Author Topic: Advice? 4.5 motor + inept mechanic = TOAST  (Read 3273 times)

Marc Bottini

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Advice? 4.5 motor + inept mechanic = TOAST
« on: January 24, 2008, 12:21:13 AM »
Greetings one and all! 

I hope 2008 is treating you all well!

Due to an inept mechanic that my daughter took her low mileage 89 Seville to, who let it overheat 3 times, the 4.5 motor has been deemed 'toast' by my regular mechanic.  We can't find anyone that will rebuild it.  The only option we've found is Jasper with a remanufactured engine.  The price for the motor alone is $3700!!!!  With labor, incidentals etc, I'm looking at a $6500 repair bill!

Does anyone have any suggestions?  I hate to junk this car as it's been in the family since new and only has 40k original miles and (other than a toasted engine) is like a new car.

Thanks for any input! 

Marc

Offline The Tassie Devil(le)

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  • CLC Number: 18992
  • Name: Bruce Reynolds
Re: Advice? 4.5 motor + inept mechanic = TOAST
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2008, 12:52:59 AM »
G'day Marc,

Sorry to hear of your tale of woe, but I would simply be looking at the Wrecking Yards for a good replacement 4.5, or a 4.9, if it will fit, and someone here should be able to advise, and simply change it over.

Sometimes it just isn't economically warranted to go and buy a replacement motor.

Does the Inept Mechanic have any Liability Insurance that might cover the damage that was caused?

Bruce. >:D

'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
'02 VX Series II Holden Commodore SS Sedan
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Past Cars of significance - to me
1935 Ford 3 Window Coupe
1936 Ford 5 Window Coupe
1937 Chevrolet Sports Coupe
1955 Chevrolet Convertible
1959 Ford Fairlane Ranch Wagon
1960 Cadillac CDV
1972 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe

Re: Advice? 4.5 motor + inept mechanic = TOAST
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2008, 10:04:26 AM »
Marc,
I think you're going to be limited to 1988 or 1989 4.5's since your car has throttle body (one large injector for each bank) fuel injection and the 1990 4.5's and all 4.9's have multi-point fuel injection (as well as a higher compression ratio that makes them require premium gasoline). Making your electronics work with MPFI, if possible, would likely be very difficult. BTW, how did your mechanic manage to let your engine overheat three times?
« Last Edit: January 24, 2008, 07:44:06 PM by Rusty Shepherd CLC 6397 »

Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 10183
Re: Advice? 4.5 motor + inept mechanic = TOAST
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2008, 10:57:21 PM »
If you are having to pay retail (that is no friends, diy, or trades) its going to cost a lot more than the car is worth.  Labor on 90% of the transverse engine cars is a killer so even if you find a good used motor its still going to cost a lot and you may run the risk of still ending up with a bad motor.  I have seen 4.9's and other motors in those cars but again its not a direct swap or something you want to be paying someone a full hourly rate to figure out.  Next thing will be the transmission, was that even the 4t60? Or was that one of the ones that was not known for long life?
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

wm link

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Re: Advice? 4.5 motor + inept mechanic = TOAST
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2008, 02:03:53 PM »
Where are you located? I have an 89 Seville with 54k actual miles car was wrecked in the front and I have saved it since it was so nice...The car was running and driving when I bought it. I drove it around the yard ect. $600 for the engine only. I am in AZ 602 269 6768

Re: Advice? 4.5 motor + inept mechanic = TOAST
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2008, 03:00:12 PM »
$2800 to r&r an engine sounds outrageous. I know it's not a simple small block chevy which I would do for 3-4 hundred bucks. At 75 bucks an hour, $2800 is over 37 hours shop time. Minus "incidentals" say 35 hours. Almost a full work week. This should be a 2 day job for a certified mechanic with fully equipped shop, a week would be some $12 an hour backyard bum. Where on earth are you taking your cars for work?
71 Olds 98 LS, 66 Fairlane 500 XL Convertible, 55 Packard Clipper Super, 58 Edsel Ranger, 72 Cheyenne Super, many 49-60 parts cars, abandoned "House Of Doom" full of 49-60 parts. Huge piles of engine parts, brackets, tin, Hydramatic & Jetaway parts,  thousands of stainless moldings, dozens of perfect sedan doors.

Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 10183
Re: Advice? 4.5 motor + inept mechanic = TOAST
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2008, 03:10:35 PM »
I was quoted $1800 for R&R of just a transmission on that vintage car so another $1000 to do all the switching over of the top end stuff does not sound that far off.  I didnt want to pay that but that seems to be the going rate.   I have been to shops that are at $120/hr now.  $75 is getting to be low.  That may be the vintage where it all has to come out the bottom which forces the transmission and other stuff to also have to be removed.
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Re: Advice? 4.5 motor + inept mechanic = TOAST
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2008, 03:44:14 PM »
Man, I just can't keep up with shop prices. $120 an hour?? That's why I'll always drive a 60s-early 70s car and truck. I can do most jobs at home. Once it came to opening the hood and not being able to detect an engine without an X-ray machine, the car is too new for me. I prefer when it's hard to see anything EXCEPT the engine. I took a RUNNING 400 small block out yesterday, put on engine stand, put hood back on, in 50 minutes. Sweetiepie timed me. I hope that crummy mechanic who kept overheating the car is worth taking to small claims court. 
71 Olds 98 LS, 66 Fairlane 500 XL Convertible, 55 Packard Clipper Super, 58 Edsel Ranger, 72 Cheyenne Super, many 49-60 parts cars, abandoned "House Of Doom" full of 49-60 parts. Huge piles of engine parts, brackets, tin, Hydramatic & Jetaway parts,  thousands of stainless moldings, dozens of perfect sedan doors.

Offline 35-709

  • Posts: 5358
  • The most valuable antique is an old friend.
  • CLC Number: 4719
  • Name: G. Newcombe
Re: Advice? 4.5 motor + inept mechanic = TOAST
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2008, 05:26:52 PM »
Man, I just can't keep up with shop prices. $120 an hour?? That's why I'll always drive a 60s-early 70s car and truck. I can do most jobs at home. Once it came to opening the hood and not being able to detect an engine without an X-ray machine, the car is too new for me. I prefer when it's hard to see anything EXCEPT the engine.

Hear, hear!! 
 >:(

1935 Cadillac Sedan resto-mod "Big Red"
1973 Cadillac Caribou - Sold - but still in the family
1950 Jaguar Mark V Saloon resto-mod - Sold
1942 Cadillac 6269 - Sold
1968 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible
1935 Glenn Pray - Auburn Boattail Speedster, Gen. 2

Marc Bottini

  • Guest
Re: Advice? 4.5 motor + inept mechanic = TOAST
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2008, 10:59:50 PM »
Hey all,

Thank you very much for all of the input!

First, since a few of you asked, here's the scenario of the entire incident-

                   #1 - The message center told her the engine was 'warm' and she checked the temp, it was 225
                          She turned the heat on high and drove it to the inept mechanic.  He said it was the t-stat,
                          he replaced it and some coolant.  Supposedly road tested it, said it was ok.  She picked it up.

                   #2 - She picked it up, goes just over a mile and gets the 'engine hot' message, it's reading 260.  The overflow
                          tank bubbles over, turning the heat on doesn't help.  She pulled over, raised the hood and called
                          the inept mechanic and THEN me.  I go pick her up, the car has cooled off. I drive it back to inept
                          mechanic. He states "oh, there must be a blockage"  We leave it, it's ready in a few days. "It was the
                          sensors that were bad."  Okie dokie...........

                  #3 - She picks it up, he tells her it's been road tested and all set to go.  She makes it about 5 miles and she gets
                         the same 'engine hot' message and the temp is 260 again.  She pulls over, calls me, I have it towed to MY
                         mechanic and he tests it. There are exhaust gasses or something in the coolant, he pronounces the engine
                         'toast'.

Tassie - The inept mechanic claims the cracked(?) head/block was the cause of the overheating initially and that he did nothing
            wrong.  He said doing a block test to check for circulation would have been one of his next tests.  I have no way to prove
            he did the damage.  Even my regular mechanic said there's no way even HE can prove it.

Rusty - Thanks for the info!  I'm glad you shared the differences between years/motors.   It wasn't MY mechanic, but a
           'neighborhood' guy my daughters boss recommended. 

TJH -    Unfortunately I don't know anyone that has the capability and tools to try and do this.  My brother says he can do it,
           but he's on the wrong side of the US.  The labor was $1525  ($95/hour) plus we already knew it needed motor
           and transmission mounts which I think was another $400 (parts & labor).  Thankfully the transmission is fine, never a
           problem with it. 

John Morris -  As mentioned above to TJH, my mechanic charges $95/hour and does excellent work. I have used him for
          more than 12 years and he has always been up front, fair and knows his stuff.  Is he the cheapest? Not by a long
          shot, but I trust him and he's always done right by me and my family. He breaks repairs down into 'do it at some
          point as money allows',  'you'll need to get this done in X amount of time before it get's worse or is a safety issue'
          and 'DO IT NOW!'  LOL   ;D

I already know that replacing the motor with the Jasper engine isn't fiscally the best idea, but I also can't let the car go and junk it or part it out.  Here are some options I've been given -

        Keep my eye out for a low mileage car that possibly has body damage or something, but that the motor is good.

        Possibly find a car that someone else has already replaced the motor with a new one.

        K - W Permanent Metallic Block Seal.  This comes highly recommended by quite a few people.  For $20, it's worth
        a shot!  It's not like I have to worry about doing MORE damage than has already been done!! LOL   ::)

Thanks again to everyone for your input!  I will keep my eyes on the board for any other comments or suggestions!  I'll also be sure to let you know what eventually happens!

Have a great Super Bowl Weekend!!

Marc

Offline The Tassie Devil(le)

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  • Posts: 12395
  • CLC Number: 18992
  • Name: Bruce Reynolds
Re: Advice? 4.5 motor + inept mechanic = TOAST
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2008, 11:55:22 PM »
G'day Marc,

Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if the Exhaust Gases were leaking in the first place, and caused the initial overheating.

But, having said that, ANY Mechanic worth his, or her, salt would have performed the "Coolant Substance Check" and a "CO" Test as a matter of course, especially on one of these motors.

The Thermostat might have been bad as well, as it is surprising just how long a motor will hold together if left as it is.  Once touched, then "things" will invariable start to play up.   Changing the Thermostat might have put just that much pressure into the Block, to cause more problems.   A "Bleeding" one would have simply allowed the coolant to flow around with minor restrictions.

As far as what to do now, well, as everyone seems to be of the opinion that the engine is too costly to rebuild, and not having seen one, I am liable to agree with them, I would be seriously looking around for as you say, a Damaged or Rusted car, and do a transplant.

Use the Permanent Metallic Block Sealant, but I prefer Barrs Leak, and see if it works, and how long it takes before needing more "Stop Leak"   These repairs are only temporary, and designed to get a person home in an emergency, not as a total repair.

Bruce. >:D

PS.  Exhaust Gas traces in the water is a sure sign of a cracked Cylinder Head in the Exhaust Port area, which possibly could be a cracked Exhaust Valve Seat.   A Compression Test might give you some clues of where to look, plus look at the colour of the plugs.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 11:58:46 PM by The Tassie Devil(le) »
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
'02 VX Series II Holden Commodore SS Sedan
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Past Cars of significance - to me
1935 Ford 3 Window Coupe
1936 Ford 5 Window Coupe
1937 Chevrolet Sports Coupe
1955 Chevrolet Convertible
1959 Ford Fairlane Ranch Wagon
1960 Cadillac CDV
1972 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe

Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 10183
Re: Advice? 4.5 motor + inept mechanic = TOAST
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2008, 10:25:19 AM »
Every story I have heard of a 4100,4.5, or 4.9 if the hot light came on engine was toast, especially when there was more driving involved.  Warm light has a chance if it was not driven further.   Because of the labor involved I would only consider a used motor if I knew and trusted the history of it.  For a rebuild make sure you read all their warranty info especially how it deals with labor if there is a problem. There are a couple of yards around here that do cover labor on used motors for 30-90 days but I think those motors are too old now so they tend to end up in the U pull yards.
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Re: Advice? 4.5 motor + inept mechanic = TOAST
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2008, 09:46:16 PM »
Every story I have heard of a 4100,4.5, or 4.9 if the hot light came on engine was toast, especially when there was more driving involved.  Warm light has a chance if it was not driven further.   Because of the labor involved I would only consider a used motor if I knew and trusted the history of it.  For a rebuild make sure you read all their warranty info especially how it deals with labor if there is a problem. There are a couple of yards around here that do cover labor on used motors for 30-90 days but I think those motors are too old now so they tend to end up in the U pull yards.
I know of one instance where a 4.9 survived an overheat situation although there was definitely no "more driving involved".  I had a '92 Sedan de Ville and, if I remember correctly, that model had a 1."hot" light and a 2."stop engine now" light (with audible warning) as indications that you were 1. in trouble with an aluminum block engine and 2. you were in big  trouble with an aluminum block engine.  I started the car up at the airport on a cool evening and started home. I probably had not gone two miles when the hot light came on.  I immediately pulled off the road and stopped the engine.  This was before I had a cell phone and cars flew by me for about an hour until a Houston police officer stopped to help me.  Given the scenario (plus the fact that the car was only about two years old), he correctly surmised that the thermostat had stuck closed.  By that time, the engine was cool and he and I removed the thermostat and I drove home.  I sold that car to my neighbors when it had about 65,000 miles and they still have it as a
second car to their newer SDV.  The last time I asked, it had about 140,000 miles and they have had no internal engine trouble with it.

Re: Advice? 4.5 motor + inept mechanic = TOAST
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2008, 10:00:51 PM »
Hey all,

Thank you very much for all of the input!

First, since a few of you asked, here's the scenario of the entire incident-

                   #1 - The message center told her the engine was 'warm' and she checked the temp, it was 225
                          She turned the heat on high and drove it to the inept mechanic.  He said it was the t-stat,
                          he replaced it and some coolant.  Supposedly road tested it, said it was ok.  She picked it up.

                   #2 - She picked it up, goes just over a mile and gets the 'engine hot' message, it's reading 260.  The overflow
                          tank bubbles over, turning the heat on doesn't help.  She pulled over, raised the hood and called
                          the inept mechanic and THEN me.  I go pick her up, the car has cooled off. I drive it back to inept
                          mechanic. He states "oh, there must be a blockage"  We leave it, it's ready in a few days. "It was the
                          sensors that were bad."  Okie dokie...........

                  #3 - She picks it up, he tells her it's been road tested and all set to go.  She makes it about 5 miles and she gets
                         the same 'engine hot' message and the temp is 260 again.  She pulls over, calls me, I have it towed to MY
                         mechanic and he tests it. There are exhaust gasses or something in the coolant, he pronounces the engine
                         'toast'.

Tassie - The inept mechanic claims the cracked(?) head/block was the cause of the overheating initially and that he did nothing
            wrong.  He said doing a block test to check for circulation would have been one of his next tests.  I have no way to prove
            he did the damage.  Even my regular mechanic said there's no way even HE can prove it.

Rusty - Thanks for the info!  I'm glad you shared the differences between years/motors.   It wasn't MY mechanic, but a
           'neighborhood' guy my daughters boss recommended. 

TJH -    Unfortunately I don't know anyone that has the capability and tools to try and do this.  My brother says he can do it,
           but he's on the wrong side of the US.  The labor was $1525  ($95/hour) plus we already knew it needed motor
           and transmission mounts which I think was another $400 (parts & labor).  Thankfully the transmission is fine, never a
           problem with it. 

John Morris -  As mentioned above to TJH, my mechanic charges $95/hour and does excellent work. I have used him for
          more than 12 years and he has always been up front, fair and knows his stuff.  Is he the cheapest? Not by a long
          shot, but I trust him and he's always done right by me and my family. He breaks repairs down into 'do it at some
          point as money allows',  'you'll need to get this done in X amount of time before it get's worse or is a safety issue'
          and 'DO IT NOW!'  LOL   ;D

I already know that replacing the motor with the Jasper engine isn't fiscally the best idea, but I also can't let the car go and junk it or part it out.  Here are some options I've been given -

        Keep my eye out for a low mileage car that possibly has body damage or something, but that the motor is good.

        Possibly find a car that someone else has already replaced the motor with a new one.

        K - W Permanent Metallic Block Seal.  This comes highly recommended by quite a few people.  For $20, it's worth
        a shot!  It's not like I have to worry about doing MORE damage than has already been done!! LOL   ::)

Thanks again to everyone for your input!  I will keep my eyes on the board for any other comments or suggestions!  I'll also be sure to let you know what eventually happens!

Have a great Super Bowl Weekend!!

Marc
Marc,
That's a remarkably mechanically savvy daughter you have.  She not only recognized there was a problem that needed immediate attention, she accessed the message center to find out the exact engine temp. and then turned the heater on "high" to help dissipate the heat. Contrast that to the wife of a friend of mine.  After our shift at the PD, he asked me to drive him to the Chevrolet dealer to pick up his wife's car. On the way there, I asked about it.  The engine had been replaced after it had been driven hundreds of miles with low oil pressure due to a weak oil pump.  He had taken the car one day and immediately returned to ask her how long the oil light had been on and was told, "Oh, a couple of weeks, I guess". He then asked if it had occurred to her that it might be something that needed looking into.  She replied (remember Gracie Allen?):  "Well, I thought if the problem was bad, it would start blinking".  She was informed that, no, it never blinks, it just comes on.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2008, 10:06:22 PM by Rusty Shepherd CLC 6397 »

Offline Perry G

  • Posts: 56
Re: Advice? 4.5 motor + inept mechanic = TOAST
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2008, 10:45:48 AM »
Ok,,,,, This is what happened to my wifes 4.5 when it got hot over 3 times. Thinking the car blew a head gasket I thought I wold venchuer into unknown traratory and jump in head first. After getting the top end off I fount that the cilender selves were barely broke in with 98k on the motor. Apon inspection of the head gaskets they looked good.?? Looking closer at what I had I found that the water port from the head to the intake was burnt. Once the car would warm up and build presher it would push coolant down the intake port. It might be as easy as an intake gasket. The car has 134k on it now and we,, Or I,, haven't had a lick of trouble.   Perry.

 

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