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Disaster happened !!!
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Ecog
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:20 am    Post subject: Snif ! Disaster happened !!! Reply with quote

I bought my 2000 impala 3.8L 3 months ago. The car was garage kept and never really was taken for a convincing amount of miles 73,000. I was driving down the interstate (PA 79) and heard the start of slapping of a a pushrod or lifter, either or, it sounded like a lawnmower at 75 MPH. I quickly told my wife that I think the engine is about to pop. As soon as I said that, it popped and the car totally shut off. I drifted to the pull off and popped the hood. I didn't see any smoke come out the tailpipe as in a backfire, the oil was still clean and clear, the antifreeze was fine no overheat. I know it's damaged (Ray Charles can see that one) but to what extent? Does this car have a kill mechanism that when something goes wrong in the engine it will turn off? I did try to start it after 10 minutes and seen the alternator and belt did jump, but it was not gonna turn over. Or is the worse case scenario that my engine ceased? Any thoughts or experiences would help.

update Smile Engine Found Smile

The mechanic is getting a rebuilt 3.8 for 700.00 All in all he said it will be $2000.00 for everything when said and done. I think it's a very fair very price for his time and effort. We each agreed that it is still worth putting in the engine considering how nice the car has been kept (clean as a whistle). He went on and told me how he was picking up pieces of the engine out of the oil pan. He is going to call a friend in Texas to see if he has a clue about what could of happened. I think this was more of him being so curious to find out what happened that it was almost like he was hoping I told him to rip the engine apart. I still want to get them pix tho' Clap


Last edited by Ecog on Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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nightryder
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:24 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

First step would be pulling the plugs to see if any looked smashed.

You can also check the flywheel, although if that went you should be able to turn the engine over by hand and not the starter...unless it broke and lodged itself in a way that would lock the engine.

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Albert2kls
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:15 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

If the belt or tensioner broke and the alt is not spinning the car will run the battery down and it will not have the power spin the starter. When cranking the engine with the key what does it do or sound like? Is it possible that the sound you heard was the belt or something else under the hood and not the engine? If I read correctly you said the belt was off right? Check the idler and the tensioner, I have changed many of these on the 3.8 engines. I am trying to be positive for you because I know how you feel, I bought my 2000 LS 3 weeks before the tranny went and now it sits in my garage waiting till this weekend. Also look at the plug for the coil pack, because the belt coming off may have slapped around and ripped some wires or grounds out causing it to shut off, I know I am reaching here but anything is worth a try.

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Arvetus
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:27 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

I think when he said the alternator and the belt jumped, he meant that he could see the belt move a tiny bit when he went to crank it.

Does it crank at all? Does the motor seem tight?
You should be able to take the belt off and turn the crank pulley by hand. Are you able to do that at all? Disconnect the battery first if you try this!

I would definitely see if I could pull the plugs and see if anything looks smashed or melted. You might even be able to see coolant or water in the spark plug hole. It is possible you blew a head gasket and your engine is hydro-locked. If you pull the plugs, you should be able to turn the engine by the crank pulley and might get some seepage out of the spark plug holes. However, if this is the case, and your engine hydro-locked at speed, you likely have more damage than just gaskets Sad

Not saying this is what happened, but by the sound you described, it certainly does sound like a possibility.

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Ecog
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:43 pm    Post subject:  reply from me Reply with quote

The belt and everything is still intact. What I want to say is everything was fine under the hood belt, alternator, oil, antifreeze, etc. When I turned the key, the alternator jumped as well as the belt looked like it wanted to spin, but it seemed like something was holding the engine back from cranking. It was like it was getting power, but no crank.The motor seems like it is locked. I hope this helps. I did get the car towed to a mechanic that does work for me and my family, but he hasn't looked at it yet. I am afraid that he sees a lot a work and is trying to make time for a major job from this car.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:44 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

sounds like it's time to look for a WRX. it's a growing trend here. peace, john

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Ecog
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:59 am    Post subject: Oooh ! Update from Mechanic Reply with quote

He pulled the plugs and stuck a camera in them hoping it was antifreeze in the cylinders, no luck on that. He told me that these 3.8 engines hardly ever fail. He said they tried to crank the engine with a bar and the engine is completely locked up. He wants to tear it down, he just can't beleive that this 3.8 is locked the way it is. He said it's going to be a gamble to find the problem, I said go ahead and tear it down and let me know from there.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:16 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Wow, that's crazy. I've never seen a 3800 lock up...

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Albert2kls
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:33 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Arvetus wrote:
Wow, that's crazy. I've never seen a 3800 lock up...


I agree, never without either oil or coolant being the cause. I am definatley interested in the reason behind this. 73K is very low for any internal part to fail on the 3.8L, in the thread Highest Miles there are some over 350k miles and still going. Keep us posted

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Arvetus
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:37 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

I even had one of the old 5.0's that GM used to put in the old Monte's back in the 80's...ran that oil bone dry. I was like "Hmmm, what's that smell? That stinks!" Turns out the oil was bone dry. Added some oil and good to go. The worst that car had was a little lifter tick.

Definitely want to follow this thread...

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Albert2kls
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:45 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

The 3.8 is a very durable engine and has a good reputation I tell anybody thats looking to by a car that has the option of the 3.8 to just change the oil and do regular maintanence and the motor will last a very long time. Not saying much about the transmissions, Mad .

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:36 pm    Post subject: Bad ! Update 8/25/2011 for Impala Reply with quote

Well, he opened the engine up to find that it was totally blown up from the inside. He could not believe what happened. Rods and lifters everywhere and still a full compliment of oil and antifreeze. He called other mechanics and they thought he was joking. They had never heard of such a thing happening. Not with this engine, not with this car. I can only hope that I can get a picture of it to post. It's like it spontaneously combusted on the inside. Like I said, I looked for smoke or sometype of backfire or a even an engine fire, and didn't see anything. I just heard it pop. Maybe I might get a new engine for the right price, I may just part it out. Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:07 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Not to make light of the situation, but I have to throw it out now....

Worthless

Anywhoo...
That truly is a bummer. I have NEVER heard of that happening with the 3800. However, that being said, did this car sit for any length of time before you purchased it? If it sits, the seals and soft parts of the engine can dry rot and cause some serious issues.

When my grandfather passed away, he had a Buick Century with the 3300. My mom and her brother sat on that car for 2 years before getting rid of it. And by letting it sit for 2 years, I mean it literally sat in the garage, in the very spot that grandpa parked it the last time he drove it, until they decided to get rid of it. When they finally got that car started, after it left the driveway, it started making hellacious noises that I have never heard a car make before, not to mention, it barely ran. And less than 85,000 miles too. What a waste.

The point is that I wonder if the fact that it had very little miles on it, if it had sat for a long period of time and the seals dryrotted out of the thing...short of that, I'm speechless and can offer no other reasonable explanation and wouldn't even know where to start!

The good news is that if you want to, you can likely find a used 3800 engine fairly cheap and so that is easily replaceable. Bummer that you have to do it, but used 3800's are not that expensive. However, since the car itself is a fairly recent purchase for you, depending on your financial standing, it may seem a bit much... But if the body of the car is in good condition, it might be worth it. The only thing I would caution you on is if the reasons above is what caused the engine to go, I would wonder what other things you would possibly have to look out for and potentially replace, and if it is worth the trouble.

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Albert2kls
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:22 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

I will agree that pics are needed or wanted.

I also agree that the engines are cheap enough to replace with the right shop and mechanic, cheaper if you do it yourself. I would replace the engine aand enjoy the car for a while atleast to get your moneys worth out of it. I am assuming with that low of miles that its really nice inside and out.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:45 pm    Post subject: Question Update Reply with quote

I can say that that the car had about 2000 miles put on it in the last 2 years. Before that, it was driven regularly. The Tranny fluid was changed at 45,000, the antifreeze was swapped out at 50,000. The plugs and wires were changed at 50, 000. The car was garage kept and clean inside and out. I wouldn't hesitate putting a piece of pizza on the 3.8 cover. I can afford to get a rebuilt engine, I'm not afraid of that, I'm afraid of what may happen on down the line like you guys said. I may just get it repaired and sell it. I would be happy to get out of it what I paid for it or just like I said before, just part it out. Bang Head
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