Head gasket replacement cost?

1991 xj6 sovereign 4.0. 91000 miles. Pretty sure the head gasket has failed(plenty of sweet smelling, white exhaust.) I’m sure the cost of the repair will rival what the car is worth, I’m just not ready to give up on the xj40 yet. Any clue roughly what I could be looking at cost-wise to have this repair done? Or should I just put a fork in it, and call it a day. I’m in Ohio, and do have access to an awesome repair shop that specializes in jags. I guess I’m just looking to see if it’s worth it. Thanks!

Gurnz …

Well, “is it worth it” is really up to you and the relationship you have with your car.

I had a blown head gasket on my '89 with about 150K miles this summer and I didn’t think twice about repairing it. So I can give you a rundown on the prices I paid.

The cost of rebuilding the head runs around $450 - 500 and this should include a complete valve job and machining the head. Of course you could just pull the head and replace it with a new gasket but with over 90K miles not having the valves done while the head is off just doesn’t make sense.

Head gasket, intake and exhaust gaskets, new hoses, oil and such should run around $250.

So you’re up to $750 just in parts. Figure another $1500 - $2000 for labor (I did all the work myself so that made a big difference) … and that’s if there are no other problems … and with a 29 year old car there usually are.


Gurnz, Grooveman hit the nail on the head. I have poured several times over what the car is ‘worth’ into my '94 with 190k miles on it, including a new interior several years ago and a strip-it-to-bare-metal repaint a year ago. Why? I guess I have a very close, very tight relationship with my car. After all, we’ve spent the last 20 years together!

I have spare head with 60,000 miles on it if I ever have to go that route …certainly won’t be scrapping MY old bus!

When I did my head gasket change this summer, I did not cut the valve seats. They looked good with no particular wear or erosion on the seats or the valves and no wear on the stems so I just cleaned up the existing valves and then lapped the valves into the seats, set the valve clearances, and replaced the valve seals when I reassembled the head. I am in NE Ohio and did all of the work myself.

I have a 1990 XJ40 VDP with ZERO compression, and I’m getting ready to pull the head myself as well, I live in Dayton if it matters my Ohio Brothers :slight_smile:

I’m hoping the PO just fried the gasket real good’ and not smacked the valves :slight_smile: Let’s get her done! Good Luck!

Sean, if you do this job then it won’t break the bank. I had to do it in Sept. 2009 after 96000 miles. I wish I replaced the valve guides and not just the seals. Few weeks later it started blowing smoke at start up like before.

I really just need to inspect the damage to see how far I’m willing to go! Hopefully I can get it done for under a grand.