Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Toyota Previa Blown Head Gasket v. Rebuilt Engine

Toyota Previa Blown Head Gasket v. Rebuilt Engine

I purchased a used 1995 Toyota Previa without getting an independent inspection. My fault and enough said on that topic. Anyway, I now have a blown head gasket, after already replacing the radiator, idle pulley system, brakes – so I have sunk a few dollars already into this automobile. I LOVE Previas – have had a 1992 until last July when I was broadsided and rolled. She gave me 287,000+ miles with little problems.

I drove the 1995 for almost 10,000 before the problems started and am now looking at putting in a rebuilt engine, which is mucho bucks. Is it worth it? When they put in the new radiator, he flushed the system, as the fluids were the consistency of oil. The mechanic was worried about blowing the head gasket and other problems that might be down the line, thus my thinking of a rebuilt engine.

Are there other problems that might be lurking because of all the stop leak, etc. this previous owner, who was also a repair shop mechanic put into this vehicle?

Thanks so much for the feedback.

Serene Lady, If You Don’t Mind, How Much Did You Pay For This Current Previa?
How many miles or on it? Do you know what it would be worth if you fixed it?
These things could help us advise you. The term “rebuilt engine” is really vague. The engines are sometimes “factory” rebuilt or done by a shop of unknown integrity. They can be good or bad. I would be more inclined to find a “used” engine of fairly low miles from a reputable source that is available because it’s car was wrecked, not because the engine had problems. Have you looked into this? I think this is better way at having a chance to go 287,000 miles, again. Is there such a thing as a “factory” new short-block engine for your car? They are probably cost-prohibitive.
Talk to us.

When purchased ($4700) it had 125,000 miles on it. I have put almost 10,000 miles on it since last August, a good portion of that on a Labor Day vacation in the Appalachians doing back (dirt) roads, as well as extensive highway driving.

I put approximately 2000 miles a month on my vehicles.

The rebuilt engine has a warranty of 100,000 miles or 3 years. With my older Previa, it also had a rebuilt engine put in after the first several years (around 130,000 miles, as the engine seized up (I was taking it in for regular oil changes – I was going to school in another state at the time – but they never did the oil changes we found out later). That rebuilt engine NEVER gave me any trouble. Unfortunately, the people I bought that engine from do not have a 1995 LE/SC 4wd one anywhere. The firm I am looking at know Is called Jasper Motors (Indiana), but their rebuilt is almost $2500 over the people I got the 1992 rebuilt from.

As stated earlier, Previas go forever and I know of a lot of Previa owners who just keep fixing them because they are such a great car, but the $$$ is scaring me.


by: Xebadaih 02/08/2009 6:26:32 AM
Re: Toyota Previa Blown Head Gasket v. Rebuilt Engine

I wouldn’t replace the engine unless it was necessary. Why do you think it’s time for a new engine? Replacing the head gasket and flushing the stop leak out of the cooling system should do the trick.

by: rocketman 02/08/2009 11:14:35 AM
Re: Toyota Previa Blown Head Gasket v. Rebuilt Engine

A 1995 is already 14 years old . . . I’ll bet you can find a wrecked '95 in a salvage yard somewhere . . . buy the engine and have it installed for a lot less than rebuilding your present engine. I would be worried about “all the stop leak”. That sounds like you really put a lot in, and this could come back to bite you if you only do the head. On the other hand . . . if you have the whole engine rebuilt . . . this won’t be an issue . . . but the price of rebuilding an engine, almost any engine . . . if done correctly . . . is often a labor of love and not economics, as things will get expensive very fast and rebuilding correctly is done on “specialty” vehicles, not on 14 year old Toyotas. Since you already have a bunch of new stuff on your '95, look for a good used engine and have it installed. BTW . . . how many miles on the Previa? How is the rest of the car? Good luck! Rocketman

Better be careful with that blown head gasket though . . if the coolant mixed with the motor oil and you ran it for any length of time . . . the engine is probably toast. Add to that the “all that stop leak” and I’d say you’re throwing good money after bad. How did you discover that the head gasket was blown anyway? Rocketman