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A couple of weeks ago I blew the heater core (!) on my '97 850 AWD (This car is a Canadian model with the LPT engine and a manual transmission, 250,000 km). The heater core was an easy fix, but why? Well, the bubbles in the overflow tank give the answer... Head gasket time!

I have read through the head gasket replacement instructions and it sounds slightly painful, but I guess that's life.... Has anyone done this job on an AWD? I'm wondering about access to the downpipe fasteners with the angle drive in the way.

To make it less painful (seriously) should I park the car on some ramps before starting, or will it be too hard to reach into the engine bay?

Main question: what else should I do while I'm in there? I will absolutely do the PCV hoses.

Thanks all!
 

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the headgasket will be the same thing on the fwd and awd, there is no difference. If you do the gasket, do also, timing belt kit, water pump, pcv system, time to change valve steam seals?. and remember that you will need more parts like valve cover o-rings, etc.
 

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I dont know if it makes a difference but I have done it in my 'front' yard. jk

Anyway, get a head kit, it will have all the gaskets you need. But take volvos60t5x advice and replace the other items...and be sure to replace the turbo drain seal.
 

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Very good writeup, RSpi

If you're doing ONLY a head gasket, you can just remove the turbo from the manifold and leave it there, then rip out the head. You will have to get under the car though to remove the turbo, or if you feel like removing and replacing the exhaust manifold gasket you may not even need to get under the car. I'm willing to bet though, you'll drop tools to the ground more than one time. YOU MUST REPLACE YOUR HEAD BOLTS. They are about 3$ a piece at NAPA.

It's a bitch, and is really best done with two people. You should replace your valve stem seals, which requires a valve spring removal/compressor tool. That is almost definitely best done with 2 people. If you have the money, replace your lifters. It will make the engine EXTREMELY quiet afterwards.

I just recently did a head gasket on an 850, I posted some pics on here somewhere. It will probably take you (unless you're super-dedicated) at a minimum of two days just accounting for not having all the parts, needing to order parts, and if you don't spend the whole day working on it. Also, if you've never done it before, add about 5++ extra hours for thinking time, reading forums, etc etc...

The hose in the top left above the cylinder is a BITCH. Mostly because you can't see it when you remove, and replace it. The gasket is annoying.

Don't forget to suction any crap that fell into the sleeves around the cylinder walls.













 
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