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    Thread: Advice needed: Leaky valves on a high milage 8v

    1. Member Roberts_J's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 23rd, 2010
      Bay Area, CA
      07-28-2012 06:33 PM #1
      Hey everyone. So my 91 8v has about 310k miles on it right now, purchased from the original owner around 290k a year and a half ago. I dont know if head work was done at some point, but the block seems to be original and in good shape. I just did a compression test and im running 200-80-200-85 across the board with leaky valves.

      I have yet to do a seafoaming to see if its just some carbon build up, but my question to you all is if it is indeed in need of a valve job or head work is it worth it to send the original head to a machine shop and have the work done (quoted around $900 for it all taken apart and reinstalled at a shop) or should i just look at doing a motor swap? Get a head from the junk yard? Just curious as to everyones opinion on it.

      Most people i know think im crazy for considering shelling out that kind of cash for work on the car but its in great shape aside from the poor compression. My other options are to find another car for around $1500-2k and rebuild the 8v' myself, which i would like to do i just need to find something worth buying and that will be reliable for at least a couple months. Once the gti is back up and running it will be my reliable daily setup for better mpg, and i will turn my 2nd car into the "go fast project". I would look for another mk2/1 as a second car.

      Any advice is appreciated, cheers
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    2. Member
      Join Date
      Jun 14th, 2001
      Music City USA
      79 Scirocco 82 Rabbit Truck 85 Golf D 87 GTI 97 Passat TDI 03 TT
      07-29-2012 11:56 AM #2
      seafoam isn't going to help this.

      for $900 I would be expecting a ported head. I think your machine shop is a bit high.

      given the unknowns you need to try a leakdown and see where the problem is but its probable that the engine is in need of a total rebuild

      Look for an ABA or other decent replacement.

    3. Member
      Join Date
      Apr 16th, 2006
      Brokelyn, NY
      90 fox, 85 gli
      07-29-2012 03:47 PM #3
      You live in the Bay Area. $900 is absolutely insane. I'd find a new machine shop fast. That said, I never found one I was all too satisfied with when I lived in Berkeley. I can see it seems the machine shops in Sacramento are a fair bit cheaper, but it might have been circumstantial.

      Either way, there's millions of A2's at your local pick-n-pull.



      306-1 Head - Aluminum W/ Cam Car $66.99 $9.99
      306-2 Head - Aluminum W/O Cam Car $49.99 $9.99

      FWIW, I had a Digifant head hot tanked, new valve guides, stem seals, valves lapped, resurfacing for a little under $200 IIRC at Cascar in Sacramento. Might be a little hazy on the price, but it was around there.

      edit: ohhh, I think I misread your original post. The $900 is for full service car work? I suppose it is a pretty standard price, although still a complete ripoff, considering how easy it is to pull one of these 8v heads, especially on a rust-free California car.

      Figure $200 for the head work, and $150 for head gasket, manifold gaskets, head bolts (or hell, reuse them and cross your fingers), valve stem seals, valve guides, coolant, oil, oil filter. Say there's around $100 in taxes.

      That's still asking around $450 labor for removing and reinstalling a head. At $90/hr, that's 5 hours labor. I don't know how long the book says this kind of job should take, but if the shop is making $90/hr, they better be professionals. And a pro can get the head off and back on in under an hour, pushing the effective hourly to $450

      Hell, even an amateur can do it in under 5 hours.

      OP, if I misread your post and ended up going off on a rant, I apologize.
      Last edited by ziddey; 07-29-2012 at 03:58 PM.
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    4. Member Roberts_J's Avatar
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      Feb 23rd, 2010
      Bay Area, CA
      07-30-2012 04:04 AM #4
      Hehe you did misread the original post, but i did word it weirdly. $900 is indeed for all parts and work included.

      Its no rant, i am glad you posted your opinion. I chatted with another dubber friend and it seems it may be worth it for me to go with the shop, as i don't really have the space and tools to do the work myself. If i had another car to get me to work and had time to do it myself i would totally just take a week and work everything out by myself (besides the machining of the head at the shop). I am definitely going to work on the price though as i think i can bring it down, or try to find my own machine shop/parts myself.
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