Head Gasket Blown - NEED HELP!!
My Commander has been a nightmare since day 1. I bought it used and it had about 120,000 miles. I replaced the windshield and rotors/pads right away. $700. Then my rad went, $500. Then I had misfiring and my wife was way out in the mountains on vacation at the time. The shop near her said it was plugs, $300. Then I did the exhaust manifold gasket myself, about $100 in parts/tools (broken off bolt in the head required a few new tools to get out) and 9 hours of my time.
The overheating when the rad went must have blown the head gasket. I was tired of all the wrong diagnostics and brought it to the dealership for a full inspection. Well, after 3 hours at $140/hour they tell me I have coolant in 3 cylinders and will require a head gasket job. They want $3000, 17.5 hours shop time. Then they tell me if it is a cracked head, they won't know until AFTER they do the $3000 job... New head is another $3000.
I estimate my jeep is only worth about $8000 fully running...
I talked to an indy shop briefly (the mechanic was busy so I spoke to his wife for a minute) and was told that maybe I should just replace the entire engine with a low mileage one. No estimate was given as this was just talk.
SOOOOOO, what should I do? I am NOT going to get the HG job done at the dealership for sure. They are ridiculous...
Also, is there a way to test for a cracked head without taking the entire engine apart?
Any help would be appreciated.