Intake Manifold - Ode of a newby - no woes, just an ode and a question - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 11-02-2010, 05:51 AM   #1
PaulBennett
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Default Intake Manifold - Ode of a newby - no woes, just an ode and a question

I am an Asiancar biggot and have owned older Italian and German cars for two decades (worked year in Italy became fond), am not used to newer (post Carter) domestic cars except for my recently demised '85 Regal which I traded for a Ranger pickup. With the nearest MB repair shop an hour away and an intermittent wife'* Benzmobile, my mechanic recommended Buick so it can be serviced locally. (Loosing your eyesight means paying others for what you use-to-could-have-done. Put a patch on one eye and see how little you get done) So I bought an alien car, with computers and automatic things coming on and off. Buttons everywhere, radios got more controls than my whole first car. Trunk has glow in the dark handle for when mobsters kidnap you and you need to escape! Odo on this 2006 wondercar indicates 111k but engine and all corners of the engine compartment is so clean it looks like it never left the showroom floor car (the knockoff K&N air filter is a dead giveaway to the personality of the previous owner but the many cigarette burns on the upholstery further indicates a very nervous individual). VIN points to fleet or rental car and lacks keyless fob circuit.

Gypsy lot salesman said the engine was changed. If you don't know what a Gypsy Car Lot is...they setup sales in an empty corner lot with huge signs and incredible prices and you wake up a few weeks later and they are completely gone - not a speck remains nor a number to find anyone associated with them - so you can guess what the cars are like. Doesn't bother me, I paid $4k (seen CL ads for $6.5k) but didn't have my glasses with me (my only excuse), my wife was patient although she was without a working car for 2+ months (her last drive ended being towed home). She'* happy with the new acquisition, so naturally I'm happy. And now working now to bring it up to my version of 100%. So far I've replacing the broken plastic lights at each corners, wondering where to find missing dome light, and missing windshield washer reservoir filler neck and (important) fit a keyless door remote. Found a free OM download, ordered DVD aftermarket FSM. Adequate progress - rains are just starting so overall, the timing was good.

Car does have minor issues which is why I came to this forum. I've learned everybody here loves Bonnevilles. (keeping that in mind for next time - upper central frontal lobe). Reason I started this thread (about time)- I keep running into posts referencing the infamous 'intake manifold'. When I was car shopping a salesman at the Buick dealership was pushing (not literally) a car that had its intake manifold changed...I was clueless at the time but stuck that tidbit in the corner of my mind (upper rear frontal lobe, just below Domino'* tel #) .

So try to get my mind around something I know nothing about...what'* this dreaded engine disease affecting the intake manifold? Gasket or porous casting? Affects them all or only just certain lots? Or affects cars driven hard?

The formal reason why we are here today:
1) What is the exact intake manifold part and how does it fail? Peripheral damage, it causes what other parts to fail when it goes?
2) Once it has been addressed is there any way to spot it by inspection or ?? besides a $700 shop receipt?
3) Since my engine was reputedly changed recently, wouldn't that automatically mean the issue was addressed then (assuming some degree of professionalism was used)?
4) What years/engines did this affect?
5) Once fixed is it cured or is it an engineering weakness what must be constantly watched to prevent recurrence?
6) Does operator neglect contribute or something emitted from the periodic oil change service checklist?

This info I've requested has no immediate urgency but curiosity about working things is quite powerful to an engineer, albeit retired. That portion of the cerebellum grinding away until the questions is filled is especially potent when getting stranded is a possible consequence of ignorance. Thanks for taking the time and patience to provide this information for the umpteenth time (or dispel the "myth of the sucker'* intake manifold"). You guys are friendly, I've found that early on.
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:04 AM   #2
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Paul... Thank you for the quite entertaining read. The infamous intake manifold of the forum is located on the 3800 engine. In your case, luck and doom and gloom are your friends.

Luck: Your car was never available with the 3800, intake cracking NA motor.
Doom: Your car if memory serves me was only available with the 3100 motor.
Gloom: In my eyes, that motor is much worse and nastier to work on than the 3800.

The upside is every mechanic in the universe has replaced about 10 or more sets of the gaskets that fail in those motors and has his procedure down for doing said work. The other thing is that if your gasket part number has a T at the end of it or came from GM in the last couple of years the probability that they are aluminum framed gaskets and hopefully indestructible is good. That would mean that you should be worry free for quite some time.

Happy driving!!!!!

BTW, where are you located?
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Old 11-02-2010, 11:32 AM   #3
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Wait, what exact 2006 car did you buy?

Very entertaining read I must say. Nice way to start my morning.
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:05 PM   #4
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Oh X... I remembered him saying 2006, yet the sig says 2003 Century. Hey Paul...all that info I posted is for the Century.
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:28 PM   #5
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SORRY - critical year of 2006 did sneak into the text and I didn't catch it but it is 2003 THREE
Signature is correct. Does that change anything?

I'm near Portland OR. Car says Century on title but no place else but there'* absolutely no other markings which I understand can be one of three levels like GS or ??, there is absolutely nothing on the car to indicate which sub-model but I assume basic as the keyless locks wasn't included.

Add one more question to those above:
7) Where does one learn the engine model? 3100 or 3800?
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Old 11-03-2010, 08:03 AM   #6
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Do the tailights have a chrome ring around them or is there a black line around the edge of them? Chrome - Century. When you lift the hood, does the engine cover say 3100 or 3800? 3100 is Century, 3800 is Regal.

If your title says Century, I'd say it'* a century. Therefore the info I gave you applies. You'll want to talk to BXX about fixing things in the motor... he'* the guy on those. Me, I despise that motor.
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Old 11-03-2010, 08:16 AM   #7
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I love the 3100!! (Yet I dont know why I do these days)

If the LIM fails, and goes out bad, you'll be dumping coolant into the crankcase which equals a spun bearing and a fun loud knocking noise!! (Well, not very fun)

Best bet, look around on the outside of the engine around the LIM sealing surface (best spot is under the throttle body and the PS pump area) if they are wet from coolant seeping, replace the gaskets with the newest GM ones or Felpro metal ones. Best bet, the Dorman kit is cheaper, uses Felpro gaskets, and comes with new bolts!!!

If you see it very damp, and the starter is wet, change the LIM gaskets asap! At that point, you have very little time until it blows internally. Also, pop the oil cap off, if there is a yellowish-brown sludge in there, start saving up for a new engine as that indicates coolant is already in the oil. The engine might be salvagable, but new LIM gaskets, the labor involved, and a few oil changes will only tell. Ive done several that were like this, warning the owners that they may need a new engine. Sure enough, a few weeks later, the engines were knocking!!
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Old 11-03-2010, 11:25 AM   #8
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Nothing wrong with 3100s! I've had lots of them. I've heard a lot about lower intake manifold leaks but I've never had that problem. I could hope that if the dealer said that the engine was changed recently, it was changed with an engine that had new gaskets. Like Bxx said, keep an eye on the lower intake manifold valleys under the throttle body and under the power steering pump for leaks.
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Old 11-06-2010, 11:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonpro03 View Post
Nothing wrong with 3100s! I've had lots of them. I've heard a lot about lower intake manifold leaks...
Thanks for the help. Since my engine has been changed at about 100kmi that could easily be the reason.

Thanks for educating me about LIM (now that I figure it'* the 'lower intake manifold'.

Starting to figure things out. With a big 3100 on my air plenum and 3800 being a Regal, it'* most likely 3.1 liter and 3.8 liter engines - the bigger the car the bigger the engine...with Century at the bottom of the heap. Give the manufacturer something for a price differential rather than offering one car with trim options and engine options. Ahaa fart smellers these detroit yankees - had us all fooled - me anyway.
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Old 11-07-2010, 04:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BXX View Post
Also, pop the oil cap off, if there is a yellowish-brown sludge in there, start saving up for a new engine as that indicates coolant is already in the oil.
If there was like a cream-colored film on the oil cap itself (the bottom of the cap that is in the valve cover) is that a bad sign? I had a pretty good coating there at one point. I cleaned it off, thinking nothing of it but now that you said that, I'm kinda nervous. The engine itself didn't seem to be sludgy...
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