I have a 1998 Pontiac Grand Am SE - I don't know the engine size, but I am sure it is more likely than not a 6 cyclinder. My water pump needs to be replaced. Initially, when I called for an estimate, I told the person I spoke with I thought my car was a 6 cyclinder. When I took my car there, he checked it and said he thought it was a 1. Something liter engine but in actuality, it is a 2. Something liter engine. I know cyclinders, not liters. This change in the " liter" took my repair estimate from almost $300 and 1 1/2 hours of labor to almost $500 and 5-6 hours of labor. Am I being ripped off? What's the difference between a cyclinder and liter? What size engine DO I have? It sucks that this happened around the Christmas holiday because I am strapped for cash. Other than running hot while idling and when the coolant is low (which I keep an eye on religiously), I do not notice any other problems (i.E. Noises, etc.). Can I make it until the beginning of January to fix this?
By driving the car hot there is always a chance of causing damage to the engine so you should get it fix ASAP. I'am a little confussed because you say the engine is a 2. Something. If this is so then it can not be a 6 cylinder. I think the shop is trying to take adavantage of you. It doesn't make sense that the price would go up if the engine is smaller. The smaller the engine usually the more room to work and the less (not more) time to make the repair. This could be different in certain cars but more likely not. The parts should range about the same for most cars so this would only affected the price slightly. I suggest you go to a different shop and get a second price. T%he difference in cylinders and liters is this: Liters is the displacement (size) of the engine and cylinders are the number that make up the displacement. For example a 4 liter engine that is a four cylinder would mean each cylinder size is 1liter. The more cylinders the more liters ( The bigger the motor). This is the simplest and only way I can explain it. Hope this helps
Good luck Backyardmechanic : )
December, 11, 2006 AT 9:29 AM
Hi Backyard Mechanic,
Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I may have confused you - I thought my car, being perhaps a 6 cyclinder (I dont' know for sure - but I DO know it's definitely not an 8 cyclinder), meant it was a smaller engine. When someone at the shop where I took it to looked at it, he mentioned the liter thing I relayed to you - making it seem as though my engine is bigger than what I thought it was. I guess I'm confused as to how replacing a water pump on my car, had it had a smaller engine, went from 1 1/2 hours and about $300 to 5-6 hours (or, as they said to me, " an all day job" ) and almost $500 because the engine is alledgely " bigger" than what I reported to them on the phone. I mean, if you have to remove an exhaust manifold, for instance, how does engine size affect the labor in doing so, if at all? I know I should get it fixed ASAP, but my finances just aren't such that I can do so at this point in time. If given about one more month, I can. Tell me how to nurse it until then, if you can.
Thanks again for your help, as I don't have anyone to lean on and I'm still learning about this car, as I just bought it in September. Jean Grant
December, 11, 2006 AT 11:57 AM
I know all to well about money being tight so I feel your pain. This was one of the reason I began to do my our repairs and lucky for me it turned into a hobby I love. As far as nursing the car untill you get it repaired here are a few things you can do. If you live in a cold climate state then you will need to add a 50/50 mix of water to anti freeze when the radiator needs to be topped off. Check everyday before leaving for work. After awhile you will learn your car and know just how far you can go before you need at add and antifreeze. Second tried to avoid long trips if you can( 50 miles or more). And third if you live in a bid city like I do (NYC) avoid the traffic as much as possible. Also check the rest of the cooling system for and defects like the front of the radiator clogged with insects and debris.( Doesn't cost anything to wash it out Use a garden hose to clean it out) And finnally just keep a close eye on the temperature, and if the car starts running hot pull over a shut it down untill it cools a bit.
Good luck Backyardmechanic : )
December, 11, 2006 AT 12:09 PM
Hi again, Backyard Mechanic.
I'll try to make this my last email to you - at least, for now (hahahahaa - are. Are you rolling your eyes?). I live in Orlando, Florida - so, no luck at all with a cool climate. I work downtown; so, I take a main vein road in which doesn't have too much stop-n-go traffic on it and definitely no traffic signals regulating it. I know the car well enough that I've been checking it every week and adding about one gallon for now. I try to stay out of traffic or sit idling too long and will even wait til the evening to go shopping or whatever so I'm not in a lot of traffic. I understand the distance driving thing and will keep that down as you suggest - shouldn't be too hard. I'm a stick-close-to-home kind of person anyway.
Thanks again for all your help - I really appreciate it. If I haven't bothered you by Christmastime, I hope you have a nice Holiday Season. Jean Grant
December, 11, 2006 AT 5:00 PM
No bother at all and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you : D
December, 12, 2006 AT 8:41 AM
Hope this does not confuse you from the other reply, but chances are you have the 2.4 liter engine. This is one of the " normal" problems with that engine and can be serious if not attended to. If you haven't already done so, the cylinder head can be damaged eaisly by overheating. I would suggest not to drive it untill repairs are done. A water pump may be expensive, but not as expensive as a new engine. I'd take it to another shop and have them give you an estimate and confirm what motor you have. Just because it is a smaller motor [u: f109604ffb]does not [/u: f109604ffb]mean it is cheaper. The water pumps on the 2.4 are at the back of the engine and a real " treat" to get to.