It's been a regular problem since the GENII 3800 came out. I
wouldn't say it's "common", you would have to look to the
3100/3400 intake gaskets problems as a good example of
a "common" problem.
By the way, don't worry about the sealer that they want to install.
GM has been using this stuff for years, and it actually is a "must"
for all aluminum engines like the Northstar. The main components
are ginger root, and walnut shells, I believe. It tells you what the
components are right on the package that you can buy over
the counter at a dealership.
Because of the different engine configurations,
there may be some reason why they feel the
3.8 recall is more important. I'm sure that there
are all sorts of legal, and economic reasons why
they do or don't issue recalls.
Just wait a bit, you never know how the 3100/3400
intake gasket scenario will play out. Maybe it will
turn into a "special" policy similar to the 2.2 head
gaskets, or the Quad SOHC cracked cylinder heads.
I received the same recall on my 2000 Impala with the 3.8 engine. My car
has 42,000 miles and so far no problems. My dealer service rep says he has
not seen any of the 3.8's with the problem. However, I'll probably take it
in soon and have it checked, because mine is out of warranty and has no
He has conflict of interest on this. My '02 Bonneville leaked the
coolant at just 17000mls and needed the upper intake manifold
replaced. The dealer where I had this service done told me that they
do it once or twice a day.
I have to agree w/the "conflict of interest" theory. If the 3800's ever
had a problem since mid-year 1987, it was this coolant leak. Otherwise,
IMO, one of the BEST engines GM ever produced.
IIRC, the '85 thru mid-production-year '87's idled rough(we'll not
mention trannies, just engines). '87's had a cutting-off problem where
they'd replace ALL sensors, in our so-eastern--mid-Atlantic area. Then, '88
was the 1st year of the good-idling engine AND good tranny models. All but
that coolant leak--a simple problem that likely ruined many an otherwise
good engine. Somehow, liquid just doesn't succomb to compression in So.
So, that "dealer service rep who says he has
not seen any of the 3.8's with that problem" must walk thru the service
depts. w/his head in the sand! Now, wasn't that a kind way of putting it???
My "adopted mother" has a '95 Royale--developed the intake leak, at 20,800
miles, evidently while sitting in her driveway. (She drove in & wiggled it
around as usual in order to park headed out--all was fine. Two days later
went to drive it, and engine wouldn't spin over--locked up w/liquid in
cylinders from rad.) Fantastic rings, however, as next to ZERO coolant ever
made it into the crankcase. Still have rec't from certified mail we sent to
Olds on April 26, 2000(PO Box 33171, zip 48232); we received 2 (TWO)
positive responses from TWO separate 'decision-makers' at Olds--both
agreeing to reimburse her at least part of the approx.$800 she paid Olds
dlr'ship to repair it. Acc. to them, even tho' it was past the time limit
on the warranty, the car having less than 21000 miles should, in their
eyes, qualify her for help. Somehow, the papers all got shuffled & you know
the rest of the story. She's wealthy, yet likes to drive conservative cars;
but no more Olds for her! And she thinks Buicks are from the same immediate
Looks like we'll try a Ford of some type this time--she saw a "4-door
Mustang" at WalMart parking lot that she tho't looked nice. Still carefully
driving at 89, reckon it's ok to mis-id a car make--heck, at 59 and a career
in auto business, I still do. But she needs to hurry, as her orig. tires
have cracked sidewalls, even w/lots of tread. Convince her to spend $ for
tires?--or anything--on an Olds is ridiculous!
Do agree w/many, tho' : putting stop-leak in a new engine doesn't sound
very professional. If a used-car dealer stooped to such a measure, he'd be
accused of "doctoring" an engine to get it passed off to an innocent buyer.
I see little, if any difference. At least they aren't charging for it--yet.
Even when our used cars we bo't directly from GMAC showed up such a
malfunction, we'd either talk GM into replacing the 'hardware" or else trade
back w/our customer, let GM 'fix' them, and send them back to a sale where
GM was having a "brass hat sale". We'd represent them as having been
recently sold directly by GMAC. So, we never experienced the longevity of
the patch, altho' I had no more than little faith in its
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