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Old 11-09-2012, 06:26 PM   #1
Ostracon
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Question 2000 GA 3.4L SE(base) sedan w/intake manifold coolant leak

Hello,

I'm new here and this is my first post.


I have a 2000 Pontiac Grand Am SE sedan (base model) with a 3.4L engine at 142Kmi that was just diagnosed with an intake manifold coolant leak by an independent shop.

I've done some googling and found that this is a known problem with this engine (including a class action suit). So far the leak is just external; no coolant in the oil and no oil in the coolant. The shop quoted me $934.24 to fix it.

Here's the quote:


Quote:
PARTS:
- Intake manifold gasket set (1) $168.60
- Thermostat (1) $29.66
- Thermostat gasket (1) $7.29
- Dex-cool antifreeze (4) $23.00
- Stop leak pellets (4) $7.04 (question on this below**)
- Recycling of old used coolant (1): $4.38
- Oil filter (1): $6.99
- Valvoline 5w30 (5): $17.50
- Shop supplies: $18.50

LABOR:
- Remove intake manifold and reseal with new gaskets. Replace thermostat and gasket: $578.26
- Perform cooling system service: $48.68
(includes: evacuate cooling system, check hoses and clamps,check radiator cap, renew coolant and adjust freeze protection.Verify thermostat and cooling fan operation.)
- Minor interval service; lube, oil and filter: $24.34
(includes: lubricate and check chassis, change oil and oil filter, check air filter and breather filter, check all fluid levels and tire pressure, road test vehicle)
- Reset maintenance required light if applicable.

Parts total: $282.96
Labor total: $651.28
Diagnostic eval: $36.75
TOTAL: $934.24


Here's my dilemma: I'm a disabled 52yo woman and getting in and out of this car is becoming increasingly difficult for me. I've been saving up to replace this car with a newer (2005-2008) minivan that would make it easier for me to get in and out of. I was planning on trading it in this spring when I will have saved enough on my fixed income to buy the van.
This car is just a grocery-getter now so I'm only putting about 5000mi/yr on it.

Currently at 'fair' condition, KBB values this Grand Am at ~$800 as trade-in or ~$1500 as private party value. To get it to 'good' condition would require this repair, plus a new windshield ($200, full crack from a large stone last month) and 4 new tires ($400), which would only bring the value up to $1200 or $2000 respectively, so paying someone to make these repairs isn't cost effective for my plans. I could see doing it if I planned on keeping this car another year or two. I had a relative replace the water pump 2 months ago because it was getting really noisy. (He replaced some hoses, thermostat, serpentine belt and the lower idler pulley at the same time. He also replaced the brake calipers as one was dragging. He can't do the IM for me because he's going in for hip replacement surgery.)

So now I need to figure out what my options are. What would you recommend I do to 'band-aid' this until I trade it in? I read in an old thread from 2005 on the Montana forum about a guy (Luiggi) who had band-aided a IMG leak by tightening the manifold bolts
to get it to stop for a while. Is this something I could have done that would get me through to spring?

**Why would they be putting in stop leak pellets after replacing the IMG? Is this something I can do to stop the leak?

Any other suggestions? Any constructive input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance! --

(O)

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Old 11-10-2012, 08:13 AM   #2
GTP Dad
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Re: 2000 GA 3.4L SE(base) sedan w/intake manifold coolant leak

Welcome to AF!!

It is possible that the manifold bolts have indeed worked loose so have your relative re-torque each one as per book specifications. Also the cost for replacement seems quite high to me especially the cost of the gaskets, the most I have been able to find a cost for them is $95 for a complete set. The going time frame for a gasket replacement is between 6 and 7 hours for a well equipped shop. Even at $60 per hour that is only $420 for labor. The thermostat replacement is not necessary since yours is new.

Try the gasket re-torque and a bottle of stop leak as it may seal the gaskets well enough to keep the leak under control until you can trade the vehicle.

Good Luck!
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Old 11-10-2012, 02:16 PM   #3
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Re: 2000 GA 3.4L SE(base) sedan w/intake manifold coolant leak

Kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place here, since the cost of the repair is about equal to the value of the car......so it doesn't seem to make much sense to repair it.....in fact, value of the car could be lower(or higher) depending on the condition of the interior, exterior(you said you need a W/S, that is usually covered under car insurance around here), tires, transmission, etc.

Couldn't hurt to try to retorque the bolts(upper plenum would have to be removed) and then use the GM tablets(they have to crushed and put into the cooling system).....

GTP Dad, $60/hr? No shop I know would do it for that.....maybe under the table?
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:10 PM   #4
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Post Re: 2000 GA 3.4L SE(base) sedan w/intake manifold coolant leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTP Dad View Post
Welcome to AF!!

It is possible that the manifold bolts have indeed worked loose so have your relative re-torque each one as per book specifications. Also the cost for replacement seems quite high to me especially the cost of the gaskets, the most I have been able to find a cost for them is $95 for a complete set. The going time frame for a gasket replacement is between 6 and 7 hours for a well equipped shop. Even at $60 per hour that is only $420 for labor. The thermostat replacement is not necessary since yours is new.

Try the gasket re-torque and a bottle of stop leak as it may seal the gaskets well enough to keep the leak under control until you can trade the vehicle.

Good Luck!

Thanks for the advice, GTP Dad. Unfortunately, I'll have to find a mechanic to do it for me as my relative can't do it now (hip replacement surgery). I asked the shop I got the quote from if they would do the bolts and they refused.
But they would put the pellets in. I've tried contacting a couple of mechanics on craigslist (dangerous, I know) and got no response.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:32 PM   #5
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Post Re: 2000 GA 3.4L SE(base) sedan w/intake manifold coolant leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tech II View Post
Kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place here, since the cost of the repair is about equal to the value of the car......so it doesn't seem to make much sense to repair it.....in fact, value of the car could be lower(or higher) depending on the condition of the interior, exterior(you said you need a W/S, that is usually covered under car insurance around here), tires, transmission, etc.
Thanks for the reply, Tech II. That was my thinking even before the water leak developed. I have been needing new tires for a while and just picked up a screw in one. (A local shop plugged it for me free, and asked that I buy my new tires from them, which I will for the new van.) The windshield is less than my deductible so it doesn't make sense to claim it and have my insurance rates go up. Just those two repairs alone would zero out any increase in value. This repair would be throwing money away.

Quote:
Couldn't hurt to try to retorque the bolts(upper plenum would have to be removed) and then use the GM tablets(they have to crushed and put into the cooling system).....
If I can find a mechanic that will do this for me, do you think it would be a good idea to have them loctite the bolts as well, so they don't back out again, (if they did originally)?

Quote:
GTP Dad, $60/hr? No shop I know would do it for that.....maybe under the table?


This shop's labor rate is $98/hr., which I thought to be high considering it's not a dealership. Of course, I haven't had to do any real repairs on this car in a while, but I don't think inflation would cause labor rates to go up thathigh.
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