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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My timing chain cover gasket has gone all pear-shaped after 64K original miles on the 2000 Vulcan engine & is spewing (well oozing) coolant. This appears to be a rather common issue. Dealer repair estimate is over $1200. Bluebook on the car is in the $1700 range. So far I've been able to repair everything myself on this car, but this job looks to be beyond my capabilities.

Is the replacement gasket "new & improved" or can I expect this issue to recur.
 

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I am not sure about the gasket itself but the dealer repair price is outrageous! I had a private shop fix that problem for $ 450.00. Shop around.
 

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Why the cost? Does the engine have to be pulled?

EDIT: just found it in my 04 shop manual. No need to pull the engine. Several components have to come off, but looks like about $30-40 in gaskets max. and 2 hours for an experienced mechanic. Why is this not $300?

Guess I could see where the price would go up if the water pump, idler assembly, serpentine belt were replaced as well.
 

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On 95 vulcan I'm replacing that gasket for the 2nd time now. The first time I just used a NAPA gasket set on it and it started leaking again slightly the very next day. I lived with it for a couple years and now while I have the tranny out I'm doing it again.

There is a problem with electrolysis on alumium parts in contact with coolant and its pits out the aluminum cover plate. More on that: http://www.radiatorreporter.com/electrol.html Summary, "This is not your father's Oldsmobile." and always use distilled water to mix with antifreeze and don't assume the dealer does because my experence is they don't.

Mine was apparently too pitted out for the paper gasket, this time around I've used no gasket at all, but a form in place gasket (FIPG) RTV made for water pumps, t-stat covers ...etc. Don't know if it worked yet, still putting it back together.

I don't know about the 2000 but on my 95 the hardest part of replacing that gasket is you have to remove the crank balancer and oil pan (and to do that you have to remove the exhaust). I also removed the starter. There are several ways of removing the crank bolt to get the balancer OFF, but only one way that I know of to get it back on properly torqued to spec (ie...not too tight and not too loose) and that is using a SST to hold the crank from turning as you tighten it with a torque wrench. I'd gladly take that $1200 and do your's :D

Pics of the SST I made to hold the crank, this was actually made to hold the crank on a Toyota 5VZFE engine but it works fine for the vulcan crank too:



 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
QUOTE (ZZman @ Apr 16 2009, 04:46 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=718088
I am not sure about the gasket itself but the dealer repair price is outrageous! I had a private shop fix that problem for $ 450.00. Shop around.[/b]
Thanks for responding.

Dealer price includes a new water pump & timing chain cover but I'm sure he is at the high end. I live in a small coastal town and we just don't have that many shops here. I have done all my own work up to this point on my vehicles and frankly don't know any local trustworthy mechanics...besides me of course :D

I need to drain the oil today and be sure there is no coolant in it before I feel comfortable driving it.

We really didn't need this right now. Our family medical insurance premium just increased by almost 85% from last year! And that's with a $5000 deductible!!!!! Unbelievable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
QUOTE (OldWagon @ Apr 16 2009, 05:41 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=718094
Why the cost? Does the engine have to be pulled?

EDIT: just found it in my 04 shop manual. No need to pull the engine. Several components have to come off, but looks like about $30-40 in gaskets max. and 2 hours for an experienced mechanic. Why is this not $300?

Guess I could see where the price would go up if the water pump, idler assembly, serpentine belt were replaced as well.[/b]
Thanks for responding.

I told them to replace the water pump and the front cover but that's it. Those 2 parts alone probably about $200 I'm guessing.
 

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Mt_goat, nice toolmaking. :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
QUOTE (mt_goat @ Apr 16 2009, 09:19 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=718110
On 95 vulcan I'm replacing that gasket for the 2nd time now. The first time I just used a NAPA gasket set on it and it started leaking again slightly the very next day. I lived with it for a couple years and now while I have the tranny out I'm doing it again.

There is a problem with electrolysis on alumium parts in contact with coolant and its pits out the aluminum cover plate. More on that: http://www.radiatorreporter.com/electrol.html Summary, "This is not your father's Oldsmobile." and always use distilled water to mix with antifreeze and don't assume the dealer does because my experence is they don't.

Mine was apparently too pitted out for the paper gasket, this time around I've used no gasket at all, but a form in place gasket (FIPG) RTV made for water pumps, t-stat covers ...etc. Don't know if it worked yet, still putting it back together.

I don't know about the 2000 but on my 95 the hardest part of replacing that gasket is you have to remove the crank balancer and oil pan (and to do that you have to remove the exhaust). I also removed the starter. There are several ways of removing the crank bolt to get the balancer OFF, but only one way that I know of to get it back on properly torqued to spec (ie...not too tight and not too loose) and that is using a SST to hold the crank from turning as you tighten it with a torque wrench. I'd gladly take that $1200 and do your's :D

Pics of the SST I made to hold the crank, this was actually made to hold the crank on a Toyota 5VZFE engine but it works fine for the vulcan crank too:



[/b]
Thanks for responding with so much detail.

I'd gladly have you do it for $1200 if I was reasonably assured that I won't have to do it again in the future.

You didn't happen to take a picture of the inside of your cover plate did you? I'd like to see what's happening to them (I'll see if I can find one on the internets).

So it's your opinion that it's the cover plate that's being eaten away around the coolant ports (in which case a different material for the cover plate might seem in order...but what do I know?) and not the gasket that's failing.

I just drained the oil but have to wait till dark to check it with my black light for UV coolant dye. Crossing my fingers.
 

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QUOTE (Two Stooges @ Apr 16 2009, 05:23 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=718213
You didn't happen to take a picture of the inside of your cover plate did you? I'd like to see what's happening to them (I'll see if I can find one on the internets).

So it's your opinion that it's the cover plate that's being eaten away around the coolant ports (in which case a different material for the cover plate might seem in order...but what do I know?) and not the gasket that's failing.[/b]
Just happen to have a few:







Well a new cover plate would be great, but I'm betting that the FIPG will do the job. IMHO it was a combo of a pitted cover plate and a paper gasket that was my problem last time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·


Those are great pictures, thanks.

The remains of that gasket really look like hell. I think you're wise to chuck the paper gasket altogether.

I notice that there are channels cut into the cover at the coolant ports that I am guessing are there to expel coolant externally if the gasket fails...hopefully preventing coolant mixing with the engine oil. At least that's my first impression. Can't imagine another reason for them. It doesn't look like you were getting coolant mixing with the oil.

I also notice that your leak location is on the same side as mine. I expect mine looks just exactly like that.

What's the name of that gasket goop you're using?
 

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QUOTE (Two Stooges @ Apr 16 2009, 08:33 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=718251
I notice that there are channels cut into the cover at the coolant ports that I am guessing are there to expel coolant externally if the gasket fails...hopefully preventing coolant mixing with the engine oil. At least that's my first impression. Can't imagine another reason for them. It doesn't look like you were getting coolant mixing with the oil.[/b]
That's what I hear. Nope no coolant in the oil on mine, but it can happen.


QUOTE (Two Stooges @ Apr 16 2009, 08:33 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=718251
What's the name of that gasket goop you're using?[/b]
Its Permatex water pump and thermostat cover gasket maker.



I've used it before on t-stat housings and it worked good, we'll see if this holds up.
 

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The pics may not show the pits very well, but it is pitted. The worst pitting is where that paper gasket is still stuck on so thats why it may be hard to see. No the old gasket was not left on, I completety cleaned it off with a 3M scrub pad, last time and this time. I just didn't happen to take any pics after it was cleaned up.

Here's a shot of the bottom of the cover where the oil pan mates up to the cover and the reason you need to replace the oil pan gasket too:

 

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QUOTE (mt_goat @ Apr 17 2009, 07:56 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=718327
....
Here's a shot of the bottom of the cover ... the reason you need to replace the oil pan gasket....[/b]
I'm too dense to see why :headscratch: -- could you spell out the reason?
 

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QUOTE (OldWagon @ Apr 17 2009, 07:05 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=718328
QUOTE (mt_goat @ Apr 17 2009, 07:56 AM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=718327
....
Here's a shot of the bottom of the cover ... the reason you need to replace the oil pan gasket....[/b]
I'm too dense to see why :headscratch: -- could you spell out the reason?
[/b][/quote]

2 of the oil pan bolts go into the timing cover and the cover is part of the oil pan gasket surface. ;)

Here's another view with the oil pan off:

 

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Now it makes sense to me - thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
mt_goat:

I wanted to thank you for all the pictures...they have been very helpful is seeing what's happening.

I drained my oil and found no UV coolant dye so I feel ok about driving it awhile. (And those coolant drain channels machined into both mating surfaces raised my spirits)

My next step is to try get a more reasonable bid on this job.
 

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Yeah, Goat your pics of that vulcan your restoring and the pics in this thread are very useful.
I spotted 2 freeze plugs behind the bell housing that could be leaking on my car with those pics.
Plus i have an oil leak from the RH (PSGR) side of my engine above the oil pan running down
a coolant line and i've wondered where the leak is coming from. Just did a oil pan gasket and
didn't notice that the end of the oil pan mating surface was actually the timing chain cover)
so now i have accouple ideas on where an oil leak and a coolant leak are coming from!
Big thanks!
 

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Yeah the pics help me out too. Sometimes I forget how something went together or maybe didn't notice something while I was under the car but see it in the pics. I started taking pics on disassembly when I was doing an engine swap and its now a habit/hobby.

I've got an oil leak too, probably from the valve covers and running down the block.
 
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