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mustang84

Bad news for the Lumina

30 posts in this topic

Well, luckily the "curse" hasn't befell it, but head gasket woes have. I took it to the GM dealer the other day and went to pick it up today and found out that the #5 cylinder has moisture and coolant in it. This is bad timing because I go back to school in a week and they won't be able to to get it in for at least two weeks. Also, the GM dealer here is being bought out by the Ford dealer, so it may end up being serviced over at the Ford dealer costing more money due to higher labor costs there. The GM dealer will repair it for $800, and another place we checked can do it for $650-700.

I will be buying a new car in May, so my options are either A) pour $800 into a car I bought for $800 (plus put new brakes on recently), or B) buy something cheap to get me along for 9 months.

Right now, we're leaning toward getting it fixed due to the new brakes, fairly new tires, and low mileage (120K), but the idea of a different used car is still being thrown around. There is a '92 Caprice for sale here for $1200, also a '93 LeSabre (not really what I want though).

Are blown head gaskets fairly common on 3.1 engines? My last Lumina went 220K miles without one blowing. I know the 3.4 is pretty notorious.

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I have a 1998 Lumina with the 3.1l. And yes the head gasket problem is a common one, because I had them replaced at 114,XXX miles.

If I was you I will put the $800 to repair her. Because if you are looking till May that is about $90/month provided nothing else happens to it. Hell you cannot buy a cheap car for that much. Plus you put those $800 in brakes too, so that is another cost you have to put up with in order to call it a decent investment.

I will keep her. Just baby her with mid-ranged fuel and meticulous oil changes and she should be good for another nine months.

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Go for the Caprice, you'll get your money back on that one.

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fix the lumina. 800 bucks is a cheap car repair for a school year of driving. plus you already have a stereo in the lumina.

either way, it may be at least a year before you get another car.

the caprice is a nice option to have though. i iwish i could get my dad to part with his 92 seville and sell it to me. i would use it as my winter car (its not a beater). then i could buy a RWD CTS or G8 for summers.

the rural labor is cheaper. that 800 repair may be 1200 or more in some other locales.

Edited by regfootball
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fix the lumina. I've heard so many horrow stories of this gasket intake coolant issue, especially with the 3400. I guess I got a an especially well built Alero because I used to flog the crap out of it when I was driving it anf it was fine even after over 100k miles.

Mustang, What car are you thinking of in may?

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Mustang, What car are you thinking of in may?

Right now, either a new or gently used '07 Mustang, possibly a Fusion, and maybe something from the GM stable. It's all up in the air right now...I have to wait until I get a job secured to know how much I'll be able to afford...the place I'm interning at right now is looking like they will have an opening for me when I graduate and they seem to pay pretty decently for starting wages.

I'm planning on living close to my job, so I'm not as concerned with gas prices. I'm willing to spend $500-1000 per year more on gas rather than getting a small car or a 4-cylinder. I'm also tall so small cars are out.

I like the G8, but I have a feeling it will be out of my range.

Another idea is that I buy something used and then wait until the new Impala, GTO, etc. come out in a few years. I really want a RWD, V8 car...bad. :)

Either way, Ford or GM will get a sale.

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While on the subject here; what's the down-low on the 3.1 & head gasket issues. Wife's '03 3.1 GP just turned 70K and the rumors make me uneasy- I'd like to trade it in. Are the '03s any better? If not, @ what mileage does the problem become a real possibility?

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uhhhh..., I'd like to meet reg's accountant.

$800 is a "cheap repair"?

most of the cars I buy (running/driving/title in hand) are about tht TOTAL!!!

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uhhhh..., I'd like to meet reg's accountant.

$800 is a "cheap repair"?

most of the cars I buy (running/driving/title in hand) are about tht TOTAL!!!

Well, it's about 2 car payments.. $800 is about what I paid when I had a brake job all the way around on my Jeep a few years ago.

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Moltar:

Again, he PAYED $800 for the whole car.... it's a Lumina, not a late model G.Cherokee.

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While on the subject here; what's the down-low on the 3.1 & head gasket issues. Wife's '03 3.1 GP just turned 70K and the rumors make me uneasy- I'd like to trade it in. Are the '03s any better? If not, @ what mileage does the problem become a real possibility?

They got the head gasket problem worked out by 2003... That's a whole different 3100 series anyway, the Series II is on the Lumina, 1997+Cars had the 3100 Series III, which had the head gasket problem solved, if not in from the beginning, definitely before 2000.

It's the pre 2004 3400 Vehicles you should be afraid of.

I agree with 68, get the Caprice and sell it for a slight profit later.

Edited by vonVeezelsnider
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Moltar:

Again, he PAYED $800 for the whole car.... it's a Lumina, not a late model G.Cherokee.

Ah, yes. I guess I would weigh whether or not it the $800 fix would keep the car going long enough to be worthwhile... my experience w/ cheap beaters is that they are money pits (everyone I know that's had one seem to be dropping $250-500 a month in them in repairs).

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I didn't catch how many miles on the current Lumina. I just left the shop here in Portland with new plug wires. The Regal is starting to be frayed, but I get 29 and 27 mpg up to Seattle and back on Monday. I'm feeling a lot less attached to it, lately.

Have the other 2 choices checked thoroughly before you pop for them. You may have a hidden repair on those though the Impy will have a good motor (probably a 5 or 5.7 V8 and RWD) and the 3800 should be Series I which means no intake manifold issues.

The best thing to do is create 3 columns for the 3 cars with estimated cash flows for repairs, purchase price and sales price upon exit, then make up your mind. If they are close, you can be somewhat steered by emotion.

Does this mean I should cross a new MC with a 3500 VVT V6 (born out of the 3400) off my list? What's your take on that?

Let us know what you decide.

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$650 - $800 for a headgasket? Insane. I'd buy a repair manual and replace it yourself for $200 or so.

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Bob: The Lumina has 122,000 miles on it...I bought it at 80,000 so I've put 42,000 on it over 4 1/2 years. I '92 Caprice for sale is owned by one of the bank presidents here in town, so I'm assuming its in pretty good shape (I haven't seen it personally yet). If the car is in good enough shape, I probably could profit off it since gently-driven Caprices are pretty hot items these days.

It sounds like I'll be getting the Lumina fixed though. Too much money has been put into it already and it's probably going to be most economical just to suck it up and pay the $650.

BV: I've toyed with that idea, but I don't have the time nor the mechanical confidence to be sure I would do it correctly. It'd be a great summer mini-project for me to learn more about it, but I have to have the car running in less than a week and I've got a ton of things going on before then. The 3.1 in the Lumina is also pretty jammed in there...it'd probably be more trouble than it is worth for a novice.

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Does this mean I should cross a new MC with a 3500 VVT V6 (born out of the 3400) off my list? What's your take on that?

I wouldn't think so, as the 3400 head gasket problems were resolved around 2004-2005. That was the main big problem with the 3400 and I assume it was corrected, the engine hasn't proven itself though. I've got a 2006 Malibu Maxx 3500 non VVT, and I'm wondering about it too.

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$650 - $800 for a headgasket? Insane. I'd buy a repair manual and replace it yourself for $200 or so.

Ditto. I don't know why everybody's so afraid of working on their own cars today to the point of getting bent over hard with no lube. Someone in this thread said they paid $800 for a brake job; are you f@#king high?! Buy the parts, buy the book, buy a 12-pack, recruit a buddy, spend a Sunday and do it yourself.

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Cold day in hell when I would pay $800 for a brake job - I'll have much less that that invested in the the Chevelle's brake system all told ( and I'm replacing EVERY component including all of the lines).

That said, I'd fix the Lumina.

Better the devil you know...

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I didn't catch how many miles on the current Lumina. I just left the shop here in Portland with new plug wires. The Regal is starting to be frayed, but I get 29 and 27 mpg up to Seattle and back on Monday. I'm feeling a lot less attached to it, lately.

Have the other 2 choices checked thoroughly before you pop for them. You may have a hidden repair on those though the Impy will have a good motor (probably a 5 or 5.7 V8 and RWD) and the 3800 should be Series I which means no intake manifold issues.

The best thing to do is create 3 columns for the 3 cars with estimated cash flows for repairs, purchase price and sales price upon exit, then make up your mind. If they are close, you can be somewhat steered by emotion.

Does this mean I should cross a new MC with a 3500 VVT V6 (born out of the 3400) off my list? What's your take on that?

Let us know what you decide.

You are getting offer cheaper than me Mustang. As for the 3800 Series I trinacriabob, my Toronado would tell you different on the intake manifold issue. That is one of the reasons why I am getting an new engine. Sadly, something else may be wrong with the engine impacted by this issue. You fix that, then you will have to repair something else. It is up to you to decide what you decide to do. I just know on my Toronado which is 3800 Series I, I have to get a entirely new engine. Other parts will need to be replaced because of oil in the coolant, and coolant in the oil.

I have no choice to fix my Toronado because:

1. They do not make it any longer.

2. The option package I have is rare. They made more Trofeos.

3. It took a long time find the Toronado because of production numbers, and the condition of most of the ones out there.

4. I want a return on my investment.

5. The scrap yard won't give you what you paid for it. They will turn around and sell parts at a profit.

Let us know what you decide in the end. These people are offering good advice. I do feel you on this issue.

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$650 - $800 for a headgasket? Insane. I'd buy a repair manual and replace it yourself for $200 or so.

That is not insane. That is cheaper than what I was quoted for the Toronado. Try 1,000-1,500 before labor. That is another reason why I am going with a newer engine.

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That is not insane. That is cheaper than what I was quoted for the Toronado. Try 1,000-1,500 before labor. That is another reason why I am going with a newer engine.

Headgasket set for a 3800 V6, Toronado - $99.99 - Autozone

I hope you didn't actually pay that much. :huh:

Edited by blackviper8891
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Yeah, I'd fix it...

What year is the Lumina? If it is in good shape otherwise (good body-no rust-nice on the inside)...it's better to have no payments.....

Most of the Luminas I still see going aroud here are the 3.1s....

I saw a 99 Lumina LTZ (looked nice) but I think it had the 3.4.....

Makes me wonder how long my dad's 3.4 in his 03 Venture will last...

WMJ-did you see quite a few 02-04 Ventures in there?

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as far as cost, i guess many folks don't know what the going rate is labor and expenses in many industries. I am guessing shop techs might have billed time around 80 bucks an hour (their pay plus taxes and social security and medical and HR costs). then there is the shop and tools to pay for, the building, the phones, utilities, advertising, the receptionist, the toilet paper, the coffee machine........4 hours of shop rate can eclipse 300 bucks quickly. a full day project well over 500. labor only.

fine and dandy if you blew the money for tools and you have full days and nights and weekends to be able to tell your s.o., sorry, i'm sitting in the shop working on the car tonight. that's rarely popular when you have wife kids / s.o. vying for your attention and time, and they deserve to have it instead of you hangin in the shop. chances are most folks do not have shop space or tools to do an efficient job on car repairs these days and why should they? Everything is specialized these days. Chances are a novice trying to replace a head gasket by themselves may not be successful. Having adequate tools to do efficient and correct work would be too expensive. Then who is responsible for the botched job? If you pay a specialist you get peace of mind and warranty. Do it yourself and there's always the chance of needing to redo it and waste even more time away from other things and your family.

if you have the skills, the shop, and the time, then its nice to save the money. the point should be to drive something that doesn't need much fixing. older cars, while cheap to buy, in my experience reach a point where repairs become more expensive than car payments on a modest newer vehicle. And your car is more trustworthy and there's no unpredictability of not getting to work again because the car is hosed again.

in mustang's case, it sounds like the luminaire has been good overall, and at least is still able to make a business case for keeping it awhile longer so he doesn't have to tax his credit with a car loan right now. It's better to wait until he gets on track with the job and the big bucks and then get a cool set of wheels.

Edited by regfootball
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What year is the Lumina?

It's a '94 Euro

Reg pretty much hit the nail on the head. It would be me farting around with a book and wasting a day or two trying to do it correctly, probably messing something up along the way. Someday I hope to have a project car that I can work on in my spare time and to learn how to take apart and reassemble an engine, but for my sole mode of transportation that I need running by Tuesday I'd rather just have it done professionally and done right the first time. It hasn't been a money pit at all and she's still got some youth left in her, so $650 seems reasonable for a car that is probably going to go at least another 80,000 miles if my '90 Lumina was any indication.

Edited by mustang84
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