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NOS2006

So, the Camaro's All Apart

44 posts in this topic

1998 Camaro for those of you not in the know. 3.8L "3800 Series II." Automatic Transmission.

Every piece of the motor is apart from the other, after a major knocking noise started to occur. This is what we've found:

  • A few worn main bearings
  • A few worn rod bearings
  • One completely torn up rod bearing (looks like a rodent got to it or something)
  • A couple scratched/scarred pistons and connecting rods because of the bearings
  • The "bearing" (or whatever it's called) on the crankshaft for Cylinder One is worn almost flush with the ridge that's supposed to be there
  • The thing that sucks the oil up is totally full of metal shavings and garbage
And this is only after 55,000 miles.

I changed the oil 200 miles ago and the oil was darker when we drained it this time than my grandma's Saturn that was overdue for an oil change for at least 1000 miles.

Edited by NOS2006

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Well, we're getting all brand new rod bearings, seeing about the main bearings, a few new pistons, a few new rods, maybe new piston rings (not sure yet), new oil pan gasket, painting the block, getting the crank ground (hopefully we won't need to buy a new one), and sending GM the bill.

Well, I'm going to write GM telling them about the piece of $h! they sold me and see what they say.

Oh, and when the guy put in my 3.73s he said there were bearings or something in there that were totally shot and he replaced those, too..

Edited by NOS2006

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Guest Josh

Might be tough to convince GM it's their fault with the aftermarket goodies on there but I feel for ya NOS. That's why I'm hesitant to do anything with the Solstice. 1 thing goes wrong then what i'm screwed?

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Might be tough to convince GM it's their fault with the aftermarket goodies on there but I feel for ya NOS. That's why I'm hesitant to do anything with the Solstice. 1 thing goes wrong then what i'm screwed?

thats kinda what i was thinking

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I see an uphill battle to get assistance from GM on this one. Also, determining exactly what happened is critical. Did this happen all at once? Did the mods contribute to the failure? Was there a defect from the start? The 3800 is known for reliability, so finding out what the problem was should be job one. If the mods couldn't have caused the problem(I think they couldn't have) and the warranty is still in force, you may have a case. The fact that you've already torn down the engine hurts your chances though. See the SEMA website for the guidelines regarding aftermarket parts and OEM warranties.

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The knock didn't start until you guys took it apart, right? Did you hear any noises from the rear diff?

You know these cars get used hard. Who can guess what kind of life it had before you got it... and by your posts, you weren't driving it like an old lady either.

I certainly hope this guy can put the car back together for you and have it be reliable. It sucks to be without your car when all you want to do is drive it.

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The mods were only in the car 200 miles. There's no way it would've been torn to hell that quick with how much damage there is to multiple cylinders: I asked a mechanic of 15 years and a head mechanical engineer from an engine-building company.

There was never any noise from the rear end.

As soon as the knocking noise began, we didn't drive the car at all. We only ran it about 3 times for maybe 20 seconds each before tearing everything down.

Also, I didn't drive the car hard daily, only once in awhile. Even if I did, I know of people with vehicles over 120,000 miles who beat their car day after day without a problem.

Oh, and I really don't expect GM to pay for anything; my car's not under warranty. However, I feel they should be aware of this because under no condition should any car go bad after 55,000 miles at this time in age, where cars that can reach anywhere from 150-300k miles are not unreasonable. Hell, even my dad's 1990 Cavalier that has gone way longer on every oil change than any car ever should, is running strong at 130,000 miles (except the body work, but I'm talking mechanical).

Edited by NOS2006

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I'm not picking on you, Nos. If the person before you never changed the oil, for example, that could drastically accelerate engine wear. And what does your owner's manual say about the rear end oil change interval? Hardly anyone ever pulls the pot cover and changes the oil back there (I'm talking about previous owners). When you took the engine apart, did you clean any of the internal parts? Maybe there's a connection between some worn parts being disassembled and cleaned and your sudden bearing noises.

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I don't remember the interval for the rearend and don't have the owner's manual on me.

The cam is above the crankshaft and everything else that went bad. We had to pull the engine to fix the problem we have now.. we didn't even have the heads off when replacing the cam. Also, we lubed, oiled, and greased everything possible and changed the oil right after doing the swap. Even the coolant got replaced.

And, I know you're not picking on me, but I get it from people everyday at school that rag on me saying I beat on 'er when I don't do that at all. They make assumptions, and you know what they say about doing that...

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How long have you had the car? If you've kept up the maintenance since you've had it, you cannot be blamed for the engine wear. It had to happen at the hands of previous owners. It sounds like lack of oil changes, or running it low on oil for a long time. I am not saying I am a mechanical expert, far from it, but these kinds of problems usually don't just happen on their own with a well-maintained engine, and a 3800 is a quality piece.

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We bought the car in 2000 with approximately 14,000 miles. I mean, it's been 41,000 miles and 6 years since the old owner had it. I'd think these problems would've showed up just a bit sooner, wouldn't you? :huh:

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NOS-o-rama:

This is a first. You know I'm one of the "3800 til death" fiends on this site. Do you have any read as to why this happened? I know some Series II had intake manifold problems and you suspected you might have had this problem, but does this work its way down into the lower engine?

Let us know. Good luck with the project.

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I give up. I will leave you alone. I have no explanation. Stew on. I'm over and out.

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NOS-o-rama:

This is a first.  You know I'm one of the "3800 til death" fiends on this site.  Do you have any read as to why this happened?  I know some Series II had intake manifold problems and you suspected you might have had this problem, but does this work its way down into the lower engine?

Let us know.  Good luck with the project.

Yeah, I know about the plenum intake problem. I did have it, too, about a year ago. We replaced both the upper and lower intake manifold gaskets and that problem was gone (we were losing coolant but it wasn't an apparent-by-vision leak).

Oh, and most people with that problem get it around 70,000 miles; we discovered ours around 40,000.

And, honestly, we have no idea why this could've happened at all. I'm hoping my cousin can come over tomorrow (the dude I explained as being the head mechanical engineer for an engine-designing company.. well they design suspension and other stuff, too, but yeah..) and maybe be able to figure something out. He's really effing intelligent.

I give up.  I will leave you alone.  I have no explanation.  Stew on.  I'm over and out.

lol Thanks anyway, the questions/answers may help somebody else diagnose the problem..

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Yeah, but I'm keeping the weight off my shoulders. I'm pretty much trying to forget about the money portion of it all because I know I'm pretty much broke and I'm going to have to pay my dad back for all the dues, although he keeps saying he's paying for a portion of it.

I know it'll be better when it's all done and I know it's going to be better than ever before. Until then, I get to drive the Grand Prix, but I'd like to drive my own car.

Meh, whatever, I'm not too worried about it: it's going back together one way or the other and it'll be within the next two weeks.

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Wow Dude, sorry to hear about this misfortune.

Whatever the case, best of luck. :)

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Meh, whatever, I'm not too worried about it: it's going back together one way or the other and it'll be within the next two weeks.

Just curious ... why the timeframe of the next 2 weeks?

And, so, does this mean I'll get to ride in that Camaro when I'm up in MI in August?

Sorry about the troubles with it, bud.

Cort, "Mr MC" / "Mr Road Trip", 32swm/pig valve/pacemaker

MC:family.IL.guide.future = http://www.chevyasylum.com/cort/

Models.HO = http://www.chevyasylum.com/cort/trainroom.html

"I ain't ready for the junkyard yet" ... George Jones ... 'I Don't Need Your Rocking Chair'

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Well, I actually have the timeframe set at 10 days, 2 weeks was a cushion.

I say about that long because the crank has to get ground, or maybe replaced. Also, I have to get all the new gaskets/bearings, allow the guy time to throw the engine back into the car, and throw the top half back together (which should MAYBE take two nights after my dad gets out of work, depending if I work or not). Two weeks is a real soft cushion.

And, yes, you can get a ride if I can get one first! lol

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And, yes, you can get a ride if I can get one first! lol

He he he...fair enough!

As for the timeframe ... I thought 2 weeks was a magical thing or something ... a road trip ... whathaveya ... but, I understand now.

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First off: sorry to hear about your probs. Let me throw something out from left field: how does the engine physically look? Not that any manufacturer can't have it's issues every now and then, but the 3.8 has been in place a looong time, and you've had a string of extremely bad luck on an relatively new engine. I'm wondering if you shouldn't check out the vehicle history on your car. Has it been wrecked/rebuilt? You very well could have a used engine under the hood.

In 1989 I bought an '88 Chrysler Lebaron 2.2 Turbo II (OK, HERE'S YOUR ONE AND ONLY CHANCE TO BAG ON ME ABOUT THAT PURCHASE). Anyways, that car has less than 1,200 miles on it and it was piled up hard. Some guy had purchased it, did all the body work on it and then started missing payments to his credit union. I found out about it and purchased it. I don't know much about the original accident, especially since the body work had been completed before I purchased the car, but I could see that the cross member had been banged up pretty good and the oil pan had been crushed. The car had a broken connecting rod. The block was toast. The oil shavings in the pan had clogged the pickup screen and had starved the turbo for oil (a big no-no -> turbo's spin about 10x your engine rpd, so a momentary loss of oil pressure = post-toastie). The cam had welded itself into the head. Oh yeah, the car had sat for a while, and water had rusted out the inside of the transmission. I basically had to put a new long block in it, have the tranny rebuilt, and put a new turbo unit on it. It was a summer project and a half (never seen so many damned vacuum hoses in my life). So I had a 1,200 mile car that had already seen a new engine and tranny. You'd have never known. And I learned how to swear for half an hour without repeating myself.

I drove the car until I rattled a clip off of the valve stem and dropped a valve into the engine at 68,000 miles (note to self: do not keep any car in 'yellow' range of tach for an hour). I put a boneyard engine into the car & traded it away. So that car ended up being on it's 3rd engine by 68,000 miles... you never know.. I'm just speculating.

Best wishes!

Edited by cmattson

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It was a summer project and a half (never seen so many damned vacuum hoses in my life)....

You Sir, have never owned or worked on a 1980s Cadillac

Fleetwood Brougham! The joke with my buddies is that the

car has vacuum operated power windows, seats, anteana,

trunk release & high beams. :P

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