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post #1 of 15 Old 12-31-2010, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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Engine issues on non-Camaro, need help...

I am by no means a motorhead, I understand how they work, but not real deeply. Just wanted that out there upfront.

My son has a 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix, 3.1l engine. Took it in yesterday for tires and an oil change. Get a call with bad news. Intake manifold gasket is leaking externally on both sides, and oil has mixed internally with the coolant. There is oil in the radiator and overflow reservoir. They said the used oil didn't look overly unusual, but it was discarded or mixed with other used oil?

Also, there is a small diameter and short length hose from the front of the intake that is saturated with oilyness, so mechanic thinks it's been this way since well before last oil change. My son just takes to a quick lube and I'm sure they don't care or look that close.

They said they can replace gaskets, all hoses, chemical flush cooling system, etc. but don't know how long the engine might last cause the damage may have been done already (improper lubrication due to diluted oil).
So no warranty. I stopped in to see all this in person.

The car overall is in pretty good shape, but needs some other work like the tires, front brakes, tie-rod ends. All in all the rest not a huge deal. I do not have pics as it is still on their lift for the weekend while I decide what to do, and didnt think to take any while there.

Can I get your advice on what could be the future of this engine, what could be damaged already, etc.

I hate shopping for used cars in the $3-4000 price range. Like a box a chocolates. This car is decent but don't want to drop a chunk o change if the engine will fail soon down the road.

Thanks for your help!
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post #2 of 15 Old 12-31-2010, 12:09 PM
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I don't have any experience with that motor....but I'd just sell it now "as-is" and look for another car before it turns into a $$$ pit. If the rest of the car was perfect and didn't need tires, tie-rods etc, I'd fix the leak, flush the system out and drive it.

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post #3 of 15 Old 12-31-2010, 12:52 PM
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If that is the motor I am thinking of it's like the one I had in a 2003 Malibu. It was famous for the lower intake manifold gasket blowing out at 60,000 mi like clock work. First, do not let a quicki lube work on your engine. Take it to a dealer or a repair shop that you can trust (right). Also get more than one quote. Go online and do some research.

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post #4 of 15 Old 12-31-2010, 01:02 PM
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I googled 'gm lower intake manifold gasket' and found lots of info. It could also be a head gasket. Either one will let oil into your coolant.

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post #5 of 15 Old 12-31-2010, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by dconradt View Post
I googled 'gm lower intake manifold gasket' and found lots of info. It could also be a head gasket. Either one will let oil into your coolant.
Oil in coolant not so good. Coolant in the oil, VERY BAD! Be sure on what is what and whether or not any coolant actually entered the oil system. Should be clearly evident as the oil would look like a chocolate milkshake! Only you can say whether or not it is worth it to fix it. But like any other higher mileage vehicle it is gonna start costing ya...

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post #6 of 15 Old 12-31-2010, 03:17 PM
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This happened on my wife's 3.1 V6 Malibu. We had the intake and head gaskets changed plus did the timing chain and water pump impeller since it was apart. We didn't even go overboard and replace hoses. Just did a flush and fresh antifreeze. It cost me about $600 for the whole deal.

That was over 3 years 30+k miles ago. still going strong.

You are taking a gamble, but it was cheaper for us to maintain our cars than look for another one. We have elected to maintain our 2 daily drivers (99 Grand Am, 00 Malibu) to see how many years we can get out of them.
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post #7 of 15 Old 12-31-2010, 03:27 PM
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I had a 95 Monte Carlo with the 3.1 that had the same problem at 121,000 miles the engine was great until then. The coolant got in the oil also. For me they replaced the engine with one from a 1996 Lumina. I wish I just had them change the bearings in the original engine and the car would have lasted me just fine. If you plan on keeping the car in the long run, ask about that possibility of just changing bearings cause sometimes the engine swaps dont work as well and will give you problems in the future.
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post #8 of 15 Old 12-31-2010, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hypurone View Post
Oil in coolant not so good. Coolant in the oil, VERY BAD! Be sure on what is what and whether or not any coolant actually entered the oil system. Should be clearly evident as the oil would look like a chocolate milkshake! Only you can say whether or not it is worth it to fix it. But like any other higher mileage vehicle it is gonna start costing ya...
What he said.

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post #9 of 15 Old 12-31-2010, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dconradt View Post
If that is the motor I am thinking of it's like the one I had in a 2003 Malibu. It was famous for the lower intake manifold gasket blowing out at 60,000 mi like clock work. First, do not let a quicki lube work on your engine. Take it to a dealer or a repair shop that you can trust (right). Also get more than one quote. Go online and do some research.
It is not at a quick lube now...his previous few oil changes were at a quick lube. I do think a 2nd estimate/opinion is a good idea. I do have another shop I trust, as i do (sort of) this one, but they are fairly expensive. I know, you get what you pay for.

I will go search online more, but thought I'd pose it here first.
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post #10 of 15 Old 12-31-2010, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hypurone View Post
Oil in coolant not so good. Coolant in the oil, VERY BAD! Be sure on what is what and whether or not any coolant actually entered the oil system. Should be clearly evident as the oil would look like a chocolate milkshake! Only you can say whether or not it is worth it to fix it. But like any other higher mileage vehicle it is gonna start costing ya...
They did mention milkshake and oil, but like i said i didn't get to see the oil cause it was mixed and/or discarded w/ other oil. Maybe they were hiding something, maybe not.

Any other way to tell if the coolant is mixed into the oil? Drive it some more without fixing it and change the oil again?

Problem is. he's home on break from college and leaves in a week to go back (with this car or?).

If the engine is not already ruined, so to speak, it will be worth it to fix it IMO. Just trying to find out if it can be determined what damage may have already been done.
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