Trying to track down leak in '97 Blazer LS

Hello,
It figures that something like this would wait for the cold weather to arrive. I just noticed a leak on the driver's side of the vehicle near the
left side of the transmission.
At first, I thought that it was transmission fluid and suspected the cooling lines that run to the radiator. Barring that, all sorts of questions started racing through my head, such as how long had it been leaking, how much damage, if any, had been done so far, and ultimately, how much was it going to cost to fix when they tell me that a new transmission was needed?
Anyway, after walking away from the problem for a while, I took a closer look only to discover that it is actually coolant that is leaking from the area that I described. I tried finding the source, but could only see that it was coming down the side of the bell housing. I couldn't see anything from the engine compartment either.
At this point, I'm guessing that its either a coolant hose or a freeze plug. Does anyone here know if these vehicles have any of these in that part of the engine? Any other things to look for or check?
Thanks in advance to those who post a reply to the group.
Peter.
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How many mile and have the intake manifold gaskets ever been replaced?
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aarcuda69062,
The vehicle currently has 149k plus miles on it and to the best of my knowledge the intake manifold gaskets have never been replaced. We are the second owners. It had 97k when we bought it. Not sure if there are any mileage milestones where specific repairs should be performed.
Peter.
wrote:

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Hi Peter,
I'd suspect the intake manifold gaskets - especially if you're still using Dex-cool. Best thing to do is have it pressure tested and you'll know exactly where its leaking......My intake gaskets started leaking at around 160,000 in a '96, S10, 4.3 L. I smelled AF and within a day it was pouring out.
I replaced my own manifold gaskets - and I'm a DP analyst, not a mechanic - without problems. When you get down to where the injectors are, look for 'clean streaks' on the manifold. If they are there, it means your injector assembly is leaking. If it is leaking, fix it while you have it apart. I used a replacement 'mini injector' from Linder Techincal Services (http://www.lindertech.com /), as they seemed to have the best solution for my injector problem.
Good luck.

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Due to the cold weather, I opted to take it to a "mechanic". I was told that indeed the intake manifold gasket was to blame for the leak. Ballpark $500 - $600 to repair. A day goes by and I was told that they needed some more parts. Second day goes by and I was told that something broke and they had to get another part.
Now for the clincher! Today, I was informed that they stayed late last night to fix the vehicle after getting the part that they needed. Then, when they started the vehicle, it leaked again and the engine began to knock. Long story short, the enginge is blown and they want $2000 - $3000 to install either a used or rebuilt one. I'm not sure because it was hard to concentrate after hearing the news. No way to prove that they were negligent. Granted the engine had 149k miles on it, but the oil had been changed regularly and there were no indications of any noise or knocking coming from it.
So, what recourse do I have? Better Business Bureau? Even if they can be of any help, that won't solve the immediate problem of not having a vehicle. Any good sources for rebuilt engines? Keep in mind that due to the cold weather I can't really take on this job at present, so I'd be looking for installation info as well.
Thanks to those who have replied and those who post a reply here to the group.
Peter.

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Peter Bogiatzidis wrote:

Wow! I'd be looking for a good lawyer.
Ian
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shiden_kai wrote:

A lawyer is going to be cheaper then a new engine?
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Bruce Porter wrote:

I guess if you don't care about the principle of the thing, you'll just pay up for something that was someone else's fault. No wonder the shops can get away with this shit!
Ian
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I didn't study what engine they had...but maybe a bunch of coolant dropped into the crankcase and they didn't change the oil after.
That's what happened to a buddy of mine....dealer bought him a new engine.
tick, tick, tick.....goner.
skimmer

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Peter,
There is a good change your 'mechanic' caused your engine to go bad. I have changed many intake gaskets on 4.3s for the fleet of cars I help maintain. IT IS CLEARLY WARNED IN GM REPAIR MANUALS THAT IF THE EXACT TORQUE PROCEEDURE IS NOT FOLLOWED, SEVERE ENGINE DAMAGE WILL OCCUR. I know of several people that changed their own intake gaskets only have their engine knock or lock-up within 5 miles after the repair. A co-worker has 4.3 sitting on the garage floor at home right now because he didn't read the GM manual before replacing the intake gaskets.
James
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That's right. That's right....I think the incorrect torque distorts the balance shaft.
skimmer

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News Skimmer wrote:

I highly doubt that! The torque on the intake manifold bolts on these engines is extremely low. That's why it's necessary to use loctite on the bolts when re-installing. The most common reason why these engines blow up after having an intake gasket replaced is that tech's will use the 3m grinding pads to clean the surfaces of the cylinder heads. They will usually not take care to make sure that no crap gets into the engine, and sometimes they will not change the oil and filter after the repair. It's too bad really, as the 4.3 is a very strong engine and will usually last the lifetime of the vehicle if the intake manifold is replaced "on time" and the job is done correctly.
Ian
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Just wanted to post some follow-up to my original post.
I originally thought that the engine had not only started knocking, but had also seized in the process. As it turns out, it hadn't. So, after looking into a few options, it was decided to have the vehicle towed back to the house. That was last Friday and the towing service couldn't get to the shop until at least 5 PM, so it was put off until yesterday, Monday.
However, on Saturday, I received a surprise phone call from the "mechanic", indicating that he was trying to open up the oil flow to the top of the engine and asking that towing the vehicle be held off. At that point there wasn't much else to do.
Monday came and went. Then, today the "mechanic" called to give his final report. The vehicle was drivable, but was knocking. There's no telling how long it will last. It could be a week, a month, a year. No one knows for sure. In any case, the vehicle was driven home.
I've heard of attempts at trying to reduce the noise from the knocking by draining a quart of oil from the engine and adding one of those engine oil flush type additives. Couldn't make it any worse at this point, but I have my doubts that it'll really make that much of a difference. Has anyone here had any success with clearing up a similar problem? If so, any particular brand of additive that was used?
Bottom line is that, if the engine does go, a remanufactured engine can be purchased and installed for around $4k. Not sure if that's the way to go right now or not.
On a similar note, how does one know that if the manifold gasket repair is done at the proper time (not sure exactly when that is), that the engine still won't fail later on? At least that's the "mechanic's" position, that it could happen at any time after the repair. My point to him was that if he had suspected an internal leak, as well, due to his experience, shouldn't he have drained the oil first to see if it contained anti-freeze? At that point, if it did, he could have asked if the manifold repair should still be performed with the caveat that there could be a potential problem with the engine.
With regard to a remanufactured engine, would the same time frame apply or would it be safe to assume that the "problem" manifold gasket has been replaced with a new and improved version that won't fail?
Thanks for the replies. Appreciate any other words of wisdom.
Peter.

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Peter Bogiatzidis wrote:

If the engine was not knocking when it went in to the shop, it's highly unlikely that it would be knocking before it made it out of the shop, unless someone was incompetent.
As for your above scenario..yes, that's the way it should be done. We always mention that there is a good possibility that engine damage may have already been done by the presence of coolant in the oil. But to be honest, it's far and few between that we actually see many engines fail from having intake gaskets leak coolant.
Ian
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Print this and take it to your mechanic...
http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l180/James1549f/s10/INTAKE.jpg
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Print and take this to your mechanic:
http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l180/James1549f/s10/INTAKE.jpg
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