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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just purchased a 2006 Santa Fe Limited with the 3.5l for a great deal. It has a huge coolant leak though that needs fixed. It is coming from the top of the motor on the left side by the timing belt. It is really a small flood, when you fill the coolant and turn on the motor it runs across the top of the motor toward the drivers side. There isn't oil in the coolant and it doesn't smoke. I had it dropped off at my mechanic though and he said it's the head gasket and will run $2500+!!!!! Does the motor really need pulled in these to do the head? I heard that there is a overflow channel from the water pump that comes out right about there as well. Could that maybe be it? Any other options if it is the head gasket to reduce the cost any? Thanks for any help guys, just signed up here.
 

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I'd exhaust every available possibility before I started taking heads off, unless you can isolate the source of the water. Water pump doesn't usually leak in torrents like that, but a hole in the rubber water hose coming off the pump might. Does the motor need to be removed to get the heads off? Can't say for sure, but don't think so.
 

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Easier to drop complete subframe with engine/trans attached, makes for plenty of wide open work space.. right there with next to impossible to do the job with engine in chassis and all cramped up/no work room

Been there/done that
 

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Locally where I am you could have an auto wrecker supply and install an engine and the labor rate wouldn't be $100 hour shop rate typical of garages.

Used engine would also often have a few months warranty on it.

OP also said remove engine with subframe; which would makes using used engine pretty much the same labor component. Can you get used engine at reasonable price would be the real question, and only you know that answer.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Locally where I am you could have an auto wrecker supply and install an engine and the labor rate wouldn't be $100 hour shop rate typical of garages.

Used engine would also often have a few months warranty on it.

OP also said remove engine with subframe; which would makes using used engine pretty much the same labor component. Can you get used engine at reasonable price would be the real question, and only you know that answer.
Engines appear to be close to $1500 so with labor that would be quite a bit more then just the headgasket which doesn't cost much parts wise.
 

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Generally speaking, if you have that kind of flow coming from the motor, you should be able to put water in it and see EXACTLY where it's coming from. Could easily be an intake gasket that is leaking, which would be the more likely gasket to gush fluid. head gaskets have a tendency to make other things nasty ( as mentioned, oil gets milky/grey ). The last time I had something lose coolant that bad, it was the water pump gasket on my van, which has an external water pump.

Looking at tear down pictures in my Haynes manual, there isn't any way coolant could be flowing from the passenger to the drivers side across the top of the motor unless it was a lower intake gasket leak or something dumping onto the intake.
 

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Oh, and the head can be removed IN vehicle. however, since it's over head cams, you still need to deal with the belt, so no matter what way you look at it, it's still labor intensive to do a head. Pulling the motor just gives better access to everything...I'd make them justify the labor cost on that and/or get a second opinion. Labor on the belt is usually 4.5hrs.

I just did the NAPA calculator for cost....yikes. Quoted $2300-2900. Am I ever glad that I do my own auto repair....
Intake gasket is much more reasonable....$300.
 

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I just purchased a 2006 Santa Fe Limited with the 3.5l for a great deal. It has a huge coolant leak though that needs fixed.


Sounds like the previous owner may have known about this? No warranty of any kind we assume?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Generally speaking, if you have that kind of flow coming from the motor, you should be able to put water in it and see EXACTLY where it's coming from. Could easily be an intake gasket that is leaking, which would be the more likely gasket to gush fluid. head gaskets have a tendency to make other things nasty ( as mentioned, oil gets milky/grey ). The last time I had something lose coolant that bad, it was the water pump gasket on my van, which has an external water pump.

Looking at tear down pictures in my Haynes manual, there isn't any way coolant could be flowing from the passenger to the drivers side across the top of the motor unless it was a lower intake gasket leak or something dumping onto the intake.
Is there any way online to view the top view page? Maybe I can explain better where it's coming from. The intake is in the way of seeing exactly where its coming out of.

Yes, the previous owners did know of the problem. It is a 2006 Limited fully loaded that I picked up for $4k. Blue Book seems to run around $8500-$9500 so I still came out pretty good even if it is the head.
 

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Well, if they sold it for half it's supposed value then they probably knew the repair was $$$$$$$$$. In any case, definitely get a second opinion on this as head gasket leaks rarely gush like you described. i would think something else first.
 

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Coolant gushing out like that doesn't sound like a head gasket. Typically it will slowly seep out of the block, or oil and coolant will mix. If it's gushing it's probably not the head gasket.

Get some coveralls and a face mask, fill it up, and get down in there and have someone start the car. lol. But seriously, you should be able to pin down where it's coming from, and then from there we could decide what the real issue is.

Mechanics always diagnose problems as head-gasket, I guess it's a big job that will keep them busy and bring in some money. It may be true that your's could use replacing, but a lot of cars can go another 100k with it going bad. This just doesn't sound like the problem.
 

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Coolant gushing out like that doesn't sound like a head gasket. Typically it will slowly seep out of the block, or oil and coolant will mix. If it's gushing it's probably not the head gasket.

Get some coveralls and a face mask, fill it up, and get down in there and have someone start the car. lol. But seriously, you should be able to pin down where it's coming from, and then from there we could decide what the real issue is.

Mechanics always diagnose problems as head-gasket, I guess it's a big job that will keep them busy and bring in some money. It may be true that your's could use replacing, but a lot of cars can go another 100k with it going bad. This just doesn't sound like the problem.
Yeah I agree about not likely head gasket.
Water pump will gush if seal fails; correct location as well.
I originally said heater core hoses; but they are on the other side of engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Just got it back from the mechanic. Apparently the hose popped off the top of the water pump. I guess when they did the timing belt they did a crap jump and the pump went out as well. Ended up doing a new water pump, timing tensioner, gaskets, battery, oil change, idler pulley and a few other small things. Pretty much new everything on the outside of the motor!
 
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