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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:43 pm 
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Location: Wyoming, PA
Year and Trim: 2002 Pontiac Bonneville SSEI
Need some help guys.

Have a possible blown head gasket or cracked head. Looking to try and get some input from you.

Car has been modded with a smaller 3.5 pulley, CAI, Thermostas, PCM tune. Been running fantastic for over a year. 2002 with 140k on it.

LIM gaskets were changed when I bought the car.
Drove the care yesterday cold, romped on it and got an error code "service engine", loss of power, engine shut down. Throttle response was very delayed before loss of power. Upon restart white smoke out of exhaust. Coolant blown in engine bay.

Stripped it down and replaced all the LIM and UIM gaskets. Found coolant in the oil.

Did it by the book.

LIM gasket was found to be destroyed on supercharger side on engine.
Put everything back together, everything flushed twice with fresh oil. Coolant added and topped off. Started her up and let her run for about 2min Pressure in radiator, with cap off it gurgled and spat out coolant.

Still has white smoke out exhaust. Ran a bit rough. Possibly on 4 cylinders. No error codes were given like before. Looking for advice.


Thank you.
Macson

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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 11:49 am 
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Well first thing... Why are you romping on a cold car?

If a lot of coolant got into the combustion chambers and exhaust it may take a little bit for it all to burn off. Maybe your plugs have become fouled? I'd double check over the ignition system and all of the sensors.

Head gaskets are super solid on these motors and unless it overheated, I'd doubt that would be the issue.

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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 12:22 pm 
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^^^^ Well you are exactly right regarding the intelligence level of what I did. Lol.

How long should it take to burn off? Now that I have daylight available I will double check everything just to be sure.

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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 5:06 pm 
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From the LIM jobs I've done, everything that would be going through the exhaust should be burnt off in a few minutes. Anything spilled in the engine bay might take a few heat cycles to fully burn off, but if you don't have any more leaks, you should have clear exhaust fairly quickly I would imagine.

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 10:00 am 
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That is what I was expecting. Looking more and more like either a failed gasket or worse even a cracked head. Time to get my hands dirty and take her apart again digging deeper this time. Going to double check a few things first but I have exhaust pressure in my radiator so I am pretty certain its a head issue.

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 11:54 am 
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you can start the car with all full and cap rad - if you have head damage, gas will be forced into the cooling system and you will see the bubbles forces into the overflow.

or better is a compression and balance test

you sure you put everything back correctly?

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 3:16 pm 
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I would definitely do a leak down test before you tear into things to verify that it truly is exhaust gas in the coolant. If there is exhaust coming in for sure, then you may be one of the rare few that has a head/head gasket issue. Hopefully that's not the case, and maybe it was just a slipped gasket or something simple during installation.

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 8:30 pm 
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Did the test today. Test Fluid turned yellow almost instantly when gas sample was taken from the radiator. Pressure was pretty violent. Had to run the car briefly then shut off. Relieve pressure from rad cap and quickly use the test kit. Couldn't run the car with rad cap off. It was just shooting coolant 3ft in the air.

Guess I am one of the rare few. Already started tearing into her again. Smh. Time for a header upgrade anyway.

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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 9:21 am 
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Sorry to hear that man! Post up some pics of what you find if you don't mind. Always interested in seeing what caused failures like this when they aren't as common.

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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 12:54 pm 
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boo, thats tough - at least your mechanically inclined so look at it as an adventure.

plus, when you're successful, you will be envied by other men and pursued by chicks.......lol

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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 9:28 am 
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Been tinkering away getting her apart. Just removed the rockers last. Had to stop for work. Should find the source of the problem over the weekend.

What the He!! I will put the speed daddy headers in while I have her apart.

QUESTION FOR YOU GUYS:
When torquing the lower intake manifold back in place. I understand factory torque is between 13-14ft lbs. I will be installing the 2nd Gen Felcro gaskets. Should I or can I do anything else to help prevent a LIM gasket failure in the future?

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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 11:13 am 
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as far as I understand, the metal edged gaskets solve the problem caused by plastic original ones.

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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 3:56 pm 
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96 SSEi wrote:
as far as I understand, the metal edged gaskets solve the problem caused by plastic original ones.


Yep! I used OEM GM metal-framed gaskets on my Buick, and it was still going strong with over 60,000 miles on the new gaskets when I sold the car. Otherwise, make sure that you get the end seals set correctly, the the metal coolant elbows instead of the plastic junk ones, and it should be solid. As long as I've been on this forum, I don't recall anyone having the metal framed gaskets fail on them unless something else in the engine wrecked them first (big debris in the coolant, etc).

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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 6:43 pm 
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Perfect. Will be working on it tonight. Ill post pictures of what I find.

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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 1:57 am 
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Ok. So Front Head is off. Rear will also be replaced but the front gasket was the culprit. Looks like the cylinder #1 had a slow leak for some time as it was the only cylinder with build up on it.

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*edit. If you can't see photos let me know which provider to use other then photo bucket.

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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 11:22 pm 
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Wow. Now I've seen it. Anyone else seen a blown 3800 head gasket before? First time in all these years, for me. Well, you know you've got it licked now, glad you're at least doing a fun upgrade while you're at it.

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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2018 2:36 pm 
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I just had one go oddly enough. It happens. Mine only has 120kish.

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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 1:35 am 
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***UPDATE***

Alright she is finally all back together and running. The culprit we learned was a bad mechanic that had replaced a head gasket after a bearing spun. The wrench waving monkey installed the gasket upside down with the weak side of the gasket taking the abuse. That is why it blew when I romped on it cold.

Turned the key and she immediately started. No error codes. Burned some smoke out the exhaust but after about 2 miles driving that disappeared. Most likely just burn off. However I noticed a few things. If anyone can give me answers to the below.


1. I installed new pulley tensioner SC side. Thought it was bad. Also new belt. Seems like excess slack. Probably from the smaller 3.5 pulley. Anyone know where to get a better fitting belt.

2. When giving her some gas I am getting some supercharger sputter and loss of power. Only drove her for about 15 minutes. Is the computer relearning? Possible belt slippage? Fouled plug?

3. Oil pressure is great while driving but while idling I noticed it dropping around the 10-15psi range. Thoughts on that?

ALSO SHOUT OUT TO HAROFREAK for the great deals on parts. Had a rocker bolt break and snapped the head. He gave me a great deal on a used unit.

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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 1:36 am 
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Also does anyone know if after this rebuild I mat have lost my aftermarket canned tune? Do I need to reflash my PCM. Could explain some of the issues above.

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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 1:12 pm 
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Renegade wrote:
Also does anyone know if after this rebuild I mat have lost my aftermarket canned tune? Do I need to reflash my PCM. Could explain some of the issues above.


Tune will still be there.

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