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 Post subject: Engine blown or Seafom??
PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:03 pm 
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Year and Trim: 1998 I do not know level of trim
I am livid to say the least. This is lengthy but want to give you full detail from the purchase of this car to what it did last night. Too many flags are going up now that began a week ago. To skip the story and go straight to the problem, the problem is in dark red.

I got my son a job, it was an hour away from home, but it was a job. With this job he was to save money to buy a car. Well he drove my van to work and the last day he worked the engine started clanging and then he had no power (did run, but no getty up and go) and then he said the oil light came on. So my husband left work and went and got him, feeling the engine was shot, put oil in it and drove it home. So I am assuming I have another van that needs an engine, this is #2 in less than 2 years with the EXACT same sound as my first van, both in the drive way. The other van does have metal in the oil, this van as far as we can tell does not.

So we loan our son $1800 to pay off a car that someone was nice enough to let him make payments on until it was paid off. I wanted my son to buy a $1000 car until he got speeding out of his system and learned how to take car of a car, much easier to walk away from a $1000 purchase than a $2600 purchase, but it was his choice. He had a signed contract on the car for the payments, not the condition, it is a 98 Bonnieville. We looked at the car and it was MINT except a rust spot we found, inside and out was dealership clean, INCLUDING the engine. No engine noise at all. It looked and sounded very well cared for. I don't remember the exact miles but I want to say about 147,000.

I then found out the DAY of purchase my son entered a contract with a 16 year old boy, just many flags being raised now. The mother and I got into it about things and I told her my son would look the car over before handing her the money (she refused to take my personal check for final payoff even though I had paid personal check for $700 of the payments to her 16 YEAR OLD SON). So I had her and her son sign that my son was buying this car with no known mechanical defects. Within 4 hours of being home my son lost that Bill of Sale (that I made up not the seller) and the title to the car. We cannot find it anywhere. I looked at it at 7:50 pm when after I put R134a in it it began to smoke, assuming all the freon was leaking out. So at 8 pm he had it, at 1 am it was gone.

He bought the car on 7/28/12 and at 2 am this morning it quit!

So this is how it went...

When we got the car the day we purchased it it had a SLIGHT tick, more like a belt tick, I have heard it before and the serpentine belt needed replaced on that vehicle, being a 98 I didn't expect to buy a quiet engine, so when we first looked at it I was really surprised the day we looked at it that the engine was quiet. When he entered the contract to purchase (they would not allow us to drive it any further than around the block (red flag now, but then they told us it had expired tags so I understood, later on I looked at the registration they gave us and it said the tags were good through July 31, so I was then confused, then they said after I handed them the money the tags were actually good through next year). So we signed a contract on a PERFECT looking and sounding car, only to pick up a car that was not what we thought we were buying, yes I should had him walk away and I even asked him 4 times if he was sure, but my son was not worried about the less than perfect condition now (though I was becoming leery, as the PERFECT paint job now showed signs of oxidation, the interior was dirty, before it was spotless, the car had old grass in it, it looked like a car you'd by from an individual not a dealer, day we looked at it it was as clean as what you'd by from a dealer, complete disappointment). So we drove it home, no problem, but got home and began to find a host of problems. My son never checked the ac and the compressor is bad. Then 2 days ago the compressor started making a loud noise and would leave silver chips of metal on the bottom of the engine. So I had been trying to get the car into our regular mechanic for the past 2 days and cannot get ahold of him.

Last night I drove the car about 1 mile, the car drove really well. Parked it and when my husband came home we went up to town, which is 20 miles from home. We drove 1/4 of mile in town the oil light dinged and went back off, my husband told him to just drive where we were going (it was less than 1 minute away) and then we headed up to Wal Mart to get some oil when it dinged again and it died (Wal Mart was less than a minute from where we were, same parking lot). My son tried to start it and it would not start. My husband checked the oil, it was low but not dangerously low on the dipstick. He just checked the oil on Saturday and it was fine, and there is no visible oil leak. So he put 2 quarts oil in it (I THINK) and then drove it up to the front of Wal Mart. Oil pressure was really low (my son said the oil pressure had been low and dropping for days, usually hanging out above the red bar but had dipped in the red bar and he said it was never to the second line, which I think is 40, not sure). Anyway, my husband went and got more oil and put either 1 or 1/2 more quarts in it.

So after putting the oil in it the rattling sound became less but now sounds just like my van but seems quieter than my van.

The temp gauge has never gone up. He has never lost any power while driving as far as I know. My sons girlfriends dad looked at the car 2 days ago and told him the spark plugs are the wrong plugs for the car, the dash lights won't work if the radio is plugged in, and the car had that tick. I took it up to Advance Auto parts after taking it to my mechanic who was not at his shop and the AAP person said the tick sounds like a vacuum leak and that the compressor is shot and the metal pieces should not be there. He said the squeal that the ac compressor was making will seize the compressor and said not to use the ac. I told him we had not used the ac since I put the R 134a in it. My son asked him if he can still use the fan, he said yes, just not the ac. So I called the mechanic the next day, still no answer.

So the car had a tick, but now my husband swears it sounds just like my van, but to me it sounds like a rattle. I will go out today and video it and post it on You Tube, and the van as well.

So do I try Seafoam in both these engines until we can get money to replace engine or what. Is his Bonnieville toast and why would it read such low oil pressure?

If the oil pump screen is clogged, if the Seafoam cleans all that and we change the oil do you think it will help lubricate any part of the engine that may in in dire straits or do I now own 3 vehicles (in less than 2 years) that need engines?

Thank you for your time.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:26 pm 
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Sounds like a common occurance of someone temporarily fixing a bad engine and selling it as problem free. This happened to me last year. A mechanic used to trust put a quote "low mileage motor" in it. 2 months later the motor burned all 5 quarts of oil and the motor was shot. It sounds like the people you bought the car from scammed your son into buying it when they knew the problems it had. I would say from my experience that the motor is shot if it has metal particles in it. The good news is that these motors are relatively inexpensive to replace. I had mine bored and rebuilt for $1600. These cars are worth every dollar you put in them. If the car does have 147,000 miles on it then it is definitely worth the money to put a new motor in. Best of luck.

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Last edited by PLAGUE PHANTOM on Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:02 pm 
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Year and Trim: 1998 I do not know level of trim
The Bonnieville doesn't have metal particles in it, but that was looking at it in the dark, I am going to go out today and mess with it.
I began figuring that is what they did.

Unfortunately I don't have anymore money. We took out a loan to use the $1800 we load our son for something else. Then he blew my van that same day, so now I am out the $1000 for its original need, the $800 to put an engine in my van so I have a car, and now out the $2600 he paid for the car and he is out a car. My husband works 1 hour away, my son works 15 minutes away and I can't drive the truck (the only non blown engine we got out of 5 cars!!!!!) This is BS. My son thinks they came over here and stole the title cause it had the statement I had them to sign that the car is being sold to my son with no known mechanical problems. Well I think they knew it had mechanical problems.

So, if the engine is toast that it would not hurt to put Seafoam in it correct?

This burns my butt I am soooo freaking ticked.

Thanks for your input. Over all the car is great, no major body defects, interior is nice, I will definitely let him get an engine, we just don't know what to do for wheels now. I can rent a car again, ugh.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:23 pm 
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Buyer beware....

Sorry to hear about this. You should have walked seeing/hearing so many "red flags".

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:04 pm 
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Year and Trim: 1998 I do not know level of trim
Buyer beware, yes that is why I had them sign a statement about no mechanical defects. We already had a contract in place for a month. They lied to me about things and I didn't find out until I had no car at all. My sons car, I told him that I didn't feel right about it, he is 19 and thinks he knows everything and I told him I felt we should demand our money back and go find something else, he felt certain that they would not had lied. OH well, live and learn, I'll get my brothers to get him an engine out of a junk yard, the body/interior overall condition is worth putting an engine in. I don't know if it would be worth rebuilding this one or just getting another engine.

I just started it and compared it to my van, my van definitely knocks, the Bonnieville sounds more like a tick, it is now sounding like it did the day we took the car home. Oil pressure is up today also, about 38. I finally got ahold of my mechanic, will drive it up there later today. Will let you all know what he says.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:28 pm 
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Skimming over your first post, the rattle could be a bad pulley tensioner, when my s/c pulley and alternator tensioner pulley were going out they made a rattle noise that got worse after time and finally seizing. If its supercharged it could be the s/c coupler, if not it could be about to throw a rod. Ticking in the motor could be sticking lifters, it wouln't hurt to pull the valve covers to inspect for heavy varnish. Seafoam wouldn't be a bad idea, but it's not a miracle solution.
With the low oil issue is it burning any oil? If it's not it would hurt to inspect the oil pan, oil pressure and filter area for a slow leak, the low oil pressure could be from a bad sensor and this is a easy fix.
Gotta make lemonade out of a lemon now.
But rest assure that the 3800 is a pretty simple engine to work on and trouble shoot mechanically and fairly electrically. We can try our best to help you out here a Pontiac Bonneville Club.
Here, Rockauto.com is your best tool for cheap parts if you need to replace a part instead of going through a dealership on their marked up prices.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:50 pm 
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Year and Trim: 1998 I do not know level of trim
Well he tried to Seafoam. Drove for 20 minutes (supposed to a drove for 30) but it died twice and oil pressure went back down and dinged at the 20 minute mark. I had him drive up the road a mile and back, and the second time it sounded better, then got worse, got better, worse...lol

So he is changing the oil now. There must be in my opinion something that is causing this to cause the oil pressure to go down to 0. He said it died both times he backed up. So I had him drive in a circle.

HOWEVER, bad news, after he drained the oil, I stuck my finger in the bottom and there are metal shavings :( Tiny, super tiny, but there.

So we are taking to shop Monday, still drives great even with the problem, has power except backing up it wants to die. Does not smoke.

So I will post Monday what I find out.

Thanks guys.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:34 am 
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Metal in oil = bad bearing(s). You can usually see it on the dipstick as sparkles if you hold it up to a bright light. The ticking noise is likely coming from the lifters because the oil pressure is low.
These engines don't always knock very loud, unless you get down and listen for it by the oil pan.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:47 am 
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In the interest of serving as a warning to others, the way you bought your car is a great example of how to do everything wrong when it comes to buying a used car. There were numerous red flags and inconsistencies that should have had you just saying "no". Unless you were totally okay with the possibility that you were buying a car with a junk engine, you should have walked (or ran) away.

The whole deal with getting the seller to write "No known mechanical problems" on a document pertaining to the sale means absolutely nothing. Fine, they don't know of any of the mechanical problems the car has. —So what? The car still has the mechanical problems it has, right? Unless they gave you a warranty that says they'd allow you return the car for a refund, you basically bought the car "as is" regardless of what they said they knew or didn't know about what was wrong with the car. You can demand your money back all you want, but you really don't have any legal entitlement to a refund if you bought it without a warranty. Also, you should have a good method of keeping track of important documents related to financial transactions. I can't believe the seller would have anything to gain by stealing the title from you after selling you the car.

Basic advice: Unless you are really good at evaluating used cars, have a qualified technician inspect any used car you're considering buying, because it's just possible that you might be buying a pile of junk. If a seller won't let you test drive a car more than around the block, just walk away.

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