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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Alright so I've always wanted the 4th Gen Camaro with a 6spd and finally got the chance to buy, but of course, all good things sometimes have a bad side.

Well to start off the dude selling it said that the engine had a "Blow by" to which according to him, water from the cooling system was pretty much wetting the spark plug and being burned lightly.

So I hit him up to see if it drives and turns on and all that and well first thing he showed me was when he starts it, with the radiator cap off it bubbles A LOT. But when I went to the back of the car it wasnt smoking or steaming. He then had to refill the radiator several times after that and my question is, where is the water going if its not visibly being burnt?

He said the head gasket just needs to be replaced and it should be fine, my only concern is if I start the process I dont want to take the head off and see one of the cylinders filled with sludge.

Is there any way of finding out without poppin the head off? I did notice the oil level was past full and kind of brownish looking, not black and dirty or honey looking.

It didnt appear to have water in it but it just made me think, where the hell is all that water going and is this worth the money and possibly future head aches. The car has a lot of little problems on the side and the engine has 164,XXX miles on it already, any help on what to look for would be appreciated please!
 

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It's odd that it isn't smoking at all if it's using that much water. I bought my Camaro with 184,xxx miles in the same condition and had to fill the radiator with water once a day if I just drove down the street and back. Smoked bad and found the head gasket with a large tear in it.
 

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you do what you want but it sounds like it could be just a head gasket but you never know and with 160,000 on it you should just go through the whole motor. you will be opening a can of worms unless body and everything else is perfect than I don't see putting 3 to 5 thousand on rebuilding the motor to stock condition depending what you find once you take it apart. good luck
 

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A head gasket leak can be such that coolant leaks into crankcase or cylinders or both. IOW, it does not always have to be burning coolant out the tail pipes to have a head gasket leak. The bubbles in the radiator indicate there is connection between the combustion chamber(s) and cooling system. The oil level being raised would also be a concern. To gauge what is going on there, drain the oil and see what you get.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
See thats what im afraid of, I actually havent even bought car yet and if water is getting into the crank I cant really afford to re do the engine right now. I was thinking maybe I can pull a spark plug of the suspected chamber and either take a look at it or stick my finger in and see what I pull out? Any other ideas as to what I could do to see if there is water in the oil? Like I mentioned I havent purchased the car so draining the oil is probably out of the question.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
See thats what im afraid of, I actually havent even bought car yet and if water is getting into the crank I cant really afford to re do the engine right now. I was thinking maybe I can pull a spark plug of the suspected chamber and either take a look at it or stick my finger in and see what I pull out? Any other ideas as to what I could do to see if there is water in the oil? Like I mentioned I havent purchased the car so draining the oil is probably out of the question.

I think I mentioned before but the person im buying it from said he had water in the cooling system instead of antifreeze so thats why im not sure whats in the oil, if anything.
 

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Mine was consuming water at an alarming rate. None in the oil, no evidence of it leaking. No smoking. ONCE in a wild blue moon I'd smell a feint feint smell of antifreeze. Try stickin your nose down my the exhaust when it's running and see if you can smell ANYTHING sweet.

When I got my gaskets off turns out the was a crimped spot in the #8 cylinder metal ring of the gasket but otherwise no other evidence that I hadn't already mentioned. Threw me off too about the water disappearing cause I drove it that way for a couple weeks before noticing the bubbles in the radiator.
 

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Stay away if you do not have a budget or money to put into it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
So I was able to check more out of the car today, in which Ill add a video and some pics later but first thing I checked before we ran it was the oil, and well like the seller said it was over filled but it was only oil. Smelled like oil, felt like it and didnt run down the dipstick like water so I MIGHT be in the clear. Doesnt mean im believing it just yet, tomorrow im going to pull the rest of the spark plugs because I was able to pull the first two on the drivers side head, where the problem is happening.


One thing I did notice when we ran it was that on the driver side it sounded like there was an exhaust leak in the center two exhaust pipes, One thing the seller told me was that after he runs it, a small trickle of water actually comes out of the head, right next to the header, as its actually coming from the exterior of the head, which would mighht explain the leaking sound we can hear.

He mentioned something about the water journal but it really didnt make any sense to me, does anyone have any input on the current issue? So far im leaning on buying it I just want to know what im up against when I buy and rip apart.

Keep in mind, incase I didnt mention before but this would be my first engine diss assembly but im a maintainer in the Air Force so im not completely oblivious to the mechanics of a car. Any advice of what tools I would need to purchase or obstacles I should expect are welcomed, thanks for everyones input btw.
 

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I was a Shop Manager for a School Bus Company and I didn't do anything heavier besides changing water pumps/ alts, brakes, and such. All internal stuff went to International. My Lt1 was the first one I disassembled (and modified :D).

With Shoebox's site and the WONDERFUL people on the forums I was really confident in doing the job right. Lots of info between these 2 places and always people willing to help. And the silly thing even started on the first try after sitting for 14 months.
 

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So I was able to check more out of the car today, in which Ill add a video and some pics later but first thing I checked before we ran it was the oil, and well like the seller said it was over filled but it was only oil. Smelled like oil, felt like it and didnt run down the dipstick like water so I MIGHT be in the clear. Doesnt mean im believing it just yet, tomorrow im going to pull the rest of the spark plugs because I was able to pull the first two on the drivers side head, where the problem is happening.


One thing I did notice when we ran it was that on the driver side it sounded like there was an exhaust leak in the center two exhaust pipes, One thing the seller told me was that after he runs it, a small trickle of water actually comes out of the head, right next to the header, as its actually coming from the exterior of the head, which would mighht explain the leaking sound we can hear.

He mentioned something about the water journal but it really didnt make any sense to me, does anyone have any input on the current issue? So far im leaning on buying it I just want to know what im up against when I buy and rip apart.

Keep in mind, incase I didnt mention before but this would be my first engine diss assembly but im a maintainer in the Air Force so im not completely oblivious to the mechanics of a car. Any advice of what tools I would need to purchase or obstacles I should expect are welcomed, thanks for everyones input btw.
Oil sits on top of water, so the dipstick is not a good indicator of what is in there. If you buy the car, the least you should be prepared for is removing the heads. Decent set of standard and metric tools should get you through.
 

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As stated by Shoebox, oil sit on top of water. When you pull your dip stick you'll only see the oil. Pull the drain plug and you should see water first. If after you run the motor it looks like chocolate milk there is water/anti-freeze in the oil.

The air bubbling out of the radiator is a clear indication of either a cracked head or blown head gasket. That's guaranteed at this point. If no smoke is coming out of your exhaust then the water is draining out of the head gasket through the side of the head/block mating surface and in to the oil. You may not notice any leaks on the ground because the water is evaporating as it's being force out the side of the head gasket.

Long story short, if you buy this car you will need at least head gaskets and maybe some heads. I'd check compression if you can cause that could help you rule out bigger problems, at 10.4:1 stock static compression ratio you should be looking for 130-150 psi if I remember correctly. With a blown head gasket that could be lower, but not by much, maybe 10-20 psi lower cause it's still running.

If you do buy and decide to replace the head gaskets, then you might as well do a top end build up at the same time. It adds up quick though, in cash out of pocket.

Personally, I would buy that car at $1100 (offer him $700 - that's what I got mine for- and see if he takes it, if not then negotiate from there). I'd then put another $3000 into a cam kit, exhaust, intake and clutch. If that meant it'll sit for 6 months then so be it, but that's just me.

On a side note I picked up my car for $800 from a guy asking $1500. It was running like shit, over heating choking and bogging bad, and the trans was all wrong as far as the clutch and trans installation goes. It sat for 6 months as I fixed her up, but she's running like a top now and I couldn't be happier. I spent less than $900 to get her running right again, but that was with out pulling the heads.

Is it worth $1100? To me yes. The question is is it worth it to you? IMO, yes. Also, with it's issues you should be able to get him down pretty far considering the risk you are taking on buying it and the work you already know it needs. Any time you need to tow a 10+ year old car from the person you bought it from you have a lot of negotiating leverage on your side; unless it's a rare car like an AC Shelby Cobra....

Besides basic hand tools you'll also need a torque wrench (10-250 ft lbs should work) and the fuel line disconnection tool too. And if you could swing the money for a set of LT headers, when the heads are off would be a great time to install those....
 

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I agree with the older guys (I am an older guy too)At present, if you need a car to commute to work regulary, then dont buy this car. Also if you dont have at least $2000 extra to buy parts ,tools and shop labor,then dont buy this car. If you have a good go to work car and a few extra grand$$$ to spare and you really like this car then buy it! If you are a common sense person with a logical brain you can make an easy decision.
Often when I was a young man I thought I knew alot more than my Dad
and other adults,now when I look back they were right most of the time. good luck :thumbsup:,ed
 

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......I actually havent even bought car yet......
DON'T!!!

Unless you're OK with rebuilding the engine within the next few months.

I'll gaurantee you that anti-freeze went through that engine before the seller started putting water in the coolent system. That coolent damaged the bearing internal of the engine.

The water? Well....that only diluted the oil in the crank cank which.....damaged the bearings further.

The is a headache/nightmare waiting to happen.

KW
 

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I bought my 95 T/A for $4,300 and didn't realize that it needed a clutch, hydraulics, battery, starter, rear main seal, some wiring gremlins and rotted floor boards. I wish I had checked it out in more detail as your doing. I've had the car now for 7 months and have replaced all of those items (except floor boards) for about $600. If you love the car then buy it. I love my T/A and wouldn't trade it for nothing. These cars have ALL been beat to shit. It's nearly impossible to find one in great condition, except in our own garages.
 
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