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which year 620? on the 77?
do you have any tools?


the first head gasket i ever replaced was last week on my 73 (L16.)

it only took a day. parts included a few gaskets (headgasket obviously, as well as intake/exhaust, water outlet, etc)

if you have any tools or can have someone lend you some id say you should really go that route.

otherwise itll be a few hundred because of labor. even though all you gotta do is removed intake/exhaust manifold (optional,)

and the head. its super quick but there are a few steps you have to follow so you dont mess anything up

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Yeah, the '77.

I know it's a relatively easy project but time is at a premium for a while and I'm gonna be commuting from Salem to Wilsonville, 32 miles, by bus until it's done. Also, I don't have a garage to work in and have HOAs about automotive work on the driveway.

I'd love to do it myself, but that's not in the cards this time. Thanks for the encouragement, though.

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No anybody that could do it for you as a side job?
When I blew my head gasket I had a friend that would do it for 200 in his shop or 275 to do it on the side of the road lol.

Most shops were quoting me around and/or over 500 for it and who knows if it wrecked anything. (or they could say it did)

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a friend do it for you for 200? YOURE a nice friend.

zeyemurgy, if i lived around you i'd do it for free, WHILE teaching you how to do it.

maybe you need to make another thread titled something like

"need help replacing head gasket" cuz my impression is that is what ratsun is

all about (helping a brother out.)

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^^^ Right

the later L20 stuff is a pain in the ass.  Easier just to unbolt the exhaust at the down pipe and pull the manifolds with the head.  since the manifolds are bolted together.  They are a cunt getting up in there and removing the intake/exhaust  bolts off the head on the bottom side. 

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One good reason to have an experienced mechanic do it is that their eyes are trained to catch things that a novice might not. What I mean is this: I have been told, or have heard, hundreds of times "all it needs is a head gasket" and then you pull it apart to find a cracked head or a warped head, etc. And then you have to ask WHY did it blow a head gasket. Too lean? Running too hot? Too much timing?


An experienced mechanic will assess the situation before it gets torn down and then will be able to diagnose and tune after re-assembly.

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Maybe $500, provided this is just a replacement and not add/replace new stuff or polish.  If they do thaty might as well change the waterpump, gaskets, hoses and who knows what else, don't know till it's take apart.

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Did my '78 during a couple of hours on a Sat afternoon and finished it mid morning Sun. I was in no hurry. Maybe 4 hrs. Cost me $23 for the gasket. Took the head with manifolds off together.

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Okay. My guess is the 200,000+ miles. Anyone recommend a machine shop in the greater Salem, OR area?


So, assuming it is just the head gasket, what else (gaskets, etc.) will need replaced if I do it Datzenmike's way - leaving the manifolds attached?

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Another option is to find a rebuilt engine for a good price. Not too long ago, a longblock with sus sold for like 800ish..not sure what th final rice was. The reason why im saying this os because u have lots of miles and not sure about condition of bottom end. You see people selling their l series all the time because they want to upgrade to ka or sr motor.

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I would get help!!!!!!!!!!! otherwise this tuck is going to the dump when your doing it in the paring lot and soembody gets it towed.

Now garage and NO good tools and cold outside its a recipe for desaster.



You even have a big breaker bar and good 100pound torq wrench? the 10mm allen for the head bolts.


watch my vid



I would loosen the cam and lower crank bolt then set to TDC and start removing things.


I loosen the crank bolt just incase I drop the chain if i need to pull the fron cover off. other wise I will tighen it back up later

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hainz arent you in WA (as well as the majority of the ratsun community)


one of yall drive your asses down there or have him tow his truck up to yall & fix his shit :D

for a few hundred because of the inconvenience


but yeah you can buy a dependable motor for under a grand,

or a whole other datsun for how much the shops are askin for, fuck them

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Different vehicle but same situation:


A local mechanic was going to charge me $200 to replace all of the top end gaskets, head gasket included, and set the timing back on my 95 civic. All I had to do was provide the gaskets. This was two years ago.


Looking at my L18 vs my old civic engine, the L looks a lot easier to replace. I would check with a different shop or see if someone on Ratsun will help you out.

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cutting a fellow ratsuner a deal lol besides that would be enough money for me to get the parts i need to fix mine XD but im not sure where salem is in relation to me i havnt leaned oregon yet i had 24 years to learn cali and only 2 to learn oregon so far :P

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Okay everyone, looks like I'm gonna be trying to make a go of it myself. Mechanics said, "... $1,800 to $2,000."

I'll take Dawa's advice and start a new thread once I get it home.

Thanks everyone.


Never go back to that mechanic again. He's sees you as a mark and will take advantage of you. Four hours at $100/hour + 30 for gasket and another $60 to get the head plained if needed = under $500 to have done. 


I suggest you start buying some tools instead of renewing your subscription to Jugs and Nipples On Parade magazines. Preferably get a factory service manual (FSM) for your year of truck. Watch U Tube how to change head gaskets and the Hainz video. Learn all you can and ask questions.

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