1996 Chevy Camaro Engine failure

Tiny
MAGNOLIA96CAMARO
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 CHEVROLET CAMARO
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 11,700 MILES
Should I get a re-manufactured engine installed? Here's why: I retired my (bought as new) 96 Camaro (117,000 miles - V6) two years ago from daily driving. Because it still looks like new, my plan was to rebuild as needed later, for fun and use as a weekend hobbie car. My current serious problem started showing as a lack of power especially from 1st to 2nd gear and/or when pushed up a hill--power so low that it feels more like 3rd, or overdrive. Car never acted like it didn't want to start, or ever wanted to die. Didn't have it checked till last year since I had a newer car to drive. Dealership didn't keep it but a couple of hours and said they didn't know what was wrong--don't think they drove it either. Turns out I had to sell the newer car now(out of a job) and put the Camaro back in daily service at least for this year, so took it to different dealership--took svc mgr for a ride and he said he couldn't tell what was wrong, but had no suggestions or leaving it to try to find the problem.
I took it back few weeks later(this week) and I said since they don't what to check, to just put in new plugs (originals were still in use) and wires and new a/c compressor, and I would check how it drove. They called later that day to say when taken for a test drive after repairs, the engine froze/quit--they started it back up and says now makes a horrible noise. Told me must break down the engine to find problem but also talked about a new(re-furbished) engine. Now they say the crankshaft is scored from lack of lubrication/condensation. This car has always started and has never broken down. Should I let them put in a new engine? Total cost for everything to do:$6,000! I'm already in debt to them for the a/c, plugs and wires. ($1,500) on a dead car.
History: Bad backfiring when first bought.--They didn't know why-car seemed to recover/ Not long after:slight cutting out when pushed and lack of power--they didn't know why and car seemed to recover / 1999:Spark plug recall same week car was in the shop 3 days for lack of power/cutting out--so that time they knew what to fix due to the recall / Also an oil leak from about' 98 that got much worse, and after 3-4 visits they never fixed--so I stupidly got tired of trying and gave up, but never let the oil get low / Car overheated once at about 90,000+ miles and cooling system parts were replaced /
Ever since, car has run warmer than it ever did before at idle in warm weather or if driving slow traffic (never overheating, though). But techs kept telling me car was running normal temp. I also asked a few times in recent years if the oil leak could ever harm the engine and I was alway told no. Has all this lead to this engine failing now? This dealership also checked fluids at entry. The car was not clicking, clanking or making any odd noises before. Am I totally responsible for repair costs? What should I do?
Out of work and didn't no there was a charge for this inquiry--so whoever would like to respond--thank you.
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Monday, May 10th, 2010 AT 3:20 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
No matter what a dealer says they charge for everything. From your explanation, you haven't received very good service from them. I would certainly shop around for another motor from another place. Even if it's a motor from a junkyard. Yours probably had the inlet manifold leaking water and it went inside and over time the antifreeze ate the bearing up which is what antifreeze in oil will do. If the oil leak was bad, meaning less than 500 miles per quart, then it shold have been fixed, even if you kept the oil filled. You can also get teh original motor rebuilt froma qualified rebuilder, so check one out if you have one in the area.
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Wednesday, May 19th, 2010 AT 2:04 PM
Tiny
MAGNOLIA96CAMARO
  • MEMBER
Thanks for your response. (And please see important comments) Unfortunate for me, I didn't have any guys around that would be in the know about cars to help me, and short on time--so I had to go with a re-manufactured engine. Would have liked to have had my own rebuilt. I just didn't think my engine was giving me signs it would fail--but because I did have an intake problem at about 100,000 (and replaced/cleaned) - maybe it was in fact doomed. No telling where all the coolant ended up at that time.
The 'new' engine seems to run alright--will know better as it gets more broken in and I can run it harder. But it seems smooth/quiet at this time.
BUT the oil pressure runs at 1/4 and even a tiny mark below at idle. I've never had a car run this low unless it was hot. Temperature is never over 1/2 mark at this time.
AND, the A/C is still doing the same thing it did when I brought it in. (Not counting the original leak-now have a new compressor). The air blows in hard or nearly none depending on how much the accelerator is being pressed down. It nearly cuts off blowing inside (but can still hear it blowing hard), when harder acceleration is used, then blows hard again inside when acceleration is backed off. What gives?
Thanks
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Friday, May 21st, 2010 AT 9:07 AM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
As far as your a/c is concerned from what it sounds like is one of your motors for the heater is closing and knocking the flow of air off. Feel around under the dash by the heater a/c. Then check one of the motors if it's vacuum or electric. I suspect it's vacuum as when you hit eh accelerator it drops the vacuum and your motor closes the door for the air flow. If not it may be a loose belt or battery in not good shape. As far as low oil pressure, it will go down when it gets hot or warm when idling. That is the nature of the oil pump. If you want to make it better there should be a kit made by melling that bolts on to your pump and you end up putting larger gears in. Older buick engines had that problem. Also try sticking with brand name oil filter like AC or Purolator or WIX. Those are the only ones I reccomend. Also you should have 5W30 oil in the engine, although if you like you can use 10W30 as well, that's up to you. One other thing about your oil pressure. Usea mechanical guage instead of the electric one to see what it is, as elcetrical units can be off a bit when reading. If you ever hear clacking when you have low oil pressure then shut the engine off as the lifters have run out of oil and making noise. One other thing aas well, when you have an idiot light for oil, it will only go on when oil pressure is below 4-7 lbs. P.S. Ii.
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Friday, May 21st, 2010 AT 10:43 AM

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