Feared and dreaded Upper Intake - 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.

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Old 11-23-2005, 02:16 PM   #1
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Default Feared and dreaded Upper Intake

Hello folks,
Just discovered this forum as I have had no reason to seek help before this. We've had our Bonny since 70,000 miles and it has been relatively trouble-free. I am anal about regular maint. and do most of my own work so I didn't see this one coming.
Have read all the archived stuff on the upper intake issue and I fear I am there- wife pulled into the garage last night spewing antifreeze. Seemed to be coming from the front of the engine so I assumed water pump. Got the pulley off but the pump was dry- including the weep hole that normally pees when the front seal goes. Seems to be wetting the front of the engine and could be emanting from the upper/lower interface.
I intend to tear it down tonight, but if I need the upper housing or plenum, is there a local source for me (Minneapolis area)?- Wife needs the car and don't have time to wait for shipping.
BTW, I will verify there has been no comingling of oil & A/F before turning the key again!
Thanks in advance,

Keith
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Old 11-23-2005, 02:38 PM   #2
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First thing you need to do is to get the potentially contaminated oil out of the block! Antifreeze will eat up your bearings very quickly! Draining the oil needs to be your top priority!

A lot of us have used the Dorman Upper Intake. I know that Advance Auto carries it. You can also try Napa. Fortunately, this is a common part so finding it shouldn't be too tough. Plan on spending about $130. I'm not sure if the gasket kit comes with it. If not, I recommend buying Felpros.

Since you're in there now is the perfect time to do the lower intake gaskets. It should only take you a couple more hours worth of work. I think you'll be shocked when you see how bad they'll be degraded. I also recommend Felpros for those. And when you take off the lower intake, replace the 90* coolant by-pass elbow between the LIM and the belt tensioner. Over time they're known to get weak and brittle.

Keeping everything clean is the best way to be successful at the job. If you don't already have one, pick up a Chilton'*. You'll also need a ft-lbs. torque wrench.

Some say that you can use a 180* thermostat to prevent this in the future. I didn't change out my OEM 195 because I didn't want to give up the gas mileage, plus I'm not convinced that'* going to help any. You can do it if you'd like, though.

And for ease of reassembly, it might not be a bad idea to pick up a new o-ring set for your injectors. Being 10 years old they might be tattered. Those are a dealer only item (about $6), as is the coolant by-pass elbow ($7 from the dealer).

Any more questions..post 'em! I've done the job twice. Also, search the forum. You'll find TONS of information on this job. It'* happened to most all L36 owners.

Oh, and welcome!
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Old 11-23-2005, 02:58 PM   #3
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Welcome..tons of info and tips to be found.
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Old 11-23-2005, 03:06 PM   #4
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Thanks for the welcome and the tips. Cleaning things is not a problem (chemists have solutions). I'll stop at NAPA on my way home. leaving work now so I ought to be up to my elbows in slime shortly...I'm going in!!! Thanks again, and a Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Keith
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Old 11-23-2005, 03:12 PM   #5
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Let us know how you make out..
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Old 11-23-2005, 06:59 PM   #6
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Wait a minute, I thought the problems with the upper intake manifolds started with the 96-99'* when they started putting in the series II 3800'*? Or do the 95'* have series II? I may be crazy, just a thought. Anyway, someone straighten me out, I thought 95 was the last year of the series I.
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Old 11-24-2005, 12:21 AM   #7
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dieselk,

Not so fast on the intake manifold gasket problem! It may be something much simpler. If you go after the gasket first you may experience the same problem I had with my '92 SSEi.

Once I had the intake manifold off, I realized that my coolant bypass nipple was cracked causing water to gush. You may want to check that first. The nipple is located on the intake manifold, on the passenger'* side of the engine. It is made of plastic and craps out due to heat and age. The new nipple is metal. It seems like the nipple was about 2" long and 5/8"-3/4" diameter. You will find a black rubber hose connected to it. I can't remember the exact name for that piece.

PS- My bonne'* intake manifold gasket never did leak. Sold the car at 275K miles. I believe the engines with the cast aluminum intake manifolds hold up much better than the plastic ones used on later year models.

Let us know.
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Old 11-24-2005, 12:24 AM   #8
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Oops! Senior Moment............... I had an SSE, not an SSEi.
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Old 11-24-2005, 01:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markwb
Wait a minute, I thought the problems with the upper intake manifolds started with the 96-99'* when they started putting in the series II 3800'*? Or do the 95'* have series II? I may be crazy, just a thought. Anyway, someone straighten me out, I thought 95 was the last year of the series I.
nope, the 95 was the debut of the Series 2 3800
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Old 11-24-2005, 09:13 AM   #10
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On a second thought here. Something is amiss. The intake failure dumps coolant on the driverside of the motor where the EGR is located INTO the motor typically.

I think you'll find the coolant elbow may have let go, or a heater hose.
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