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#426 of 460 1998 Buick Park Avenue engine problem - redux
Mar 17, 2013 (7:38 pm)
I'm new to the BPA forums but have read most of the posts from the last 10-12 years - insert way to much time on my hands jokes here.
In Msg 49 a problem is described that matches my problem but I am at the very beginning of the diagnosis process.
Here are my specifics:
1998 Buick Park Avenue - 83K miles - purchased used from dealer in 2000 and have not had any major problems with the car since then. Oil changed and fluid levels checked in Dec. of 2012.
Last Tuesday (03-12-13) I was doing some driving on the Interstate here in Central Florida. Was doing 75 mph or so and no problems - trip to my destination was about 45 mins. A few hours later I was returning home when I noticed just a slight rough running condition. I checked the digital gauges and saw only normal readings. A few minutes later the red light on the dash temp gauge came on. I switched the digital gauge over to temp and saw a 250 degree reading.
I immediately slowed to 55 just to see if that would lower the temp which it did. It dropped into the low 130 range. I considered pulling over and checking everything out but I had not seen any white smoke/water vapor coming from the exhaust and did not smell any oil burning/coolant smell.
About 20 mins later I stopped to get gas, turned off the engine and put in a few gallons and when I got back in to start up, the ignition engaged and turned the starter motor but the engine would not start right away. Other than being a little warm - 220 degrees or so - I did not see any problems. I continued cranking and after a minute of 3 to 4 cranking tries the engine finally fired up. I assumed that this was due to the extra heat but wouldn't cause permanent damage.
In just a couple of mins I was home and I shut down the car. After just a couple of mins I came out to check everything out. I immediately saw that the overflow canister for the coolant was empty. Since the radiator was hot I could not open the radiator cap. I had a gallon of coolant concentrate which I poured into the coolant canister and mixed in another gallon of fresh water.
I tried to start the engine again hoping to circulate the coolant into the engine and radiator to cool it off and after just a couple of tries it did start. The coolant immediately drained out of the coolant canister to the radiator - or so I thought. After just a few mins more I was able to get the radiator cap off and upon inspection I could not see a coolant level down the spout. So I made a run for more coolant.
When I returned I gave it another gallon of coolant concentrate this time directly into the radiator. It ate that right up as well including another gallon of water. At this point I know something is wrong because I checked the coolant capacity in the owner's manual and it was it was 13 quarts. I tried to start it once more but this time the engine would not turn over and I heard a metal clank while trying to start. I didn't recognize the sound. At this point I am starting to think I have caused serious damage to the engine. So, I decided to put it up for the night and I would take a fresh look at it in the morning.
The next day I got my neighbor to check it out with me since he is a heavy equipment mechanic. He had a remote starter and I checked out the starter underneath the car and saw that the top gear housing for the solenoid had sheared off. So, I made a trip to my local salvage yard and replaced the starter. Got it on and attempted to start the engine but the engine would not turn over. The solenoid would engage but the engine was not moving.
We got a large socket and placed it on the main pulley and tried to turn it. It would maybe move 1" in one direction and that was it. We then inspected the air intake manifold and saw coolant and some even ran out once we removed the boot connecting the air box with the manifold.
His thinking was that the oil probably super-heated and caused some internal component to seize. Maybe a piston connecting rod to one of the journals. I'm not that familiar with engine temps and how that raises the internal oil/coolant temps. And how high those temps have to get to do damage.
So, at this point I begin to make plans to change out the engine with a salvage yard engine. But, I decide to do a little more searching on the internet for possible causes and solutions to my problem. At that point I come across the Edmunds Buick PA Forum site and MSG 49 in particular.
I am wondering if all I have is a bad upper/lower intake manifold gasket set and the motor is hydrolocked as mentioned in the earlier post.
I am hoping the folks here that really know their stuff could help me out with a straight forward diagnosis as I break down and inspect my engine.
If anyone needs any further info please let me know and I will post it.
#427 of 460 Re: 1998 Buick Park Avenue engine problem - redux [spriteman]
Mar 18, 2013 (6:16 am)
Hey TD, Not a problem. It sounds like your upper intake manifold (UIM) has done the norm. There is a little metal stove pipe that goes through the lower part of the UIM or plenum, which allows exhaust to be mixed with the air as part of your exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system. That stove pipe comes into close contact with that plastic plenum, and the original design has a water jacket encircling it to keep it cool. But plastic and heat don't mix, it dries out over time, it then cracks and water & coolant starts to leak in and mix with the air. When you are running, it probably burns off the little stream of fluid making it past the crack. When the engine cools the fluid leaks past the intake valves and fills some of your cylinders.
Air compresses, fluid doesn't. Hence your engine won't turn.
I've heard the clank and had the failure in my '98 twice.
Pull your spark plugs and then try to turn it over. Do NOT tell your wife to lean over and watch closely to see if fluid comes out while you sit inside the car and crank it
If it spins freely without the plugs in it, you are probably OK as long as you don't let it sit for a couple months. Solution for me has never been a replaced engine, just a new UIM. The new UIM has a new design, as well as a downsized stovepipe. I don't know if the redesign has thicker water jacket walls or no water jacket at all...? It's supposed to be a lifetime fix. This is what I put on after #2 failure
So you want to : get as much fluid out of the cylinders as possible, replace the UIM, change your oil, add coolant, fire it up and watch it steam for a while while it gets any remaining water out.
While you have it apart, you should go ahead and replace the LIM gaskets as well, they only cost about $45 at Amazon. Old design was plastic and tended to leak, the new design is aluminum and is supposedly a lifetime fix.
You could probably get the job done in an afternoon by yourself if you have the tools, including torque wrenches. If you do replace the LIM gaskets that will add a little time because you clean the old parts.
How many miles do you have on your car now?
Please let us know how it goes
#428 of 460 Re: 1998 Buick Park Avenue engine problem - redux [spriteman]
Mar 18, 2013 (6:39 am)
The big mistake was not putting coolant/water directly into the radiator when the reservoir showed low. That allowed the engine to overheat.
With the relatively low miles, I'd try to resurrect the engine if the test without plugs seems okay for cranking.
Drain the oil and change filter. Put in cheapest oil from Walmart and cheap filter. Just get the coolant out that's in the old oil and on the bearings, and crank the engine to move oil to the bearings even if it won't start. May need to charge your battery while you're working on the car.
The old UIM should be replaced with one that has the metal sleeve in the EGR tunnel to keep the heat from affecting the plastic in local spots. APN, ineed parts.com. It's called the Sure Fix.
You want the metal sleeved lower intake gasket between the lower metla intake and the heads: it's sleeved in aluminum and sold by GM at the dealers or Rockauto may have it (rockauto.com), and this may be the FelPro version (who probably makes the GM version) at APN ineedparts.com.
http://www.ineedparts.com/96-08-lower-intake-gasket-set-3800-v-6-permadryplus.ht- - - ml
You will need the heater bypass elbow tubes because the one comes from the tensioner into the metal lower intake. Get the GM version from the dealer or get the metal Dormano--do not use the plastic Dormans. The o-ring gaskets are better on the GM or metal ones.
Seal the end strips under the lower intake to the block with some silicon sealer to prevent leaks at the corners. Let it dry overnight before putting on the lower intake.
If you are going to do this yourself you'll need to organize where you put various screws and bolts you take out to keep them in order. Take pictures of thiings before taking that part off. You'll need an inch-pound torque wrench.
I'd allow a day and half for this job.
A good diagnosis before the work would be to test compression in all cylinders with oil squirted in to be sure there's no head gasket leak.
Use yahoo.com with my user name here to give me an email and I can send you more help if you're going to do it yourself. Good luck with the repair.
#430 of 460 Re: 1998 Buick Park Avenue engine problem - redux [imidazol97]
Mar 18, 2013 (6:59 am)
That's a lot of good info I hadn't thought about. Perfect time to do the elbows. On my '98s there was only one elbow used and one O-ring that goes on the metal pipe of your belt tensioner. ( On some models there are two elbows used.) If yours only has one elbow, you take the O-ring off the elbow you don't use, and put it on the metal fitting. ( this is assuming you bought a kit with two elbows )
One other thing to mention is the MAP sensor. Don't try to pull it out of the UIM, that will probably break it. First take the collar off that holds the MAP (twist then pull). That loosens the plastic fingers that grip the MAP. Then carefully pull the MAP out of the collar.
For what it's worth, the first time it happened to me, my needle gauge was in the red zone, my digital readout showed 250F. I pulled over at a service station as I was on the way to work and added fluid to the radiator + overflow, at the end of the day I went to start it and it went clank.
#431 of 460 Re: 1998 Buick Park Avenue engine problem - redux [bowfan]
Mar 18, 2013 (7:33 am)
I've never been clear on which years in which H-body used the metal sleeve as part of the tenioner and which used a 2nd plastic elbow to carry the heater water.
Good thing is the packages usually have both tubes and 4 o-rings and you use which you need.
>needle gauge in the red zone.
The 3800s are somewhat resistant to overheating damage to the heads and gaskets. But I'm concerned that the radiator water was really low and no coolant was being pumped--the temp gauge going to 130 sounds like it was reading air instead of coolant at the top of the engine for atime.
I suggest the sleeved UIM and the metal gaskets for the lower because spending more now over the standard replacements means spriteman won't have to redo this in 75,000 miles. I still laught about my conversation with Dorman when I did the UIM on my 98. It had been replaced by dealer at 75,000 and I was replacing it again at 150,000. Dorman said about 75,000 is the nominal time.
The metal sleeve stuff started years ago on Bonnevilles where a person was putting sleeves in that he made himself. He was asking for used UIMs to be sent to him to try the sleeves he was milliing.
I did the 98 2nd UIM myself and I was sore and in terrible shape by the end of 2 days of leaning over the engine. I recommend unless someone is used to working in that position, that they plan to go slow with breaks to do this work.
I really recommend separating the bolts and screws into separate containers withs labels as to where they go. I even used label stickers on some parts.
#432 of 460 Re: 1998 Buick Park Avenue engine problem - redux [imidazol97]
Mar 19, 2013 (3:49 am)
imidazol97 / bowfan
Okay - here's the latest on the diagnosis.
Shut down A/C - disconnected neg batt - drained oil/coolant - oil did not look like it had any water in it
Removed motor cover and other components to allow access to the plug wires and plugs - disconnected spark plug wires
Removed spark plugs - had some minimal coolant drainage
After I finally got all the plugs out I turned the crank shaft with a large socket - at first it didn't want to turn but after the first piston hit the top I got a big coolant flush - I went ahead and turned the rest of the pistons through by hand just to make sure all of the major coolant was cleared
The spark plugs were a little oily but did not look that bad
I then reconnected the batt and turned the engine over with the starter. The engine turned smoothly and I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary with the cycling. I did hear a high pitch whine - the noise was coming from the starter. At first I was concerned but I was thinking that that's just the sound a starter makes but you never hear because the engine starts so quickly. Let me know if you think that whining noise is something to be concerned about.
Based on what I'm seeing and hearing it sounds like the engine is okay - do you both agree? Any info I can supply to make sure in your minds just let me know?
So, today I plan on refilling the engine with the cheap oil I got from Wal-mart and changing out the oil filter as well. I think one of you said something about cycling the engine a few times to distribute the oil throughout the crankcase - any recommendation on how many times it needs to cycle?
Regarding the new gaskets - I called the INeedParts folks and they said that it would take three days to get the parts to me. I didn't ask about it but I'm considering doing an expedited delivery.
QUESTION - it looks like the INeedParts gasket parts are about $80 more than what Autozone offers - I just want to make sure that it's worth the extra money. I'm a big believer in quality and if you think there is a significant difference I'm okay with that.
QUESTION - my brother was saying I should be very concerned about the heads warping - have you seen a problem with this after overheating? I believe the heads are aluminum - correct?
I'm going to go ahead a place my gasket kit order unless I hear otherwise from either of you. I am also going to go ahead and break down the engine to the point where once I receive the parts I can begin the rebuild.
I am labeling everything by matching a component with the appropriate fitting with the same number.
I have the Haynes service manual but I'm finding it a little light on directions - do either of you have any more detailed instructions that I can follow?
Any tips on breaking down the intake manifold and cleaning out the old gasket material? Seems like the key is to label label label.
That's all I can think of right now - I'll post more as I have more info.
Thanks again for your help.
#433 of 460 Re: 1998 Buick Park Avenue engine problem - redux [imidazol97]
Mar 19, 2013 (4:17 am)
PS That "going to 130" drop in temp reading was a typo on my part - that should have read "going to 230"
#434 of 460 Re: 1998 Buick Park Avenue engine problem - redux [spriteman]
Mar 19, 2013 (5:55 am)
If you put the oil into a milk container where you can see the bottom, is there water? Even if none showing, I'd turn the engine over with plugs out for 5-10 seconds a couple of times after oil pressure is up. On mine, I'd wait to let starter cool and I'd do that several times. That will flush the oil between the bearings and crankshaft to reduce damage from coolant in the oil that doesn't show the water.
If it were mine I'd try testing compression to see if there might be a head problem. But they are rare on these engines.
I don't think you have to remove the crossover pipe to get to the one small bolt for the throttle body.
If you want to drop me an email to yahoo.com with my user name here in front of the "at" sign, I can send you more help. If you don't see actual water in the oil that's a good sign that it was early in the leaking of the lower gaskets that you've caught it. Good luck.
#435 of 460 Re: 1998 Buick Park Avenue engine problem - redux [spriteman]
Mar 19, 2013 (6:09 am)
Yep, the engine will definitely sound different without compression when your starter turns it over. Glad to hear it's turning. In the worst case of hydrolock, you may break or bend a connecting rod or piston.
The heads are iron, the Lower Intake is aluminum.
I wouldn't worry about changing the oil until you swap the parts.
In my experience, I think all the parts (I've used Dorman) now supply the smaller size stovepipe, and the metal sleeved UIM or Intake plenum. If you are going to replace the LIM gaskets, I've used the AC Delco and heard good reports on them. They're about $42 at Amazon currently, and the UIM kit carries all the o-rings for your injectors, MAP, etc. I don't think it includes the Permatex RTV sealant like the one imidazol97 linked to.
part for AC Delco is "ACDelco 89017816 Intake Manifold Gasket Kit"
regarding warpage, I haven't seen it in my experience, and my temp indicated HOT and my radiator was only holding steam. And I had it happen twice. Car is still running smoothly with 315,000+.
If anything is prone to warpage, I'd think it would be the plastic LIM gaskets. *see my pics in link of earlier post.