The 2000 SPI is a terrible engine and should be scrapped and melted to make septic tanks. Shop said the head gasket needed replacing ($1,900, car was bought for $2,200), so we decided to do it ourselves.

Head bolt broke off while taking it out. The corrosion kept the block together until I wretched my back using a 3.5 foot pry bar to bust it off. Then there was the stud. Just sittin' there. Givin' us the bird. Get everything clean (except the exhaust stuff, just threw that on [his idea]), reassemble, start it up. A little bit of smoke, but that's expected since I oiled the cylinders. Idles great. He takes it out and it works great. Total hours on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday working on it? 46 hours, no sleeping; stopped once to go to the bar.

He's driving on 53/355, and it dies on him. We think we messed up the timing belt installation. God. DAMN IT.

Never skimp on dedicating time to getting timing chain/belt right. NEVER.