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Hi everybody. I am new to the jeep world and am in need of advice. I just bought a used yj w 125 k and everything is wrong. Despite that I have decided to fix the problems. I don't have any mechanical exp except oil changes and minor repairs. The radiator was rusted out completely so I changed it myself. Also replaced the starter. I know these are all easy but I enjoyed it a lot and was extremely gratifying. I didn't have much power and took it to my friend's dad who is a mechanic and he diagnosed a blown head gasket. It wasn't running on all cylinders and the top of the oil fill cap was slightly milky. There was also steam coming out of the exhaust. I'm not driving the jeep to prevent further damage and want to know if changing the head gasket is feasible being a newbie. I would even consider replacing the whole head if around 400. I understand that conventionally I would take the head to a machine shop. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks
 

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Simon,

Replacing a head gasket takes a lot. It is definitely doable by a novice but I would advise against it. To get to the head gasket, you are literally taking off the entire top half of the engine. To get to that point, every single line has to be labeled with its corresponding attaching point... just so it all goes together without a hitch. The manifolds must be removed, rocker arms loosened, push rods removed and then the heads comes off. It is a lot. Believe me, I am giving you the Readers' Digest version. I have over thirty years experience working on vehicles. I do my own work because I trust my work over most mechanics. If I was in your shoes, knowing all that I do, I would just be patient, save up the money and let a professional do it for you. Don't look for the cheapest mechanic. Look for one that has a good reputation in the jeep community and stands behind his work.

Also, I is a great idea to have that head rebuilt by a machine shop while everything is apart. It shouldn't add that much "down time" to your repair, depending on how back logged the machine shop is. And since you have a growing interest in working on your jeep WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!!! Buy a Jeep service manual. You can buy them on CD from Quadratec or you can go online to Alldatadiy.com where a $30 membership fee provides all the Jeep OEM manuals (or any vehicle manual you need), all online. If you are serious about wanting to do future repairs, this is the way to go.

Good luck with it.

Take care,
 

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+1 to just about all said above.

I replaced a head gasket on my old truck in my front yard not long ago, but that wasn't my first. My first time EVERYTHING went horribly, horribly wrong. If I hadn't been in a shop learning how to do it that would have been very bad.

Perhaps you know someone who would let you watch while you paid them to do it?

Kudos on the repairs you have made. It does feel good to fix what moves you. Repairing a head gasket is taking a lot of things like those you replaced (except different ones) off, then opening the heart of the car to perform surgery. Then you gotta get it all put back together just right or it won't start or worse, it'll break when you try.

My shillings.
 
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