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HandyProfessor

Performing some surgery on the old Chevy

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HandyProfessor

Well I didn’t get around to tearing into her as quick as I’d have liked to, but finally hauled the old pickup back to the shop from the house yesterday. We were busy most of the day but Flynt and I were able to push her into an unused bay about 430 in the afternoon. Spent most of all day today tearing into her and I must say I’m a little nervous about what I found. 
 

Turns out someone had been into this before to fix the notorious intake gasket leak, and needless to say I wasn’t real impressed with their work. Half of the lower intake bolts were way over tightened, while the other half were not tight at all. One of the very front ones I was able to turn out by hand with only my fingers and a socket. After finding that I really believe the intake gaskets were the cause of my problems after all, rather than a head gasket, but I went ahead and pulled the right head off to have a little deeper look inside.

 

The amount of coolant that got down into the oil is what really makes me nervous, as well as all the corrosion and blockage of the water jackets in the heads. Have a feeling this one is gonna get pulled out in the next few days, not sure what my next move is...part of me says to overhaul it, while another part of me says to find a salvage engine to put in the pickup, then slowly work on rebuilding this one to put in the Suburban. Of course there is also the option of swapping a 454 in place of the 350, which would give me the truck I was wanting in the first place. I will update more when I decide what to do with it. 
 

 

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Jeff-C175

Looks to me as if a total rebuild is in order from what you've shown us.  I bet they ran straight water in the cooling system from the amount of rust in the passages.  Who knows what is plugged up inside?

 

If you want a big block, now is the time to start looking!

 

The 350 block had issues with intake manifold leakage?  I thought that was only the 60 degree v6 engines? (Which I'm preparing to do on the wife's '98 Monte Carlo as I type.  Parts start arriving tomorrow.). The nice thing is now I can take my time since she retired in March.  This will be the fourth time it's being done, twice by the dealer under warranty, once by a local mechanic, now this time by me.  I'm sure I can do a better job than they did.

 

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horseyheaven

The blockage in the passage is most likely caused by GM Dexcool coolant.  From my experience, dexcool will gel up like this for 1 of three reasons.  Reason number 1 is the cooling system has air in it somewhere, meaning it is not completely packed full of coolant.  The best GM Goodwrench mechanic I know told me this.  He said that it seems to gel up when exposed to air.  So, I poured enough in a coffee can to cover the bottom.  I also did this with the plain old green antifreeze.  After about 2 weeks of sitting in open air, the dexcool began to gel, but the old green sat on the corner of my bench for over a year and never did.  Reason number 2 is mixing coolant that is not dexcool with dexcool.  This can cause it to gel.  Reason number 3 has to be because it wants to.  I say reason 3 because I bought my wife a 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix.  This was the nicest, lowest mileage vehicle we have ever had.  Beautiful car.  Had the 3800 v6.  The car was great for a little while.  It was just off lease and was GM maintained at the dealership.  It only had 24,000 miles on it.  We bought it in the spring of the year.  It needed tires, so I had it lined up and found out there was no way to adjust camber on these models without buying a camber kit.  So, camber kit and new tires and away we go.  July comes on a extremely hot day when we were in town getting groceries.  I notice the temp gauge climbing in stop and go traffic more than it ever has before.  It was not overheating, just running close to the H, closer than I like to see.  I checked for leaks, none.  No debris in front of radiator and I knew it was full  because I had just checked all fluids the night before.  So, headed for home and after getting out of traffic it cooled off and ran fine.  Let it cool after getting home, checked coolant again, still full.  Drove it and monitored it.  No problems.  Talked to GM mechanic and he said he would flush coolant. He did.  No noticeable problems.  That winter, we parked it in garage to keep out of salt and drove our old Ford Taurus that had over 200,000 miles on it.  The next winter we retired the old Taurus due to rust issues.  We began driving the Pontiac and it had no heat.  I got out and checked heater hoses.  One hose hot and one hose cold.  Heater core was plugged with gel that reminded me of jello.  So, mechanic buddy and I back flushed heater core and made sure to fill hoses and core full before putting hoses back on (messy).  Kept topping off radiator.  In one week, it was plugged again, no heat.  Car is now off warranty, over 36,000 miles.  We had to replace the heater core, not cheap to do.  Had to pay a garage to do this because I did not have the time due to work.  So, I talked to the mechanic and when he put in the new heater core, he flushed coolant again and we installed a coolant filter to prevent future heater core issues.  I had to clean the filter every week or it would plug up and have no heat.  So, I kept up with my weekly cleanings and continued on.  We drove it that next summer and winter.  Then, the transmission began to shift weird.  Fluid was changed at 30,000 miles shortly after we got it.  So, by this time I had never put so much money into a vehicle in my life.  I found out what a new tranny was going to be because the torque converter was going out of mine.  Mileage was at 45,000 miles.  We got rid of it and got another Ford.  That car was my last GM product.  I have never lost so much money on a car in my life.  Sorry for the rant, those pictures brought back bad memories!

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pullstart

Best of luck with your project, Bryce!  I hate to say, but a junk yard / used engine will be much cheaper than rebuilding... but you know that might only get you to the highway.  
 

I guess there’s something to say for torque sequences and checking things twice?  In all honesty when I did Norman’s head bolts, I missed one on my final torque.  Something like a phone call that dinner’s ready, or the like.   In my double check I found that I had skipped it completely and might have been in another tear down situation if not for a double check.

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peter lena

HANDYPROFESSOR,  the LS TYPE  used engines are very popular , and available in many forms , already coming from a typical van with plug in wire harness. the reliability and build strength is amazing , also a bolt in to your set up , pete

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PeacemakerJack

:text-yeahthat: you took the words right out of my mouth Pete!  That is what I am planning to do with my old 1995 K2500 this spring/summer.  I have the donor engine/vehicle and I just need to gather the bits and pieces to make it a reality...

 

Good luck Bryce👍🏻

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peter lena

JACK, been doing my research on a possible ls / volvo swap, popular build up today, better power to weight ratio , than a ,vett,  anyway , the ls is available from a 4.8 to 6.3 , 5.4 and 5.7 most popular. cross bolted mains external oil pump , design improvements , and available upgrades are bolt on . look up basic  LS UPGRADES , you can buy cheap , and still get what ever you want  , pete 

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HandyProfessor

Great suggestions everyone. I guess in the end it’s all gonna depend on what I decide to do with the truck. Right now I’m leaning more towards putting a salvage engine in her, and selling it trading her in favor of a Ford F-250/350 with either a 460 or a 7.3. I know there are tons of GM guys here, but I have always had better experiences with Ford. Got away from them for a while and we went to all GM, now we’ve got the pickup and my 99 Suburban with junk engines, and her 02 Suburban with a transmission that doesn’t shift quite right and a front end that’s about to fall out from under it. 
 

That being said if I do decide to keep the truck, I will probably be on the lookout for a donor truck with a 454. This is the first small block truck I have owned in several years, and when I load a tractor up behind her I really miss the power of the big block. 

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Zeek
3 hours ago, HandyProfessor said:

Great suggestions everyone. I guess in the end it’s all gonna depend on what I decide to do with the truck. Right now I’m leaning more towards putting a salvage engine in her, and selling it trading her in favor of a Ford F-250/350 with either a 460 or a 7.3. I know there are tons of GM guys here, but I have always had better experiences with Ford. Got away from them for a while and we went to all GM, now we’ve got the pickup and my 99 Suburban with junk engines, and her 02 Suburban with a transmission that doesn’t shift quite right and a front end that’s about to fall out from under it. 

:greetings-clappingyellow::happy-partydance:

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ebinmaine
4 hours ago, Zeek said:

trading her in favor of a Ford F-250/350 with either a 460 or a 7.3. I know there are tons of GM guys here, but I have always had better experiences with Ford

 

4 hours ago, Zeek said:

:greetings-clappingyellow::happy-partydance:

 

I've GM in the 80s vintage and had good luck. 

92 to 95 F Series have been the best to me. 

 

 

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horseyheaven

I have had great service from Fords for along time.  1979 Ford F250 4x4 is still in the driveway and has become like one of the family.  I also have a 1986 Ford F250 4x4 with the 300 six cylinder that I have a dump bed on and a snow plow.  I have a 1999 Ford F250 4x4 with the V10 for pulling my tilt trailer.  All have served me well and have been paid for for many years.  I look at the prices of new vehicles and all of the electronics and I really do not want one.  For a family vehicle we have had great luck with a 1998 Ford Taurus and currently have an older Ford Escape.  Not that I do not like other products.  I have driven a good many Chevy/GM products too.  I guess I have just had better luck with Ford products.  Personally, I like the late 1970's four wheel drives from Ford and Chevy/GMC.  They were probably some of the toughest and simplest trucks to maintain and work on.  If I did not drive Fords, older Chevy products would be my next favorite.  However, I do like all vehicles from the 1960s muscle car era.  That was when things were built to be worked on.  I have a 1967 Ford Fairlane GT that I have been working on.  I enjoy it.  It has become a hobby of mine just to continue to get it the way that I want it.  

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ebinmaine
6 minutes ago, horseyheaven said:

1986 Ford F250 4x4 with the 300 six cylinder

That's the one....

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