91' Cavalier 2.2L possible Head gasket problem?


ya, the Monte over there.
My Beater car ( 1991 chevy Cavalier, 2.2L 4cyl, 5 speed, 109,000 miles ) has been leaking a little bit of anti freeze in my driveway, about the size of your hand over night, not alot. I looked under the hood while it was running and on the Drivers side on the front of the block there is a tiny spot where collant bubbles out once every 5-10 seconds. I havent noticed any antifreeze in the oil, or any other problems, I just want to fix this before somthing major happens. Does this sound like the headgasket is bad? I know these motors are known for that. How bad is it to replce a headgasket on these motors? Any Help is always appreciated, thanks guys.
Parents had the same problem, I guess around 100k the head gaskets start to leak on a bunch of these cars. I believe my Dad said it was leaking out the back of the head down the block.

Not sure what they paid for it but if its your daily driver its probably worth having a pro do it to get you back on the road asap.
if it the overhead cam engine sell it. If the valve covers are black and flat the gaskets are as easy to do as they get. You leave both manifolds on the head when removing and installing. Just make sure the O2 sensor plug isnt in the cylinder when you torque the head, dont ask me why. :redface:
It's Not an over head cam, it's the easy one. I've heard this is the easiest one to do just like you said also, I'm gonna get the Gasket tommorow and a Chilton manual and get 'er done this weekend, shouldnt be too bad. I thought the O2 sensor is in the manifold?? hmm..
What you are describing is a very common problem for the Cavalier (happen to my wife’s too). The head gasket is shot. The driver front corner of the head gasket does not have a lot of material protecting the water passage from the outside so once it breaks down the water will pass by very quickly.

If the engine has not overheated as of yet (as mentioned above) just peal the head off high enough to slide out the old gasket and slide in the new one. Just remember to peal the head off when its stone cold and use new head bolts as they are yield to torque style. I’ve done this on three or four Cavaliers with no problems.
Head Gasket

GM had a Service Bulletin on this issues for years. I replaced many when I worked at a local dealer. Very simple like mentioned before, lift the head up remove the old one put in the new one and use new bolts. Of coarse this is the "flat rate" method not recommended by the manufacturer but works fine.
so when I get the head loose do is there anything special to do w/ the valves/pushrods, and as well when I go to put it back on, I havent taken it apart yet, just looking for some heads up for when I do it Saturday. I got the gasket already, New Bolts, and a service manual. Thanks Guys
Ya the O2 is in the exhaust manifold and the plug is about 10" long when I was done and plugging everthing back in all I saw was the 02 wire going in between the head and block ooooppps. I would pull the head and clean the surfaces good before installing the new gasket for sure.
Got it torn down..

Well got everything taken apart, 5 hours just to remove everything. Only surprises were how long it took to get the power steering pump off, and how to get at the bolts on the bottom of the intake manifold. The Engine is in real good shape inside, pistons were very clean, cyl walls look very good and so did the vavles/pushrods. The only thing was how much crap was stuck in the colant passages in the heads and the block, the #3 and #4 cyl had almost no flow, unreal, and it never over heated. I'll attempt to get everything cleaned up tommorow and re-paint the valve cover and air filter housing, and degrease everything else real good ( even after powerwashing everythig before hand) Hope to have it running by Friday, if all goes well with setting the valves.
I always sprated the gaskets on alum. heads with copper coat and let tack just before installing. I think it gives a little insurance on the water holes sealing. To spray it just cut a coat hanger and make a hanger and spay lightly.
chevyII, thats a good idea, I was thinking of doing that to make sure the gasket gets lined up correctly.

One other thing, should I apply Loctite to the head bolts or not???