Replacing head gasket as part of preventative maintenance?

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135
Location
Hoth --> Vulcan
I've got a Jeep Wrangler, and these are known for leaking oil. I'm planning to replace the valve cover and oil pan gaskets at my next OCI, and was looking at the Fel-Pro full gasket set since I'll probably be replacing other gaskets down the line. My question is, does it make sense to take this same approach with the head gasket? I know a blown head gasket likely means the head is damaged as well; does preemptively replacing the head gasket prevent that?
 

JC1

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6,150
Location
Oshawa, Ontario Canada
I don't think people replace the head gasket as prevent maintenance.

That's a large job and usually once the head gasket is done, for most people the car has very little value to them. Usually the car starts to overheat and if you don't fix that and let it get worse then you are into a head gasket replacement.

How old is the Jeep and what's the mileage?
 
Messages
2,925
Location
High Tax Illinois
No. If it ain't broke. . . . . Don't get it or run it hot, simple. While you have all that apart, flush the coolant, replace the thermostat, hoses good? Flush the radiator. Check the water pump for any bearing play. Now is the time for preventative maintenance on the cooling system, which would fix the head gasket issue.
 

jonlandrum

Thread starter
Messages
135
Location
Hoth --> Vulcan
No. If it ain't broke. . . . . Don't get it or run it hot, simple. While you have all that apart, flush the coolant, replace the thermostat, hoses good? Flush the radiator. Check the water pump for any bearing play. Now is the time for preventative maintenance on the cooling system, which would fix the head gasket issue.
So head gaskets aren't like other gaskets, then? They don't "go bad", they just blow out when the engine runs too hot?
 
Messages
185
Location
Valley Forge PA
A 4.0L head gasket can be done in a few hours, but there's no need to do it if it isn't compromised.
Agreed with this, I have done several and even with adding the water pump etc to the job its not that hard, but why do it. I would spend the $$ and time on doing cooling system preventative such as people have already said and I would preemptively change out your radiator and water pump, both area cheap and can just let go when you are least prepared, like say mid winter when its 4 degrees. I would look at all your hoses and clamps also. Rust and jeeps are not friends.
 
Messages
1,964
Location
USA
My question is, does it make sense to take this same approach with the head gasket? I know a blown head gasket likely means the head is damaged as well; does preemptively replacing the head gasket prevent that?

Ah, the question of questions and as a Reliability Guru that preaches proactive, predictive and preventive maintenance, I get it every professional day of my life. If you ever figure out the single correct answer, I'll make you a full partner.

Every PM model is as right as it is wrong so it boils down to a personal measurement between risk of failure, the consequence of such a failure and the likelihood of such a failure measured against whatever categories you deem important ( safety, inconvenience, total cost of ownership and a zillion more).

If you feel it "makes sense" in your situation based on your priorities then its the right thing to do.

Generally in terms of gasket failure, hard gaskets like this ( metal and semi metallic) are the most durable and least likely to just up and fail under normal operation. When they do its statistically ( from what few relative tests manufacturers run in destructive testing) the gasket didn't "fail" as much as the mating surfaces failed and thus the gasket was bypassed OR the event caused a mechanical or thermal stressor that caused a fatigue fracture. ( these types of gaskets are fairly immune to delam and other routine gasket failure modes and mechanisms)
 
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