fix this one, or what?

Is The Car Over-Heating And/Or Using Coolant (Anti-Freeze Ant-Boil Solution)?
Is It Running Poorly?
Why Did It Go To The Mechanic?

Tried for hours to fix it. Overheating terribly but the weather has warmed up dramatically and will be over 115 in a couple of days. The mechanic recommends selling it (and throwing in a barb that a mechanic in Mexico can rebuild it cheap) and since they sell used cars but all their lenders require 2 yrs residency 2 yrs at a job they did not suggest that route. So yes it is fixable but the labor costs are the deal breaker. I asked my landlord to help me get the oil lid off a couple weeks ago and he didn’t. I finally got someone else to do so, but in this area, that leaves you open for homeless people wanting payment, or something in your car as payment.

My landlord is buddies with them and they more or less me we are ending our customer relationship with you, no recommendation, good bye and good luck but mo

overheating? yes
using coolant? yes it boils out. unless I stop within moments of the needle rising
went to mechanic because it over heated and could drive it about 2 miles Sunday down to 1 mile or less now
running poorly? I would say so

I will say this. It’s not that rare for a mechanic to misdiagnose an overheating issue as a failed head gasket.

If the assumption is made that the engine is genuinely overheating by the temperature gauge then I would suggest checking things like the thermostat, cooling fan operation, and so on before buying into the worst possible scenario.

I’ll answer your question on the use of sodium silicate.

Sodium silicate can stop head gasket leaks.

Sodium silicate was used for the Cash For Clunkers program to disable engines. But it was added to the engine oil. So if the head gasket leak isn’t introducing coolant into the oil, it can be safely used to stop a head gasket leak.

A bottle of sodium silicate can be purchased from a local pharmacy for about $30.00. But when you order it, you’ll be asked what you’re going to use it for.

I keep a bottle in the shop only for vehicles with blown heads gaskets, and where the owner is in your financial situation.


“The mechanic told me the head gasket was going to go sooner or later.”

From what context is this taken?

The mechanic said that because he sells head gaskets?
The mechanic said that because he sells used cars?

The mechanic said that because it’s a problem on these particular vehicles/engines?

The mechanic said that because the owner continues to drive the car with an undiagnosed over-heating condition, assuring the gasket(s) will give it up (because it will)?

Why has the over-heating not been diagnosed (or has it been?) and the real culprit causing it been remedied?

Lots of mysteries at play here, to me… It’s tough in person, even tougher in an internet forum.
More information is needed. I’m not even quite sure what GabiC is requesting help doing with this, specifically.

They tried the thermostat yesterday. Not sure about the cooling fan. They said it could be the water pump but didn’t want to buy me two weeks for $300 and have me in the same boat as the engine must be removed to get to the water pump. No horrible noises. thx ok

thx tester they said the antifreeze was in the exhaust or vice versa but they did not mention oil contamination. They did not mention the sodium silicate either. They know my situation is dire. I hate typing that, I’m still trying but running out of options and time. thx tester

They tried the thermostat yesterday. Not sure about the cooling fan. They said it could be the water pump…

That statement does not make me feel any way confident in the ability of these “mechanics.”

Did they pressurize/test the cold cooling system?

What would be a little helpful is if you could give us a chronology of events…
I have owned the car for 2x years and had no problems until last month when the temp gauge started…
Next, I took the car to … and…
Then it started to overflow coolant onto the ground and steam…
So, I …


Anything mechanical is a mystery to me, and if it’s stumping car buffs, well at least I’m not the only one No typical used car push, they don’t want to do the repair as they know I don’t have a job. My landlady requested my rent early which is illegal but she was afraid I was spending money at the shop. She is literally afraid to spend money on necessities and goes without a lot. They are neither trying to sell me a car nor offering to do the repair. They suggest selling it and good luck with your life. I hate to presume but they neither hate me nor want me around. I’m just inappropriate for their business needs. I can’t see all your post CSA but will edit if I missed something and thx CSA

I’ve had the car 12 yrs. Engine rebuilt at 150K currently about 250k Former mechanic in CA tried to fix thermostat in 2009 ish but seemed to run while idling but spurted water before we got to driveway. Temp fix was removal pending further investigation. Financial collapse and divorce in 2010 changed everything. Oh, we lived at the beach, never dreamed I’d end up in the other extreme of AZ.

I do not recall any mention of pressurizing or the cold system but my heater core was bypassed last year as it was leaking inside and that mechanic never called me back. He was a tech working out of his garage recommended by a friend of a friend pastor who will not return my calls. I’ve been keeping an eye on the temp gauge but this has escalated fast. I may be leaving something out and so wish my deceased ex could explain it better. I’m doing my best.

My landlord is a car buff but is a Chevy man said he will show me how to fix something but not do anything for me (I am doing good to check fluids and not drop the gas pump) and his wife says they are friendly people but will leverage every friendship to their advantage. So I’m under pressure and being reminded how vulnerable I am.

"Anything mechanical is a mystery to me, and if it’s stumping car buffs…"

The reason it’s stumping us is because there are many probably causes for the symptoms you describe and we don’t have access to your car. Without the car here in front of us to work on then it is only a guessing game.

Hint: For a competent mechanic with the car right there, this is not rocket science to figure out, but for “mechanics” that are stumped and want to guess at a repair by “throwing” different parts at it, it is!

A good mechanic capable of properly diagnosing problems this should be fairly easy, at least to tell you what has failed and what the exact solution would be.

Not all mechanics are equal in ability.

I don’t get this mechanic/landlord connection (Too Much Information), nor do I really want to.
Any way to get this car to a competent, trustworthy mechanic?

The landlord/mechanic thing is pretty simple they are long term buddies, pals I am the new renter but they aren’t going to do me any “family deal” favors. I lost all contacts/connections when my husband died. He’d drive me nuts but let anyone else mess with me and they’d have his temper to contend with! Not as effectively but I had his back, too. But now I have no one and the collapse of the economy brought me here but I’ve been laid off twice and found out how scammy people can be when they see you’re without a husband. Not looking for just anyone…I would be happy for honest, decent friends. Everyone I meet are happily married and into each other like they should be. Now, I’m really in a mess. Need money for a car, decent jobs require a statement that you have reliable transportation. Last of my savings paid this month’s rent.

Even the nicest most honest mechanic needs to be paid, to earn a living. I don’t know of many charity mechanics unless they are family.