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  #1  
Old 25-03-08
KC9-3SE KC9-3SE is offline
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Default Olds intake gasket query

My wifes' 1996 Olds Ciera apparently has an intake manifold gasket leak according to an independent mechanic. Said leak is allowing coolant to seep into the engine, causing a knocking sound. I've priced out the parts and the manuals. My question is, has anyone every replaced such a gasket on GMs 3.1 L V-6? This engine was in the Chevy Celebrity, Olds Ciera, and Pontiac 6000. Is it a difficult job to do? I'm not anticipating it to be so. Just unbolt some parts, slip off the old, slip on the new, lube it, reinstall the previous parts and enjoy. Is it this easy?

I will be getting a repair manual to assist, but I was wondering if the Haynes manuals are any good. Also, will I need any special tools to complete this job? I intend on saving $500 by doing this myself, so any help would be greatly appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 25-03-08
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Warren Demontague Warren Demontague is offline
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It's not a hard job with a Haynes manual, but it's time consuming. Like, all day.

Make sure you get Blue Loctite for the manifold bolts. They tend to loosen over time. GM sells bolts already threaded with thread lock, but if your bolts look fine then you can just put the thread lock on yourself.

I believe you have to take the valve covers off, so it may be a good idea to replace the valve cover gaskets and spark plugs while you're in the vicinity.

Plan on doing an oil change and coolant flush when you're done.

Basic instructions can be found here .

Try www.a-body.net if you run into any trouble.
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  #3  
Old 25-03-08
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My parents just had a mechanic do one on their buick rendezvous. There was some sort of class action law suit against gm for this. It cost $600-800 from an independent mechanic. The dealership wanted like $1000+. I would have taken it on but I don't have the time with college to do it.

It just takes a long time the mechanic said. He said it would take him all day starting at like 8am-6pm. This would have meant it would have taken me close to 2 days.
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Old 25-03-08
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My god.....

When I helped remove the top of my engine to retorque the headbolts, it was simple, easy and very uneventful.

This looks like a master mechanics job!

Gulp..... I may have to consider letting the pros do it.....
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  #5  
Old 25-03-08
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC9-3SE
My god.....

When I helped remove the top of my engine to retorque the headbolts, it was simple, easy and very uneventful.

This looks like a master mechanics job!

Gulp..... I may have to consider letting the pros do it.....
The buick rendezvous engine compartment is mighty small, which makes all bolts almost impossible to get to. Take a look , pretty sure it is a major pain in the a**.
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Old 25-03-08
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the ciera looks like it has a pretty generous engine bay

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Old 26-03-08
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It does, but I'm just worried about all the stuff I need to remove just to get to the top of the engine block, plus it appears that I may have to adjust the valves after I install the new gaskets. I hope that Haynes manual tell how to do everything in general public english...
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Old 26-03-08
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I think you should be alright. I just know after looking in the engine bay, I was like "I'm not that good yet." I can't imagine the pain that engine is to work on (tucked up under the dash like that). If you have any mechanic friends, I heard a case of beer is an excellent way of bribery.
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Old 26-03-08
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Umm I didn't realize your car did not fall under the problem engines for GM. I thought it did but it is only the later v6 engines. I would investigate why the gasket is failing (might just be miles).
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Old 26-03-08
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IF there is a site as good as this one for GM engines, then things will be easier.

Do not rely on any Haynes manual, they can help some; the GM manual from Helms is much better..

Do not let the poor access deter your efforts; this task will take time ....
Move one item at a time, disconnecting no more than necessary. Use small bungee cords to keep things out of the way, these are better than cable ties or coat hangers..
You will need some special tools , no doubt; being a DIY ,extended, can be costly in the short run.
But, in the long run, (50 years) , most of the tools will be reused - someplace.....
Anyone need a twin carburetor balancing tool, used on VW '66 type 3, some English cars ???
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  #11  
Old 26-03-08
mikeucr mikeucr is offline
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I had a 200 Alero with the 3.4 V6 had the same problem. The fix was not easy, especially if they are the lower intake gaskets. A friend/mechanic of mine did it, it took 5+ hours and had to basically remove half of the engine.

But I don't know how similiar the 3.4 vs. the 3.1 is.
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Old 26-03-08
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I replaced the entire plastic intake manifold on my mom's '97 Grand Prix, with the 3800 V6 for the same reason. I'd assume the 3.1 is similar. It took most of the afternoon and ran into the evening, but was fairly straightforward since the manifold is right on top of the engine. For the 3800, at least, GM sells an upgraded aluminum gasket that we got. It was only another $10 more or so from gmpartsdirect.com. We also had to replace a coolant elbow which broke off during the job.
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Old 26-03-08
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Will I also have to drain the coolant, and do an oil change as well? Also, where can I find this "Helms" manual?
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  #14  
Old 26-03-08
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You guys should see what needs to be done to do these gaskets on the newer GM minivans. The entire drivetrain has to drop out the bottom in some cases.
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Old 26-03-08
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You just remove the intake manifold, there isn`t really anything on this, just remove it easy.

Knocking when cold is usually the pistons moving around. A lot of people complain but this is not a problem with the engine, it is because the pistons are low-drag type so they kind of rattle when they are shrunk.
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Old 26-03-08
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The 3.8 engine is a completely different design from the 3.1. (90 degree vs. 60 degree V-6) This design is shared by the old 2.8, the 3.1, 3.4, and 3.5 V-6s. We have had a number of these in the family (starting with my wife's 1980 Chevy Citation 2.8) and every one of them has had an intake manifold coolant leak. Replacing the gasket is a bit of a chore. The head design is unusual in that the split between the intake manifold and the cylinder head is underneath the rocker cover unlike most V-type engines. The pushrods go through the gasket on the way from the lifter gallery to the rockers. Not counting any accessory brackets and such which can be different depending on specific application, here's the basic procedure:
  • Remove rocker covers
  • Remove intake manifold (upper and lower portions, again dependent on specific model)
  • Remove rocker shafts and pushrods.
  • Pull gaskets, clean everything up, and reverse order to reinstall. I don't know all of the torque specs and tightening sequences off the top of my head, but the info is readily available.
The pushrods should be kept in the proper order so that they can be returned to their original locations. Also, these engines are intended to run with a GM coolant supplement to prevent leakage; it's available from any GM dealer and is an absolute requirement, since most of these things leak even with the stuff in the cooling system.

I must add that I have been fortunate that all of my leaks (4 vehicles total with this engine family) have seeped to the outside. The catastrophe happens when the coolant leaks to the inside, contaminating the oil. The fact that part of the potential leak area is captive under the rocker covers increases the potential for this unfortunate occurence.

Good luck.
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  #17  
Old 29-03-08
KC9-3SE KC9-3SE is offline
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Well, I gave it a shot.... I just couldn't do it. There was way to much for me to handle.....

It doesn't help that there weren't any or many pictures in the haynes manual to help out. It seemed like it was written for the mechanically inclined, unlike me.

I managed to get the intake plenum a bit loose, but there wasn't anything that I could see that I could relate to in my Saab except for the air filter section. All I managed to do was get the bolts off the intake plenum, except for one, get my hands dirty, loosen a couple other random parts and thats about it.

I think if I had picture step by picture step instructions, I would have completed it, but that was not to be.

After I got back inside, I said to her "Your next car WILL be a 4 cylinder." I am going to do all that I can to get her into a Saab for her next car. Preferably a NG900/OG9-3 since I'm more familiar with it. Damn POS GM V6 engines from the 80s......
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  #18  
Old 29-03-08
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For repair reference manuals, I used to prefer Mitchells over Haynes or Motors. They were expensive but worth it when I made my living repairing cars. Now, however, I use and excellent source of free information. Alldata.com has very good repair info, complete with pictures and detailed descriptions for many vehicles, including Saabs. You can purchase a membership of sorts for a reasonable sum, but I found it on line at my local library at no cost. Check your library and ask if they have Alldata on line; ask them why not if they say no!Incidentally, I just read a report that GM is being sued over the use of Dexcool coolant and the resultant failure of intake manifold and other gaskets.
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  #19  
Old 29-03-08
mikeucr mikeucr is offline
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I don't blame you for not being able to do this, its a *****. My buddy literally took off half of the engine. Make sure you go with Fel Pro gaskets. I used to go on n-body.net and they reccomended I get those which everyone pretty much agreed were the best. I had them installed and for the 50,000 miles plus I had the car after that I had no problems at all. As I remember, the problem with the GM gaskets is they didn't work well will the Dex cool that GM uses...but I might be oversimplifying the problem as I had it done over 5 years ago.
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  #20  
Old 29-03-08
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When I purchased the new gasket, Autozone only sold the FelPro part, so that I atleast got right, heh. That, in addition to a new thermostat, a coolant flush and getting new oil, I hope, should make everything all the more better.
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