The 1947 - Present Chevrolet & GMC Truck Message Board Network







Register or Log In To remove these advertisements.

Go Back   The 1947 - Present Chevrolet & GMC Truck Message Board Network > 47 - Current classic GM Trucks > The 1988 - 1998 Chevy & GMC Pickups Message Board

Web 67-72chevytrucks.com


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-23-2017, 05:07 PM   #1
skizzik
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Austin,TX
Posts: 35
Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

Hi everyone,

I could use some advice about what action to take and how much it would cost. Does it sound like I need another head gasket already, or is this engine block bad?

I have an 89 Suburban with a standard 350 5.7L V8 TBI engine. I had the engine completely rebuilt in April 2015 because the head gasket was at a point that it needed to be repaired (I overheated and it had been burning coolant out the tailpipe badly for 2 days prior), and it had been burning oil and I was tired of topping it off. The mechanic replaced the water pump and radiator too.

After the rebuild, it drove like butter. It was amazing. But the temperature gauge occasionally would show the engine overheating and then it would usually drop back down to operating temperature within 20 min. I told the mechanic and he replaced the temperature sensor. It continued to act the same way, but the mechanic didn't think anything was wrong. I heard a small amount of gurgling in the coolant backup tank once. Otherwise, no obvious signs of definite overheating.

Fast forward to this past November. The suburban isn't my primary vehicle, and I used it on average every 2 months and kept the battery hooked up to a trickle charger most of the time. I only put about 1,300 miles on the engine since the rebuild. I used the Suburban to pick up a Christmas tree and had no problems. I checked the fluids before leaving and they were all fine. The next day, I tried driving the Suburban to work and it overheated within 15 minutes and left me on the side of the road. I had it towed to a local shop and the mechanic said the head gasket needs replacing and the engine won't even start. The truck is unusable. When I explained the recent rebuild, he said he suspected the engine was bad and needed replacing (cracked block maybe?).

I have been trying to contact the mechanic who did the rebuild, but he is ignoring me. He was a guy at the edge of town who speaks little English and I received no written warranty of any kind.

What would you all do here? Is it likely that it just needs another head gasket, or does it sound like this engine is unfixable? How can I determine this? Thanks.

Last edited by skizzik; 02-23-2017 at 05:15 PM.
skizzik is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2017, 08:11 PM   #2
Palf70Step
State of Confusion!

 
Palf70Step's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Gulfport, MS USA
Posts: 36,071
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

I would say regardless of the mileage on the engine, most don't warranty past a year. It could be head gasket like you mentioned or the rear intake manifold gaskets that tend to link depending on the intake gaskets they used, especially if it sits a lot with dexicool as the antifreeze.
__________________
Bill
"Old Mule" 1964 Chevy C10 BBW Short Fleet (350/3 Spd)
"Whitey" 2002 Chevy Silverado 1500 SWB W/T
Member of Louisiana Classic Truck Club (LCTC)
Board Vendors
Bill's Gallery
Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God!
Palf70Step is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2017, 08:53 PM   #3
skizzik
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Austin,TX
Posts: 35
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Palf70Step View Post
I would say regardless of the mileage on the engine, most don't warranty past a year. It could be head gasket like you mentioned or the rear intake manifold gaskets that tend to link depending on the intake gaskets they used, especially if it sits a lot with dexicool as the antifreeze.
Thanks, Bill. Sounds like you think it's fixable.
skizzik is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2017, 08:57 AM   #4
Kim57
Registered User
 
Kim57's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Corona, California
Posts: 7,788
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

You should do a compression check. That should show where the problem is.
It's possible the head was warped from over heating the engine and then it will never be right until surfaced. That could have been the problem with the overheating after the rebuild.
Kim
__________________
My build thread
http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=283107
Kim57 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2017, 10:37 AM   #5
b454rat
Senior Member
 
b454rat's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Binghamton, NY
Posts: 2,788
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

Check the thermostat?
__________________
1998 Tahoe SAS'd HP60 van 14ff and some fat 36s
b454rat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2017, 11:59 AM   #6
skizzik
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Austin,TX
Posts: 35
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kim57 View Post
You should do a compression check. That should show where the problem is.
It's possible the head was warped from over heating the engine and then it will never be right until surfaced. That could have been the problem with the overheating after the rebuild.
Kim
Thanks Kim. I had a mechanic do a compression test, and he said it failed and indicated the head gasket had failed.
skizzik is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2017, 12:00 PM   #7
skizzik
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Austin,TX
Posts: 35
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by b454rat View Post
Check the thermostat?
Haven't checked the thermostat. Worth checking I guess. I thought most modern ones failed open though?
skizzik is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2017, 01:34 PM   #8
Palf70Step
State of Confusion!

 
Palf70Step's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Gulfport, MS USA
Posts: 36,071
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by skizzik View Post
Haven't checked the thermostat. Worth checking I guess. I thought most modern ones failed open though?
No, unless you ask for one, many/most are still traditional style. Hope it is not too bad on your engine and maybe a good clean up and new gaskets will take care of it.
__________________
Bill
"Old Mule" 1964 Chevy C10 BBW Short Fleet (350/3 Spd)
"Whitey" 2002 Chevy Silverado 1500 SWB W/T
Member of Louisiana Classic Truck Club (LCTC)
Board Vendors
Bill's Gallery
Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God!
Palf70Step is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-24-2017, 05:54 PM   #9
Tom
driving is in my blood
 
Tom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Mesa AZ
Posts: 4,521
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

Define rebuilt. Decked the block, heads, line hone the mains, new bolts and re-sized rods, new/rebuilt crank etc......or as most people think just a hone with new rings, bearings and gaskets?
__________________
-78 c10 short/step: 388cid, M20, 5/5 drop, lots more. Playtoy and first vehicle.
-98 c1500 x-cab: 5.7L, 17" rims, 5/6 drop, flowmaster, helper bags,NBS rear disk brakes.
-06 CBR600F4i: 110mph in 2nd at 14,000rpm= happiness.
DISCLAIMER: I cant spell for the life of me.
Tom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2017, 03:16 PM   #10
skizzik
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Austin,TX
Posts: 35
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom View Post
Define rebuilt. Decked the block, heads, line hone the mains, new bolts and re-sized rods, new/rebuilt crank etc......or as most people think just a hone with new rings, bearings and gaskets?
I don't know. I was told that every replaceable part would be replaced. It took him like 4-6 weeks to complete.
skizzik is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2017, 03:17 PM   #11
skizzik
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Austin,TX
Posts: 35
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

I'll check the thermostat and post the results. I'm gonna be so pissed if that caused the problem...
skizzik is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2017, 04:32 PM   #12
skizzik
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Austin,TX
Posts: 35
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by skizzik View Post
I'll check the thermostat and post the results. I'm gonna be so pissed if that caused the problem...
I tested the thermostat and it seems fine. Physically it looks fine, and it opened in boiling water and closed in closed water pretty quickly.

Anyone else know what could cause a recently rebuilt engine to overheat and need a new head gasket if the coolant level, oil level, and thermostat were fine?

Last edited by skizzik; 02-28-2017 at 04:39 PM.
skizzik is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2017, 05:09 PM   #13
Mr_Rich
Registered User
 
Mr_Rich's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Santa Maria, Calif.
Posts: 365
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

When you have a failure so early I'd suspect the work that was done on this engine and I wouldn't trust it or the "mechanic" who built it. BTDT, and it was with a mechanic at a Chevy dealership 25+ years ago. After my experience I found it easier to buy a 350 crate engine at a local Pontiac dealer and installed it myself on the street outside my apt. at the time. That engine was still running strong for twenty years until I swapped it out for my spare that had fresh seals and lower miles as one of my retirement projects. Were any shortcuts taken and less care or time taken reassembling this long block? Probably a teardown and inspection will tell the tale. It could be a cracked block and 1000 miles isn't enough to reveal some of the damage yet other than the overheating. My factory 305 in '89 had a cracked block which led to my troubles at the time.
__________________
1989 K1500 Chev. EC
Original owner; some of the aftermarket parts I've installed are Borla headers, Hypertech chip, Edelbrock water pump, and a Stillen rear disc brake conversion kit.
2009 Hummer H3T 3.7L 5M.
1997 K2500 Chev. EC 7.4L/ 4L80E
Mr_Rich is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2017, 05:44 PM   #14
Tom
driving is in my blood
 
Tom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Mesa AZ
Posts: 4,521
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by skizzik View Post
I have been trying to contact the mechanic who did the rebuild, but he is ignoring me. He was a guy at the edge of town who speaks little English and I received no written warranty of any kind.
Combine this with not knowing any actual machine work done only that "every part is replaced" worries the crap out of me. Did this cost you $2,000+ to rebuild? Cause that's the going rate when having someone else do the disassembly and re-assembly of the engine itself not counting install into the truck.

You know the head gaskets are done. Pull the engine and get it checked over before going any further. Find a real shop not an edge of town barely speaks english no reciepts or warranty guy living in a tent.
__________________
-78 c10 short/step: 388cid, M20, 5/5 drop, lots more. Playtoy and first vehicle.
-98 c1500 x-cab: 5.7L, 17" rims, 5/6 drop, flowmaster, helper bags,NBS rear disk brakes.
-06 CBR600F4i: 110mph in 2nd at 14,000rpm= happiness.
DISCLAIMER: I cant spell for the life of me.
Tom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2017, 07:58 PM   #15
skizzik
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Austin,TX
Posts: 35
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom View Post
Combine this with not knowing any actual machine work done only that "every part is replaced" worries the crap out of me. Did this cost you $2,000+ to rebuild? Cause that's the going rate when having someone else do the disassembly and re-assembly of the engine itself not counting install into the truck.

You know the head gaskets are done. Pull the engine and get it checked over before going any further. Find a real shop not an edge of town barely speaks english no reciepts or warranty guy living in a tent.
I spent $1,200 for a "rebuild", radiator, and R12 recharge. It might've been $1,500, but I'm pretty sure it was $1,200. The mechanic has a lot full of old cars, and a couple shop buildings. He's a mechanic for a living who's been doing this for decades and I thought was trustworthy, but I do suspect something faulty with his work.

I had a different mechanic look at it today. It took a little bit to start (I think because of lack of compression), but it did start and sounded fine to the both of us. There was white smoke coming out of the tailpipe along with some liquid. It rain for about 15 seconds and then I started seeing the coolant reservoir tank rapidly bubbling and we shut off the engine. I tried a few hours later to start it and couldn't (maybe there's water in the cylinders now).

He suggested getting a new engine or at least a new short block (bottom half) and having him put it in. The maintenance guy who works at my apartment suggested that I learn how to replace the head gaskets myself (he learned himself on his old truck), but that seems like quite an undertaking.

Last edited by skizzik; 03-03-2017 at 08:23 PM.
skizzik is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2017, 07:47 AM   #16
billnorman
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: glen burnie md
Posts: 174
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

Lots of bubbles in the coolant sounds like a headgasket or cracked head or block. Water in the tailpipe is normal when first started but not after it has been running for a while. Check the oil, if it's creamy, you have a real problem. I'm not sure, but if your intake manifold leaks you could also get water inside the cylinders. If a compression test shows low one one or two ajacent cylinders you probably need a head gasket and need the heads checked for warping.
billnorman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2017, 12:34 PM   #17
skizzik
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Austin,TX
Posts: 35
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by billnorman View Post
Lots of bubbles in the coolant sounds like a headgasket or cracked head or block. Water in the tailpipe is normal when first started but not after it has been running for a while. Check the oil, if it's creamy, you have a real problem. I'm not sure, but if your intake manifold leaks you could also get water inside the cylinders. If a compression test shows low one one or two ajacent cylinders you probably need a head gasket and need the heads checked for warping.
How can I tell if it's a cracked head or block? I'd hate to fix the head gasket(s) only to find out later that there's a crack.
skizzik is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2017, 01:35 PM   #18
Mr_Rich
Registered User
 
Mr_Rich's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Santa Maria, Calif.
Posts: 365
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by skizzik View Post

He suggested getting a new engine or at least a new short block (bottom half) and having him put it in. The maintenance guy who works at my apartment suggested that I learn how to replace the head gaskets myself (he learned himself on his old truck), but that seems like quite an undertaking.

Noooooo.... At this point the upper half of the engine is damaged. Buy a crate engine for a fresh install. You're just asking for trouble (again) if you try to put the old heads on a new short block. Like I said before...BTDT.
__________________
1989 K1500 Chev. EC
Original owner; some of the aftermarket parts I've installed are Borla headers, Hypertech chip, Edelbrock water pump, and a Stillen rear disc brake conversion kit.
2009 Hummer H3T 3.7L 5M.
1997 K2500 Chev. EC 7.4L/ 4L80E
Mr_Rich is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2017, 07:46 PM   #19
skizzik
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Austin,TX
Posts: 35
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Rich View Post
Noooooo.... At this point the upper half of the engine is damaged. Buy a crate engine for a fresh install. You're just asking for trouble (again) if you try to put the old heads on a new short block. Like I said before...BTDT.
Good point. The bottom may be good, but we know the top isn't. Not sure why he suggested that, or why I thought it made sense at the time.

A crate engine is like $2,000. Is there anything I can do in the range of like $500, or is a crate engine really what you'd recommend?

Last edited by skizzik; 03-04-2017 at 08:05 PM.
skizzik is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2017, 08:53 PM   #20
Kim57
Registered User
 
Kim57's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Corona, California
Posts: 7,788
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

I would pull the heads to see what's going on. A compression test should show which cylinders to be concerned with.
Look for obvious damage to start with.
You can check for a warped head by putting a straight edge on it with a strip of paper under it and seeing if it slides out. Some cracks need to be found by having it magnafluxed.
Hope you find the problem.
Kim
__________________
My build thread
http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=283107
Kim57 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2017, 08:56 PM   #21
Kim57
Registered User
 
Kim57's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Corona, California
Posts: 7,788
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

It's also possible the original mechanic didn't torque the heads properly which would cause problems.
Easy to see if any bolts are loose.
Kim
__________________
My build thread
http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=283107
Kim57 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2017, 06:11 AM   #22
billnorman
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: glen burnie md
Posts: 174
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kim57 View Post
It's also possible the original mechanic didn't torque the heads properly which would cause problems.
Easy to see if any bolts are loose.
Kim
That's why a good mechanic would remove the head bolts by hand with a ratchet rather than an impact wrench. The rattle wrench is faster but doesn't tell you much.
billnorman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2017, 01:36 PM   #23
speedygonzales
Registered User
 
speedygonzales's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Smithfield, VA
Posts: 1,253
Uh not quite

Quote:
Originally Posted by skizzik View Post
Thanks Kim. I had a mechanic do a compression test, and he said it failed and indicated the head gasket had failed.
Has anyone looked at the quality of the oil and see if it at least looks like a milkshake????? Has anyone looked at the plugs to see what they indicate? Coolant would be real noticeable on the plug.

A compression test will indicate there is low compression only. It can not point to the cause. In most cases a low compression test is related to bad valves. I don't think this case is like that however.

He's making an assumption that because it's over heating and there is 1 or more cylinders with low compression, the 2 must be related. Not the best way to trouble shoot but it allows him to make an opinion without charging.

What should have been done was a leak down test. Also a chemical check of the coolant to see if it has combustion gases in it. IF the leakdown test produces bubbles in the coolant, no need for a test of the coolant.

At this point the head on the side in question should be pulled to see if it is indeed just a gasket or something mores serious like a crack. At that point the quality of the cylinder walls can be evaluated.

A clear understanding of a test to confirm or deny a suspected problem will be very helpful. Go where the test indicates and understand EXACTLY what each test will show or in this case, not show.

FWIW I'm putting my money on a cheap (went bad) head gasket.
__________________
99 Z71 (98 body style)
Pride and joy
speedygonzales is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2017, 01:13 PM   #24
docrock
Registered User
 
docrock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Encinitas, CA
Posts: 381
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

This is a great post about awareness of what your "rebuilder" is doing to your engine. Some rebuilders will buy a rebuild kit for 300 on ebay and call it done. Sure you may have new rings, bearings, and gaskets, but if you didn't have the block and heads magnifluxed you threw money away. Radiators are cheap and I would have changed that when I did the motor. I blew a lot of head gaskets not changing that. On these motors after 86 the heads crack easily, when they overheat. My 93 blew the intake gasket. When I removed the intake there was a lot of corrosion that had to be addressed or it would have leaked again. A good machine shop is your best friend, especially if they let you check in with them as they progress through the process. Crate engines have gotten very inexpensive and I might go that route on the next project. But if you don't fix the cause you will blow the new motor
__________________
1954 GMC on 93 Silverado chassis http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=408344

1942 Chevy 1/2 ton Pickup http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=429494

R.I.P. TOMSPROJECTS 68 FOUR DOOR
docrock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2017, 12:20 PM   #25
skizzik
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Austin,TX
Posts: 35
Re: Seeking advice - rebuilt engine failed within 1,000 miles

Ended up having the heads taken off and found head gaskets that looked like they hadn't been replaced during the rebuild, along with a crack in one of the heads, and a crack in the new radiator from when it overheated. So put in a couple of new rebuilt heads, head gaskets, intake gaskets, and radiator, and drove it a little yesterday to try it out. There was quite a bit of white smoke that I'm hoping just needed to burn off, because it went away after a while.

More testing needed with the engine but so far so good. The temperature gauge on my dash suddenly no longer works, though. Strange.
skizzik is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:39 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 1997-2013 67-72chevytrucks.com