View Full Version : 130k gaskets vs. 88k transplant

07-01-04, 12:58 PM
Help! Currently looking at a 93 N*(88k) plus a reman 4t80E tranny (low miles) instead of a head gasket/timesert repair on my 94 (130K). The car is undriveable due to overheating and sitting at the mechanic's lot waiting for the class A guy to come back from vaca after the Fourth...
The relatively new tranny is tempting, especially since, after driving mine around in second to keep the revs up to keep it cool, it started throwing off the occasional solenoid code (P028). But 88k is no spring chicken when it comes to gaskets (seem to have been a bunch on this and the other board lately at 100k down to about 48k!). I'm inclined to stick with the devil I know, so maybe someone can suggest how long the trans might last plus any other thoughts...the prospective transplant was the girlfriend's/second car now available (with all major parts exc. AC compressor) due to major body damage...last but not least, mechanic quotes me $1000 for labor (only) for the gaskets vs. $600 for the transplant...

07-01-04, 02:36 PM
If the engine you're talking about is located in Maine, then I've personally seen it. It's very clean and appears to be in good shape. If you've read up on the forums, then all I can say is that if you routinely drain and refill the cooling system and add the GM supplements, you should almost never have any problems. From what I've read, most headgaskets blow due to negligence, usually on the part of the previous owner. One thing I would look for, his engine is an STS from '93. Make sure that the unit is compatible with your '94. You may need a computer swap, etc. Others will know for sure.

07-01-04, 07:33 PM
Thankyou Bbozik! That's exactly the one I'm looking at--the pictures make it look pretty darned clean...and, to me, 88k sounds like low miles...but then again..devil you know vs....guess that would be the deVille you know...

07-01-04, 09:27 PM
Thanks, again Bbozsik. That IS the VIN 9 (295hp) vs. the VIN Y (275hp)motor originally in the car and it occured to me to wonder if the suspension components are any different in the touring model and will that present a problem? I've been VERY satisfied with the performance of the existing engine and wouldn't necessarily trade the extra torque/ponies for, say, worse gas mileage...I'll see how the bidding goes I guess. Almost anything is acceptable at the right price.

07-01-04, 10:06 PM
If it was me and I could do the timesert and head gasket myself I would get the newer engine and replace the headgasket and timesert the block to be extra safe. Then sell your old combo to recoupe some of the costs.

07-02-04, 01:00 PM
Those are HUGE "ifs"...but I agree that would be the best thing to do. My wife is ready to KILL me for dropping 9 grand into this project already so I'm doing the quickest thing possible and replacing the gaskets...with prayers on the side--thanks for everyone' two cents!

07-06-04, 04:13 AM
I always take the known over the unknown............

You have to make your own decision. If the other engine has a little less miles but unknown history I'd go with fixing an engine I knew wasn't abused.

07-06-04, 06:06 PM
I agree with Zonie on this one. Engines (particularly Northstars) are like women. Don't get involved with one if you aren't certain of where it's/she's been prior... At least with the engine you have, you know how well it's been treated and cared for. If you've been good to it, get the gaskets replaced and get another 100k out of it. My two cents anyway. Good luck man!!!

07-06-04, 07:29 PM
Thank you gentlemen! The old girl's in the shop as we speak, er, type, having her surfaces restored...one of the problems that occurred to me when considering the alternatives was what to do with the old motor after replacing it...storage/ebay/shipping/photos/trip to the junkyard, i.e., no good, easy solutions. Now I'm praying this will be enough repair money to keep the old girl happy for a while and that they don't screw up the electricals (see the other forum for a pinched wire/missing bolts nightmare!) I'll let you know how things turn out and how much it set me back.

07-09-04, 05:06 PM
I visited the old girl in the 'hospital' today and she was apart on the floor allowing me to inspect everything and it was NOT a pretty sight:
--the intake ports are so encrusted it's a wonder ANYTHING makes it to the cylinders for firing!
--the valves are mostly charcoal black except for 2 cylinders which are powder white, all encrusted in their respective colors...
--I was told a couple of the cylinders were black inside...

The mechanics asked me if it had been burning a lot of oil (LOL)--the usual quart per 1000...they found some very loose headbolts (no surprise)...they also found some oddly missing bolts deep inside the motor mounts and we concluded (from other evidence like scratches on it) that the condenser(I think) has been replaced, which requires dropping the cradle.

Are the encrusted intake ports normal and should I have them polished or just scraped before reassembly? Should I worry about the encrusted valves? They also found a timing chain guide that was worn through "to metal", should it be replaced or is that one of those things the chain tensioners will take care of? Many thanksin advance to Bbob and all the rest!