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V6Buicks Reader
8/24/23 10:11 a.m.

I stopped by my buddy's place to fill this thing with coolant and discovered a massive leak.  It turns out that the crossover gasket was completely missing which is strange because I pulled this intake from a running/driving car!  Odd.  Luckily this is a very easy fix.  I went home, grabbed the gasket I needed from my stash, and had my wife drop me off.  There was a heat index of 104, I was alone in a shadeless field, and the Pontiac was my ride home.... It's do or die!

I chose "do" but the Pontiac chose "die".  sad

The Pontiac segment of the Camaro story is not over folks. lol

I will first say, that this car FELT amazing to drive in the short amount of time that it was running.  It actually felt a lot quicker without the intercooler which I half expected.  It was surprisingly fun to drive.  That's the only positive I have to say.  The smoking I was talking about yesterday was actually burnt coolant which really blows.  I had to have messed up one the head and/or intake seals.  There is also some engine noise that I'm going to pretend I'm not hearing.  Then as I got within a mile of my house, I lost power steering and power brakes, and the tach went to zero.  This was a bit scary at 50mph.  When I tried to restart the car in neutral, it wouldn't even try to start.

I called a buddy to tow me the rest of the way home because I wasn't going to be able to push it down the busy streets.  Whatever was causing the no-start condition when I first bought the car is back.  I'm going on a limb here, but I think it's going to be a wiring problem.  The harness is in really poor condition due to both corrosion and mouse damage.  We saw no spark or injector pulses when we tested it the first time, so it's probably a crank sensor wire.  Luckily this section of wiring is easily detachable from the rest of the harness.  I think I even have one in my stash.

V6Buicks Reader
8/25/23 7:56 a.m.

I went to play with the car again after charging the battery overnight, and the car fired right up.  Dumb.

I shook the harness in a few places and couldn't recreate the random shut down, so that's frustrating.  Progress must continue though, and I always thought that working AC was a great selling point for cheap old cars.

It's too bad.  The car is really comfortable and fun to drive when it's cooperating.  The AC blows colder than anything else I own too!  If the car wasn't so neglected, I would make it my daily driver.  I need to let it go though.

garaithon Reader
8/25/23 7:19 p.m.

In reply to V6Buicks :

I also recently bought a cheap Grand Prix of this vintage, so this is quite relevant. Entertaining as always, looking forward to more!

V6Buicks Reader
8/30/23 8:42 a.m.

I decided that I couldn't live with myself trying to sell a car that would potentially die on the new owner soon after the purchase even if I disclosed.  Knowing that the issue was initially diagnosed as a no injector pulse AND no spark condition, I knew there was only one place to look.  I dug through my stash of used parts, and found a couple old but factory crank sensors.

I had never heard of a 3800 crank sensor actually going bad, but it was an easy enough job.  Digging in there a bit encouraged me to clean up and secure the harness a little better too.  Once the car was all back together, I turned the key and instantly noticed a huge difference in the car's behavior.  It wasn't malfunctioning immediately before the sensor swap, but the engine started a lot quicker and idled smoother than it ever had.  I think that's going to be the fix!  I can rest easy selling this car now.

I may still try to look into the ABS wiring a little bit to clear the lights and messages on the dash, but that would be it.

I used the Fel-Pro head gaskets that were supposed to go on the Camaro on the GTP.  While I usually have no issues with Fel-Pro I was not a fan of the particular gasket design that was meant for the supercharged engines.  They're good enough for the parts car, but I decided to order a couple Victor Reinz gaskets for the Camaro instead.  Those arrived yesterday, so I'll soon be installing the Intense Stage 3 CNC ported heads on the L36!

I also need to get that car mobile again even if that doesn't mean putting the wheels back on.  The GN needs to get out of that barn and back in my garage where space is very limited.  I still have the Camaro's knuckles and hubs, but the control arms and struts were thrown away.  I don't want to buy all that yet, so this move is going to be interesting.  If you can keep your project as a roller, I highly recommend it!!

V6Buicks Reader
9/1/23 8:20 a.m.

I listed the Pontiac for sale two days ago and sold it last night.


I like to think that noise is just piston slap, because the motor honey I put in there didn't do anything, and the hone job I did would certainly have put the bore size out of tolerance for the rings and piston.  Regardless,  It's not my problem anymore.  The proud new owner made it home, and I can focus on more exciting tasks!

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