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Looking to get a valve job in Vegas
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OnTheVanagain
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 1:20 pm    Post subject: Looking to get a valve job in Vegas Reply with quote

Iím hoping to get some advice on what to do. Iíve been extremely frustrated with a problem Iíve had with my vanagon for about a year now. Coolant starts spraying out of the back after Iíve been driving for about 30 minutes. Iíve trouble shooted the hell out of anything else it could be and have pretty much replaced all the coolant components in the van. But Iím still left with what Iíve been told is a combustion problem.

At this point Iím pretty sure I need a valve job. Iím just scared to take it to a shop unless it recommended by a member. Ever since Iíve owned my vanagon(or itís owned me) it seems like shops are more concerned about how much money they can extract from me in the shortest amount of time. I wonít name any shops but last year in Florida I was charged $1400 for an electrical issue and they refused to give me the ECU or any of the parts they said where fried. Then later I found out theyíre infamous for always finding an expensive problem to fix.

Now that Iím living in Vegas I called one of the local shops and asked if they do valve jobs and I was told that most likely the heads are warped and that most likely Iíd need an entire rebuild and it would estimate about 6k. My first thought was to just order a gowesty 2.2 engine and just do the swap myself.

Iíd like to know what course of action you guys would take in my situation. I love my vanagon and donít want to sell her. I just feel stuck on what to do. Iím willing to invest money to get this problem fixed Iím just lost on what to do. If you would like to see my vanagon and slides of work Iíve done to her my Instagram is @thyswayze
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 1:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to get a valve job in Vegas Reply with quote

What you describe is more likely a failure of the head gaskets rather than a valve problem.

There are repairs that are simpler and cheaper than a rebuild but you have to weigh that against what you plan for the van's future.

A good rebuild (like the 2.2 you mention) is an option (that is what I did 15 years ago), but getting it and installing it yourself probably won't leave you with much change from $6,000.
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OnTheVanagain
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 1:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to get a valve job in Vegas Reply with quote

Ahwahnee wrote:
What you describe is more likely a failure of the head gaskets rather than a valve problem.

There are repairs that are simpler and cheaper than a rebuild but you have to weigh that against what you plan for the van's future.

A good rebuild (like the 2.2 you mention) is an option (that is what I did 15 years ago), but getting it and installing it yourself probably won't leave you with much change from $6,000.


Have you had to get any head gasket work or valve work on your 2.2 in the last 15 years? The reason I mention getting the 2.2 gowesty engine is because of the price Iím being estimated. I was hoping Iíd just have to replace the head gaskets or the heads but it seems like every shop Iíve called doesnít do it or is trying to sell me a rebuild.
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 1:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to get a valve job in Vegas Reply with quote

Have you had the pressure tank cap checked?
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 2:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to get a valve job in Vegas Reply with quote

There is no engine valve problem that could be the cause of the problem you describe.

You have either a bad coolant pressure cap, so the cap needs to be tested, or there is a fire ring (multi-layer steel combustion seal) leak allowing combustion gases to over-pressurise the cooling system. Both can also be true at once, but the latter can be ascertained regardless of the truth of the former by driving until the coolant gauge is indicating temperature, then remove the front grille and unscrew the radiator bleeder bolt a turn or two. If gases and bubbles escape for several seconds before liquid flows out, it is a fire ring leak. If you see a few bubbles and aren't sure it's enough to indicate this problem, close the bleeder bolt, drive for 15minutes, flooring the gas pedal as often as you can or climbing some steep hills that require you to, and check again, if there are gas bubbles again the second time you can be quite sure it's a fire ring leak.

If it doesn't fail that test, focus on getting the pressure cap tested.

Another thing to note is when the coolant is shooting out the back, look at the liquid level in the pressure tank in the engine bay (do NOT remove the cap): is the liquid level right up to the top? If so, focus on the pressure cap. Is the liquid level more than 1.5-2" down? You have a fire ring leak.

If you do find it's a fire ring leak, then one or both cylinder heads must be removed to be resealed. If both it's definitely worthwhile to remove the engine to do the work on the bench, if only one side then flip a coin, but I would personally always remove the engine and do the same work to both heads, and working on the bench makes it much more assured there will be good results. The heads must be checked to be sure they aren't warped (it's rare with these short boxer heads but can happen after extreme overheat events).

At that time, with the heads off, a valve job is actually a good idea, these engines should really get a valve job about every 100k miles anyway, it's just smart maintenance.

And I strongly recommend this method of sealing the fire rings if the heads are off:

https://intrepidoverland.com/the-fire-ring-cure/
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Please don't PM here, I will not reply.

Hmmm, provincial much?:
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Last edited by tencentlife on Mon Aug 10, 2020 2:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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OnTheVanagain
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 2:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to get a valve job in Vegas Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
Have you had the pressure tank cap checked?


I had the old plastic one in my van and I swapped it for ďthe tankĒ
Which is aluminum.

Iíve changed all the mini coolant hoses, plastic pipes, thermostat, radiator, removed the heater under the bench and the front. Also a million other things.

This problem started a year ago. I would drive for 2 hours and then would end up having to bleed the pressure out of the radiator and let it cool down. Now so much pressure builds up in the system that coolant just starts spraying out threw the back after 30 minutes and it then the burning coolant smell.
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 2:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to get a valve job in Vegas Reply with quote

Quote:
I would drive for 2 hours and then would end up having to bleed the pressure out of the radiator and let it cool down.


If you mean you had to release gases there, you definitely have a fire ring leak.
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Please don't PM here, I will not reply.

Hmmm, provincial much?:
Quote:
"I wouldn't go much on whats written on the samba, they love a "theory" and rarely ask any Europeans what is actually correct."
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OnTheVanagain
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 2:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to get a valve job in Vegas Reply with quote

tencentlife wrote:
There is no engine valve problem that could be the cause of the problem you describe.

You have either a bad coolant pressure cap, so the cap needs to be tested, or there is a fire ring (multi-layer steel combustion seal) leak allowing combustion gases to over-pressurise the cooling system. Both can also be true at once, but the latter can be ascertained regardless of the truth of the former by driving until the coolant gauge is indicating temperature, then remove the front grille and unscrew the radiator bleeder bolt a turn or two. If gases and bubbles escape for several seconds before liquid flows out, it is a fire ring leak. If you see a few bubbles and aren't sure it's enough to indicate this problem, close the bleeder bolt, drive for 15minutes, flooring the gas pedal as often as you can or climbing some steep hills that require you to, and check again, if there are gas bubbles again the second time you can be quite sure it's a fire ring leak.


If it doesn't fail that test, focus on getting the pressure cap tested.

Another thing to note is when the coolant is shooting out the back, look at the liquid level in the pressure tank in the engine bay (do NOT remove the cap): is the liquid level right up to the top? If so, focus on the pressure cap. Is the liquid level more than 1.5-2" down? You have a fire ring leak.

If you do find it's a fire ring leak, then one or both cylinder heads must be removed to be resealed. If both it's definitely worthwhile to remove the engine to do the work on the bench, if only one side then flip a coin, but I would personally always remove the engine and do the same work to both heads, and working on the bench makes it much more assured there will be good results. The heads must be checked to be sure they aren't warped (it's rare with these short boxer heads but can happen after extreme overheat events).

At that time, with the heads off, a valve job is actually a good idea, these engines should really get a valve job about every 100k miles anyway, it's just smart maintenance.

And I strongly recommend this method of sealing the fire rings if the heads are off:

https://intrepidoverland.com/the-fire-ring-cure/



Thank you so much tencentlife 🙏

You perfectly described what I have which is a fire ring leak. I have gasses and bubbles pushing out of radiator bolt and the coolant from the pressure and is usually 2 inches down when this happens.

I just spoke spoke to a mechanic in Vegas I found under roadhaus the reviews for the shop where mixed but I doubt I could do it at mY apartment complex. I explained to him the gasses and bubbles coming out thru the front and back. He said most likely the heads are warped and thereís damage to the engine and estimated around 5k unless itís an easy fix.

What would you recommend I do. Keep shopping for a shop that would do it for cheaper? Whatís a fair deal on something like this. Or should I just wait till I can work on it on a friends garage.
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 2:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to get a valve job in Vegas Reply with quote

OnTheVanagain wrote:
Ahwahnee wrote:
...A good rebuild (like the 2.2 you mention) is an option (that is what I did 15 years ago), but getting it and installing it yourself probably won't leave you with much change from $6,000.


Have you had to get any head gasket work or valve work on your 2.2 in the last 15 years?...


No engine issues at all in that time. But bear in mind - that is a sample size of one. Maybe my experience is typical, maybe I was lucky -- but it did work out well for me.
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mikemtnbike
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 2:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to get a valve job in Vegas Reply with quote

Realistically i think a GW engine will be closer to 7k minimum with parts youíre bound to need, tools, fluids, etc. Just for budgeting purposes. Although shipping may be cheaper to Vegas, dunno.
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OnTheVanagain
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 3:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to get a valve job in Vegas Reply with quote

Ok so I spoke to a shop called wolf shop repair and he said he could do the head gaskets for me for $2,000 because it is a 15 hour job he says. Does that sound like a good deal. Whatís the average paid for a head gasket job on a vanagon.
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 3:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to get a valve job in Vegas Reply with quote

The price is in the ballpark in my opinion - the unknown is the reputation and competency of the shop, what guarantee they offer, how fixed that price is and do they really stand behind their work?
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Syncronoid
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 3:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to get a valve job in Vegas Reply with quote

From the title, I was expecting something totally different here. Laughing Carry on.
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OnTheVanagain
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 4:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to get a valve job in Vegas Reply with quote

Ahwahnee wrote:
The price is in the ballpark in my opinion - the unknown is the reputation and competency of the shop, what guarantee they offer, how fixed that price is and do they really stand behind their work?


Good point I need to ask for a guarantee
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 4:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to get a valve job in Vegas Reply with quote

How many miles on the engine? Sealing the top end can put additional strain on the bottom end. If this is a high mileage engine a long block would become more appealing and possibly less down time.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 6:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking to get a valve job in Vegas Reply with quote

OnTheVanagain wrote:
Ahwahnee wrote:
The price is in the ballpark in my opinion - the unknown is the reputation and competency of the shop, what guarantee they offer, how fixed that price is and do they really stand behind their work?


Good point I need to ask for a guarantee


You wonít get a warranty on a 40 year old car with an unknown engine history. Thatís the price of admission to driving any classic.

About 1 out of 15 white block Volvo jobs I will snap a head bolt. At that point the labor gets paid and the owner has to decide to pay for extraction or go find a new block. You canít guarantee stuff like this.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 12:07 am    Post subject: Re: Looking to get a valve job in Vegas Reply with quote

Syncronoid wrote:
From the title, I was expecting something totally different here. Laughing Carry on.


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OnTheVanagain
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:47 am    Post subject: Re: Looking to get a valve job in Vegas Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
How many miles on the engine? Sealing the top end can put additional strain on the bottom end. If this is a high mileage engine a long block would become more appealing and possibly less down time.


I purchased my vanagon 4 years ago and it had 120k miles on it. It had a full rebuild done to it at about 108k mile. Right now itís sitting at 185k miles. The mechanic that did the rebuild had told me gave me very specific instructions when I bought the van off consignment. He said only use the lowest octane gas 87. Only use synthetic oil and to change the head gaskets around every 60k mikes. I asked why but he didnít bother explaining.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:57 am    Post subject: Re: Looking to get a valve job in Vegas Reply with quote

Also btw I want to thank everyone on this website for info and guidance. When I bought my Vanagon there was only 3 for sale in Florida. It was listed at 22k and I got it down to 18k I went for it because it was in mint condition. I spent the next year working out almost everyday just trying to learn about it before a major roadtrip. I knew nothing about mechanics but with the help from you guys I learned how to swap out everything including a suspending overhaul. Also did upgrades like the Tencent like oil cooler and the gowesty transmission cooler and all that.

Also learned how to retromod and added a battery and trucker fridge and all that Jazz. At this point Iím 10k plus in and Iím hoping that getting this engine problem fixed would give me some return of investment back in enjoyment 😂

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