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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:24 pm 
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Year and Trim: 1999 SLE
I got a service light in my 99 3.8L last week so I pulled the code and it said it was a MAP sensor signal, so I pulled the engine cover to take a look at the sensor and the wires...While in there I noticed a healthy amount of oil sitting on top of the front valve cover, and a little down around the spark plugs. I looked around and all the valve cover bolts are tight. I've heard alot about the intake (upper and lower) leaking, but would that leake oil? The car was 1/2 quart low and it has never lost oil. Today while driving I could smell the oil burning on the exhaust manifold, and I'm planning on looking for the leak tomorrow after work...I won't be driving the car till then! I guess I'm just looking for some advice (I used the search function and could find much but I'm sure it has been covered in the past). If there is a leak in the manifold could that have something to do with the MAP sensor signal? For the most part the car is still running fine, maybe a little down on power, and the gas mileage has been getting worse over the last few months!

I will try to post some pictures later!
-Thanks,
Nate


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:12 pm 
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The Lower intake wouldn't leak oil, only coolant externally. When it fails (LIM gasket) it allows coolant to get into the oil which is a common repair on the 3800 around 100,000 miles. I would suggest this being fixed on any 3800 as its due to fail eventually. The cause of this failure is dexcool eating away at the factory rubberized gasket and eventually coolant gets into the oil.

In your case, I would say your valve cover gasket needs to be replaced. These gaskets tend to leak over time as well. They are a fairly easy repair and doesn't take very long. Here is the link for replacing them:

viewtopic.php?f=53&t=6879&hilit=valve+cover

As for you MAP sensor code, I'm not that familiar with it. I'm sure others will chime in shortly with info on this!

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Last edited by yonkerse on Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:10 pm 
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Can you take a picture of the oil soaked areas to verify the valve cover gaskets leaking?
I would guess that from your description that the valve cover gaskets need replacing as stated earlier.

Can you post the code # that you got?

Sounds like the Map sensor took a dump. I would pick up a couple from a junkyard/pick & pull yard. I wouldn't necessarily go out and by a new one because I think they're like 45$ or so. Another thing to check is the PCV valve under the MAP sensor.

When you have the valve out it should rattle freely if it's working properly. If it doesn't rattle it is most likely stuck and you need to replace it. They are fairly cheap and I believe it will come with new o-rings. Just make sure you put everything back together in the same order it came out. Other wise it will let a lot of oil in to the intake manifold.


As a side note, staying on top of regular tune up's and maintenance can help maintain mileage. Spark plugs, wires, and an O2 sensor all play an important role in the efficiency of the motor.

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Last edited by Bing on Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:51 pm 
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Yeah I didn't think I could get oil from the intake...After looking again I think it is the valve cover gasket...I will post some pics later...after I figure out how :sadeyz:
As for the tune ups they have been kept up but I have been planning on replacing the O2 sensor though...I'm pretty big on preventative maintenance!

And I am planning on doing the manifold set soon too!

Thanks for all the info so far I'll keep you guys posted!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:02 pm 
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This will help, unfortunately photo bucket changes their stuff pretty regularly so there will be some differences.
http://www.pontiacbonnevilleclub.com/fo ... t+pictures

Just remember that Techinfo is your friend. :wink:

Also AcDelco or Denso for O2 sensors, anything else your car will just eat as a snack.

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Last edited by Bing on Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:38 pm 
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Ok got the cover off this afternoon, and found a little "milk shake" on the inside of the valve cover! I would assume this means oil water in the oil? Are these engines prone to blow by causing this chocolate milk under the valve cover? When I look at the oil sitting on the cyl head I can't see any water mixed in it! I really don't want to rip the intake off this car this week! But I don't want to drive it till I know whats going on! It looks pretty rough. I did see a spot where the valve cover gasket was leaking on the top side, so that explains the oil but I'm not sure about the whole "milk shake" situation?

This is where the oil was sitting on top of the valve cover!

Image

This shows the top of the head under the valve covers, note I don't notice any water on the oil?

Image

This is the "milk shake"

Image

Now what?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:05 pm 
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Most likely time to do the LIM gaskets with the metal framed ones if they haven't been done already. Coolant will mess up the bearings in the engine. Once it starts leaking it will only get worse and better to fix now than get stranded later on.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:44 pm 
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Any advice on the best/cheapest place to source the manifold gasket set from...I'm assuming I'll need to replace the UIM and the LIM any advice on how to tell?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:28 pm 
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You can get the ACDelco aluminum framed gaskets from a dealer (usually expensive) or take a look at Rock Auto. The Fel-Pro ones are steel framed, I haven't really heard anything bad about them. The biggest point to understand here is not to use the black nylon ones (plastic) again or you will be doing this repair again a lot sooner.

This is a guide for doing the UIM and LIM.
http://www.pontiacbonnevilleclub.com/fo ... =53&t=3591

You also need to get rid of the Dex too, if you have not already done so. Go with a mixes with any coolant, most of us use Prestone mixes with any.

Here's a link about Dex-cool.
http://www.pontiacbonnevilleclub.com/fo ... =39&t=1668

The UIM you should get is made by APN and features a steel sleeve for the EGR passage and a reduced diameter EGR stove pipe. Second choice would be the Dorman kit, but they only offer a reduced diameter EGR stove pipe as the updated fix. It lacks the extra protection of the APN unit with the steel sleeve for the EGR passage.

Here's the link for the APN kit, it is also cheaper than the Dorman kit.
http://www.ineedparts.com/index.php?tar ... t_id=17806

As long as the LIM isn't warped you don't replace it.

In short you're looking at doing the following: new LIM gaskets, a new UIM kit, no Dex-kill (Prestone mixes with any coolant), and maybe a new thermostat since all the coolant is drained down. :wink:

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Last edited by Bing on Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:31 am 
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Don't forget to flush the entire cooling system (radiator, block and heater core). I always find it easiest to remove the thermostat and hoses and flush each component individually.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:31 pm 
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Ok I got the UIM off this after noon, and I guess I don't really know what I'm looking at. First off the UIM bolts were so loose I could have probably backed most of them off with my bare hands. I'm positive thats were the oil was leaking from. I guess my question is should there be oil in the LIM. I didn't see any sign of water (anti freeze) in there, and the stove pipe measures a little over 1/2" outside diameter (how big is the replacemnt one...maybe its already been done). Is it possible that the "milk shake" sludge under the valve cover is caused by bad piston rings (my 01 Sunfire had oil some sludge at the dip stick/oil fill for the 70k miles I drove it? I also didn't see any oil in the anti freeze. As I said before I've never lost any anti freeze also.

Image

Image

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Should there be oil here?
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:35 pm 
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There is going to be some oil in the UIM due to the PCV system, but yours looks like it has more than a little...

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:36 pm 
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Oh yeah and there is no sign of melted plastic near the stove pipe, and the plastic doesn't seem corroded or dry rotted either! I gues I'm just cheap but I don't see any reason to replace the UIM its self or the LIM gaskets, if I could just get away with replacing the UIM gasket!


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:38 pm 
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Have you inspected it with something like a metal nail? It can look fine and feel fine to your finger, but a steel nail can push right through them when they're bad.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:24 pm 
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I will try that!


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:03 pm 
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What about the LIM gasket? I couldn't quite tell from the pic if its black plastic or aluminum.

Was the coolant in the car Dex-cool?

That amount of oil in the LIM is normal for a L36, just the nature of the beast. :roll:

Cheap or not, a couple hundred bucks spent on the motor now is a lot cheaper than a motor replacement. Just think of this work as an insurance policy for the motor.

My thoughts are that your LIM gaskets are on the way out. It is possible that the previous owner did just the UIM but not the LIM.

Reusing the UIM is kind of a gamble, it has a tendency to warp so getting it to seal up properly could be a pain.

The links I posted earlier are very helpful throughout the projects.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:29 pm 
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Yes Bing, your links have been and will be very helpfull!

and yes the car did still have dex-cool in it, so I will probably be performing the flush while I'm at it! I didn't really think about the intake warping, that could be why half of the bolts in the UIM seemed so loose while others seemed tighter...

Thanks again guys I've got till Friday to decide what parts to buy!


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:56 pm 
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I'm with the others. Do it right, and do it once. Get the APN upper, and the metal framed lower gaskets. If not, it is virtually guaranteed you will be tearing it down again, if you keep the car for any time at all.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:52 pm 
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Ok Well...I hope you don't get the chance but you all might get the chance to tell me I told you so...I was able to determine that the LIM gaskets had been replaced with the aluminum ones. I have the engine back together as far as putting fluids in it, and I'll be doing that tomorrow morning. I don't mean to offend anybody here...I know you guys are the experts and know more about this engine than I will ever know! I really appreciate your help and I'd appreciate it if you all crossed your fingers for me! I just didn't see enough there to warrant doning the LIM. I'm not sure how many more miles I'll be getting out of this car at 160k. So I'm gonna wing it!

Now to retire to the couch for 5 or so hours of Barrett Jackson on Speed Channel!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:25 pm 
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I'm not going to claim myself as an expert by any means. I was just giving you my opinion with the information given by you at the time. At the end of the day its all up to you with what you do with the info you were given. It's your time, your money, and your car so it's your choice not ours. I do hope that the car lasts as long as you need it to.

Just make sure to pay attention to the coolant level. It's always a good indicator if something is wrong with the motor. Plus it might take a couple heating and cooling cycles to get all the air out of it, and stabilize the coolant level again.

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