UPDATE: Finally had time to finish putting it back together. Went for a start and it fired up right away. Nice, smooth, and quiet.
The story behind this is my son injured himself in basic training and was medically discharged. What little money he had saved he bought this car with. It lasted 300 miles and it suddenly overheated and a head gasket blew. I felt bad for him so I put a down payment and co-signed for him to get a grand prix super charged, etc etc. So now I have this Intrepid and what to do? I don't work on cars except brakes or easy stuff. I just have never gotten in to working on them. Options are put it in craigslist, sell it cheap enough to make it worth someones while and cut my losses, or donate it and call it a tax write off, or rip in to this thing and see if I can fix it. I'm ripping in to it....what do I have to lose. I was a flight line F-16 mechanic for years so I do have mechanical ability. So with the help of a chiltons and this forum I got this thing going. I've only put 20 miles on it so I'm still cautiously optimistic.
Back to start up today. I was venting the heck out of the cooling system. Car was running several minutes and temp gauge was almost halfway. I check to see if car blows heat and it does not. Uh oh. I keep venting the system. I know the coolant is boiling. No heat. Shut down and restart a couple times same result. Cooling fans not coming on....crap! I rev the engine several times, heat comes on...hmm. I shutdown and see coolant had gotten sucked down finally. I start again and am still venting the system. I rev it at 1 1/2 RPM's for a minute then let up....cooling fans are fired up! Heat is still on! I drive it around the block and it;s good. I hit the highway and do 80 for a while. Engine is running smooth, not overheating. Feeling pretty good. It was kind of a pain in the ass changing head gaskets but I have to admit I actually enjoyed doing it. It certainly paid off. I'm also glad I reached out for help here because I was stuck when it came time to resetting the timing, which I messed up during dis-assembly. Thanks for helping us out.......
*** Note: In case someone else who made have had similar problems with overheating and head gaskets....I took the heads in to a machinists. They were warped but they pressure checked good. They milled them down and gave me shims. So if you're taking the time to go after head gaskets, get those heads checked!
Last edited by arstco; 01-27-2013 at 01:34 AM.