3088 Series Motor 1995 Buick Regal GranSport

I recently moved to a new town and had to get some work done on my car and things happened after the work was done and wondering if there might be any fault or blame on the garage that worked on my car.
I started with a small oil leak that got progressively worse in a matter of 2 or 3 days. So I took it in to have it checked out. The seal/gasket on the timing cover was the cause of the leak. There were several things starting to have problems so I figured I would get it all done as I had not put much maintenance in the car in the past year that I owned it. Just routine oil changes and fluid checks. After all was down they replaced the water pump which had been leaking a little as well, radiator flush/fill, oil change, timing cover gasket and I think maybe it was the front main seal.
Well after $500 and what I thought seemed like a decent job and a good deal I have put 360 miles on it with any problems. The RPMs seemed to be on average 2-3 hundred higher than before the work. i.e at 55mph it used to run at 1700rpm, after the work at 55mph the engine was running at a solid 2000rpm. That was the only difference I noticed.
Well it stalled on my coming home last Sunday a week and a half and 360 miles after it was worked on. I turned the key off and restarted the car. It was running very rough and knocking. I was in my apartment complex already so I let it idle back to my parking space it was about a minute in total.. I didn't give it any gas as to not make it worse.
The gauges did not indicate any problems even though the engine felt very hot when I opened the hood. I let it cool off over night and attempted to start it the next morning. It started with a little knock that I could hear and 1 or 2 seconds after that I heard a noise and didn't know what it was at the time. I shut it down and got out and discovered the noise was oil spraying all over the ground. I didn't know it at the time but the seal on the oil filter blew out and began spraying oil all over.
I had it towed back to the shop that did the work before and they took the motor out and told me that it had spun a bearing which caused the rod to blow up and then causing it to put metal shavings through out the motor. Needless to say they tell me I can fix it for about $1800 but no guarantee on if metal shavings got spread throughout the motor or I can put a new motor in for about $3000.
My main concern about all of this is what actually caused this to happen. The car has low mileage 57k and it has been maintained very well by the previous owner and I have owned it for the last 10k and have done 4 oil changes. Could they have done something on the first repair that would have caused this problem and how would I be able to tell.
I already had $500 into the repair the last time so now I am looking at a total cost of $3500 for all the repairs.
Let me know your comments or if you have any additional questions just ask.
Thanks, Tim
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Your answer: http://ken-co.com/manifold/default.htm Your car is worth less than $3500. Junk it.
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Paul,
His car may well be junk, but the manifold is NOT the issue. That Regal has a Series I 3800, not a Series II. Fortunately, the Series I 3800s don't suffer from this problem: the EGR system is totally different.
Regards, Bill Bowen Sacramento, CA
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William H. Bowen wrote:

I'm probably wrong but I thought 1995 was the first year for the the Gen 2 engine?
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Paul,
Yes, 1995 was the first year, but not all 3800s made in 1995 where Series II. Have to look at 8th character of the VIN: Series I is VIN code "L"; Series II is Vin code "K". With Buicks, Regals and LeSabres used Series I engines - Park Avenues and Riverias used Series II.
Regards, Bill Bowen Sacramento, CA
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William H. Bowen wrote:

Good info. Thanks!
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2 engine?

There were some midyear engines. I believe there may have even been a few Series I put out in 1994 on selected models, but am not totally sure.
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wrote in message

Gen
Sorry about this goofy post. I have researched this a number of times, and it is still confusing. As Bill said, the Series II came out in 1995.
I had the impression that a few Series II engines slipped out in 1994, but I can find nothing to back that up, and it doesn't matter for this conversation anyhow.
In 1995, it may have been possible that you could have gotten a Series I, just as Bill posted. The VIN tells the tale.
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That's odd. Unless the trans is slipping or something like that. Engine work should not change a gear ration.

Unlikely as they should not have touched anything that would affect a rod or a bearing. OTOH, did they fill the oil after draining it? All the way? You probably will never know and will not be able to prove anything. I would expect the engine to last well over 100k, maybe even 200k, but "stuff" happens.

Your car is not worth putting 3k in repairs. Look for a used engine. Woman I work with just had an engine swap done for less than $600 including engine and labor. Off hand I don't know if it was a 4 or 6 in a Pontiac, but in any case, far less than your quote. Call a couple of shops and bone yard for some prices.
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Edwin,
My theory is no lockup of the converter - don't know why unless the electrical connections from PCM to transaxle where bad or PCM not initiating lockup (but that should have set a DTC).
Anyway, that's a side issue to the engine problem in my estimation.
Regards, Bill Bowen Sacramento, CA
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Tim,
First, the RPM difference: 300 RPM difference at 55 MPH sounds like the torque converter clutch was not locking up as it should. Side issue though - not directly related to your engine problem (probably a bad connection at the transaxle electrical connector).
There are numerous things that could have caused the engine failure. Sounds like a case of oil pressure starvation to the main oil galleries. The main bearings are fed directly from the main gallery and the rods through drilled passages in the crank. A blockage of the main gallery would strarve all the mains and rods of oil, leading to spun main and/or rod bearing(s) and possibly a thrown rod. The oil pressure gauge / lamp would NOT catch this problem since it is located in the timing case cover and actually measures the oil pressure coming out of the oil filter - if the passage from the timing case cover to the main gallery where blocked, all you'd see is a higher than normal pressure reading..
One possible cause is that debris from the old timing case cover gasket got into the main oil gallery passage and blocked it. The fact that, when you restarted the car the pressure from the oil pump (which is inside the front cover) was high enough to blow out the oil filter seal makes me think that may well be the case. Another possibility is a defective oil filter, though the bypass valve is supposed to let oil pressure still get to the engine even if the oil filter is plugged (and this would show up as a low oil pressure gauge reading).
Normally rod bearings don't "spin" on a 57K engine - something has to cause that to happen, like oil starvation.
The only way to know if this is the case is to tear down the front of that engine and examine the main oil gallery for obstructions. I assume that the shop has pulled the timing case cover off the front of that engine in their examination, and I wonder if they looked at the oil gallery (and, to be blunt about it, would they give you the straight story if they had, knowing that if the gallery where blocked due to old gasket debris they would owe you an engine).
Now on to the bottom line: is the car worth the work. First, I don't think replacing the entire egine is necessary: replace the short block (a short block is the cylinder block with crank, rods, pistons, camshaft and associated parts) and reuse the existing heads, manifolds, etc. Make sure the parts that are reused are thoroughly cleaned. Also, DO NOT reuse the existing head bolts: they are special "torque to yield" bolts and should be replaced.
You're probably looking at $2500 or so to do this job right. The car, with a properly working engine, would be worth about $3000 retail. So, to replace the car with another equiv. car would cost you not much more than the repair, but with the repair would would basically have a new engine. Damn near a "flip the coin". Depends on how much you like the Regal and if you want to keep it. That is a question you will have to answer for yourself.
Without a physical exam of the car myself this is about all I can tell you. Best of luck and if you have any further questions I'll try and answer them for you.
Regards, Bill Bowen Sacramento, CA.
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Bill - this is excellent.
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-Mike-
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Thanks for all the responses everyone. I did have the engine replaced and yes it was a hard call because as you all know the value of the car and the cost of engine replacement were very close. The good things about the car I can say are that there is no rust on it at all and the insurance on it is cheap as well.
With this investment into the car I just look at it now that I have to keep it for another 10 years at least. I was trying to get an assessment to see if the work that was done a few weeks ago could have been the root cause of the problem.
They did take the oil filter off and have that sent back to NAPA to be tested. the work they did 2 weeks ago also involved an oil change so it was a new filter that they put on as well.
I tend to believe that it did have something to do with the work they did on the timing cover gasket and causing blockage in the oil cavities. I guess I will throw that at them real hard and see how they respond to it.
They did check the oil pressure near the filter after they had gotten the new filter on and had it running. The oil pressure was up around 35 to 50 PSI, which they tell me is normal. They used that to say that there wasn't a problem with the oil pumping system and that oil system was still working properly. The said it could have been some sort of intermittent problem in the oil system where it got plugged up and caused it to stop pumping oil for a period of time which caused the problem. My one question then is what caused the oil system to get plugged up?? Was it some debris that was left in there from when they replaced the timing cover gasket??
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Unfortunately, no one can answer that question for you now. There are probabilities that could come into play, but without the engine to examine it would all be pure speculation. I might try to get the engine from the shop and have it examined by another shop. First - I'd talk to an attorney. You don't know if pursuing it will be cost effective in the end. So many factors to consider.
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Keep in mind here the oil pump is in the front cover!

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Shep,
Excellent point - debris from the old timing case gasket could have lodged in either the intake or output passages in the block.
The reason I'd look at the main oil galleries is that if the feed or suction side was blocked, the oil pressure gauge/light would have shown a drop in pressure as the pump starved for oil.
Tim, I'd follow up on that old engine and that original repair. Even if you where only to get a partial compensation it would sure beat zero.
Without that engine in front of me for examination I can only speculate on what caused the failure. As I said previously, my first thought is that some of the debris from removing to old timing case cover gasket ended up in the main oil gallery, eventually blocking the oil from reaching the main and rod bearings and hence the engine failure.
Keep us imformed on what is happening and best of luck to you both on that and the new engine.
Regards, Bill Bowen Sacramento, CA

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

It's worth a shot. The front timing cover contains both the oil pump "and" the pressure relief valve. I've seen the relief valves stick and cause no oil pressure conditions. The pump itself will usually pump on thru thick and thin....it's the relief valve in the side of the cover that is susceptible to debris or scoring in it's bore.
Ian
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This sounds like a fairly classic symptom of an engine that is siezing. After the engine cools it will often re-start and run, albeit with notible damage. Likely you spewed oil to the point that you had insufficient lubrication/cooling of the pistons and bearings. You might have a fight of sorts on your hands but I'd be going after the shop that did the repairs given the defective seal on the oil filter.

Again - I believe the tell-tale indicator is the seal on the oil filter. It could have been installed without lubricating the seal first, which will often result in grabbing and distortion of the seal, or it could simply be a defective filter. In any event, I would lay that straight in the lap of the shop performing the work. All of the other factors are incidental to the failure in the lubrication and cooling of the engine.
You may need a lawyer before this is over.
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