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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, I'll start with the story then get to my questions.

My camaro (1995, v6, 3.4) was bought with the understanding that it may have either a head gasket problem or radiator problem. All I knew was it overheated. I took it to my mechanic and had the radiator replaced and it stopped overheating and there was no coolant leak at all. A couple months later I noticed a coolant leak, but it was bad, so I just topped it off and kept about my business. It gradually became worse, and upon leaving an ROTC function, it began shooting steam out really badly. The whole time though, there was no knocking, smoke, noise coming from it at all. I was able to top it off with some more coolant after it cooled down and drove it home and had no problems, even though I know it would have overheated. It also read low oil pressure too. Now to the questions.

1) What are signs of catastrophic engine damage, cracks and the like. I don't want to have to replace the engine if I don't have to.

2) How much should a head gasket replacement cost? My mechanic seems hell bent on me replacing the engine, but I believe he just wants to make some extra on the back end.

Thanks for all your help!
 

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what does your oil look like? Is it milky looking?

it's usually not so simple as just replacing the head gasket...the heads could be warped.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The oil is not milky, However, the car has been sitting for several months. It turns over fine, just overheat and leaks coolant. I was also told that the water pump is bad, but that does not explain the low oil pressure reading.
 

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Do a compression test on all cyl. If there's a crack in one, it'll read LOW. That should give you a good starting point.
 

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I would say Powerfreak nailed it by saying it may not be just a head gasket replacement. Not sure if those are aluminum, but if they are and you've toasted the engine a few times, that head or heads will be history. If you're able to do a compression check as Patriotpa noted, have someone listening in the radiator to see if your pumping air into it, if so you'll know which head is giving you the problem.....Good Luck
 
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