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KillaKeninaRiv
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PostSubject: head gasket replacement   Fri Dec 26, 2008 2:25 am

hey my uncle replaced my intake gaskets and didnt do the head gaskets and now i found out i have a burned out wire harness as well. do you all think it would be wiser to go ahead and put in a whole new motor or go back and have the head gaskets and wire harness replaced? i can get a harness for $25 used but the problem is finding someone to do the head gaskets because im not going to pay a shop to do it when i can get a haynes manual and do it myself in a heated garage.
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dscott2000
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Fri Dec 26, 2008 7:07 am

Well, your gonna have to replace the harness anyway. If it were me, I would just do the head gaskets and the harness. Thats just me though. Good luck regardless.
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:15 am

What makes you think you need a head gasket? Don't do them as preventative maintenance...
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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:38 am

FIrst and foremost - your posts do not say that you have a head gasket problem. Why are you going to replace head gaskets? They fail on these cars from time to time BUT there is almost always a cause, like a cooling system leak and the heads overheat and warp. IT's a cast iron block, just is not twitchy and warpy like the alloy blocks. So what is it you're *not* telling us?

While you are answering that... compared to a lot of engines, the 3800 is pretty straightforward. Although there is not a Haynes for the Riv, a Haynes for the full size buick/olds/pontiac late 80s thru mid 90s will show what you need to know Only diff is you'll have an interesting time getting at the back side of the engine, there is a lot bolted on that's kinda in the way.

That said, the Haynes points out that this is one of the few engines that you can (at least theoretically) do a rebuild on and it's practical to do so without puling it, and if you use the search function on this edit board I think you will find at least one write up on replacing the head gaskets.

That said, if you can pull it, pull it, it's better access and less hassle overall, plus you can easily remedy other nuisances (leaking oil pan gasket). The funny thing will be how small this engine actually is once you split it from the transaxle.

By the way, while it's out you might want to replace the rear main seal. I am *SO* glad I did that when I rebuilt my transmission.

let us know what you decide to do. I would not mess with the head gaskets unless no kidding there was a problem. And on the other hand if you're going to do the gaskets I would seriously consider replacing the rear (and maybe front) main seals if I was pulling the engine to do the job.

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KillaKeninaRiv
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Fri Dec 26, 2008 9:36 pm

we replaced the upper and lower intake manifolds and replaced all fluids, coolant and new oil, started the car up three times and found out the wire harness had a short in it and when we took a look at the oil dipstick it was milky brown and watery...and it was only started for a few seconds. also, where he sealed the intake, he didnt do a proper seal on the lower manifold sides and now it has to be taken off again.
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Fri Dec 26, 2008 10:02 pm

got it, thanks for the details. Did you get that Haynes yet?

Albertj
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KillaKeninaRiv
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Tue Dec 30, 2008 3:20 pm

nope but my brother has one. im trying to figure out whether or not i should just get another motor because this one guy said the head gaskets and wire harness replacement would cost like $300 for the parts and labor
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Tue Dec 30, 2008 3:27 pm

Still cheaper than another motor and less labor.
By the way, if someone else is doing the head gasket job for you, $300.00 is a decent price. Provided he's a good mechanic.
I'd pay someone 300.00 to do that job for me. It's a real back breaker. Many hours bent over the fenders does not appeal to me any more.
I think you'll find gaskets alone will eat up most of that 300.00. If your talking about Head gasket's, Intake manifold, valve cover, and misc smaller gaskets and sealants, oil, filter........
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AA
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:04 pm

I've heard ~$1000 is the going rate for head gasket work from a professional mechanic.

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KillaKeninaRiv
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:50 pm

yeah i heard it costs alot more if its a northstar motor. well, i guess i hustled my uncle then when i gave him the $60 to do the intake gaskets, both upper and lower. but he still didnt check the heads so thats why im in this predicament im in now. now ill have to buy the actual gaskets for the heads, new oil, oil filter, and coolant all over again. only good thing is, im broke now but i have my tuition reimbursement coming from the army and a couple nice sized checks in the pipeline...

on another note, i did find quite a few rivieras on craigslist in ohio that were a decent price range so i might get a second one assuming things dont go right with this one and use the first as parts if the costs are expensive. i called one place and they have a 2003 Park Avenue with 35,xxxx miles on it for $800 and I can get it installed for $400...so roughly $1300 total for a pretty much new motor. well see though
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KillaKeninaRiv
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Mon Jan 05, 2009 7:23 pm

car is off to the mechanic today...wish me luck!
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:59 am

So, Kenneth, how did things turn out?

Alberrtj
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KillaKeninaRiv
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Tue Jan 13, 2009 6:00 pm

they told me the head gasket but the amount of repairs needed would roughly equal a new motor so im going to either 1) send out the wolves to ''find'' me a motor, or 2) im going to buy it. i wonder would a 3800 series III work in place of a series II? at least my car is back home again and i dont have to worry about thieves stealing my sounds
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:34 am

We need for some other people to weigh in on this, BUT if you also swap the ECU and wiring (if there's even a difference) the Park Ave Series III motor should work. Might not have to do all that - and in any event Don't do it on my say so though- find someone who actually has a clue...

by the way while that PA motor is out for the swap might be good time to do preventive mainenance (like replace those PITA spark plugs). How many miles on the PA motor?

and also by the way WHY is that PA only $800? Wrecked?

Albertj
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:39 am

albertj wrote:
We need for some other people to weigh in on this, BUT if you also swap the ECU and wiring (if there's even a difference) the Park Ave Series III motor should work. Might not have to do all that - and in any event Don't do it on my say so though- find someone who actually has a clue...

by the way while that PA motor is out for the swap might be good time to do preventive mainenance (like replace those PITA spark plugs). How many miles on the PA motor?

and also by the way WHY is that PA only $800? Wrecked?

Albertj

We had a member do a series III swap... its easy... well pretty easy YES you need a pcm to match that motor..
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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:50 am

Travis Definitely has a clue...

Search this editboard for the Series III engine swap, I remember seeing it but do not remember where.

Albertj
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KillaKeninaRiv
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Wed Jan 14, 2009 7:49 pm

albertj wrote:
We need for some other people to weigh in on this, BUT if you also swap the ECU and wiring (if there's even a difference) the Park Ave Series III motor should work. Might not have to do all that - and in any event Don't do it on my say so though- find someone who actually has a clue...

by the way while that PA motor is out for the swap might be good time to do preventive mainenance (like replace those PITA spark plugs). How many miles on the PA motor?

and also by the way WHY is that PA only $800? Wrecked?

Albertj

the PA price was for the motor only. Ill still have to use my power steering, starter, alernator, etc. but at 35000 miles, hell I might take a road trip THEN sell it. I thought about getting rid of it instead of replacing the motor but you get lowballed on a car that needs that kind of maintenance done.

is the series III computer located under the glove compartment like a series II?
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:59 pm

i have a blown head gasket(just found out today) i got it quoted at $1500 from the local shop. Psh no thanks. I will tackle it myself
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:31 am

texasfan010 wrote:
i have a blown head gasket(just found out today) i got it quoted at $1500 from the local shop. Psh no thanks. I will tackle it myself

Good luck
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:49 am

its not hard. my big concern when doing mine was the thought oh having to adjust my valves afterwards. i found out that the riv has non adjustable valves. after that hurdle was tackled i found the job time consuming but not difficult. I'm used to wrenching so the time was not a prob. it all depends on your level of skill. it don't take a whole lot. just catalogue all the bolts so they go back in the right place..and should be OK!.....if you drink beer while you do the work your self integrity scores will shoot straight up! i recommend grolsch dutch beer for this level of work
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:51 am

robotennis61 wrote:
its not hard. my big concern when doing mine was the thought oh having to adjust my valves afterwards. i found out that the riv has non adjustable valves. after that hurdle was tackled i found the job time consuming but not difficult. I'm used to wrenching so the time was not a prob. it all depends on your level of skill. it don't take a whole lot. just catalogue all the bolts so they go back in the right place..and should be OK!.....if you drink beer while you do the work your self integrity scores will shoot straight up! i recommend grolsch dutch beer for this level of work

and be sure to replace the stretch head bolts, they are not really reusable but such good quality that they seem to be. If you don't replace they will fail after a while due to thermal cycling. Maybe a long while, but it's a certainty not a gamble. Had a friend who pulled that stunt, it was kinda funny when I asked him if it was easier the second time.
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:56 am

i just wanted to add that you should make sure you ID all the vacuum hoses for re-installation.
I just wrap a little masking tape around them and mark with a Sharpie. (unless you have a photographic memory)
Also can't hurt to take photo's before dis-assembly to help you on re-assembly.
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Thu Oct 22, 2009 12:28 pm

yeah..all of the above. once you remove the fuel rail and the injectors and get the plumbing out the way and off to the side,power steering,lines,vac,its pretty straight forward. drape a blanket over the radiator cowl and lay down to access all the bolts at the rear cylinder. piece of cake.when it comes to the front cylinder,i found it helpful to remove the rad cowl ,this gave me more work space for the header bolts and does not take much time to remove.
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PostSubject: Re: head gasket replacement   Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:31 pm

The only thing I would add is that very rarely do 3800s blow head gaskets, unless you've been running the S/C motor on cheap gas. Usually it's the LIM gaskets instead. Did they do a compression test, leakdown test, and give you the results? Or did they just pull the plugs and see antifreeze?
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