04 May 2008

Today's Schedule

I spent most of my time in the junkyard today.

Normally I enjoy my trips to the junkyard, but today was too much like work.

The wife's Pontiac had white smoke out of the exhaust, so we pulled the head. I couldn't find a machine shop open on a Saturday, so we cleaned the head with purple power and a pressure washer and took a look at it under the magnifying light I use for my Nn3 models.

Cracked, from the intake valve seat to the spark plug hole, number 3 cylinder.

So, to the junkyard we go, find a Grand Am with the Quad 4 motor, and pull the head.

That's an all-day job, in case you have never dealt with the Quad 4. It's an excellent motor, but it sure wasn't built with the mechanic in mind.

The car we got the new head out of was wrecked, so it's not likely to have had any engine troubles. That's the secret for getting engine and running gear parts, get them out of cars that have been junked for obvious reasons. Large amounts of body damage suggest the cars were running when they were junked. Wheels that lean over and don't quite touch the ground are even better indications that the motors are OK, as long as they were not physically damaged in the crash.

At any rate, we got the head off just as we were being thrown out at closing time, so no chance to check it. I get to work for the next 10 days straight, so the inspection and reassembly will be up to Eldest Son.

I sure would like to have a couple of days off where I don't have cars to work on. If the Pontiac goes back together OK, that might happen. The mighty Rampage finally runs OK, the Aries has proven itself to be well worth the money I have sunk into it (it has, surprisingly enough, been the only vehicle that has reliably run for the past couple of weeks), so maybe I'll be set. (We did end up changing out the rebuilt right drive shaft for a new one from the parts store, and the irritating vibration at 30 MPH is now gone.)

Of course, I still have a motorcycle or two to deal with.


Hammer said...

I've seen that happen to quite a few Grand Ams.

Most of the time they just get junked. Glad you have the skills to fix it.

Also check the plastic tubes that run coolent to the heater. They tend to crap out at the same time.

Larry said...

This all started because of a heater core, the fourth to go into the car. Aftermarket cores are junk. They would fail, the car would heat up, and I suspect that led to the head crack. Of course, the car is a 92 so it could be just age.
I got the Delphi core (they are the company that makes them from GM) but the head went before we put it in.
Hopefully when it goes all together I won't have any more problems out of it.