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New Member - Reviving Grandma's Buick

207 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  dezldave961
Hi all

I am finally starting the process of getting my late Grandma's '98 LeSabre with a 3800 Series II in it back on the road. She had stopped driving it in ~2010 and my brother bought it from her to drive through high school and college. Shortly after graduating, he moved out to Salt Lake City and blew it up. He's not super mechanically inclined, the only info I got from him was that the temp gauge spiked and then it started running really rough and died. It restarted once but ran even worse and then died again. He had it towed to a mechanic, the mechanic told him over the phone that there was a lot of metal in the oil and he probably needed a new engine. He decided it wasn't worth fixing and was going to just junk it, so the diagnosis stopped there. This was in early 2019. Grandma had since passed and I wasn't going to let it go to the junkyard, so went up from Phoenix and picked it up and it's been sitting for a few years beside my house now. I haven't dug into it at all but am wanting to get it back on the road to be my commuter rather than just being a lawn ornament.

My research so far has led me to suspect the infamous lower intake manifold (LIM) gaskets failed and the engine hydro locked. So I am getting ready to tear into it. I've prepared myself for a total engine replacement but hoping for better.

I know intro forums aren't usually a great place for detailed discussion on technical issues, but glad to have found this forum and looking forward to everything I can learn from everyone. If anyone has had a similar experience and would be so kind as to quickly link me to a thread detailing the diagnosis of it I would appreciate it!
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Sounds like it probably failed the gasket and eventually lost enough coolant to overheat and maybe spin some bearings due to mixing with oil. It's the main (fixable) failure point, if you get the LIM gaskets replaced as preventative maintenance.

Hope you get what's needed to bring the car back to good working condition, even if it takes a bit of replacing things to do so.

car-part.com will help you shop local junkyard inventories, if you search for various year/model 3800 engines between ~1998-2008, since you can adapt to the wiring/sensors already in the car.
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