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Blown Head Gasket


Guest brh

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I don't know all the particulars but this guy blew a head gasket on a 2002 with the 3.8. I'd like to know how in the world thats possible. We all know the 3.8 is/was a great engine. I know this person is not the greatest on maint, unless G.M. installed a "Blown Headgasket" light on the dash, he'd keep driving the thing. Only thing I can come up with is the car was allowed to overheat one too many times, or once really bad. Any other ideas?? Thanks.

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A non supercharged 2002 3800 has the plastic intake manifold issue. Now I understand that it's just a part on the manifold that's plastic and it touches something metal which eventually burns through the plastic leading to steamy conditions under the hood. conditions which for all intents and purposes would look like a blown head gasket.

However, that being said, I suppose even a 3800 could have a bad gasket from the factory by accident.

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Guest Andynator

Here is the only experience I've had with a blown head gasket - on my garden tractor. This is a 2-cylinder Kohler that blew a gasket after only about 100 hours. My mechanic found a manufacturing / design defect in the fuel pump where one of the lobes in the pump was wearing away due to contact with a harder surface. This caused one cylinder to be starved and run lean which eventually cooked that side of the engine but showed no symptoms of overheating and no noticeable effects right up until the point the engine siezed.

My point is only that it may be possible to overheat in a very local area of the engine and blow the gasket but not exhibit any "normal" overheating conditions.

BTW - Kohler paid for a new short block. I did get tapped for labor, though - out of warranty by like 3 months.

Andy

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Now thats interesting. So its very possible, that one of the fuel injectors got clogged or paritally clogged and starved a cyl which in turn would blow a gasket. Knowing this person its not all that far fetched for the check engine light to have been glowing some time, before all this happened.

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JOHND1956 has your probable answer. The 3800 is not as wonderful an engine it sometimes pretends to be. If the exaust is blowing steam, it smells like antifreeze you have a common problem to this engine. The intake manifold gasket let go. Pull off the intake and replace it. If you continue to run the engine it will seize up. The problem has nothing to do with the cars poor maintenance. Simply poor engineering on GMs part. They should have stuck with the straight eight huh?

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Thanks for the plug Pirate, but I respectfully dissagree with you about the 3800. The 3800 is a marvelous motor, much better than many will ever give it credit for. However, GM did allow some modifications to parts that did not stand the test of time.

Meanwhile, I think straight 8's are cool but I'm glad they moved past them into the fablous nailheads and awesome wedges Buick manufactured.

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I was being sarcastic JohnD. The straight 8 had it's place in history as a fine and strong engine. So has the nailhead, the wedge 400/455 the 3800 as examples. Unfortunately the long and good history for the 3800 has been comprimized with the last series and that plastic intake manifold. I buy and rebuild late model wrecks for extra income and because of what I have seen with the recent 3800 I tend to shy away from cars with this engine. It is a shame. I well remember how great the 3800 used to be.

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Let me pop in here.... Hi I'm new, but I will answer your question.

Blowing a head gasket in a 3800 is extremely rare, in all the 3800's I have dealt with, only 2 have blew head gaskets only because the drivers severely overheated the engines.

Your solution is to drain the oil ASAP, pull the upper intake and replace it with a Dorman or APN updated upper intake (don't put it on, you are pulling the lower intake next), next thing is to pull the lower intake, clean the gasket surfaces (JB weld any pits if present) and reinstall only with the updated aluminum framed intake gaskets, not the plastic ones or the Dex-Cool will eat them away again if you choose to still use it. When you are all done, flush the system to remove the Dex-Cool, and replace it will tradition green coolant. The Dex-Cool has been proven to eat away at the lower gaskets, as well as the composite material of the upper intake.

You will then reassemble it all, and be good to go for quite a while. The other option is to custom fit a Series III aluminum upper intake to replace the composite one. This will assure a trouble free 3800. I have a friend that did this swap back in 2004, and is running flawlessly with 185,000 miles.

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Thanks for the tips and suggestions, its back together and from what I understand running. Lots of good info and suggestions, especially for my 3800 which does get taken care of.

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No offence taken John D. Not at all. Can you picture a straight 8 engine laying in a front wheel drive sideways and hooked up to the transaxle? the car would have to be 8 feet wide to accomodate it.... lets give a thanks to 63 specialdix. He appears to be very familiar with the 3800 and knows how to keep one going.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: pirate</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> Can you picture a straight 8 engine laying in a front wheel drive sideways and hooked up to the transaxle? the car would have to be 8 feet wide to accomodate it.... </div></div>

Wow!, talk about a modified ... laugh.gif

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