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Old 11-01-2010, 05:07 PM
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Got screwed.. possibly still being screwed

I just had some top end work done on my 98 buick regal with the 3800... in hind sight, I'm certain it was just a basic plastic intake failure issue.. but I believe I was taken for replacing the cylinder heads too.. anyway.. that was just for background

when I picked the car up the guy said 'there wasn't any coolant in the oil, so we didn't change it.. bring it back in a couple weeks and I'll change it for free'

well.. not even a week later, my engine has developed a nasty knock that's only there when the engine is cold. it goes away as best I can tell completely once the engine warms up.. which is odd.. my experience with knocks is that the don't usually show up until the engine is warm and the oil has thinned, which makes me wonder if there is a blocked oil passage somewhere?

which also makes me wonder if they put something in the oil to drum up more business? anyway.. To Gunk oil flush.. I was wondering if it'd be worth dumping a quart of this in and following the directions, then changing the oil?

I'm considering 3qts of Valvoline maxlife 10w30 and a qt of lucas oil stabelizer.. both products I've had EXCELLENT results with in my chevy 350's i've had over the years..
the maxlife doesn't thicken up as bad when it's cold (noticed a huge improvement in cranking speed when it's near zero) and the lucas managed to kept some DESTROYED rod bearings quiet for along time until I had the funds to rebuild...

I don't have the tools, resources, or the money to do anything about these rod bearings except keep a band aid on them.. as I understand it.. it's not possible to just swap bearing shells in a 3800 like you can a good old fashioned chevy 350?

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Old 11-01-2010, 06:22 PM
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Cold knock could also be a damaged piston skirt. Possibly caused by the intake/coolant leak.

My ex wife's 10 month old LeSabre locked up while she was driving it. The dealer tried to charge her $1200.00 to repair it. Even tho there was a bulletin out on the intake problem and car was under warranty.. I had a real good time chewing on the zone rep...

Rod bearings are replaceable like the Chevys. Problem is you need the correct bearing (vin code) as there are several.. Bad part is by the time there is bearing noise. The cranks gone..

Bring it by the shop S Sag/Maple I'll listen to it.. ask for Big Bob
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:15 PM
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How did they replace or repair the cylinder heads without changing the oil? When they pulled the heads they would have dumped coolant into the engine
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:29 PM
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your noise is probably a piston, as stated earlier. Probably engine got hot because of coolant loss and believe it or not a piston shrank a little. Hyperuetectic pistons will shrink if overheated and they will be noisy when cold. As they warm up they expand and fill the jug so the noise pretty much subsides. Probably not the garages fault. BUT the intake alone was probably the cause. I put lots of intakes 3800 engines in the past. The older ones crack around the EGR standpipe in the intake from the heat and they let coolant fill the intake. In the morning you go to start the car and the motor locks (hydrolocks ) as coolant has filled the cylinder after the engine was shut off the night before.Pull the plugs and replace the intake and you are good to go. I am interested in the reason why they changed the head gaskets.
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:20 PM
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that's exactly what happened.. the car has never been overheated tho at least not while I've owned for the last 50,000 miles.. (I bought it last year with 137k, it's got 180k now) I DID just pull a small uhaul trailer to texas with it. .and was pushing the engine temps up, but never into the 'red zone'




this was as hot as it ever got.. (normal is just to the left of straight up)

someone else suggested it's just piston slap.. but why would it suddenly start 3 days AFTER the repairs were completed?

BOB: I appreciate the offer, but I'm no longer in michigan.. I'm in Houston Tx. Had I still been in michigan I would have replaced the intake myself and been back on the road (I dont' have ANY tools down here except a hammer and a crescent wrench.. it SUCKS) I realize that the crank is probably damaged. but I've had good luck in the past with replacing rod bearings even with a damaged crank to buy some time. if I can squeeze a few thousand more miles out of the engine until I have the $$$ for a new shortblock that'll suit me just fine.

naturally, the shop offered to replace the short block for me for $2000.. I was like.. 'uhm, no'

I tore the heck out of a rod journal and egg-shaped the rod cap on one of my 350's.. I got another 500 miles out of a new set of bearings on it because I had no where to keep a car that didn't run.. it was noisey, but at least i could start it and move it around 2qts of SAE40 and 2 quarts of Lucas didn't hurt either lol.


I think I'm going to try the motor flush and an oil change with some good oil (I like valvoline maxlife, I run that in my new 350 i built) and a good oil filter and qt of lucas and just pray it holds together for a while.

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Old 11-02-2010, 12:20 AM
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Pulling the intake and heads means the valve train was disassembled at some point, they didn't do something right when they reassembled it or there is a bad rocker/shaft/bolt on your new heads.

Take it back and have them pull the valve covers to have a look, bet theres a bad rocker or bent pushrod causing your noise. Oldest rookie mistake in the book is installing the heads with the pushrods installed and torquing the heads down which will bend them on a couple of cylinders, seen it a lot on quickie repair jobs like yours.

Point is, they messed up and they need to resolve it...its not an oil problem!
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Old 11-02-2010, 11:27 AM
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ya know.. from under the hood it does sound a lot like a lifter tapping.. but it's amazingly loud for a lifter... and the fact it goes away after a few minutes is really bizaare to me still.. but my experience with engine noises is entirely with all iron SBC's...
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Old 11-02-2010, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kc8oye
ya know.. from under the hood it does sound a lot like a lifter tapping.. but it's amazingly loud for a lifter... and the fact it goes away after a few minutes is really bizaare to me still.. but my experience with engine noises is entirely with all iron SBC's...
If the noise was a rod it would get worse as the engine warms up as the oil would thin out and the rod where the bearing is would expand with heat ,enlarging the diameter and worstening the noise.

An engine that looses its coolant as you described can overheat and wont necessarily register on the gauge. Some sending units dont register correctly without being immersed in the coolant,such as a motor that lost some coolant.I am sure you are careful about your car and watching the gauges is just that. Even with the best of care things can happen.
I kinda dont think the sound you are describing is a lifter.If it is , it too can be a victim of haveing been in a hot spot when the engine heated up,or oil that thinned out and trashed the lifter.My experience tells me it is a piston noise,but I am not there to hear it. Maybe go by a garage and have someone listen to it and get another opinion.Probably not the repair garages fault like I said, BUT I still cant figure the reason why they put HEAD GASKETS in it when the problem was just the intake failed and leaked coolant.
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Old 11-08-2010, 04:29 AM
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Here is the really bizzare part.. I've done nothing but drive it a few times.. being super gentle on it until the knock went away. (hate driving it, but have no choice right now) anyway.. the knock has gone away.. last few times I've fired it up cold. .no knock at all.
sounds like it is piston slapping JUST a tad for about 5-10 seconds after it fires.. but that isn't too surprising from an engine with 185,000 miles on it.
(a very faint dull thud as opposed to a faint knock)

it's going to get a good oil change as soon as I can do it still tho.
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:50 AM
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I wouldn't describe piston slap as a "dull thud", that is more like a description of loose main bearings.

I would think any problem associated w/any work done recently by the shop would involve a problem w/the valve train, coolant seepage/leakage, or vacuum leaks- in other words, nothing they worked on should have had ANY effect on the main or rod bearings, oil pressure/oil pump function, piston slap, loose wristpin, etc., and those things- if out of spec- are a coincidence and likely of no fault of the shop.

As for why they replaced the heads, I cannot comment. Hopefully it was for good reasons and not to "pad" the repair. Assuming they needed rebuilt/replaced, and barring any problems w/the top end of the engine (where their work was performed), I would chalk up the maladies to just what you said above- 185K miles.
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:49 PM
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an engine doesn't just randomly start a SEVERE rod knock that goes away as it warms up.. and then just as suddenly stop doing it.. at less then 100 miles after some SERIOUS engine work..

but alas it's ok for now.. just hope and pray it holds together for a bit longer until i can afford to replace the bottom half..
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Old 11-08-2010, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kc8oye
an engine doesn't just randomly start a SEVERE rod knock that goes away as it warms up.. and then just as suddenly stop doing it..
Unless it wasn't a rod knock to begin with...
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Old 11-08-2010, 05:31 PM
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A weak lifter that got some crap into it could case the symptoms you describe. If they scraped gasket off of anything a small piece could have made its way to a lifter
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kc8oye
an engine doesn't just randomly start a SEVERE rod knock that goes away as it warms up.. and then just as suddenly stop doing it.. at less then 100 miles after some SERIOUS engine work..

but alas it's ok for now.. just hope and pray it holds together for a bit longer until i can afford to replace the bottom half..
I have installed salvage yard engines that knocked like hell for minute and after choking a little ATF down its neck it quit. Most likely a carbon knock. Your louder noise sounds like a lifter as it has gone away, the lesser sound could be a piston slap.Like cobalt says and I said before,not the fault of the shop.If you are not happy then go to another garage and get a second opinion. The more the better.
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Old 11-08-2010, 09:33 PM
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180k is kiddy crap for a 3800

Had one in a Bonneville
350k with 2 different girlfriends, and 3 of their daughter
5 women, and that car was still running 2 years ago
here in San Antonio.
Sold it in 03 'cause one of the girls did not want to pay the insurance on it.

Just recently sold a 02 Regal with the 3100
290k -- again the girl did not want to pay the insurance
(had enough to worry about with a new baby coming)
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