Is this guy being honest with me? video of a SEIZED ENGINE!!!
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Is this guy being honest with me? video of a SEIZED ENGINE!!! in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; I've had this customer's car since before I moved into the new shop. He keeps changing his mind on what ...
  1. #1
    97EldoCoupe is offline Owner of Northstar Performance
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    Is this guy being honest with me? video of a SEIZED ENGINE!!!

    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:



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

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  3. #2
    97EldoCoupe is offline Owner of Northstar Performance
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    Re: Is this guy being honest with me? video of a SEIZED ENGINE!!!

    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.

  4. #3
    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, chrome it
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    Re: Is this guy being honest with me? video of a SEIZED ENGINE!!!

    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 ?????.......................)

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

  5. #4
    97EldoCoupe is offline Owner of Northstar Performance
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    Re: Is this guy being honest with me? video of a SEIZED ENGINE!!!

    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.

  6. #5
    codewize's Avatar
    codewize is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Is this guy being honest with me? video of a SEIZED ENGINE!!!

    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?
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    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: Is this guy being honest with me? video of a SEIZED ENGINE!!!

    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.

  8. #7
    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, chrome it
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    Re: Is this guy being honest with me? video of a SEIZED ENGINE!!!

    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.

  9. #8
    97EldoCoupe is offline Owner of Northstar Performance
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    Re: Is this guy being honest with me? video of a SEIZED ENGINE!!!

    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.

  10. #9
    97EldoCoupe is offline Owner of Northstar Performance
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    Re: Is this guy being honest with me? video of a SEIZED ENGINE!!!

    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.

  11. #10
    themadwacker1 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Is this guy being honest with me? video of a SEIZED ENGINE!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by 97EldoCoupe View Post
    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" 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"

    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.

  12. #11
    97EldoCoupe is offline Owner of Northstar Performance
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    Re: Is this guy being honest with me? video of a SEIZED ENGINE!!!

    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.

  13. #12
    97EldoCoupe is offline Owner of Northstar Performance
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    Re: Is this guy being honest with me? video of a SEIZED ENGINE!!!

    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!

  14. #13
    Ranger's Avatar
    Ranger is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Is this guy being honest with me? video of a SEIZED ENGINE!!!

    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.

  15. #14
    themadwacker1 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Is this guy being honest with me? video of a SEIZED ENGINE!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by 97EldoCoupe View Post
    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 maybe

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

    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.

  16. #15
    97EldoCoupe is offline Owner of Northstar Performance
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    Re: Is this guy being honest with me? video of a SEIZED ENGINE!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by themadwacker1 View Post
    I will send two of my boys to collect the money your owed if he’s a local guy.
    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?

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