: Is this guy being honest with me? video of a SEIZED ENGINE!!!



97EldoCoupe
09-28-09, 03:18 PM
I've had this customer's car since before I moved into the new shop. He keeps changing his mind on what he wants done; so I'm never in a rush to get this car finished. Came here with a bad fuel pump and needing a head gasket/stud job and engine re-seal. It's a 1995 Oldsmobile Aurora.

So back in March it was brought to me in "not running" condition. He said it was running just before he had it shipped to me. I tried to get it fired up but it cranked over too slow to start; and had low fuel pressure.

He wanted some performance parts in the engine and polished cam covers and such. Changed his mind again.

Anyways; got the engine out. There was aluminum corrosion in the intake ports; rust on the valve stems, and surface rust in the cylinders. The cams and lifters and chains, etc.; were all dry- you can't even get a slippery finger by touching anything.

I suggested installing a 1997 Aurora 4.0 that was running a month ago; and doing all of my work to that engine first. He reluctantly agreed but told me since his has lower mileage it should be a better engine (despite the rust)

So here's a video of a piston & rod that came out of the block:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwMOCOmKhWc"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwMOCOmKhWc

I'd say it hasn't run in at least 2 years if not longer; not only six months. What are your opinions?

97EldoCoupe
09-28-09, 03:30 PM
Someone got creative with that car. As if the original oil cooler & lines (end of the radiator) were not enough, they installed a sandwich adapter between the oil filter mount and the filter, to add an extra oil cooler. Four cooler lines, and a short oil filter. Nice.

Submariner409
09-28-09, 03:51 PM
Too bad you didn't get a chance to look at it before you took the job.

That engine hasn't been run in a very, very long time. The squeak sounds almost like someone had used some sort of "crankcase flush" in it and washed all the lube off everything. The rust in the cylinders and valve stem areas is also telltale - even in a non-winterized marine engine the cylinders and valves won't surface rust in 6 months. If the aluminum corrosion in the intake ports looks like lots of little powdery sugar crystals growing on the surface, that engine has been sitting exposed to the elements for a long time.

The slapdash oil cooler points to someone who knows nothing about engines or what oil coolers are really used for. (If one is good, two must be better, right ?????.......................:eek:)

Also, looking at the rod and end in your hand it looks awful dirty - like the oil was never changed.

97EldoCoupe
09-28-09, 04:10 PM
That's my opinion too Sub. I can't call him a liar (can I?).....

I wonder if I'm in over my head. Sure I can get another engine in there and running, but the man is about 8 hours away from me. If he plans to drive this car home, and the transmission hasn't been out of park in as long as the engine hasn't been running, what's going to happen if the trans won't shift?

Lucky most of my work doesn't come in like this.

Oh, and the engine oil was thin and smelled like gasoline. Makes you wonder if someone tried to free that thing up.

codewize
09-28-09, 04:45 PM
I'd say that I agree with all of you as well as the fact that the gray color on that wrist pin is a clean indication to me that the engine had been flushed with something removing all lubricants.

It almost looks like someone flushed it with something then ran some water through the crankcase. Was there oil in the engine?

Ranger
09-28-09, 05:15 PM
I didn't see the vid because I'm on dial up, but based on what Sub said, you may not be able to call him a liar, but you CAN tell him what you see, what that indicates, what it will cost and what kind of warranty he will and will not get. Don't get yourself into a loosing situation.

Submariner409
09-28-09, 05:36 PM
Jake said the oil was thin and smelled like gasoline...............He either tried to flush the engine for some reason OR ran it with bad injectors and literally washed the rings out of it, with the subsequent blowby and oil dilution.

Hard to call him a liar, BUT, if you speak based on mechanical experience you can look him in the eye and give your findings/thoughts. If he won't look at you and blinks a lot, you hit the nail on the head.

97EldoCoupe
09-28-09, 05:52 PM
Yeah I try not to be too blunt with him but I sent him an email saying that I didn't think he was being 100% truthful with me. Let's see what I get back. Honesty is always the best policy; and had I known this from the beginning he would probably have saved some money. I wouldn't have been stripping his engine down on his time: I would have simply started with a different engine. I probably won't charge him for the labor of tearing his old engine down and then starting with another engine, but I sure feel like it.

No matter what the situation; engine flush is a BAD idea. Same with failing injectors like Sub said.

This answered another question of mine: "Why is my '76 Olds running so bad?". I had nowhere to pump the fuel to when I changed the fuel pump. The Olds was sitting on "E" so I pumped that fuel into my old Delta. Ever since it's been misfiring badly (never got it on the road yet). I bet that fuel has the ignition properties of kerosene. It's probably 5 years old.

97EldoCoupe
09-28-09, 06:01 PM
Ranger I know you're on 56k- the video entails myself moving the rod up and down as the piston moves on the pin: and squeaks like a rusty door hinge. Also shows the backside of the piston and how it's dry as a bone.

If I were to use his engine I would clean everything up, oil it all and re-assemble. He would get the warranty that it will run long enough to get him 10 miles down the road, but expect excessive oil consumption and some bearing noises to start soon. No seriously the only way I'd re-use that engine is with a full rebuild. New rings, pistons, piston pins, bearings, valve guides, valves; the works.

themadwacker1
09-29-09, 04:05 PM
That's my opinion too Sub. I can't call him a liar (can I?).....

I wonder if I'm in over my head. Sure I can get another engine in there and running, but the man is about 8 hours away from me. If he plans to drive this car home, and the transmission hasn't been out of park in as long as the engine hasn't been running, what's going to happen if the trans won't shift?

Lucky most of my work doesn't come in like this.

Oh, and the engine oil was thin and smelled like gasoline. Makes you wonder if someone tried to free that thing up.

Jake I go though this kind of BS all the time with people & their story cars,

"oh I donít understand what could have happened......I just had the tranny redone the week before I gave you my car.....so why the tranny oil is black & the filter has a 4 year old date on it is beyond me" :suspect: or "what do you mean two of the spark plugs were rusted into the head....I just had them changed 3 years ago at Canadian Tire......are you sure the one bolt that was holding my starter in place was tack-welded on, I really donít see how the other one could have been broken in the block? Would you mind if my brother-in-law comes by youíre shop & have a look.......he's a heck of a good mechanic you know" :eek:

You have to tell this guy what is going on & what you found, if he keeps playing the story card youíre just going to have to put the car back together the way it was when brought in to you & give it back to him! Donít let anybody treat you like your stupid & then try to trivialize your work. Youíre not in business to work at a loss because you donít want to hurt someoneís feeling when you know he's lying to you......or at least not telling you the whole story.:cynic:

97EldoCoupe
10-02-09, 12:35 PM
Hey Rene "themadwhacker1" - if this guy gives me too much trouble and tries to leave without paying his bill (I can see it coming now) he lives in Montreal. Can I contact you to set up a roadblock?

He's getting worse. His bill is sitting at around $3200. This includes:

removing his engine
tearing down his engine
a replacement 4.0 engine (block and heads)
tearing down the replacement engine and doing the oil seals, studs, and HG's
new valve seals installed as well as the exhaust valves lapped
new lower tensioner, water pump, lower timing chain (his request)
L37 high output intake cams installed
new thermostat
new fuel pump and filter
4 new coils

Now he's complaining about cost. I didn't think $3200 was all that bad for all of this!

His engine is almost ready to install. I'm tempted to bolt his old one back together and stick it back in.

Rene, seems like you and I have had some of the same encounters.

Oh- do you know what color your buddy's 99 SLS is? Just wondering if I have a rear bumper in close match to his.

97EldoCoupe
10-02-09, 12:39 PM
He still won't admit to anything causing the water damage. As another customer of mine said yesterday when he was in the shop; "Sure he drove it in March; of what year though? What did he do? Park it in the lake?" Lol that guy was hilarious! :D

Ranger
10-02-09, 01:28 PM
Now he's complaining about cost. I didn't think $3200 was all that bad for all of this!
I'd insist on payment before going any further.

themadwacker1
10-02-09, 02:58 PM
Hey Rene "themadwhacker1" - if this guy gives me too much trouble and tries to leave without paying his bill (I can see it coming now) he lives in Montreal. Can I contact you to set up a roadblock?

He's getting worse. His bill is sitting at around $3200. This includes:

removing his engine
tearing down his engine
a replacement 4.0 engine (block and heads)
tearing down the replacement engine and doing the oil seals, studs, and HG's
new valve seals installed as well as the exhaust valves lapped
new lower tensioner, water pump, lower timing chain (his request)
L37 high output intake cams installed
new thermostat
new fuel pump and filter
4 new coils

Now he's complaining about cost. I didn't think $3200 was all that bad for all of this!

His engine is almost ready to install. I'm tempted to bolt his old one back together and stick it back in.

Rene, seems like you and I have had some of the same encounters.

Oh- do you know what color your buddy's 99 SLS is? Just wondering if I have a rear bumper in close match to his.

Jake put that car back together the way he gave it to you & cut him loose. You will end up selling that rebuild 4.0 sleeper engine to someone who will really appreciate it.....like me:shhh: maybe :wifeyapping:

Roadblock No, But I will send two of my boys to collect the money your owed if heís a local guy. :gungrin: :gungrin:

The guy with the 99 SLS is not a friend or buddy. Just a customer that I have referred to you....his Cadillac is black. :cool2:

97EldoCoupe
10-02-09, 08:11 PM
I will send two of my boys to collect the money your owed if he’s a local guy. :gungrin: :gungrin:

I'll keep that in mind Rene.....I'm still owed $960 from a bounced check. (99 STS engine R&R&R) I'll pay your travel expenses....the guy lives in Kitchener.

The engine is done now and ready to drop in. I'll finish the job but I don't think I'll take much more B.S. from him. A man can only take so much.

He paid me $1800 down yesterday and the balance is due tomorrow.

I expect my customers to have some constructive criticism now and then, suggestions never hurt, questions are normal but it seems like he's trying to make a fool of me. I have to keep reminding the guy I've worked on over 100 Northstars and only one failure that I repaired. Anybody can make a mistake and I'm no different but the minute you enter my yard you see 5+ Cadillacs sitting out front. If I was incompetent would my family and I all be driving one?

By the way Rene you have some really interesting projects. Why don't you post some pics?

97EldoCoupe
10-02-09, 08:20 PM
Ranger I like the way you think. He paid over half yesterday. I hope he's good for the rest. If not, I have paying customers in line who're dying to drive their Caddys again.

ponyboyt
10-03-09, 05:42 AM
the minute you enter my yard you see 5+ Cadillacs sitting out front

i thought i counted like 12 :bouncy:

97EldoCoupe
10-03-09, 06:57 AM
Lol - that day was special - we were hosting the maffia meeting.....:D

themadwacker1
10-03-09, 07:13 AM
By the way Rene you have some really interesting projects. Why don't you post some pics?

Don't judge me by the state of my shop :eek: Once a month a tornado comes through & assembles a car for me :holycrap: I'm not even going to get in to the story about the sh#t box Dodge sitting in my drive-way......guy drove it with the lower ball joint gone & a broken axle :nono:The green 93 STS is next & I have a 99 STS that I may have coming in around Dec. I will be calling you as I will be needing some engines. Well look at the pics....but remember don't judge me :cool2:

themadwacker1
10-03-09, 07:16 AM
Lol - that day was special - we were hosting the maffia meeting.....:D

Irish :drunkpair: or Italian :hijacked:

tateos
10-07-09, 06:51 PM
Nice pictures Jake - that brings back fond (?) memories of my HG project

97EldoCoupe
10-11-09, 11:55 AM
Looks like my customer found this thread. Good- he has some opinions now of other members. He's still sticking to his story. Weirdest thing, is I have a car in the shop that arrived a week before his in March (a 93 STS- the owner told me he didn't have the money to get the work done when he dropped it off, he wanted me to store it until just recently I did the work. The engine's back in and he still has no money :() and his engine had NO RUST at all in the cylinders or on the cams. Everything was still nice and oily. And it hasn't run since January when the owner began tearing the engine down himself.

I have a 97 Aurora sitting out back with the engine in the car, the rear head removed and the intake ports on the other head open. It has been this way for a year and a half (my own project, crack down the cylinder) and there is less rust and corrosion than a '95 that has been complete and running in March?

I'm going to have to say that someone has previously attempted the repairs to this car, left the engine open for a while, and then it got put back together and shipped to me. I can't explain the rust any other way. I still can't explain why everything that should have been oily, was dry.

None of that matters now, there's a very good 4.0 V8 in his car now. I was not going to fix the original engine in the condition it was in. One of the exhaust cams in the original heads had a worn lobe as well. Mark, if you're following this, It actually saved you money buying that other engine from me. A new camshaft costs just as much if not more than the whole engine I sold you. Believe it or not I'm doing this to help people as well as earn a living.

Submariner409 - Correct me if I'm wrong: Aluminum oxide (the crystals formed from aluminum corrosion) is almost as hard as diamonds and could cause extensive damage to an engine if it ended up in the cylinders. Those old intake ports had lots of it.

The owner is picking his car up tomorrow.

Mark: I hope you enjoy the car, I hope you treat it well, and I hope it does the same. Never let your local GM dealership install external engine oil coolers and hang them up with ordinary zip-ties again. Auroras don't have much radiator surface area to begin with; all this does is restrict airflow. It already has the oil cooler in the radiator from the factory. Any more is overkill and could prevent the oil pump from doing its job. Never pour in miracle fluids or engine flushes. Stick with a good brand of 10w30, change every 5,000 kilometers and you will be fine. Just because my shop is sitting between two corn fields doesn't mean I don't know what I'm talking about. I got a good deal on a property with 4400 square feet of shop space, lots of gravel-surface parking, and a mortgage payment lower than most shops rent for. I'm keeping my overhead low and doing my best for Northstar owners at a reasonable price. No, it may not be what you expected. But as I told you, the quality of the end result is what matters.

drewsdeville
10-11-09, 12:16 PM
Submariner409 - Correct me if I'm wrong: Aluminum oxide (the crystals formed from aluminum corrosion) is almost as hard as diamonds and could cause extensive damage to an engine if it ended up in the cylinders. Those old intake ports had lots of it.



That is correct. Al2O3 is one of the hardest substances known to man, and is supplememnted for diamond a lot in industrial applications.

Submariner409
10-11-09, 12:33 PM
Do some homework: Aluminum oxide abrasive and oxidized aluminum from corrosion are two different cats.

I still would not want oxides and/or rust being sucked into a cylinder.

drewsdeville
10-11-09, 01:17 PM
Do some homework: Aluminum oxide abrasive and oxidized aluminum from corrosion are two different cats.

I still would not want oxides and/or rust being sucked into a cylinder.

??? Yeah they are different in that the corrosion is actually harder than abrasive since it's pure, where abrasive is created with bauxite.

Yeah they are different, that doesn't defy the properties of aluminum oxide though. Aluminum oxide from corrosion is one tough substance since it's made up of ionic bonds (with oxygen in the air) in a crystalline structure. Much MUCH harder than almost any metal in it's metallic state.

97EldoCoupe
10-11-09, 05:26 PM
Finally have everything together with this Aurora. So far I've found:

1. The fuel that was in the line is about as potent as kerosene. There's 2.5 gallons of 94 octane in the tank now.
2. The fuel filter had rust in it, the new one is installed.
3. The fuel pump fuse was blown.
4. Tried to start the car and some cylinders want to fire. There's no fuel in the front bank. The injectors were rusty too so it's not much of a surprise. I may wind up changing them.
5. The starter solenoid is toast now. I gave it adequate time to cool off in between cranks but she's finished. Off comes the intake and another starter & solenoid is getting thrown in.

Mark, since this car has already cost you "more than its worth", I'll throw a used starter in "on-the-shop".

97EldoCoupe
10-11-09, 05:32 PM
And my Sunday afternoon- spent on diagnosing a no-start condition- no charge.

eyekandyboats.inc
10-11-09, 06:55 PM
wow dude!
could there be alot of rust on some of the terminals causing no star becuase of a hi resistance at the terminal? rust and corrosion seem to be every where with this repair. also did you re use any large cables from the car originaly? it could be those wires internaly are corroded as well , i was repairng a boat engine that sat outside for a year in a boat, with moisture heavly around it and it would not start however all the wires were live.. ended up some of the hi power cable got water down it and rotted out and couldnt carry the load

97EldoCoupe
10-11-09, 07:31 PM
No the starter solenoid is toast. Got another one in there now. Here's the reason the car didn't start: 7 injectors totally clogged. No flow of fuel whatsoever. One injector partially clogged.

I'm on supper break. Injectors are getting installed from a Caddy STS. Again. No charge.

There's no way in hell this car ran in March.

I'm getting tired- there's a crew of guys coming tomorrow to install the new roll-up doors. I have to get some framing done by 7am. This car has to run after I finish installing these injectors.

97EldoCoupe
10-11-09, 10:24 PM
The car is running right now- purring like a kitten. It was the injectors. Now to double check for no leaks and install the plastic sheild underneath and she'll be good to go.

ibm4mad
10-14-09, 02:04 PM
I'll keep that in mind Rene.....I'm still owed $960 from a bounced check. (99 STS engine R&R&R) I'll pay your travel expenses....the guy lives in Kitchener.

Jake, if I were in your type of business, I'd require a bank check / certified check / cashier's check / cash if a bill is over a certain amount, say $750. If that guy is bouncing checks for $960 then it's not very likely he's going to come up with $3200 either.

If you don't get certified funds from some of these folks, chances are they'll write you a bad check and then use their new SureGrip studs and solid motor mountsto the advantage by flat-footing it out of there!

97EldoCoupe
10-15-09, 10:35 PM
Well he's all paid up and the job is done.

We're set up to accept visa and m/c now but considering what the processing fees are I'll likely charge something like $2250 for a typical HG job and offer a $50 discount for paying in cash.

I want happy customers and I want them to continue to be happy with the results of my work. The majority of the time it works out that way- but let's face it, in this world that's not always possible.

97EldoCoupe
10-15-09, 10:38 PM
Oh, and Ibm4Mad - yeah I'm very cautious of that. Nobody takes their car for a test drive until they either pay me first or leave another vehicle at my shop of the same value as my repair job..... :D

Planedr
10-22-09, 12:55 AM
You sound like a stand up guy, I wish I was closer I could use a good mechanic.

97EldoCoupe
10-24-09, 08:13 PM
Thanks Planedr. There's lots of good and honest mechanics out there. Finding them can be hard and they're usually really busy. A good automotive shop doesn't need to advertise- if they advertise heavily, look out. Their customers don't usually return unless it's to fill out a comment card.....

97EldoCoupe
10-24-09, 08:21 PM
There's a guy who owns a radiator shop near me. I send him some work sometimes- he's been quite a while in the business. He charges about $70/hr, barely advertises anywhere, and he's always busy with repeat customers. On occasion when I get swamped, I'm one of them. He's polite and honest and doesn't do anything to your car that's unnecessary. He lets you know what he recommends for preventative maintenance but waits for your green light to do the work. I like that and that's how I want things run in my shop.

MisterBlue
11-29-09, 03:56 PM
Geeze, I figure a '95 Aurora is worth about what, $2500 tops? Why would someone (anyone) want to put more in a 15 year-old drab car than it's even worth? It's not like this is '76 Eldo, or something with even a little collector appeal. Sounds like it's a P.O.S. that he's rode hard and put away wet, and he's develped some idea that it's worth fixing and keeping.

I feel your pain. He doesn't want to let it go, and you feel guilty charging him for your invested time and effort. It's a horror story with no possible happy ending. :(

97EldoCoupe
11-29-09, 05:41 PM
Well the job was done a while back and it was done right. I'm not going to do anything half-assed, because that will come back to haunt me. Either I'll fix it right or not at all. The owner was considering ditching the car when I told him I wasn't going to fix his old engine (would have cost more to rebuild it than install another one) but he already owed me around $1000 as it was just for parts. I left him the choice but I wasn't getting stuck with the bill for parts invested into a car that was to be dumped.

When I got it done, the brakes were shot. No leaks, but no brakes. Fluid was bypassing in the master cylinder. There was no way it could be driven back to Montreal. I left it at that and the owner had it shipped back to Montreal. I still don't think he knew the mechanical condition of that car, at all.

I've fixed quite a few cars that I would have sooner scrapped. But in the end it is the customers' choice. I can only advise what I'd do, if they are unsure.