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#3312821 - 03/15/14 02:59 PM Project Malibu resurection: Death and rebirth
The_Eric Offline


Registered: 03/31/10
Posts: 3284
Loc: Iowa
I bought a 1998 Malibu with a 2.4 last summer from a customer who didn't desire to fix it up after the engine began making some pretty serious lower end noise. I gave him scrap yard price- around 200.00 and drug it home until I could fix it. Well, that time has come. I want it to replace my wife's aging and soon to be ailing 1995 Grand Am, which I gave a new lease on life with a budget minded refreshed 3.1 (also poached from a customer)- can read about it HERE. The Grand Am was intended to last another 70k miles or so, or until something major happens to it. Well I've been getting leery of it so I'm upping the time line on the 'Bu...

In spite of the terrible lower end knock, it started easily and drove onto the trailer, then off again to it's resting place. I've moved it around a few times over the summer, then finally back on the trailer to haul it to the shop where I off loaded it and drove it inside. It was there that I began inspecting it for external damage because there was a trail of oil following me... Hoping for better than a hole in the block, I was rewarded by finding the oil pressure sending unit to be leaking BADLY. Pretty common on these and likely the cause of the Bu's untimely demise. I considered buying a reman engine, but that would be at least 2200.00 from my sources. Used is a gamble on this one and would need a certain things before even dropping it in the car. The nearest one was a 100+ miles away and 600.00. So by the time I bought fuel for my friend's truck and lunch for both of us, I'd have 700.00 wrapped up in it and still need to replace the oil pump, water pump and timing set.


Here it is, just after I started working on it. I took the photo as an afterthought- you'll notice that this will be a common theme on this project. Sometimes I get started and forget to take pics as I pass various stages.



Here I've got some things taken off and am ready to really dig in!


A bad pic, but here it's almost ready to take flight via the engine hoist.


So once I was able to get the engine out, I took the pad off, expecting the worst. What I found was pretty impressive!


and YIKES!!! Yes, that's bearing... Rod bearing to be precise.


I took the balance shaft assembly and oil pump off so I could get to the bum rod. The nuts were suspiciously loose and the journal was hit pretty hard.


I called a machine shop who told me that they could do the crank for less than 200 bux. A reman crank and bearings is 500.00 through Rock Auto. Hmmm. Tough choice.



I'll have some more pictures in a little while- as I've got to go for now. They'll be interesting for sure...
_________________________
2001 Hyundai Elantra 2.0
1998 Chevy Malibu 2.4
1995 Pontiac Grand Am 3.1
1979 Ford F-150 351M

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#3312834 - 03/15/14 03:11 PM Re: Project Malibu resurection: Death and rebirth [Re: The_Eric]
gregk24 Offline


Registered: 04/13/13
Posts: 2735
Loc: FL, USA
Ouch, very common on these old GM 2.4's though.
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#3312844 - 03/15/14 03:23 PM Re: Project Malibu resurection: Death and rebirth [Re: The_Eric]
satinsilver Offline


Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 2911
Loc: Ohio
Nice that it's not covered in rust like my friend's 1999 Malibu. It ran for a long time though with very little maintenance, 200k when it was in an accident.

How many miles on the car?

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#3312886 - 03/15/14 04:04 PM Re: Project Malibu resurection: Death and rebirth [Re: The_Eric]
SF0059 Offline


Registered: 08/06/12
Posts: 466
Loc: Lynchburg, VA, USA
Nice work so far. I'm looking forward to the next installment!
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2014 Honda Odyssey EX-L/RES: 17K mi, VSP 0W-20 & A02
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#3312893 - 03/15/14 04:18 PM Re: Project Malibu resurection: Death and rebirth [Re: The_Eric]
spavel6 Offline


Registered: 11/25/11
Posts: 56
Loc: Boston, MA
Around here, these motors go for about $300-400. Surprised they are so expensive out your way..
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1999 VW Jetta TDI 401k M1 5W40 TDT

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#3312967 - 03/15/14 05:49 PM Re: Project Malibu resurection: Death and rebirth [Re: The_Eric]
2010_FX4 Offline


Registered: 09/26/10
Posts: 3074
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: The_Eric
I called a machine shop who told me that they could do the crank for less than 200 bux. A reman crank and bearings is 500.00 through Rock Auto. Hmmm. Tough choice.
Unless the shop has a horrible track record or the crank is beyond hope, I would just turn the crank, buy some new bearings and save a few hundred in the process.
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#3312981 - 03/15/14 06:17 PM Re: Project Malibu resurection: Death and rebirth [Re: The_Eric]
CHARLIEBRONSON21 Offline


Registered: 08/28/13
Posts: 502
Loc: MEMPHIS, TN
The space in there makes me jealous a bit
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#3313067 - 03/15/14 08:09 PM Re: Project Malibu resurection: Death and rebirth [Re: CHARLIEBRONSON21]
The_Eric Offline


Registered: 03/31/10
Posts: 3284
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: satinsilver
Nice that it's not covered in rust like my friend's 1999 Malibu. It ran for a long time though with very little maintenance, 200k when it was in an accident.

How many miles on the car?


To be honest, I'm a little fuzzy on the actual mileage. I think it's around 174k though- really, it's in decent shape for the miles, and has at least 100k less than my wife's current ride.


Originally Posted By: 2010_FX4
Originally Posted By: The_Eric
I called a machine shop who told me that they could do the crank for less than 200 bux. A reman crank and bearings is 500.00 through Rock Auto. Hmmm. Tough choice.
Unless the shop has a horrible track record or the crank is beyond hope, I would just turn the crank, buy some new bearings and save a few hundred in the process.


I know the interwebs is a terrible place when it comes to conveying emotions or inflection, but there was sarcasm in it. In fact, the crank is over there now, done. The machinist said that it was really close to cleaning at .010", so I'm sure he took it .020" under. Really, except for that one journal, the crank looked really good.

Originally Posted By: CHARLIEBRONSON21
The space in there makes me jealous a bit


I just wish that we had the whole building to work out of. It looks big, and at 48 x 80, it's not small, but half of it used as cold storage. What you don't see in there is the BIG 4WD tractor just out of the frame that's taking up a pretty sizable chunk of floor space.
_________________________
2001 Hyundai Elantra 2.0
1998 Chevy Malibu 2.4
1995 Pontiac Grand Am 3.1
1979 Ford F-150 351M

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#3313101 - 03/15/14 08:59 PM Re: Project Malibu resurection: Death and rebirth [Re: The_Eric]
artificialist Offline


Registered: 09/23/07
Posts: 6770
Loc: Florida
So to save this engine, are you going to hone the bores with the engine in the car, and re-ring the engine, or are you going to have your machinist rebore the engine, and have you fit oversize pistons and rings?
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2010 Lancer Ralliart Sportback

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#3313184 - 03/15/14 10:09 PM Re: Project Malibu resurection: Death and rebirth [Re: The_Eric]
The_Eric Offline


Registered: 03/31/10
Posts: 3284
Loc: Iowa
Now for the rest of the pictures that I have taken so far.


This is another rod journal- really, not too bad for 174K miles.



Of course, the first thing I did was to pull the wounded piston and rod out. It is the only one that can be removed from the bottom. Since there was no bearing the piston was able to come in contact with the crank. Rod is toast also. See anything wrong with the cap???




I was going to just throw a crank in it initially, but after seeing that it needed a rod and piston, I decided to go all in and toss a set of rings at it too.

Once I got the engine completely stripped down, I was better able to inspect the cylinders. No detectable ring ridge and still some cross hatch. The wounded piston left it's mark (literally) on the cylinder, but nothing serious. What I didn't get a photo of is after I honed it. Once I started running the hone through it, I was able to see that there was a very slight ridge. A few minutes of light work with the ridge reamer took care of most of it and I was able to get the cylinders honed. I'll probably have the machine shop surface the block and maybe go through the head to... Not sure yet.




Here is what it looked like before I sent most of it off to be cleaned... I'll do some of it on house- like the pistons and some small parts.




I've made some purchases through Rock Auto and Ebay, as well as the machine shop, including rings, a piston, connecting rod, full gasket set, timing set with GMB water pump, head bolts, O2 sensor, belt, tensioner, thermostat, t-stat housing (water neck) and a few other things. Close monitoring of Rock Auto's shipping (thanks to the warnings of sharp eyed BITOG members) made sure I didn't get bent over the barrel as well as comparison shopping and discount codes helped keep the cost down.
_________________________
2001 Hyundai Elantra 2.0
1998 Chevy Malibu 2.4
1995 Pontiac Grand Am 3.1
1979 Ford F-150 351M

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#3313186 - 03/15/14 10:10 PM Re: Project Malibu resurection: Death and rebirth [Re: gregk24]
The_Eric Offline


Registered: 03/31/10
Posts: 3284
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: gregk24
Ouch, very common on these old GM 2.4's though.


Any idea of the actual cause of it? Some light reading on the interweb suggested low oil levels would do this.
_________________________
2001 Hyundai Elantra 2.0
1998 Chevy Malibu 2.4
1995 Pontiac Grand Am 3.1
1979 Ford F-150 351M

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#3313201 - 03/15/14 10:27 PM Re: Project Malibu resurection: Death and rebirth [Re: The_Eric]
dishdude Offline


Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 3283
Loc: Phoenix
Originally Posted By: The_Eric
Originally Posted By: gregk24
Ouch, very common on these old GM 2.4's though.


Any idea of the actual cause of it? Some light reading on the interweb suggested low oil levels would do this.


Greg takes any opportunity to bash GM he can, and really doesn't have a lot of automotive knowledge. Any engine you run low on oil is going to spin a rod, and I think you were on the right track with the bad sending unit being partially to blame. Driver probably never checked the oil.

Thanks for the pics, can't wait to see the progress!

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#3313356 - 03/16/14 07:38 AM Re: Project Malibu resurection: Death and rebirth [Re: The_Eric]
terry274 Offline


Registered: 10/16/10
Posts: 76
Loc: TN
There is a vent in the passenger side of the trunk, behind the carpet, that tends to leak. Check the jack and spare tire for rust. It is difficult to stop the leak, apparently the rear tire sprays water into the vent.
I never did get it to stop leaking on my daughters car.
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2008 Ford Taurus SEL
2012 Honda Accord
2005 Ford F150

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#3313381 - 03/16/14 08:07 AM Re: Project Malibu resurection: Death and rebirth [Re: The_Eric]
Kruse Offline


Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 3054
Loc: Kansas
Originally Posted By: The_Eric

I've made some purchases through Rock Auto and Ebay, as well as the machine shop, including rings, a piston, connecting rod, full gasket set, timing set with GMB water pump, head bolts, O2 sensor, belt, tensioner, thermostat, t-stat housing (water neck) and a few other things. Close monitoring of Rock Auto's shipping (thanks to the warnings of sharp eyed BITOG members) made sure I didn't get bent over the barrel as well as comparison shopping and discount codes helped keep the cost down.


I avoid ebay for engine parts because the seller might do a rebox. And unless the project that I work on has to time table, I'm starting to avoid RockAuto. Most parts that I now order from RockAuto on Saturday or Sunday don't make it to my doorstep for almost a week. They are also starting to push the "DNJ" brand of engine components instead of the older name brands.
Have you ever used Northern Auto out of Sioux City? (Google them) They have a nice catalog they can mail you, a usable web site, have excellent phone service (just talked to one of their guys yesterday), and they ship promptly. They also use name brand parts on their rebuild kits.

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#3313546 - 03/16/14 11:26 AM Re: Project Malibu resurection: Death and rebirth [Re: The_Eric]
cptbarkey Offline


Registered: 02/27/12
Posts: 1208
Loc: texas
i love these threads, keep us updated!

GMB is a very good brand, i've ordered a few timing belt kits with GMB parts and they work well.
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2014 ram 1500
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