02 Blazer 4.3 Liter V6 91K miles 4x4 Automatic

Hi Folks,
I've read a lot about intake manifold gaskets, and now I am facing the problem myself. I just got a rip-off estimate (my opinion) for the repair of my rig. Evidently everything went south at the same time
last night driving home. Within a 1-2 mile stretch of road, my temp gauge went from normal to hot. I pulled off the road and called the tow truck.
Chevy says my oil cooler in the radiator ruptured, my water pump leaked and the intake manifold gasket was leaking on one side in the front. So the truck overheated because the coolant leaked out, and oil was getting into the coolant. I checked the oil for coolant, and it looked fine to me, so I am hoping that everything is not lost with the engine... but... they wanted $1500 to fix everything. I am towing it to my garage to do the work myself.
My plan is to have a buddy replace the oil coolant tank -- about $70 -- in the radiator and make sure it's all good. And I have done plenty of water pumps in the past.
What I have never done is an intake manifold gasket. This is my first V-anything Chevy, and I want some advice. Does anyone know of a good walkthrough about what the exact procedure should be for this job? I am interested to know about gasket materials they use, what sealant to use, where to put it, etc.
I know this is asking for a lot, but feel free to get fundamental with me as I don't want to do something that would cause more pain moving forward. I hear the job is painful, but I figure I have time to poke at it for a while as this is not my primary vehicle.
Thanks for the advice and help.
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An online subscription to Alldata.com will give you everything you need for 24.95.

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I had heard from a buddy of mine that Alldata was out there but had put it out of my mind. I had not expected to need this information. Thanks for the tip. I got signed up just now and have started to dig into it all.
I really appreciate the pointer!
Carlton
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I've got additional questions. Do you have any feeling about whether or not they would mean that the Upper or Lower intake manifolds are leaking. Here's the technician's text that appears on my diagnostic bill.
"NO COOLANT IN RADIATOR, ENGINE OIL IN RADIATOR, ADDED WATER PRESSURE TESTED SYSTEM, FOUND INTAKE GASKET BLOWN OUT LEFT FRONT CORNER, WATER PUMP SEEPING REASON FOR OIL IN RADIATOR ENGINE OIL COOLER INTERNAL OF RADIATOR LEAKING"
It looks like the upper manifold is relatively easy compared to the lower. I suppose I'll need to do both to be safe, but there's a HECK of a lot more involved in that. Just want some thoughts.
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In article

The mechanic is referring to the lower intake manifold gasket. There is no coolant flowing between the upper and lower intake. There -is- coolant flowing between the lower intake manifold and the cylinder heads, that's where the failure occurs.
Get the intake gasket set from Fel-Pro. Pay attention to the fuel line O-rings Cap the fuel lines on the manifold so the injectors don't go dry and stick. Pay close attention to where the ignition rotor points (make an index mark) before you remove the distributor, make certain that the distributor and rotor is aligned EXACTLY as it was before disassembly. Don't screw around repairing the radiator, replace it. Use Permatex "The Right Stuff" to seal the ends of the manifold/block joint, other RTV sealers will fail here. Replace the radiator cap New GM water pump, not a rebuilt When done with the mechanical repairs, fill the radiator with water and add one Electrosol dishwasher tablet and run the engine for one hour, then thoroughly flush with water, refill with the correct coolant.
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Ok, I'll pick up the Fel-Pro gaskets and a new water pump and gasket set. What do you suggest to cap the fuel lines with? Duct Tape?
The Distributor... in Alldata they say when you replace the intake manifold you have to re-time the engine by setting it to TDC on cylinder #1 and align the gear at the bottom of the distributor,etc, and use a screwdriver on the oil pump drive... why can't I just make the reference marks on the distributor/intake and under the cap and replace it that way? It sounds like from what you are saying that I can do that, but I'd like to make sure.
I'll use the permatex at the ends of the manifold.
The alldata instruction for applying adhesive to the manifold gasket indicates that I am supposed to only put a 0.157 inch wide portion on the "end" of the gasket. am I not supposed to put adhesive on the whole thing? That's wierd. What am I missing? Does the gasket not need adhesive except on one end or is the adhesive more of a crutch for assembly than a sealing factor?
Thanks,
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I keep any and all plastic caps that come on various parts, got a whole drawer full... if you don't have anything handy, stop by the hardware store and pick up some tapered rubber stoppers.

All I do is jog or hand turn he engine until the rotor is pointing straight forward and make an index mark on the firewall indicating the cam position sensor connector, on re-assembly, I drop the distributor in so the rotor is pointing straight forward and line up the firewall mark. This works fine as long as no one disturbs the engine by cranking it. Naturally, I check the cam synch with a scan tool once the engine is up and running... Understand that Alldata and Mitchell -have- to be overly descriptive.

No sealer needed or desired on the manifold gaskets except as follows; When applying the RTV bead to the ends of the block, run the bead up each head about 1/4", do this front and back (4 places), place the gaskets in place, now add a small bead on top of the gasket right above where you ran the bead up the head and join iit with the bead on the end of the block. The object is that you have three components (manifold, head and block) all coming together it these four points, you don't want any leaks because it's a compound junction. No need to go nuts with the RTV, just a little overlap above and below the gaskets where they meet the end rails of the block and cylinder head.
I'll be doing the gaskets in a 97 Bravada on Tuesday, I'll take lots of pictures, if you get stuck and can wait til Tuesday night, let me know...
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Buddy I'd love to see pictures of what you are doing and describing. I am not going to be able to dig into this thing all at once because of work and in-laws coming into town... I got the radiator out today and plan on getting the water pump replaced before I dig into the intake. I probably wont be able to get to any of that until after Thanksgiving unfortunately.
Thanks for the offer of pictures. I really do look forward to seeing them.
Carlton
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No problem. I'll assume that your address isn't munged, and I sure hope you're on some sort of broadband, not dial up.
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Bring it on. :)
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Carlton wrote:

    People use adheasive on the intake to cylinder head gaskets to keep them from slipping out of proper alingment when setting the intake manifold. A few dabs of 3M Yellow Super Weatherstrip & gasket adheasive work well. In the trade people call it yellow snot. Charles
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I use the yellow snot on my old 1969 Dodge D100 318, but I didn't know if that would be preferable in this case. The Alldata website calls for GM Part #12346141, which the local chevy dealer has for $12. I was thinking of just using that. That way it would be gray. That was a joke.
I apologize for this next part, but I don't know why in the round world a mechanical water pump would cost $205 unless I am paying my share of Delphi bankruptcy or something. A good (not Autozone or advance) local shop has a new one for $45. Is there a really good reason aside from the sky is falling over not using a part that GM is selling? I mean, will one GM water pump last longer than 4.5 of the $45 pumps? (I am counting my time in replacing it as a sunk cost).
This is an occasional use vehicle for me anyway.
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Carlton wrote:

Try www.parts.com -- click on the Chevrolet link, then try a few of the merchant links that appear in the following page. Every link on parts.com uses the identical menu system, so once you've tried one, the next few will go quickly. You should find a dealer that will sell you the pump for ~ 20% under list that way. I don't know what they will likely charge for shipping, so factor that in as well.
The others posters are right, you really don't want to put a reman or junk aftermarket "new" pump on unless you are willing to suffer the good odds that it will fail prematurely. I consider the factory part to only be good for ~ 100k miles; the others are much worse.
Also make sure you didn't get price quoted for a pump for the newer Trailblazer I-6 engine. The Blazer / Trailblazer thing could have caused a translation error. I believe 01-02 were weird carryover years during the Trailblazer rollout; I seriously doubt they use the same part.
Toyota MDT in MO
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Interesting. I will check the parts.com stuff out. I am used to the BMW style of selling a car that can take 1,000,000 miles but has a rubber band timing belt on an interference engine and a plastic water pump. I replace my belt and water pump every 50k miles and have driven the same car 150 miles/day since about 1991. It seems strange that a water pump would last 100k miles to me...
Anyway, I'll try to make sure the part I am buying is not going to be a bad one. And I'll check Chevy again to make sure I didn't get a Trailblazer part. That thought didn't occur to me. Thanks for the tip.
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Carlton wrote:

    A good Reman'ed unit can last many years. Thge problem is knowning the good from the bad.
    Call N.A.P.A. and see what they are selling them for. N.A.P.A. parts tend to be a bit higher in price, yet the N.A.P.A. brands of parts tend to be of a higher caliber then the autozone or advanced store brands.
    The differance between a Good Reman'ed unit and a Cheep One... Well cost me a radiator in my 89 S-15 Jimmy 4.3 V6. Sure I got 8 years out of it, yet if you look at the miles driven in those 8 years, failure should not have been acceptible. Charles
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I appreciate the sentiment, but this truck has 91k miles on it with regular coolant flushes, oil changes and transmission services. The transmission oil cooler blew in the radiator at about 30k miles and now the engine oil cooler is gone. I assume that the dealer would have replaced the radiator completely under warranty, which means that at 91k miles my water pump AND the transmission oil cooler are both dead, and the radiator with just 61k miles on it.
Exactly how does a water pump make a radiator go bad? Again, I am not talking about an Advance or AutoZone part here. I am talking about a trusted parts shop that doesn't sell junk. The price at NAPA and at this guy are very similar though I did not compare the name of the place selling the part.
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Shep wrote:

    The odd thing is I have gotten the wrong infromation from All-Data in the rencent past a good number of times. Espcieally on Electrical componite locations, and on electrical repair.
Charles
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Charles, you are right on that issue, I have Mitchell on demand in my shop have run into electrical component/diagram errors with them also.

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