Failled Upper? Sound off: - Page 4 - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


1992-1999 Series I L27 (1992-1994 SE,SLE, SSE) & Series II L36 (1995-1999 SE, SSE, SLE) and common problems for the Series I and II L67 (all supercharged models 92-99) Including Olds 88's, Olds LSS's and Buick Lesabres Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

View Poll Results: was your failed upper a...
rochester 8 18.60%
delphi 10 23.26%
i didn't pay that much attention, i was a little more worried about other things... 25 58.14%
Voters: 43. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-05-2005, 02:06 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jr's3800

Wow... I'm surprised to see one last that long without the failure.....

...
Yeah, I've been thinking about that too, and here'* a little more info. When I bought the car, the thermostat, a 195, would not close. The temperature on the gauge was below where it runs now with the drilled 180 I installed. I am thinking if that thermostat was running cool for a long time before I got the car, that the lower coolant temperature might have contributed to the longer life of the upper.

I have a similar suspicion regarding the failure of the lower intake gaskets on these cars. That is, that the deterioration of the plastic is caused by heat. My lower blue GM gaskets (original?) looked just fine - I saw no degradation at all. Maybe they looked so good because the engine ran cool. I'm guessing these plastic gaskets have little or no tolerance for overheating. I have also wondered if some chemical in the coolant or oil may be attacking and causing failure of the gaskets - although that, I think is less likely than heat as a means of damage. An analysis of failed lowers should help to point us toward possible causes and preventive measures.

If there is any truth to these ideas, it makes monitoring the coolant level and operating temperature even more important in these L36 engines. I think it is kinda' neat how the advice given here on BC for a long time has been right along those lines - watch the coolant, and install a 180 thermostat. This is wise risk management in conditions of uncertainty.
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Old 04-05-2005, 03:24 PM   #32
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Is it just me? Doesn't it seem like GM should've looked into this stuff already? Lol, nobody stands behind their products anymore.
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Old 04-05-2005, 06:34 PM   #33
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Bill Buttermore...

You ever check out the Firebird 3800 II L36? In the later years 98-99 I think the T-Stat temp was droped to 180F as opposed to the 195F it had run in the eariler years... It too had the plastick gaskets.. But one thing I did notice was that the runners in the firebird are a diffrent shape and length as compared to the bonneville... But it just goes to food for thought...

I havd been running for getting near 5.5-6 years on my upper intake and lower gaskets... I have also had the 180F thermostat that long as well... Not a single issues as of yet...

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Old 04-05-2005, 10:09 PM   #34
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Bill, just wondering which coolant does your '95 have ?? Is it "DeathCool", GM/Texaco'* Pink Poison ?

If so, then I'm thinking that just maybe dropping 15 degrees off of the normal operating temp may be okay afterall. -up to this point, I have been totally against dropping the normal temp of 195. -due to the fact that "the hotter the better" as far as overall engine efficiency goes, including power output. (-a lot of people will probably disagree with that one, but good ole Smokey Yunick was just one of several people that proved years ago, that if we could operate internal combustion engines near the "melt down point", we could make ureal horsepower.)

Also, I have to wonder if maybe switching to a different coolant would be a good idea. -maybe something like Prestone "any-color" coolant ?? -or at least Presone "long-life."

Just wondering,,, -more speculation,,, -more unanswered questions,,,
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Old 04-05-2005, 10:15 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 57chevythunder
Bill, just wondering which coolant does your '95 have ?? Is it "DeathCool", GM/Texaco'* Pink Poison ?

If so, then I'm thinking that just maybe dropping 15 degrees off of the normal operating temp may be okay afterall. -up to this point, I have been totally against dropping the normal temp of 195. -due to the fact that "the hotter the better" as far as overall engine efficiency goes, including power output. (-a lot of people will probably disagree with that one, but good ole Smokey Yunick was just one of several people that proved years ago, that if we could operate internal combustion engines near the "melt down point", we could make ureal horsepower.)

Also, I have to wonder if maybe switching to a different coolant would be a good idea. -maybe something like Prestone "any-color" coolant ?? -or at least Presone "long-life."

Just wondering,,, -more speculation,,, -more unanswered questions,,,
I will say when I had the intake off my 91, I flushed the system and went to the Prestone( had the green in it all of the time ) Longlife... It was greenish as well, and was compatible with other longlife coolants... After several years on the gaskets and 180 Tstat, the gaskets looked like brand new.. I was going to switch to Dex Cool... But was too lazy too find it... The prestone was there( big name in my mind ) so I just got it instead...lol

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Old 04-05-2005, 10:29 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 57chevythunder
Bill, just wondering which coolant does your '95 have ?? Is it "DeathCool", GM/Texaco'* Pink Poison ?

If so, then I'm thinking that just maybe dropping 15 degrees off of the normal operating temp may be okay afterall. -up to this point, I have been totally against dropping the normal temp of 195. -due to the fact that "the hotter the better" as far as overall engine efficiency goes, including power output. (-a lot of people will probably disagree with that one, but good ole Smokey Yunick was just one of several people that proved years ago, that if we could operate internal combustion engines near the "melt down point", we could make ureal horsepower.)

Also, I have to wonder if maybe switching to a different coolant would be a good idea. -maybe something like Prestone "any-color" coolant ?? -or at least Presone "long-life."

Just wondering,,, -more speculation,,, -more unanswered questions,,,
Nah- my '95 had the green stuff. And I was wondering myself if I couldn't increase my fuel economy from the 24 the SLE is getting now by increasing temp to 192. But I haven't yet replaced the O2 sensor, and I may be getting some KR from my lifter peck, and I have been running 10% ethanol blend, all of which could be bigger factors in fuel efficiency. The anectodal evidence that cooler running may save the plastic, makes the trade-off an easy choice. I think until I learn different, I'll stick with the 180. Could be that the "melt-down" point for these plastic components is 195.

Do you think there is a higher percentage of gasket and UIM failures with Dex Cool?
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Old 04-05-2005, 10:31 PM   #37
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WOW, administratorman, GOOD INFO !! (-and I'm betting that in the long run you'll be VERY glad that you never switched to the pink poison)
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Old 04-06-2005, 11:18 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 57chevythunder
WOW, administratorman, GOOD INFO !! (-and I'm betting that in the long run you'll be VERY glad that you never switched to the pink poison)
Here are my gaskets after well over 3 years...


In the future I would like to replace the lifters, lower intake gaskets and upper intake on my 95... I am very interested to see what the gaskets look like...

One of the things that has been on my mind about the gaskets is the mating surfaces... Our lower intake is alluminum and the heads are cast iron... The do expand and contract at diffrent rates, I would think that this in some manner would shorten the life of the gaskets, let alone the gaskets are plastic

But the funny thing is when I look at the old Buick and chevy engines I don't ever remember a gasket failure other than an oil leak... But it seems that just about every engine these days are using the plastic gaskets, plastic intakes..... On and on...

4 of 5 years ago I saw an article in a magizine that had talked about Composite pistions... Carbon composite or Carbon fiber... They were supposed to be stronger than steel, there had been some testing and they worked... So who knows what the future holds..

On the Chevy V6 engines, 3100m, 3100j,3400e, and now the 3500( just a bigger 3400 )... They all have intake gaskets problems... I have seen them kill gaskets with the Dex or the Green... I think its the plastick degrading due to heat... I have always seen them fail around the water ports, sometimes externally sometimes internally... At one point we had an Vin L 3800 apart, and the intake gaskets in it were ready to pop, they just crumbles when we touched them... This car always had the Green stuff..

The Dex may make it happen quicker, But it happens with the Green as well.. I feel that the gaskets were never designed to see temps ranging from 195 - 227F or so... I almost think that Fel-Pro has improved upon some of the problems that the GM gaskets have.. But I can't say that for sure...

I think GM needs better gaskets..

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Old 04-06-2005, 01:32 PM   #39
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Great information. Excellent points.
I just got to wondering, why couldn't they make the gasket frames out of aluminum instead of plastic ??

(-the reason I say "frames" is that the actual gasket/sealing surfaces are the silicone beads)

Seems to me that the silicone beads are lasting just fine, but the plastic frames which are supposed to hold the beads in place are where the failures are occuring.

AND, in my mind, what would be even better yet, would be for the mfgr to cast or grind grooves into one of the surfaces, probably the manifold, to lay in the silicone bead type gasket, and completely do away with the stupid frames.

Actually, they could just use individual "O-Rings" to do all of the sealing chores, if they would just design it that way.

I'll bet the big reason they would never do that, is that it would slow down the assembly time a little bit, and add a little cost too. -So, the same old story, "Save a dollar and screw longevity and reliability."
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Old 04-06-2005, 05:59 PM   #40
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I agree there... It would be interesting if they actuallu had a channel milled into the heads... The gaskets would be simmilar to the valve cover gaskets... I'll bet those would give a lot of life...

I read something a long time ago to the fact that GM was finding that the LN3 3800 that they had designed for 88 was lasting waayyy too long and people weren't replacing their 3800 powered cars very quickly... Even worse was that too many 3800'* were making it to the 200,000-300,000 miles mark and still didn't burn oil, and ran like new... They had said something about degrading the quality of their engines... I myself have seen the LN3 3800'* with upwards of 320,000 miles... An amazing engine for sure... The vin L 3800 which is a sligh improvement over the Vin C is also known for longevity...

The Vin K 3800 II, seems to be a very reliable engine as long as the intake gaskets and or upper intake doesn't do its damage..

My friend has a 2.7 V6 from a Dodge Intrepid apart due to the fact that it was knocking... The inside of the engine is clean , it has had its oil changes, and 3 rod Bearings/Rod journals were scarred<--- My idea of as poor quality engine... Take care of it and it still doesn't last... I almost had a laugh attack when we found out that the crank kit was only $230 if memory serves...

I still feel that the 3800 are top notch in build quality and durability... I wish GM would hang onto the buick engine tho, and possibly make it a DOHC... But who knows...

Not sure what they were thinking when they designed the upper intake.... I'm thinking weight loss as well as cooler air for the engine... Less heat soak I guess... If the EGR and Coolant didn't pass through the intake I'd bet we would have never had these issues... With the exception of the lower intake gaskets...

And the older Buick 3.0 and 3.8'* did use the alluminum gaskets... Never failed either...lol

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