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96 Grand Am 3.1 V6 engine advice please


car nut's Avatar
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01-19-05, 11:18 AM   #1  
96 Grand Am 3.1 V6 engine advice please

!996 Grand Am 3.1 V6 119,000 miles.
Engine overheated and was turned off and not driven further. Started it the next day but it ran rough so turned it off. We have coolant in the oil and oil in the coolant.

Are these engines prone to a specific weakness such as blown head gasket, intake manifold gasket etc. I realize there is no guaranty untill it is dissasembled. We are just curious to know if this engine is known to have a specific weak point if overheated?

The owner feels the car is only worth about $2,500 if running so he does not want to put a lot of money into it

If it is as simple as 1 or 2 head gaskets it would probably be worth fixing. He feels it is not worth the money to put another engine in it.
Since the car has not been driven after it overheated is it safe to assume there is no significant damage to the bearings from the antifreeze getting in the oil?

What can you experts tell us about this engine?

 
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01-19-05, 01:32 PM   #2  
I would say the highest possibility would be a cracked head. They do blow heads gaskets a lot but the shortest distance for oil to get in the coolant is usually through a crack in the head. When the head gasket blows, it's usually blows between the coolant port and cylinder, not involving any oil. The oil ports are small and near the edges of the head and not a likely spot for a gasket problem.

 
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01-19-05, 09:16 PM   #3  
Desi---Thanks for the good information. Is there anyway to get a better diagnosis without taking the engine apart? Would a pressre test on the cooling system tell us anything helpful? It seems like we do not simply have coolant getting into a cylinder. Would we be able to determine which head it is and if so would it be risky to replace one head only?

 
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01-24-05, 06:19 AM   #4  
Ttt

Desi- have you had a chance to look at my 2nd post?
Thanks

 
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01-29-05, 11:33 AM   #5  
rushroman
Re:96 Gd Am 3.1

FYI, I've had 2- 3.1 engines that had the intake manifold go bad. The 1st 1 stopped running due to too much coolant in the crankcase. It wound up throwing a rod in less than 500 mi. I had a new engine put in and it developed a intake manifold leak also. Caught it in time before damage. I also had a 3.8 do the same thing. My brother had a 3.1 in a Lumina... same leak happened. These engines have had this INHERENT problem for many years. I've talked to mechanics who've said this. I haven't found a way to save the rod bearings after they get coolant on them. It may not be worth getting fixed. Best of luck.

 
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01-29-05, 10:04 PM   #6  
Posted By: rushroman FYI, I've had 2- 3.1 engines that had the intake manifold go bad. The 1st 1 stopped running due to too much coolant in the crankcase. It wound up throwing a rod in less than 500 mi. I had a new engine put in and it developed a intake manifold leak also. Caught it in time before damage. I also had a 3.8 do the same thing. My brother had a 3.1 in a Lumina... same leak happened. These engines have had this INHERENT problem for many years. I've talked to mechanics who've said this. I haven't found a way to save the rod bearings after they get coolant on them. It may not be worth getting fixed. Best of luck.
Thanks for the reply. We haven't decided to tear it apart yet but we will keep that in mind.

 
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01-30-05, 09:28 PM   #7  
backyardhndyman
best of luck

yes the engine in ur grand am is prone to head and head gasket problems i have a cousin that has replace his headgaskets twice in 90,000 miles and he does regular maintenance on it oil chges and everything he has since sold it which i feel was good idea in fact if it was me i wld fix it and trade it off for sumthing with less problems....just a thought

 
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01-31-05, 06:53 AM   #8  
Just another confirmation...

Yes those engines were prone for head/ head gasket and intake leaks leading to the problem you currently have. I would take the intake off of it first and see if you can see a problem there. Maybe you could get away with just repairing the intake gasket problem. If it were my car I would rebuild the entire top end, but thats my money not a customers. You have to tell them straight up what they are looking at worst case scenario and let them decide what to and what not to do. Then it will be your judgement as to how far you want to go with it.
Hope this helps ya,
Billy

 
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