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- Vic Smith
July 16, 2009, 11:19 am
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So I go into the local GM dealership this morning to get the lower
intake manifold gasket set for my kid's 95 Bonneville. The "new
improved" gaskets. Aluminum framed, not plastic.
The car's got 80k miles on it, and too many GM owners took real big
hits when the lower manifold gaskets rotted away or plastic upper
plenum melted away. I bought a Dorman upper plenum elsewhere.
Way too many with as few as 40k miles, and for cars at least as late
as 2003 with the 3800 Series 2 engine have the problem.
Can cause hydrolock, bent rods, warped heads, wiped bearings, etc.
Some catch it in the early stages and only pay $400-1200 to get it
I've spent some time in Pontiac, Buick and Chevy forums reading
about the pain and expense this poor design has caused.
There was only very minor relief from GM for these disasters.
Hell, the new LIM gasket didn't come out until 2006 or 2007.
My kid is putting in the improved LIM gasket and the improved Gorman
upper plenum as a preventative measure.
The plenum was 61 bucks through Amazon and the gasket was
75 bucks at GM.
Then there's going to be some brake and carb cleaner to clean things
up, and some thread lock.
So it's going to cost about $150 in parts, and at least 3 hours of the
kid's labor. Luckily, he loves doing this stuff.
Anyway, one parts guy goes to get my gasket set, and I ask one of the
other guys, probably the manager, who's sitting on his ass rifling
through paperwork, "What do you think about the new GM?"
He doesn't hardly look up, and why should he?
After all, I'm just a customer.
He says, "I feel good about it. We've got the union costs under
control." Mumbles something about health costs.
I said, "Yeah, that union health care was hurting GM, and health care
is a problem all over."
He wasn't interested in my comment, and goes on a bit ragging the
union. Didn't hear it exactly, because the other guy came back with
my part and pointed me to cashier window about ten feet away.
The cashier was waiting for me.
So as I give her the invoice and my credit card something is bothering
me. When I asked that guy about the "new GM" I was expecting
to hear something besides bitching about the union.
Maybe something about how good the Malibu and Impala are selling, or a
new goal toward engineering excellence and customer satisfaction.
I walk back to the parts desk and said, probably a bit too loudly,
in order to get this guys attention, but I was actually pissed.
"Hey, see this?" I held up the $75 gasket set.
"The union didn't design the 3800. GM engineers and GM management
did that. Wasn't the union. Sure as hell wasn't Toyota. And if they
did they would have made it right. You want customers, you better
give them reliability. There's more than one side of a story."
He admitted that as I walked back to the cashier to sign the receipt
and get out of there. Didn't really want to say anything else to him.
Anyway, a bad experience. Hope this asshole doesn't represent GM's
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