Head gasket

I have a 1993, 940 Volvo. My mechanic says I need a head gasket…a friend told me they had to get a head gasket and their car was never the same…my mechanic is pretty good…I’m just wandering if my car will konk out soon after the gasket job though…

If your mechanic is competent and thorough, the car will run as well as it did prior to the breached head gasket. If your friend had a different experience, then his mechanic did not do a thorough job–i.e., there might have been engine damage from the breached head gasket and the mechanic did not repair this damage when he replaced the gasket.

So, there is no need to wander all over the place. Instead, drive directly to the mechanic and ask him if there is an indication of any engine damage that will need to be repaired in addition to replacing the head gasket. I would advise having this repair done a.s.a.p., as engine damage can result over time, even if there is none so far.

This is a routine replacement item on an engine this old. Your aluminum head and your cast iron block expand and contract at different rates, and even the best head gasket can only tolerate that for so many years and heating cycles.

My '91 Volvo has the same engine. I replaced my own head gasket a couple of years ago. I spent more time cleaning 17 years worth of crud build-up out of all the vacuum ports and EGR lines than I spent replacing the gasket. If he cleans as much on yours as I cleaned on mine, you will be paying for 4-5 hours of labor, so you might want to consider doing the job yourself.

This is a good time to replace the temperature sensor for the fuel injection. It is much easier to get at when the intake manifold is off. As I recall, heater hoses are easier to get at and replace while the head is off as well.

I did not check my head for flatness or my valves for seal because I had no reason to suspect that either was bad. I just pulled off the head, cleaned everything, and put it back on. The car ran fine afterward. I think the new temperature sensor helped with a warm starting problem that I had had for years.

Thank you guys…very informative…always appreciated!!!

The car is 17 years old and can conk out for any one of a hundred reasons.
A properly done head gasket should never be a problem. The only issue would be the story behind the head gasket failure.

If the engine was suffering chronic and/or severe overheating, had coolant mixing with engine oil, etc. then it’s possible for an engine to have other problems which were caused by the head gasket.
Overheating can ruin piston rings and valve seals along with ruining cylinder walls and coolant diluted engine oil can ruin the crankshaft and bearings along with the camshaft.

Knowing the full story behind a head gasket failure can make a huge difference in whether the repair is successful or not.