As someone else already pointed out go ahead and pull both the seats
and cover the front in something you don't want anymore. I used cheap
k-mart blankets and just threw them out when done.
The engine is just an engine... Nothing really special or different
that will throw a person that with your experience will get hung up
on. Be prepared for more than normal amount of crap to break that you
weren't expecting. It gets awful hot under there and things seem to
age more I would expect from a similar engine in a normal application.
Also be prepared for your arms to look like you were at war with a
gang of alleys cats. There is no working room in there.
go to autozone web sight. and go to there repair info. then go to the
vehicle repair guides there is a lot of info for you it has a step by step
guide for pulling the heads off and replacing the gaskets. hopes this
helps. also when you pull the pushrods out make sure you (pay close
attention) to the pushrods to make sure both intake and exaust pushrods
are the same length if they are not do not put the longer one in where
the shorter one goes "you will bend a valve" i was helping this shop out
repairing this van it has ben a while ago i think it was a 97-99 chevy van
with a 4.3 v6 front wheel drive. this other guy pulled this motor apart to
do head gaskets and he put the pushrods in wrong and i asked him 2 times
if he put them in wright he said yes put it all back together hit the key
the motor turned a half a turn and locked up and the damage was done three
bent pushrods and one bent valve. i am not saying that the van you are
doing has that style pushrods just a little advise and a little warning if
it is like that hope this helps you
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I have the exact same vehicle (purchased new). I have also done the exact
same thing to it as you are fixing to do. I have read all the other threads
and you have been given a load of good advice. Here is what I found when I
did this on my van at about 117K.
1. The 4.3 is basically a small block chevy v-8 with two cylinders whacked
off. If you have worked one the other should not be a problem.
2. Mine started as the intake gasket leak. Kept adding coolant as I was
dreading working in the tight space. The comment that your arms will look
like cats have attacked them are true. Sharp metal and corners everywhere.
You will be working mostly inside the van so (like the others have said)
pull both front seats and cover the floor. I put down plastic first (this
van is my wife's primary and has been kept pretty clean), covered that with
cardboard, and then put blankets on top. Maybe overkill but laying on the
floor to work on the van was a lot more comfortable.
3. There is a special intake gasket (again mentioned in another thread) that
is a must. I hard a hard time locating in town as most part stores want to
sell you what they have. I ended up ordering from rockauto.com.
4. The advice on the fuel injectors is true. I learned the hard way and
ended up replacing the entire spider assembly. There is a newer upgrade to
the OE model out there so if this happens go for that one. I believe that my
costs were about $300 to $325. I got mine at a local NAPA store (could not
wait the additional downtime on internet ordering to save the bucks). As a
plus once I replaced the assembly the van is now getting better mileage.
5. You will strip the front of the engine. Does it have AC? If so, I did
mine without breaking any connections. I wired the compressor assembly
straight up from the motor to something under the dash. I do not remember
what I wired it to but it held the entire time.
6. I replaced the fan clutch, idler pulley, thermostat, all vacuum lines,
heater hoses (does the van have rear heat?)(easy to get to them now), oil
sending unit (leaking), and basically any thing that I felt would not last
another 75 to 100K. Another thing on removing the fan clutch. I used a large
(14") crescent wrench as I did not have an open end that size. It runs in my
mind that this is reverse thread due to engine rotation. Also when I put
mine back together I did not tighten it near as what it was from the
factory. Engine rotation will always tend to tighten it so I felt OK at just
7. It took me two solid days to take apart and put back together. 1 day
downtime at the machine shop. When you go to put back together you will need
help from someone. I found it easiest to have one person up front and me
inside. We worked together at setting the heads and intake manifold.
8. Plastic zip lock bags, I used a bunch of them. I would take a permanent
marker and write on the bag what the bolts went to. I then placed them in
order, reversing them when going back together. Kind of kept me in proper
9. Distributor, before you remove it mark the housing position on the engine
block. Then mark the rotor position on the manifold. The computer sets the
timing so if you get it back to where it was originally it will work.
10. As someone else mentioned heat is a killer under here. I ended up
replacing the ign coil, new wires, cap, rotor, and other items related. It
was way easy for me to spend my own money (probably overkill but I do not
want my wife stranded by a part that I could easily replace now).
11. If you have good mechanical common sense this project will not be a
Oh mann...this is a scary thread. I have a 98 Astro that leaks coolant
but I haven't had a chance to investigate where from. It leaks it out
onto the garage floor and appears to be coming from to front of the
engine on the passenger side. It seems to leak about a quart and then
stops leaking...kinda weird...and like GM I've been adding coolant every
so often. So far I haven't seen any oil in water or vice-versa...I
wonder if it could be something besides a manifold gasket? It only has
60K miles in it and has never overheated. Having done some work on it I
don't know if I'd be up to something like this. My wife's been talking
about a new car anyway so maybe it's time...
The passenger front is where all of the heater hoses (mine has both front
and rear heat and AC so if your does not it may be different) come together
along with the vacuum valves . May also be the bottom radiator hose or
possible the bypass hose. Defiantly get a light and track it down. If it has
been leaking for a while you can trace the stains back to the source. Mine
leaked down the back of the block.
Mine has dual air also. I'm hoping it's a hose or valve or maybe the
overflow bottle since it seems to only leak a certain amount. Someone
else suggested water pump. I gotta find time to dig down into it and
have a good look...can't see with all the junk in the way. It's just
been too damn hot around here (Phoenix) to work on it but it's getting
cooler (way down to the mid 90's this week) so I'll probably get into it
this weekend or next. Just about anything would be better than a
manifold gasket. Here's hoping...
If it is the intake gasket leaking and it is allowed to do so over a long
period of time plan on replacing the intake manifold as well. The leaking
coolant will erode the manifold. And Dexcool has nothing to do with it, or
my 91 would have never failed.
Posted to alt.trucks.chevy, rec.autos.tech, alt.autos.4x4.chevy-
Subject: Help!!! Advice needed, 4.3 liter engine head gasket in a 96
At first I was going to suggest just buying another Van as it might
be cheaper and definitely easier; but I was surprised at these
vans resell value. If initial estimates for fixing the old van
are near $1000, it might be better to just buy another van.
I did a quick search on Craigslist in my area (North Texas) and
found a 2000 model with an asking price $2650:
Of course you can get lower prices with older cars or different
I have a 4.3L engine in my 1995 blazer, and so far have not had
the water leak problems. I have had them in my 1998 Suburban,
however, and had it repaired 5 years ago. My mechanic suggested
using the old green anti-freeze as he has the theory that the
new dexcool stuff contributes to the water leak problem.
So far his theory is holding up; we've put 75000+ miles over
the last 5 years and no problems. BTW, my 1995 blazer never
used the dexcool; it was just before dexcool was released.
However, a week after the repair and switching over to the
green antifreeze, the water pump started leaking... very badly.
My mechanic said that it didn't surprise him, and it was because
the dexcool coats the inner parts of the pump. As the dexcool
desolve, the coating that was blocking leaks goes away. I was
dissappointed that he didn't tell me that before doing the job
so that the pump could have been replaced at the same time
(with very little extra effort). So I decided to replace the
pump myself instead of hiring him; it was an easy job anyway.
BTW, the actual reason for the intake manifold leak problem
is because GM redesigned the bolts to go in at an angle relative
to the manifold. Why they decided to change the design is
beyond me; the perpendicular design was used for decades and
was proven. It almost makes you think they wanted bad design.
Good luck with your repairs.
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