Join Date: Dec 2005
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Head gaskets tend to fail in varying degrees,and depending on the symptoms your having it will have an effect on the cost of the repair.I haven't ever known a piston 'fry',so I wouldn't worry about that!.
Having the head skimmed used to be done everytime a gasket went,but now it's a little more unusual.You really need to have access to an engineers straight edge to put accross the face of the head to determine whether it needs skimming or not.Skimming only takes a thou or two off the head on each pass,so the difference between a truly flat head face and a distorted one is minute.Unless the engine has been seriously over-heated or the head face shows signs of corrosion or obvious damage,then as long as it looks OK with using a straight edge,you should OK.
Exactly what symptoms have you got?.
I'd rather push my Alfa than drive a BMW....
Currently in Lagdti's garage:
2004 Saab 9-5 HOT Aero and a 2001 Audi A3 1.8 Turbo