93 escort 1.9 head gasket

I am trying to help a friend out with a 93 escort wagon with a 1.9 in it. He thinks the head gasket is out of it. (i have not seen it yet) From what i read, this is not uncommon in these motors.
Questions:
how hard is it to change the headgasket on a escort?
When the gasket goes, is the head cracked or damaged more often than not? If so what kinds of damage?
He says there is no water in the oil.
Do the bottom ends of these motors hold up?
Bob
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damage depends on how hot it got before it was turned off.
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On Apr 23, 7:21 am, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net wrote:

----------------------------------------------------------------http://www.minibite.com/america/malone.htm Aluminum heads and cast iron blocks, what a number overheating does on that combo.
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How about performing a compression check first. No water in the oil? **WHY** is your friend suspecting the head gasket? What are the symptoms, how many miles? The 1.9 engines are rock solid, I drove one for 12 years and after 165,000 miles I took the head off and was astonished as to how well the cylinder walls held up, still had cross- hatch after all those years! I put it back together with a head gasket and new valve stem seals in the head, what a job that was. Worth it though, because the compression jumped up real nice. If he's having a lean condition and high idle check the intake gaskets first. They are prone to failure. Good luck.
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