'93 pontiac sunbird help

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:banghead: Hi. My name is Renee and I (sadly) drive a '93 Pontiac Sunbird. I recently had the heater core, timing belt and water pump replaced. Then I had to take her back in last week and had to get the pvc hose and oxygen sensor replaced. Cost me over seven hundred dollars in all and my stupid car isn't even worth that much. Anyway, when the oxygen sensor was replaced a week later the car started up the symptoms that I took it in for in the first place again; starting rough, taking off rough, running smooth for a few minutes, then the acceleration feels like I'm pressing the gas and letting off over and over. Took it back in and they said the oxygen sensor they'd put in was bad so they replaced it for free. They also did a diagnostic check on it and said nothing else was wrong. It's doing it again but my temp gage is floating from lowest point to near red mark and back down to the one fourth mark and when I parked the car and turned it off at my son's school I noticed white smoke coming from the tailpipe and smelled antifreeze. The car is running okay after the initial clunky start and take off but the temp gage is making me so nervous that I was shaking when I finally got home. I have a crack in the reservoir tank but it's filled by me to the appropriate mark frequently and it's barely leaking. I've read on the net that the coolant temp sensor could cause all of this but the words head gasket have come up too. Would the diagnostic test have picked up these two problems? The problem only starts after I've driven on and off during the day a total of seven or eight miles. Please give me advice! My mechanic isn't fixing the problem!

posted by  stresstime

have the plugs checked for white residue or a compression test for head gasket as for the temp could be air in the cooling system

posted by  osborste

93 sunbird with a 3.1 engine I'm assuming, if so, I can 99.9% guarantee to you that it's the head gasket. To check you could do a compression test, or, take out the front 3 plugs and get a light and take a look inside. With a 3.1 engine, the pistons have a bowl, that bowl will hold the coolant, so it should be easy to spot. The rear, the only way to check is with a compression test. You can also just take a look at the plugs, white means coolant.

Sounds like the end of your car, sorry.

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

Yeah, she has a timing belt put on her 3.1 liter, V6, OHV engine. Last I checked the only '93 Sunbirds with timing belts had 2.0 SOHC engines.

Your "help" would be so much more believable if you had some idea of what you were talking about. I don't know where you get your information, but... Take it back for a refund.

posted by  vwhobo

You do realize that a timing belt and chain serve the same purpose and are easily mis-taken for eachother, right? No, didn't think so.

Also, if I remember correctly, I believe the 2.0's are interference engines, but not positive.

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

Yes, they serve esentially the same purpose in most engines. No, they aren't easily mistaken for each other... Except by those of you who have never seen or touched either. Here's an easy to remember tip. Timing chains are made of steel. Timing belts are not. Simple, huh?

You would gain alot more credibility (well some maybe) if when you are wrong you just admitted it instead of coming up with crap like this last post. Try it sometime.

posted by  vwhobo

Hahaha, you're laughable. "essentially the same purpose" Okay then, last time I checked, they both run the camshaft(s) and are driven by the crank, wow, you're a smart one aren't you? Same purpose if I'm not mistaken.

've taken apart more engines than you've probably seen,. I've re-built two (well, in the process of one, 3.1, which has a chain) engines for myself, + the others at work, working on a 350 at work for a 73 (I think) Stingray. Despite what you may think Mr. "I'm all high and mighty and think I know everything", lots of people mistake a belt for a chain, especially someone who doesn't know everything about engine, ie. The person who's asking a question.

Shut up while you're ahead.. well, so you're not ahead, shut up anyway because no body wants to hear your bitching and ragging about pointless things, go away, act your age, get a life.

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

You made me laugh so hard I almost pissed my pants. You're in the process of rebuilding your second engine. Hoopty freakin' doo. I average one engine a week for customers at the locla dirt track. I build everything from little two cylinders for cars you've never heard of to Detroit big blocks for drag racers and street rods. Let's not forget my own racing and street cars and the occasional motorcycle engine. By the way, did I mention I used to be a production engine builder as a teenager building up to four engines a day?

Yeah, you've got way more experience than me Boopsie. You need to get out of Canuck land and find out there's a real world out there, eh? Please go home now, your village is calling. They miss their idiot. :banghead:

posted by  vwhobo

Wow, who's the idiot now. I said second engine for myself, not second engine. All I need is pistons and it's done.

Don't forget to tell us the story of how you leaped rainbows with Lucky and chased unicorns in Neverland. By the sounds of it, I'd bet you're no older than 15. No grown adult would act as immature as yourself.

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

a blown head gasket is hardly the end of a car...

posted by  dodger65

Enough said.

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

may as well throw good money after bad :thumbs:

she's just going to the wrong mechanics

posted by  dodger65

Not necessarily. The head gasket could have easily been blown after the O2 sensor was replaced, there probably was a problem with the O2 sensor, and the two just happened in succession, so it looks like the mechanic doesn't know what he's doing, when really he does. Happens quite often in the world of mechanics.

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

her mechanic could also easily be an idiot. for every good one, it seems like there's 5 "parts-changers" our opinions differ. seems like an awful big coincidence for it to daisy-chain along like that. the heater core and water pump replacement makes it sound like they were looking for a overheating problem to begin with, maybe.

posted by  dodger65

Thanks for the replies, everybody. Lol...figures there's an argument on my post. I will get a friend of mine to check about the head gasket thing when he gets a chance. Until then I'll just drive very little.

posted by  stresstime

when you "rebuild a engine" what parts are you replacing.

posted by  CarEXPERT

put some money away for a tow bill! you'll need it. YOU WILL make the problem worse by driving it, as is you might be able to save the motor, keep driving and it will for sure 100% need a new motor, not shittin ya here.don't be stupid....or be stupid your choice your money.

posted by  BanffAutoSpa_ap

Anything that requires replacing.. Crank, Cam, Pistons, Rods, Lifters, Pushrods, Valve Springs.. those are just some of the common ones.

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

When the engine has a lot of milage on it, you can rebuild it so everything is new again? Is that why people rebuild engines?

posted by  CarEXPERT

I was just wondering if anybody could give me an estimation of how much a mechanic would charge to fix the blown head gasket? I was thinking around a thousand dollars but someone told me it's a one day job. So wouldn't that mean the labor is like 99% of the cost? We are in the process of buying a house and I really don't want to add a new car payment to that right now. Later on when we're more settled it would be better.

posted by  stresstime

any of you shop-owning folks got an answer for the lady? :smoke:

posted by  dodger65

Nope. Professional courtesy says you don't drop quotes for other shops. More to the point we don't know where she lives, what engine (for sure) she has or if the car even needs the repair. Homey don't play that game.

posted by  vwhobo

In a sort, yes. People usually re-build engines because they can't find another, for instance the misses here with the sunbird, she wouldn't get the engine re-built, she'd just get a used one.



Well, depends on which head-gasket it is. The front one I can do in 4 hours, so 4 x 50(shop rate) + $80 (parts) = $280. Rear one on the other hand is quite a bit harder, you actually have to remove the intake manifold (you can just pry up the intake with a crobar for the front, so you don't have to replace the gasket or waste time taking it off) it'd probably be another hour or 2 for the rear one. Depends on the shop you go to, you're probably looking at 8 hours labour, so $400, and $100 max in parts, so $500 at most probably.

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

Oh yeah, who said something about hacks? In that one sentence you just proved EVERYTHING I've ever said about you. People like you are the reason my industry has to work so f*cking hard to improve it's image.

posted by  vwhobo

You're an idiot. Aluminum is flexible, it only has to flex about 1mm to get it out. How is that a hack? You've probably never even worked on one before. When it comes to anything to do with the 3.1/2.8's, I'm the guy they get to work on it, despite the fact that they have more than 30years experience on me, those engines are my specialty. I've taken so many of them apart it's not even funny. I've done at least 15 head gaskets on them, and completely stripped about id say 8 or 9. You do realize also when you un-bolt the head, that the only thing holding it in is the pressure from the intake, all you have to do is slide it out after you remove the pressure. Save the customer about $100 by doing that, But of course you realize that since you're so smart and generous.

Only speak when you know what you're talking about.

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

speaking of that... how many times has someone else had to go in and put an intake gasket on after A) you distorted the intake gasket b/c you ripped the head off w/ the pins still in the gasket, B) the pins sheared off flush or made it out whole, but you shifted the gasket while reinstalling the head and created a vacuum leak, or C) the customer came back pissed b/c the dry, brittle sealer in the valley area cracked when you "flexed" the intake and it leaks on their driveway now? you gotta admit, that's a really halfass way to do it, and you're just begging for trouble. maybe your shop does it that way, but it's not the correct way.

posted by  dodger65

Man, people don't post and rag if you don't know what you're talking about.

A) There are no pins in an intake gasket
B) The rest of the intake gasket held down by the intake manifold, so it can't shift.
C) Have you ever heard of silicone? Didn't think so.

I've worked on a lot more of these than you ever have and ever will, don't rag on me for how I do it. We've never had a problem with the way we do it, and this shop has been in buisness for about 40 years now, idependantly run, and has and income of about $600,000 a year off 3 workers. So I think the customers are quite satisfied.

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

Nope... Sorry... You're wrong. He doesn't have to admit anything. He's so deep in denial about his fantasy online persona that he wants us to believe that at just barely 17 years of age he knows more than people who have dedicated their lives to a trade for more than 30 years. He is the King Grand Poobah of All Things Automotive even though he still doesn't have hair on his gonads.

88GrandPrixSE, with every word of every post you type, you dig yourself just a little deeper into your mineshaft of stupidity and unbelievability. If you had half a brain I would suggest to you that you stop now while you're ahead. Being as you're post-op labotomy, I won't waste the bandwidth. Please just go find another forum to tell people how great you are.

posted by  vwhobo

i've argued with vwhobo before, but you have to admit you can tell he and others know what they are doing. I would like to see you "crow bar" in your head gasket and have a final product that lasts as long as either of your "two" rebuilt engines. How do you plan on cleaning the block and head?

You clearly do not own a repair garage so don't throw around your estimates like they actually mean anything. it's people like you who give poor people bad information, and end up costing them a lot of money.

now, i have to go put a new water pump in my 65 corvair, peace.

posted by  carls47807

Don't forget to flush the radiator too. :thumbs:

posted by  vwhobo

ok, we now know that you are full of it right up to your eyeballs. first off: don't talk to me about the GM 60deg V6, spanky-- i've fixed & rebuilt more of them than you have even seen. you should really be careful about claims you make on this forum, b/c you reveal yourself as a liar. i honestly don't think you could even hold a match, let alone a candle to hobo in experience. secondly:
A) a fwd gm 60deg intake DOES have pins, and you would know that if you'd ever had one apart.
B) "The rest of the intake gasket held down by the intake manifold" wtf does that mean? i'm talking about the half of the gasket that's free floating while you have the head off, not the half that's still bolted up. or do you just count on the years of accumulated carbon & sludge buildup to hold the gasket up against the intake while you scrape the head clean w/ a dull flathead screwdriver?
C) that is still a very risky way to seal an intake, by glopping a handful of silicone over crusty, oily RTV and expecting it to seal and you know it b/c now you're blaming the shop for telling you to do it that way.

now stop throwing poo, and if you offer people half-assed, shoestring, broke-d*ck ways of doing things, at least own up to the fact that it's not the recommended, sure-fire way to do things right the first time, every time.

posted by  dodger65

A re-build is usually more than replacing parts. Components such as the block and heads are inspected for stress cracks, Machine shop work is done to ensure proper clearances and alignment or to allow replacement of severely worn parts. Much of the work done by the machine shop depends on the condition of the engine.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

88grandprix just changes the sparkplugs and radiator cap.

nah i'm just kiddin, all in good fun right?

posted by  carls47807

DAMNIT. I won't stand for this. 88GrandPrixSE says you just replace parts and he's rebuilt more engines than everyone else on earth put together. You will apologise now to the King Grand Poobah of All Things Automotive. Hurry up!

posted by  vwhobo

you'd better do it, too :clap:

posted by  dodger65

When moderating a forum I try not to take sides or jump in the middle of discussions but I do have a comment and agree with VW and dodger65 - The shop manual for a GM 3.1 calls for removing the intake and exhaust manifolds as a pre-requisite for pulling the heads. I have no problems with finding quick ways of doing things. There are, however, procedures which are written to do some tasks and should be followed to ensure a jobe is done right.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

And don't forget, the engine isn't even a 3.1, because... According to the owner she just had the t-belt replaced. Do you (or anyone) know of any GM 3.1's with a t-belt?

posted by  vwhobo

True statement - a 3.1 has a chain

If the car had a timing belt replaced, it must have been a 2.0 L4 Most of the time (some imports being an exception), one would pull the intake before removing the head.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

Nows when I break out the pictures of the 3.1 I'm re-building.

A) No it doesn't, refer to pictures of intake

B) First off, you remove the head to clean it off, man, I like how you claim to know so much, yet, don't realize something as simple as the head has to be removed to clean it, not to mention placing a head-gasket on the block. How would you place a head-gask on the block without removing the head?

I won't even comment on the intake gasket for you should know that they're made of a very stiff composite if you've ever taken one apart before.

C) You scrape off the intake with a razor blade before putting any silicone on it. Do you not realize that silicone won't stick to oil? Guess not.

Wow.. look at all the pins in the intake. :laughing:

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

i would love to see pics of your two engine rebuilds, for my own benefit.

posted by  carls47807

I have only the finished ones of my car, the ones below, you think it came outta a car looking that good? But I have more of my current one if you like, I have the head gasket in about 5 different shots, pictures of the head, the cyl with coolant in it.. blah blah blah, I have about 40 in all i'd say.

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

:clap:
foot in my mouth on the last post though, you actually had the balls to post a pic as i was writing it. crazy world.

however man, that has to be one of the worst pictures of anything i have ever seen. honestly, it almost looks like my dog. a more detailed pic would be nice. oh yea and where's the crow bar and timing belt?

posted by  carls47807

The car is probably a 2.0L L4 if the timing belt was replaced.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

Haha, it's all done with a small webcam, so quality is somewhat...crappy. You want a picture of the crobar? It has a chain. I also tossed the chain, I would never put the same chain in an engine, they're cheap to replace, better than chancing it blowing up on me.



Probably. I just said at the start that she may have mis-taken it for a chain, as it's quite easy to do so. But then vwhomo comes in and bitches saying it's impossible to mistake one from another. Around here anyway, more Sunbirds had the V6 engine over the I-4. So fair assumption, no?

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

i would hope you tossed the gears too. you would never want to put a new chain on old gears, it's better to leave the old chain on if that's the case rock-star.

posted by  carls47807

The gears are fine. You don't have to replace the gears. The gears don't take as much of a beating as 2 feet of chain. Only if the gears had any wear showing on them would I replace them, which they don't.

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

Nows when I break out the pictures of the 3.1 I'm re-building.

A) No it doesn't, refer to pictures of intake

B) First off, you remove the head to clean it off, man, I like how you claim to know so much, yet, don't realize something as simple as the head has to be removed to clean it, not to mention placing a head-gasket on the block. How would you place a head-gask on the block without removing the head?

I won't even comment on the intake gasket for you should know that they're made of a very stiff composite if you've ever taken one apart before.

C) You scrape off the intake with a razor blade before putting any silicone on it. Do you not realize that silicone won't stick to oil? Guess not.

Wow.. look at all the pins in the intake.


A) look at the HEAD.. see the little tiny holes over the middle ports and under the outboard ports? those are where the PINS go. now look at your intake gasket. see the little white things that correspond w/ amazing accuracy to the aforementioned little tiny holes? those are PINS. unless you make your own gaskets from cereal boxes or something.

B) when the hell did i say HEAD gasket? reading is fun--learn it.

as for your non-comment about intake gaskets, they are a stiff composite that gets brittle after being heated and cooled repeatedly.

C) you must have really dainty hands and a small razor if you're scraping all the old gasket material off WITH THE INTAKE STILL ON!!! oh no, i bet you have fiber optic technology and microtools. that's how you do it, right? btw, the timing ears and the chain form a matching wear pattern over time, so to avoid premature failure of the chain or gears, you SHOULD replace them at the same time (if you're doing it properly) but for a "Harry's Half-Ass Rebuilds" job, you can write that book. you're doing a fine job of it already.

posted by  dodger65

is it not more common for the intake gaskets to go on the 3.1's than the head gaskets anyways? so if you are doing the head gaskets you better be replacing those too.

posted by  carls47807

generally, i would have to say yes. but a lot of "coolant in oil" situations are diagnosed as head gaskets, when the intake gasket is the culprit. shops using the recommended procedures will take the intake off to remove that head, so both gaskets get replaced, and if the person diagnosing it goofed, the customer is none the wiser, because now it's fixed. i've had more people come in that had a shop tell them their head gasket was bad and it was the intake gasket than you could shake an '83 Vette starter at... :laughing:

posted by  dodger65

so how did you ever make out with that sunbird that isn't a v6 anyways stresstime :)

posted by  carls47807

did we ever determine whether it was a 4 cyl. or whether she just had a terminology issue?

posted by  dodger65

88 grandprix seems to be the only one with a terminology, i think it is the 4 banger (quad 4 is it? or is that pre-era?)

posted by  carls47807

not necessarily pre-era, quad 4's were around at least all thru the 90's and into the 2000's as 2.3L (earlier) and 2.4L's (newer) if the sunbird is a 4 cyl., though, it would be a 2.0 ohc. nice corvair, btw

posted by  dodger65

thanks, pretty snazzy firebird!

posted by  carls47807

thanx, the tops came off this weekend for the first time this year... yay! :clap:

posted by  dodger65

haha no kidding, i'm from new york state, you?

posted by  carls47807

nw indiana, out in the cornfields... i'll catch ya l8ter, gotta get up 4 work in 5 hrs. :ohcrap: sleep well, and have wonderful dreams of gaskets & chains :laughing:

posted by  dodger65

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