[V8] what to do

dsaad AT icehouse DOT net dsaad at icehouse.net
Sun Mar 11 21:09:11 EDT 2007

The saga -

My motor has always used lots of oil. For the 7 years I have owned  
the car, it has used around 1qt per 700 to 1000 miles on average.  I  
never worried about it that much, but came to suspect that it needed  
a valve job. Something I planned to do at my leisure - in other words  
no big deal and I will get to it some day. I am at about 150K miles  
and was hoping to get to 200K before tearing into the motor.

So - the front end has been feeling loose, and I discovered that the  
front tires were wearing badly so I decided to replace all the rubber  
bits I could - which meant tearing out the struts and control arms.  
While I was under the car, I think I found the source of my slow  
coolant leak - the one I was sure was the upper radiator connection  
because there is always dried coolant around it. I seems to be the  
head gasket. $&*#. There is a lot of baked on coolant - all right at  
or below the head on the block. I guess I have to remove the headers  
to see for sure but it does not look good at this point. I have no  
idea how the coolant got to the radiator connection, but it is dry.  
It must blow up there somehow. Very weird.

For the last week the car has been sitting in the garage waiting for  
me to do the front end. When I went to start it to put it up on the  
ramps, it initially fired but then went into free spin mode - where  
it sounded like I had the plugs removed. No hint of a possibility  
that it was going to start. I pulled a plug and it was soaked. I  
dried it out and put it back in - hoping that one dry plug would be  
enough to get the motor running again and it did - but huge clouds of  
blue smoke came out for a few minutes. It appears that sitting for  
this long let a lot of oil leak into the cylinders from the valve  
guides? What else could it be? The car was running fine when I parked  
it, and no way for oil to get into the cylinders any other way than  
from the valves - right?

These problems would be pretty straight forward on any other car -  
just fix it. But this is not any other car.
What I am afraid of is when I take the heads off, I am going to find  
worn out cylinders - which I can not fix.
Even if they look good, I want to replace the rings - which is only  
possible if I use a ring that may not be specified for this  
application and if I re-use the rod bearings. This does not appeal to  
me. If I just leave the bottom end alone, I am likely to end up with  
another oil burner. Also not appealing
I could buy a used motor, but then I might easily end up in the same  
boat but have wasted lots of good money on a bad motor.
I am fine with the 3.6L by the way, but I have the 5-speed so I would  
need to swap the cams to make it work right. At that point, it would  
be silly not to do a valve job and then I am right back at the ring  
and bearing problem.
I am having a hard time not just driving it down to the car lot and  
trading it for something newer.



Anyway - before I do anything, I have to get the suspension put back  
together. I have new:
upper strut mounts
sway bar bushings
lower control arm inner bushings (ball joints seem fine)
and will probably do the tie rod ends even though they feel good.
Shocks, upper strut bearing, and wheel bearings are already pretty  

Is it recommended to replace the sub frame bushings too?


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