Where it began:
It all started with a small, shiny, wet orange tiny puddle of coolant on the engine block, just under the thermostat housing. I did not know what it was, so I asked this forum. Experienced forum veterans and people who had the very same problem before, told me right away that it was probably an intake manifold gasket leak. The more I looked at it and the more research I did on the Internet (what would I do without this most important tool in my life?!?), the more I understood about the intake manifold gasket issue. One month ago I didn't even know the difference between an intake manifold gasket and an o-ring...
Later in the same week, at hints from the same forum, I discovered the residue that looked like burnt rust inside my plastic oil cap (plastic doesn't rust, get it?!?). In the mean time I have also used a Stant pressure tester for the radiator, and besides the system not holding the few Lbs of pressure I was pumping in, the applied pressure made the leak worse by factor 10. Now I was 100% sure that the diagnose was correct.
What then followed was rather disappointing. Thinking that it was yet another simple repair, I tried to find a shop here in SW Florida to do it for cheap. Bad luck, my friends! Quotes ran from $550, which I thought was sooooo expensive, to just over $1,300, which.. really knocked me out of my shoes. I started doing my own research at local auto parts stores, and found out that the actual gasket set didn't cost more than $35. This means that the remainder of the huge repair shop quotes was probably labor.. Hmmm, lots of labor!
After realizing that having this repair done in a shop would cripple me financially, I gave up looking for repair shops and quotes and decided to fix it myself. I didn't want to do it alone, because I knew nothing about cars and engines at that time, so I talked a more experienced friend of mine (yes Jeff, I mean you!) into giving me some advice and a helping hand. As recommended by the people in this forum, I have ordered what seemed to be the best gasket set out there at that time, the 'Fel-Pro MS98000T PermaDryPlus' from RockAuto.com (for $59 including shipping, I believe). The Fel-Pro set not only has the intake manifold gasket set, but also the gasket for the upper manifold (or plenum), fuel line o-rings, throttle body gasket, etc. I think there is a total of 8 gaskets in this set, plus a tube of black RTV, needed later when you install the intake manifold gasket.