96 Buick Regal Custom - Engine 'Exploded?' - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 11-24-2007, 11:32 AM   #1
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Default 96 Buick Regal Custom - Engine 'Exploded?'

Heres all of it.

Car runs out of gas. Walk to gas station with can. Gas! Back to station for more gas. Gas, again! Try to start it. Nope. Ticking noise and draining battery. Engine doesn't 'turn over'. Tow truck dude'* jump box doesn't help anything. Starter? We'll see. Battery confirmed dead at Autozone (ACDelco, probably original sold with car). So lets try jumping it with with this big truck =D (ram 3500 diesel, plenty of power). Still nothing. Oh wait, sparks? Jumper cables spark, arc, whatever. (Intake pipe taken off to remove windshield reservoir and battery) Shortly (very shortly) after sparks start, engine shroud flys across the yard, intake manifold pwned badly (exploded) and small fire on top of engine. Fire extinguisher, etc. Afterwards, intake manfiold blown apart, shroud tossed, plug wires crispy, etc.

WHAT!? Father, hick neighbors have never seen an engine do that just trying to start.

Car has ~180,000 miles. Recent brake job and gas line replaced (few months ago) with no other problems to report. Accesory belt replaced a few days earlier, plugs checked (plenty of wear but no fouling), nothing leaks on the car. Car was running a little warm when I took it out but I thought that was just because my roommate had borrowed it all day.

There doesn't seem to be any major engine damage (Or I probably would be in the hospital, was standing in lucky spot between flying parts, huddled over engine).

Id assume it backfired, but why wouldn't the engine turn over? Like I said, car ran fine up until this. (Suspicious of timing chain though, grandfather never put any major work in to the car).

Is it worth the money to put her back together? Is it possible to put it back together? Anyone have something similar happen? I loved the car, but I have little money and need a new car soon.
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Old 11-24-2007, 11:38 AM   #2
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Your intake manifold was flooded with gasoline, and when it finally sparked, it ignited the whole mess.

Your fuel pressure regulator or an injector is leaking, causing it to flood, or your injectors flooded it naturally during all your start attempts.

You weren't artificially 'priming' the system, were you?

We have seen this type of thing happen rarely, and it'* typically due to a recalled FPR, which I don't think affected your year. It was 97 or 98 IIRC.
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Old 11-24-2007, 11:42 AM   #3
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Wait, do you have the 3100 or the 3.8? Because my grandpa has a 1996 Regal Custom and it has the 3100 (aluminum upper intake).
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Old 11-24-2007, 11:51 AM   #4
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Never touched the gas pedal, if that is what you mean.

With your explanation, the explosion makes sense, but any ideas as to why the engine wasn't turning over?

I doubt the starter was going (it always started right up). The battery shouldn't have mattered with all of the jumping. The coolant level was always consistent so I don't believe the EGR valve was leaking. Haven't checked the timing chain yet, but why would it break while parked?

And if I do get the engine to crank, what am I looking at to replace to get it running again?
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Old 11-24-2007, 11:52 AM   #5
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fuelforthesoul:

Car has a 3800 Series 2
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Old 11-24-2007, 11:54 AM   #6
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Doesn't matter if you touched the gas or not. Every time you try to start, the PCM will 'rattle' the injectors. That fuel could have pooled up over time. This might have been prevented by holding the gas pedal to the floor to disable the injectors (yes, it does that on GM vehicles).

I'm assuming that the engine advanced just far enough to hit the next spark/timing notch, and lit it all off.

Without pics of the damage, I have no idea of the condition of your injectors, fuel rail, throttle body, MAF sensor, etc.

Sounds like a prime opportunity to do the APN UIM and aluminum LIM gaskets.

Your no-start issue is a seperate problem. Can't really test that out with the condition of your motor. Do the top end repairs first. If it doesn't start easily, whack that starter with a hammer while someone turns the key.

(and replace your battery)
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Old 11-24-2007, 03:35 PM   #7
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Old 11-24-2007, 03:50 PM   #8
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Yes although the 96 was not included in the recalls they too have the issues... The reality of this is thats it possible for this to happen to any 3800 II L36 with a leaky fuel pressure regulator

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Old 11-24-2007, 05:21 PM   #9
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Mine is not leaking but I guess it is worth changing it now to avoid ka-boom
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Old 11-25-2007, 05:45 PM   #10
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pictures of blown intake (explosion didn't take it all off, but cracked it up), various melted vaccum lines, and some sort of device (not the regulator, i believe) on the fuel rail (seems intact) that is rather burnt

white dust is fire extuingisher muck (will that cause any problems?)

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