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1G The Dead Cruiser (Engine Trouble)

The Dead Cruiser

Probationary Member
11
0
Aug 4, 2015
Atlanta, Georgia
Hey Fellas,

It hasn't been a month since I purchased my red 1990 GST after reading tons of research and $$$ saving...
Replaced Coil packs, 12 spark plugs, tranny, power steering & motor fluids... didn't get a chance to change coolant yet...
Replaced 2 starters ( Pulll-A-Part & O'reillys)
Replaced driver side CV Axel
Installed intake filter
and more I'm not remembering at the moment

After replacing my valve cover gaskets due to repeated oil fouling it seems that somehow my 6 bolt motor transformed to a 7 bolt motor as a single valve cover bolt mysteriously fell down that Alice in Wonderland type rabbit hole where I believe the timing belt cover should be... thanks to me not installing one (yet)

And of course I didn't realize what happened until it was too late when my codenamed "The Dead Cruiser" has actually died in a fit of twisted yet somehow humorous irony

Anywho, my 94' J30 VG30DE had recently died due to failed connector rods about 2 months prior

So here I am do I sell / scrap / my 1G and find another 1G (btw I paid $1475 216k chassis & brand new top end - valves, cams, arp studs etc)

Or do I swap for another 4G63T? I found one for under $1k shipped w 130K+ miles w 90 day warranty
not sure on the install labor just yet however I'm confident I can find a reputable shop / installer that will do it $500 (or less)

Or maybe someone here has a 6 bolt 4G63 (T) they would like to let go to a fellow DSM'er :)

Thanks for your input
Vlad
 

BogusSVO

Proven Member
5,893
297
Jul 1, 2009
Pensacola, Florida
Have you looked into what needs to be done to fix the engine you have?

With the bolt that fell in the timing cover, what damaged happened?
 

ShadyDoins

Proven Member
52
5
Nov 5, 2007
Northampton, Pennsylvania
If the body is in good shape I would keep it. Your car is 25 years old, there's only so long we have to keep finding clean 1g's. An engine or trans can be swapped out easy but a Swiss cheese chassis is a deal breaker
 

The Dead Cruiser

Probationary Member
11
0
Aug 4, 2015
Atlanta, Georgia
Have you looked into what needs to be done to fix the engine you have?

With the bolt that fell in the timing cover, what damaged happened?

My mechanic just quoted me $600 to do a engine swap along with $25 a week for storage fee until I get my motor which is likely 1-2 months, thankfully my tow guy said he would tow my 1G back to my house for free (which is 3-4 blocks away)

I was told that the engine will need to be sent to a machine shop for head work plus new internals are needed which would cost more than a swap or another used car.

It will take him 5 days to swap it due to turbo and engine complexity as opposed to 5 hours needed for a Chevy.


If the body is in good shape I would keep it. Your car is 25 years old, there's only so long we have to keep finding clean 1g's. An engine or trans can be swapped out easy but a Swiss cheese chassis is a deal breaker

My 1G has an interesting story to me, the 1st owner bought it cash from the dealership. He loved his quick little DSM roadster but unfortunately due to his sudden illness and later on loss of his wife the 1G stood still for 10 years.

The kid I bought it from has seen the car in the neighbor's driveway for years and grew quite fond of it. His brother talked the neighbor (Jim) into selling his once loved yet now forgotten 1G. The brother made it into a track car removing all panels etc, performing intake mods, moving battery to the rear, rebuilding engine top end etc...

The big bro passed it on to his little bro (Drew) which passed it on to me. I wanted a DSM for 5+ years since I lived in the SF Bay area.

I drove 60+ miles in my Dodge Avenger rental to Cummings, GA the drive should of been 65 mins however we drove (me and my friend) 2hrs34 mins due to bad instructions. Note: it is important to know if XYZ street is NW or SW... it can save you an hour of driving :)

Anywho, this is my first of many (@ Age 31)
1st Sports car (Coupe)
1st Manual drive (I drove stick for very 1st time)
1st Turbo (I heard sounds of BOV's & fluttering about 1000 times in my head)
1st Red colored vehicle (I never thought I'd own a red car, Cops love those)
 

BogusSVO

Proven Member
5,893
297
Jul 1, 2009
Pensacola, Florida
Your mechanic has no idea

X2

Here again, a domestic mechanic thinking he knows an import......

Same story has been told a thousand times on this forum alone.....

So If I have this right, you changed the VC gasket, and dropped a 6mm x 1.00 x 20mm bolt down the timing belt since you had no upper timing belt cover?

Now your chevy mechanic says you need an engine? A full rebuild?

I take it the timing belt jumped and bent valves in the head?

If that is the case, you need your head fixed, or get a used head or a rebuilt head and knock the high points on the pistons and go on down the road.
 

The Dead Cruiser

Probationary Member
11
0
Aug 4, 2015
Atlanta, Georgia
X2

Here again, a domestic mechanic thinking he knows an import......

Same story has been told a thousand times on this forum alone.....

So If I have this right, you changed the VC gasket, and dropped a 6mm x 1.00 x 20mm bolt down the timing belt since you had no upper timing belt cover?

Now your chevy mechanic says you need an engine? A full rebuild?

I take it the timing belt jumped and bent valves in the head?

If that is the case, you need your head fixed, or get a used head or a rebuilt head and knock the high points on the pistons and go on down the road.

What you said sounds good to me even with my limited mechanical understanding.

I found an engine short block of a GST on Craiglist for $600 obo now factoring cost to transport the block to a shop and costs of labor am I saving money on my estimated $1500-$1700 swap by installing another head, valves etc?

I just moved to the Atlanta area it has been challenging finding a competent Auto Engineer and one with decent prices.

I will have the head examined for bent valves then take it from there

If anyone knows any good mechanics in Atlanta that would help.
 

BogusSVO

Proven Member
5,893
297
Jul 1, 2009
Pensacola, Florida
You are are on the right forum for help.

There have been a number of guys that have pulled their first head with help of this board.

If you have the basic tools, and spend some time reading and using the search feature, you will be able to pull the head, figure out how many bent valves, and weather you need a new head or fix the one you have.

The choice is yours young grasshopper.
 

pauleyman

DSM Wiseman
6,462
1,675
Nov 19, 2011
oklahoma city, Oklahoma
Are you sure you even bent valves? Did it shred the belt completely? Is it just off a tooth? What is the exact condition at hand?
 

The Dead Cruiser

Probationary Member
11
0
Aug 4, 2015
Atlanta, Georgia
You are are on the right forum for help.

There have been a number of guys that have pulled their first head with help of this board.

If you have the basic tools, and spend some time reading and using the search feature, you will be able to pull the head, figure out how many bent valves, and weather you need a new head or fix the one you have.

The choice is yours young grasshopper.

Cool, I'll have my 1G back tomorrow so I'll do some reading on the cylinder head, I already watched a few vids on YouTube but they were time lapsed so it was harder tokeep up.

Are you sure you even bent valves? Did it shred the belt completely? Is it just off a tooth? What is the exact condition at hand?

The guy just told me that the engine has locked up, he pulled the bottom end of motor to find bolt. I don't think he opened up the top end for in depth analysis. He told me I need a new engine or have it sent to machine shop for rebuild.

Last time I checked it appears that the crank moved even if slightly when I ignited. The belt itself appears intact however not very tight.

^That. You may only need a timing belt depending on the severity of the damage.

That would beat a full swap any day.
 

pauleyman

DSM Wiseman
6,462
1,675
Nov 19, 2011
oklahoma city, Oklahoma
Your mechanic would not have to pull the botom end to find that bolt. He pulled the bottom timing cover. Your motor shoild not be "locked up". It is likely unable to turn the crank because valves are bent. you can see this if you take off the valve cover. Some of the rockers wont sit right. At minimum this is a head job and timing job. its possible to break a piston but ive not seen that too often and you wont know until you have the head off. If youre quoting your mechanic verbatim this guy does not know what hes doing. You should not need a whole motor. A good mechanic should be familiar with timing belt skips and what it would require. Btw the crank should still move it just may not be able to complete a full revolution.
 

BogusSVO

Proven Member
5,893
297
Jul 1, 2009
Pensacola, Florida
Set aside a few hours soon for some wrench time.

Like Pauley said, Pop the VC off and take a look.

The next step would be to jack the car up and pull the driver side tire then the lower timing cover.

If your mechanic did anything more than put a break over bar on the balancer bolt, the lower cover should be off, so you can line the crank timing marks up, if possible.

If he said you need an engine, since yours is trashed, I can not see a reason for him to bolt it all back together. So you should have a box of parts in the car.

Like the serpentine belt, balancer, assorted bolts, lower timing cover
 

pauleyman

DSM Wiseman
6,462
1,675
Nov 19, 2011
oklahoma city, Oklahoma
That's a good point. Did he even take the cover off or did he just turn the crank to make a diagnosis?
 

The Dead Cruiser

Probationary Member
11
0
Aug 4, 2015
Atlanta, Georgia

Weird, my gut tells me that the bolt did't fall into the engine. It's still hiding smewhere we haven't looked yet.

After seeing the cams move without any spark plugs in and how it moves when ignited reminds me of how it acted when it fouled my past 3 plugs.

The timing belt moves 1-2 revolutions before stopping however this time there is clank sound I may not have noticed before. Thankfully I was able to see this since the mechanic ignited with VC off so I grabbed my cam took a vid.

My upper & lower timing covers are off, that's how I bought it.

The head is brand new, however the last owner said he had to replace bent valves before. I wonder how the valves got bent in the 1st place and if it relates to my current predicament, with an engine sitting for 10 years without igniting how much damage could that have caused?

One of the younger mechanics at the shop noticed improperly marked notches on timing gears. The timimg belt may have been done wrong thus bending valves... possibly
 

pauleyman

DSM Wiseman
6,462
1,675
Nov 19, 2011
oklahoma city, Oklahoma
You are all over the place and not making sense. Did the car ever have a lower timing belt cover on it? ifnot I doubt a bolt went anywhere but on the ground. I hope you had spark plugs in the car when you dropped this bolt. You need to line up mechanical timing and report back what you find. Line up the crank and see where cams are now. This could have been a botched tbelt job, dropped bolt down a cylinder, slipped tbelt.....its very hard to tell from your posts who did what and what condition the car was in both when you got it and now after the mechanic messed with it. Please clarify.
 

The Dead Cruiser

Probationary Member
11
0
Aug 4, 2015
Atlanta, Georgia
You are all over the place and not making sense. Did the car ever have a lower timing belt cover on it? ifnot I doubt a bolt went anywhere but on the ground. I hope you had spark plugs in the car when you dropped this bolt. You need to line up mechanical timing and report back what you find. Line up the crank and see where cams are now. This could have been a botched tbelt job, dropped bolt down a cylinder, slipped tbelt.....its very hard to tell from your posts who did what and what condition the car was in both when you got it and now after the mechanic messed with it. Please clarify.

I don't think it had a lower cover to begin with.

I have dropped several bolts and retrieved them all however this one did not fall to the ground which led me to believe it fell in the engine.

I've always kept the spark plugs installed I doubt it fell into the cylinder however one of the 3 mechanics at the shop told me he found pieces of metal in one of the spark plug wells when he removed the plugs & ignited.

Will remove the head, line up timing & report back
 

pauleyman

DSM Wiseman
6,462
1,675
Nov 19, 2011
oklahoma city, Oklahoma
Stop right there
Pieces of metal?
You're On The right track but if it were me I'd want to know the root cause or you may just repeat the failure.
 

BogusSVO

Proven Member
5,893
297
Jul 1, 2009
Pensacola, Florida
Most common reason to replace bent valves is the timing belt broke from lack of maintenance, or the timing belt jumped time, bad and/or cheap hydro tensioner, tensioner pulley bolt backs out or oil pump and/or balance shaft locks up.

Now since your engine turns over, we can rule out anything locked up.

Also with the engine spinning over in the vid, seems we can rule out a bolt on top the piston.

When you dropped the bolt, was the VC on the head or off?

No need to remove the head, just line up the crank marks then check the cam marks.

Also the 4g cam gears have 2 notches on each gear, so the young mechanic that noticed the improper marks may not know of what he speaks.
 

The Dead Cruiser

Probationary Member
11
0
Aug 4, 2015
Atlanta, Georgia
Stop right there
Pieces of metal?
You're On The right track but if it were me I'd want to know the root cause or you may just repeat the failure.

Same here Pauley, I'm getting to the bottom of this.

When you dropped the bolt, was the VC on the head or off?

No need to remove the head, just line up the crank marks then check the cam marks.

Also the 4g cam gears have 2 notches on each gear, so the young mechanic that noticed the improper marks may not know of what he speaks.

I dropped the very last bolt of the 13 placing it on the lower right side of VC cover. I did not see where it fell but since I was so close to the timing belt area and the motor stopped cranking the next day I thought this was possible.

I saw two yellow marks on the timing gears one on each not sure if those are the notches.

Lining the crank marks on timing is my #1 priority now.
 

BogusSVO

Proven Member
5,893
297
Jul 1, 2009
Pensacola, Florida
Look at the teeth on the timing belt close, if the bolt was lodged between a gear and belt then flung out, there should be some sort of damage or tell tail mark.
 
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