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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all.
so I overheated my car on the way to Bakersfield from LA. The car stalled in Gorman CA. After waiting 2hrs for the car to cool down I made it to Bakersfield by going 40-60 mph and without stopping at all. The following day a shady mechanic charged me $300 to clean the catalitic converter and he said it would allow me to pick up speed again. The car satlled in Lebec again b4 going uphill. Long story short I made it to Tijuana by stopping every 25-30 miles, letting the engine cool for 1hr and filling up the radiator with water. But the engine was making a horrible noise as if it was about to fall apart. Once here I took it to the shop; they rebuilt the heads, put a new gasket, new spark plugs and they said it had a faulty coil. Now they’re saying that the car won’t start because there’s no power getting to the coils. My LA mechanic speculates that they replaced a good coil and left one of the bad ones in there hence no start.
BTW the head job was initially quoted at $300 when I came back from LA with the car making all kinds of noises it went up to $400 and $75 for the coil.
So now I’m $775 in the hole and no car. Any ideas?
Much appreciated
 

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Check for fuel, compression, and spark. It can be several things. You need to check more things first.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My LA mechanic said that it had some type of compression in the block that didn’t let the water flow thru and that’s why it was spewing it back out boiling hot; that’s why he said it needed the heads rebuilt. The mechanic in Bakersfield said that the misfire had caused it to get hot. I knew I had to do a head job pretty soon anyway but now these people are saying it won’t start and they don’t know where to look. The main mechanic said it’s an electric problem and that it would have to be towed to the electrician this coming week
 

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I would say if compression is good now. Because the head was rebuilt. Then they may not have done the timing right or they may have damaged the reluctor wheel on the crank. Misfires will never cause it to overheat. Also where the connectors on the coils and ignitor in good shape?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I would say if compression is good now. Because the head was rebuilt. Then they may not have done the timing right or they may have damaged the reluctor wheel on the crank. Misfires will never cause it to overheat. Also where the connectors on the coils and ignitor in good shape?
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According to the mechanic this is what’s causing the problem. This doesn’t let electricity go to the coils. I told him I didn’t understand how the car was running before they did the head job and he said that by the time the car made it to the shop it was in such bad shape that it needed a miracle to run again; but this is the problem now. He said.
 

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Find that hard to believe. Because it would not even be touched for the work you had done. They rarely ever go bad. Mostly the connector goes ban for it.
 

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I'm still struggling to understand why they rebuilt the head. Yeah sure if the head gasket is blown then the head will need to be skimmed which shouldn't cost that much, but a full rebuild? Or am i missing something? And what caused it to blow a gasket, cause its usually either abuse or a cooling issue related to radiator or coolant leak.

As Solar mentioned there are a couple of things that might be going on here, depending on what the guys who removed the head did. If they pulled the crank timing pulley off they might have damaged the reluctor wheel which sends the crank position info to the ECU so it can time its spark and injectors, and is surprisingly common. We had one guy over here have his go bad on his randomly somehow, I'm guessing from a belt that may have been replaced a couple of years back. Unfortunately its a major to get to be able to swap out. The ignitor as mentioned can go bad though is less common, can try get another from a wrecker or somewhere to test it out, pretty simple to swap out.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Find that hard to believe. Because it would not even be touched for the work you had done. They rarely ever go bad. Mostly the connector goes ban for it.
Wow that sux. that’s only car i have and I’m in a foreign country. I really don’t know what to do
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm still struggling to understand why they rebuilt the head. Yeah sure if the head gasket is blown then the head will need to be skimmed which shouldn't cost that much, but a full rebuild? Or am i missing something? And what caused it to blow a gasket, cause its usually either abuse or a cooling issue related to radiator or coolant leak.

As Solar mentioned there are a couple of things that might be going on here, depending on what the guys who removed the head did. If they pulled the crank timing pulley off they might have damaged the reluctor wheel which sends the crank position info to the ECU so it can time its spark and injectors, and is surprisingly common. We had one guy over here have his go bad on his randomly somehow, I'm guessing from a belt that may have been replaced a couple of years back. Unfortunately its a major to get to be able to swap out. The ignitor as mentioned can go bad though is less common, can try get another from a wrecker or somewhere to test it out, pretty simple to swap out.
They said that’s what needed to be done because the head was all worn and “full of holes and cracks “ according to them. To be fair, my mechanic in LA recommend me to find a used engine because that one didn’t sound right anymore and I had already put AT-205 on it in Sep 2019. As far as the igniter idek how they came up with that diagnosis
 

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How does someone even quote a head rebuild with any parts for 300-400? Did you miss another 0 at the end? How long did they have the car to "rebuild" your head? How did you know you needed a head job?
A head gasket and bolts alone would be more than that from any mechanic, and these backyard hacks you're talking to wouldn't have those parts on their shelf.

Also - how do you agree to have someone "clean a cat" instead of address the actual overheating problem? What caused the overheating in the first place and how did you correct that?

Nothing here is adding up, smells like a lot of BS.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
How does someone even quote a head rebuild with any parts for 300-400? Did you miss another 0 at the end? How long did they have the car to "rebuild" your head? How did you know you needed a head job?
A head gasket and bolts alone would be more than that from any mechanic, and these backyard hacks you're talking to wouldn't have those parts on their shelf.

Also - how do you agree to have someone "clean a cat" instead of address the actual overheating problem? What caused the overheating in the first place and how did you correct that?

Nothing here is adding up, smells like a lot of BS.
I’m in Mexico rn that’s why the price seems cheap.
The overheating problem was due to a leaky radiator, that had been fixed already.
Yes you’re right they didn’t do the head rebuilt, they took it out and sent it somewhere else to be fixed and then they put it back.
Head job alone $400
+ 1 ignition coil installed $100
Total in Mexico $500 but now the car won’t start. Part of me wants to continue fixing the car but it seems like ima be riding the greyhound back to LA
 

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So the mechanic in LA is diagnosing over the phone not in person?

You really need to get the codes read to start diagnosing it. You will be getting some kind of code to tell you why its not running right, even its a misfire code.

If you aren't sure from there you really need to take it to a reputable mechanic nearby to diagnose what's going on, not a shady backyard establishment as you will just get fed more conflicting info as it will probably be above their head and be an excuse to get you to open your wallet. It will cost you more but in the long run at least you will know for sure what's fixable and what's potentially not worth it. Your guys back in the US will be doing what we are doing, trying to give suggestions based on whatever info we can glean from you, guessing at best, and possibly charging you as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So the mechanic in LA is diagnosing over the phone not in person?

You really need to get the codes read to start diagnosing it. You will be getting some kind of code to tell you why its not running right, even its a misfire code.

If you aren't sure from there you really need to take it to a reputable mechanic nearby to diagnose what's going on, not a shady backyard establishment as you will just get fed more conflicting info as it will probably be above their head and be an excuse to get you to open your wallet. It will cost you more but in the long run at least you will know for sure what's fixable and what's potentially not worth it. Your guys back in the US will be doing what we are doing, trying to give suggestions based on whatever info we can glean from you, guessing at best, and possibly charging you as well.
On my way south to San Diego I was able to stop at my mechanic’s house and he said it was a head problem because when he tried to refill the radiator, it kept spewing the water back out even after an hour of cooling down. He said that the water didn’t flow trhu the engine because it found a compression problem and as soon as it got to the hot part then the water was pushed back out. Idk if that makes sense. Then he said that rebuilding the head was gonna take at least 3 days and he didn’t have time to do it as he’s got a regular 9-5 also. I was running out of funds and I couldn’t wait to find out if he was gonna work on it that’s why I decided to head back south stopping every 25 miles to let it cool and put more water on it
 

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Compression issue can be a head gasket. Does not = rebuild. unless it had bent valves. from poor timing. aka bad belt, tensioners, etc or bad belt install.
Boiling back could be caused by bad thermostat or water pump. That said, assuming the fans are working properly with sensor.
 

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Just read through this (mostly lol)

seems like whoever did the head work did it incorrectly. If water is still spewing out it could be a stuck thermostat OR the head gasket could indeed have blown again or the head wasn’t put on correctly in the first place.

There are far too many people trying to diagnose the problem. I know in my area when I replace head gaskets I charge around $350-500 labor alone. Parts will vary but they should be around $250-400 depending on what motor it is and what grade partsare used. I DO NOT rebuild the head. I do take it to the machine shop and they usually charge me $150 to resurface the head and pressure test it.

It would seem that the shop in Mexico probably didn’t resurface the head and just slapped on a head gasket and maybe new bolts or maybe even reused the bolts.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Just read through this (mostly lol)

seems like whoever did the head work did it incorrectly. If water is still spewing out it could be a stuck thermostat OR the head gasket could indeed have blown again or the head wasn’t put on correctly in the first place.

There are far too many people trying to diagnose the problem. I know in my area when I replace head gaskets I charge around $350-500 labor alone. Parts will vary but they should be around $250-400 depending on what motor it is and what grade partsare used. I DO NOT rebuild the head. I do take it to the machine shop and they usually charge me $150 to resurface the head and pressure test it.

It would seem that the shop in Mexico probably didn’t resurface the head and just slapped on a head gasket and maybe new bolts or maybe even reused the bolts.
Hello there. The pressure problem was diagnosed in LA before the head was rebuilt in Mexico. You’re right a lot of people don’t know what to do or how to tackle the problem. After the head was put back in I told them to do the ignition coil thing as I had to travel back to LA and I didn’t wanna have the misfire code anymore. They replaced the coil they thought was faulty and now the car won’t start
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Compression issue can be a head gasket. Does not = rebuild. unless it had bent valves. from poor timing. aka bad belt, tensioners, etc or bad belt install.
Boiling back could be caused by bad thermostat or water pump. That said, assuming the fans are working properly with sensor.
Yes both fans were working fine and the water pump and timing belt was replaced back in March 2020.
 

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Yes both fans were working fine and the water pump and timing belt was replaced back in March 2020.
Back in March? It would need to be done again when the head came off. So they could have broke the reluctor on the crank. Or got it timed wrong.
Also if the gasket was on backward. I think it will cause your overheat issue also.
 

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^this. I really think someone goofed on the head installed. Something is awry.

So I am clear.

1. The car had overheating issues prior to heading to Mexico correct?

2. At that point your mechanic said water was spewing out? What did he do to solve the issue at that point in time?

3. Afterwards down in Mexico the car overheated which prompted the head gasket change? Is this correct?

4. At the same time the coil packs were replaced. Did the car ever run when you picked it up from the shop in Mexico?

If not, they clearly did something wrong with the head work/timing belt/reluctor wheel, coils etc.. something there is wrong and they should be the ones needing to diagnose the problem and fix it.
 
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