Getting Head Gasket replaced on Punto

Hi all,
After my previous post entitled "Overfilled Coolant on Fiat Punto", I have determined that as suspected there was something more sinister
behind the reason I needed to add water to the beast. Yes, it seems the head gasket has gone.
Am going to get someone to do it next week, but was just wondering if there was anything else worth getting done at the same time, or anything I should ask the fella to look out for. For instance, I've seen people suggest that its worth having the head skimmed whilst this is being done-is this a good idea and is it expensive/what does it involve? Also, would it be a good time to have the cam belt replaced - does it need to be removed to do this work anyway?
Anything else anyone can think of?
Cheers, Richard
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It would be usual practise to have the head checked and if necessary skimmed by an engineering firm while it is off. This should cost approx another 50 quid on the bill. It is good practise (but not vital) to take all the valves out and reface the seats, decoke the head and renew oil seals etc. But that may make the job uneconomic if you are paying someone else.
The cam belt has to be partially removed, so it may well be a good time to get it replaced (unless recently renewed, of course) Get the water pump checked and if suspect replaced.
The most common reason for head gasket failure is that the engine has overheated (even a 'small' overheat) usually because of a minor leak somewhere else. When too hot with no coolant in the head, the alloy head twists and buckles , soon after, the head gasket starts to leak, usually it is assumed that the head gasket is the primary problem, but often there is another fault (usually a leak or failed thermostat or fan) that has caused the initial overheat.
mrcheerful
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mrcheerful . wrote:

Cheers for the comprehensive reply. I'll get him to check for possible causes, although from what I've read it seems that the head gaskets on these Puntos quite commonly go at low mileage, some saying they've had theirs go at a lot lower than the 35k that's on mine.
Out of interest, any idea what sort of cost I should be expecting from an independant garage? The bloke doing it is a friend of my Dad so I'm not expecting to be ripped off but was just wondering.
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about 150 quid labour plus parts, so typically about 300 with all the likely bits.
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