Did GM make different versions of the lower intake manifold for their 1999 Chevy Venture with a 3.4L V6 engine? I have recently bought a used intake lower intake manifold and found out slight differences between the old and the new used version. The main difference is the thermostat housing. On my part there is a coolant temp sensor port. The new used is missing the port. Did GM switch to a different design on these parts? Thanks, Jay
There can be changes in mid year or from year to year. I ran into a missing threaded hole when I installed an '89 engine into my '88 Grand Caravan. What you will likely find is there will be a flat spot where the hole is supposed to be. Consider drilling a hole and tapping it so you can mount the sensor in the same spot. That assumes everything else is the same and fits properly.
April, 12, 2011 AT 10:49 AM
Do you know when GM moved the coolant temp sensor port location?
There are also additional slight differences including a notch on intake manifold (air intake), water vanes and casting number. I am concerned that the new used part may not work with my engine.
On the one I got, there is a 99 on the casting. The new has a 04 on the casting. Is this referring to the model year?
April, 12, 2011 AT 7:57 PM
I think where I would start is by visiting a local salvage yard and asking them if those parts interchange. My guess is the "99" is the year the part was made. It's pretty obvious my suggestion of drilling a hole for the sensor isn't going to work. Besides that, does that right passage in the center photo go somewhere or is that just an empty cavity? It appears to have no passage in the new part. That suggests it is not the same part with a few minor changes, rather, it is a totally redesigned part that bolts onto the same heads. The hole for the coolant temperature sensor might be in a different location but there could be other differences too.
I think my next concern would be that any design changes resulted in an improvement of emissions or they solved some running or performance problem, and the intake is just one member of a team of parts that work together. There might be corresponding changes to the heads, their cooling passages, even the computer controls. If someone at a salvage yard says the two parts aren't interchangeable, and they can't give you a specific reason, ask an engine mechanic at a GM dealership if they are aware of the differences. I mentioned my '89 engine in my '88 Grand Caravan. The only difference was the newer engine didn't have the port in the upper plenum for the ambient air temperature sensor. I just let the sensor lay on top of the engine and forgot about for the next 15 years!
It would seem to be obvious that the coolant temperature sensor is needed, but they might have relocated it in later years to make it more or less sensitive to small temperature variations. Also, if your sensor is a single-wire sensor, that will be for the gauge on the dash, not the Engine Computer. Perhaps newer vehicles didn't have temperature gauges so that port and sensor weren't used. The engineers have gone off the deep end with their insane need to computerize everything imaginable. Instead of two coolant temperature sensors, one for the computer and one for the gauge, they might be running the gauge through the Body Computer which gets its information from the Engine Computer. That would also eliminate the need for one sensor.