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GM Project: 97 Camaro Rebirth

Discussion in 'Engine' started by Tony, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    As I'm sure you all have read, the 97 Camaro with the 3.8L engine is on it's last leg as far as the engine goes. However, I'm pretty sure it's something on the top end that is wrong with it.

    First off, this thing has had a top end knock for some time. 99% chance it's a lifter sticking. Thanks to having to replace the engine, I have extra lifters for this car. Here lately though, this thing will hardly run after about 10 minutes of driving. I plan on digging into the engine, hopefully this weekend, and find out what is going on with it.

    Now I know the MAF is bad on it. If you plug it in, it will just barely run. So I left it unplugged. This forces the computer into "limp mode" or Speed Density mode, which is not all that great for the engine. But, it runs, although rich.

    So this weekend, my plan is to get my Z28 out of the garage (hope the battery will hold a charge long enough) and get the 97 in there. I'm really hoping it's something simple, but I think I remember there being water in the oil again. Which would point towards replacing the head gaskets. But that brings up another issue. I'm not even sure I should try to start this car. If it fires, and there is water in the cylinders, hello bent rods... If that is the case, lets just hope it hydro-locks before kicking off. And because this car likes to crank and crank for a while, I'm sure that would be the result.

    Post up suggestions.
     
  2. Ronnie Friedline

    Ronnie Friedline New Member

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    LT1 Swap!!! You got the stuff right?
     
  3. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    I do have the stuff, but I dont' know if I want to go through all of that trouble on this car. I think I just wnat to get the 6 running again, sell it for like $2000 to get it out of here and move on. Not sure yet though.
     
  4. Paulster2

    Paulster2 My VTEC Won't VTEC...

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    I think just getting it running right and getting it out of there is probably your best bet.
     
  5. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    Yup, that is what I'm thinking as well. I think we have had this thing for almost a decade, so we have gotten out money out of the car. Now, to squeeze what we can out of it. It's not a perfect car, but it will make someone a good car once I'm done with teh engine.

    Still need to find out what valve is sticking in the transmission causing it to jump from 3-4-3-4-3-4.... until you let off the gas, then it will lock in 4th and do just as it should. I just need to get in there and start playing around. But, the engine is first.
     
  6. Paulster2

    Paulster2 My VTEC Won't VTEC...

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    That sounds like a lock-up torque convertor to me, one which isn't locking up like it's supposed to.
     
  7. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    Nah, the lock up in the converter just locks it like it's a clutch. This is jumping physically between 3rd gear and 4th gear. and yes, the TC is staying locked up when it's doing this.
     
  8. Paulster2

    Paulster2 My VTEC Won't VTEC...

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    I had a an older OD tranny which did the TQ thing and it felt just like it was popping in and out of gear, then when you dropped the throttle, it would lock up and drive normal. You are the tranny guy though, so will go with what you know :respekt:
     
  9. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm the tranny guy? I'll come over there if you say that crap again :pissedoff:

    Oh wait, you mean "Transmission Guy"... And no, not really. I can just BS people enough for them to think that lmao. But I'm 99.9% sure this is a VB issue. If I have to pull this transmission, I'm going to be pissed.
     
  10. Breeze400

    Breeze400 Bitchin' Member - Rest In Peace Brother! You Will

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    Just get her running and then dump it. Get rid of all that old junk you have laying around and get something wourth fixing up for both you and the sight! Lol
     
  11. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    I can't sell something if I know it's going to break down on them. I'm going to do it the right way then sell it.
     
  12. Ronnie Friedline

    Ronnie Friedline New Member

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    Tony is right, that's kinda wrong. Do it right, they will pass the word and just to let you know breeze it's "site" not "sight"
     
  13. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    As with my car, the battery on this car was dead. I'm talking not even a dome light. So I charged the battery and pulled it around to the garage. I did check the oil before I did this, and the oil was it's usual black color, but no signs of water. After moving it, hello chocolate milk. It's way over filled and my guess is it has about 3/4 of a gallon of water in the oil.

    So with this, there are only two options. Rebuild the engine, or just replace the engine. Either way, it's going to cost a lot of money. I'm thinking about just selling the wheels and tires, transmission and anything else that I can get off this car then just junking it. At this time, I just don't have the $500-$700 to do the engine, and I'm not even going to get into the time that is going to have to be involved in rebuilding it.

    Opinions welcome.
     
  14. Breeze400

    Breeze400 Bitchin' Member - Rest In Peace Brother! You Will

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    Are not those engines notorious for head gaskets? You should at least pull the heads off before you deside to junk it aint it?
     
  15. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    They are usually really reliable. But the most common issue with them is the head gasket at over 100K. I might pull the engine out and see what I can find, but that is going to take up a bay in my garage, so I will need to get the other side cleaned out so I still have a place to work.
     
  16. callsign4223

    callsign4223 New Member

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    At some point it's just best to call it done and part out a car. If it might be as simple(simple being relative) as a head gasket then it's worth it to pull the heads and check, but if you get that far and it becomes obvious that it's worse then I would say it's time to part her out and wash your hands of it.
     
  17. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    Here is the issue with a blown head gasket. There is water in the oil. When you get water in the oil, your viscosity goes down and doesn't protect the metal to metal parts as well. I'm worried about the cam, crank and rod bearings being damaged.

    And it's easier to pull the engine out of the car and rebuild it on a stand than it is in the car. Most of this engine is behind the cowl. Major PITA.
     
  18. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    Okay, I think I have decided to go ahead and pull this engine out and tear it apart to see what it wrong with it. It will be a lot more work than buying a used engine, but I will know it's done right (I hope) and it will be slightly less money. I'm only talking a few dollars here. But it's still less.

    So my plan as of right now is to pull the engine out of the 97. I don't really want to do this in the car because there is just no room to get a torque wrench in there for the heads and intakes. Plus, I need to fix an ABS wire that I broke putting the engine in teh car in the first place. I just can't get to it with the engine in the car.

    I'm trying to plan out the videos right now to do on this, but dont' want them to be too boring. Let's face it, most of the work is really boring when just sitting back and watching. So I'm trying to plan out all of the points that I want to hit on this process. This is going to take more than one video to do unless you guys want a video that is about an hour or so long. I know I don't, those are a PITA to edit and take a few days.

    So the first step is to get the engine out of the car.

    But that brings up the next question. Most people are going to want to do this in the car since they don't have access to a hoist. Should I do this with the engine in the car for video sake? Post up your thoughts on this.
     
  19. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    One issue I have is I'm not sure what engine this is. There are two different designs. One with and one without locating pins. I can't remember the year of this engine, I think it's a 2001 model, but not sure. I will have to tear into the engine to find out if it has the pins or not.
     
  20. Breeze400

    Breeze400 Bitchin' Member - Rest In Peace Brother! You Will

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    If your going to rebuild it then it has to come out. Depends on how deep your going to go into it. If youwant the wire fixed then it has to come out anyways.
     

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