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Is this a time bomb?

I have a 1984 Subaru sedan that has was well maintained, according to my mechanic who had been doing the maintenance, by it’s previous owner. I bought the car six months ago. Last week it developed a crack in a cylinder and leaked coolant into the exhaust. Replacing the engine would cost more than the car is worth and we couldn’t find a used cylinder.My mechanic filled the crack with aluminum and told me it should hold.



How safe is this car at this point? Is it a bomb waiting to go off? I’m happy to just drive it and if it dies then I will just donate it to NPR. I’m currently unemployed, so buying a new(er) car isn’t an option right now.

Keep driving it, but keep your cell phone and a AAA card handy.

Unless you drive in dangerous areas it’s not a safety defect. If the patch doesn’t hold the engine will just die.

Good luck with the job hunt.

Every day or 2 check coolant level and oil dipstick for milky looking oil and keep driving it.

Agree with previous posters. Just drive modestly and don’t cross the Mojave desert with it! When I was a student (poor) and had a car with a leaking cooling nsystem, I removed the radiator cap to relieve the pressure. I would still lose some coolant, but no other damage occurred. With your much newer car, this may not be an option, since the engine light will likely come on.

As others say, this is not a safety issue as long as you stay in the right hand lane on high speed expressways, and carry your AAA card. Keep checking the coolant level and top it up as needed.

Just curious about this post.

How much do you trust this mechanic?
The cylinders are part of the engine block.
The odds of a cylinder cracking are about zero and how does one find a “used cylinder”?
Did this mechanic throw an additive of sort sort into the radiator? Is that what you mean by “filled the crack with aluminum”?

Just wondering.

For what its worth, I was wondering the very same things.

An '84 GL Sedan should have the 1.8 pushrod motor in it and these are bulletproof little engines provided they haven’t been abused. They’re even used on homebuilt aircraft.

Just offhand, I would suspect a head gasket fault; especially if this car has an automatic transmission. Subaru discontinued the practice of retorquing head bolts around this time on the auto trans cars. The manual transmission cars still got the retorque so this means the automatic ones were more prone to head gasket leaks.

You know, I’m just not sure anymore. He’s been like a “grandfather” to me. Even checks up with me every few weeks. It’s been a rough year and he’s knows I’m under a lot of pressure. And no, he’s not taking advantage of me. His wife is usually sitting right there doing the books.

But after three years of taking my cars to him I’ve figured out that he likes to tinker. When I bought this car, it had a push button starter he’d installed for the previous owner. He is good at macgyver-ing stuff. It reminds me of my dad. Of course, now I’m starting to remember just how ineffecient some of my dad’s “fixes” were.

He says he literally poured hot aluminum into the crack in the cylinder. I think he meant to tell me into the head. I’m not a complete car dunce and I found his explanations very confusing this time. In the end, it only cost $300 for labor and the car seems to be running just fine.

Did you or your mechanic try www.car-part.com? I just tried a search for a cylinder head for a 1.8 non-turbo in my area and tons of them came up.

EDIT: Oh, a cracked cylinder? Does this car have replacable cylinders?

The only way of “pouring aluminum” into a cylinder would be if the engine were removed and almost completely disassembled. Even this scenario is unbelievable to me.

You might clarify exactly where this aluminum was poured into a cylinder head and post back; IF this is the case. And for 300 bucks? He’s doing you no favors if the head was not removed.
If the head was removed then why Mickey Mouse it?

I’d have to look but I think I may have a dozen or so 1.8 cylinder heads lying around. They’re not that hard to come across and with a little tweaking one can change the head without removing the engine from the car.