Huge oil leak repair: 2001 Blazer 4x4

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1,444
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MN
Thread starter
Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures but here's the low-down: I have a customer with a 2001 Chevy Blazer, about 122k on it. It's got to be one of the cleanest Midwest S10's I've ever seen, but it's still a Blazer. I just replaced the ABS module last month to the tune of $1,200, and this month she brought it back after having us degrease it to check for leaks. I couldn't pinpoint all the leaks, but it for sure needed lower intake gaskets, an oil pan gasket, and oil cooler lines. WHAT A PAIN!! The oil pan alone pays 6 hours, another 2.2 for the cooler lines, and 3.6 for the intake. While I was doing the job, I found several other issues that she didn't blink an eye at: The remote oil filter housing was corroding away and cracking, replaced that with a Dorman unit. The OE block heater was leaking, so that was replaced with a freeze plug with the OK from the customer. I never would have seen the coolant leak without removing the differential for the oil pan job, it's buried above it. For those that don't know, to do an oil pan on a 4x4 Blazer requires complete disassembly of the front suspension (as in knuckles OFF), disconnecting the steering linkage from both the pitman and idler arms, and removal of the front differential. BUT! You can't remove the front diff WITHOUT disassembling it! The right hand axle tube and shift fork have to be removed to gain clearance to remove the main housing. I'm 30 years old, and if I go the rest of my career without doing another one of these, I'll be happy. It was ALL overhead work and my shoulders were on fire by the time I was done! EDIT: Just for fun, because I know someone will ask: The total bill came to ~$2,200. That, plus her ABS repair, puts her at $3,700. For a BLAZER!! I thought I'd seen it all.
 
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578
Location
Alberta
The company I work for had one, a late nineties Blazer. I drove it a few times to out of town meetings, instead of my muddy field truck. Our mechanic hated it with a passion, said it was absolutely terrible to work on. He had an ear to ear grin for a couple of days when the decision was made to send it to auction.
 
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4,422
Location
Kuwait
The S-10 Blazers are nice trucks, but a real pain in the neck to work on. That's one of the reasons why I'm not a fan of 4x4; I personally have no need for it and refuse to buy a vehicle equipped with it because repairs can get messy. I have a 4x4 in my fleet already, and I yanked the engine right out when the oil pan started weeping. I take it this was the 4.3L? She must have some sort of attachment to the truck to fork out that sort of money for repairs.
 
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4,736
Location
Fort Worth, Texas
The Aluminum Pan 4.3L's are notorious for that stupid captured rubber seal to leak.....GM should have stuck with the steel pan that was used on the earlier versions. Of course the cooler lines & remote filter was always an issue with 4x4 4.3L S/T platform.
 
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4,736
Location
Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted by Falcon_LS
The S-10 Blazers are nice trucks, but a real pain in the neck to work on. That's one of the reasons why I'm not a fan of 4x4; I personally have no need for it and refuse to buy a vehicle equipped with it because repairs can get messy. I have a 4x4 in my fleet already, and I yanked the engine right out when the oil pan started weeping. I take it this was the 4.3L? She must have some sort of attachment to the truck to fork out that sort of money for repairs.
2wd S/T platforms are even harder to do a oil pan gasket on......The engine has to be removed!
 
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4,422
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Kuwait
Originally Posted by clinebarger
2wd S/T platforms are even harder to do a oil pan gasket on......The engine has to be removed!
Wow, just wow. What the heck were the engineers thinking?!
 
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742
Location
New Hampshire
It simply amazes me that people would spend that much to repair something that old...and that's just until the next thing breaks. You can't stay ahead of vehicles that old and designed that poorly. They will nickel and dime you. I saw a woman put a brand new transmission in a Hyundai Sonata with 290,000 miles on it once, I thought...what? You've got to be crazy! But the tech told me...hey, it doesn't have any other issues and the lady doesn't want a car payment. Ok, I get that, but 290k miles?? You're going to sink $3,000 into a car with 290k on it? I don't know if that's a great idea; I have a friend that sank 4k into his Jeep Commander - needed an entire engine - that truck lasted another year before it literally caught on fire one day. I told him...guarantee pinched a fuel line when they installed that engine. But there was nothing he could do, it was a year later and it wasn't like he was going to have a forensic unti investigate the burnt carnage and find a pinched fuel line.
 
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34,647
Location
NY
Originally Posted by Railrust
It simply amazes me that people would spend that much to repair something that old...and that's just until the next thing breaks. You can't stay ahead of vehicles that old and designed that poorly. They will nickel and dime you. I saw a woman put a brand new transmission in a Hyundai Sonata with 290,000 miles on it once, I thought...what? You've got to be crazy! But the tech told me...hey, it doesn't have any other issues and the lady doesn't want a car payment. Ok, I get that, but 290k miles?? You're going to sink $3,000 into a car with 290k on it? I don't know if that's a great idea; I have a friend that sank 4k into his Jeep Commander - needed an entire engine - that truck lasted another year before it literally caught on fire one day. I told him...guarantee pinched a fuel line when they installed that engine. But there was nothing he could do, it was a year later and it wasn't like he was going to have a forensic unti investigate the burnt carnage and find a pinched fuel line.
Correct. Sometimes the smartest thing you can do is sell or junk it, and move on.
 
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1,267
Location
Elizabeth. Colorado
Shoot I fixed the ABS module for free on my 2000 Blazer. A piece of electrical tape over the glowing ABS light on the dash.... she's fixed! I really love my Blazer. All my kids drove it in their teens, it's my airport car now. Yeah, she leaks some oil and makes some noises, but I can't kill it and it's a tank in the snow with studded snow tires and a little extra weight in the back.
 
We get into these conversations all the time at Bittog." I have 400,000 miles " vs " she should dump it" According to 14Accent, it's one of the cleanest Midwest S-10's he's ever seen. A new Blazer starts at $30,000. So it boils down to those who appreciate a high mileage vehicle and are willing take a risk on future repair costs vs those who would give up and buy or lease a new vehicle. Lot's of folks on both sides. She's committed 12 months of equivalent car payments, but sounds like she's really attached to the vehicle. smile
 
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12,243
Location
Indiana
I'll have to do this repair on my truck probably this spring. When it's it's apart, I'll likely replace the seal in the leaking steering box. Currently trying to figure out the leaking front diff as you saw in my most recent thread. It's still been a good vehicle. Does excellent in snow, decent fuel mileage and I don't have to worry about it when we go out and about. The only other "issue" I've had is a bad fuel pump. Everything else was just my OCD upgrades and PM. I will say one is better off owning a HM vehicle if they're mechanically inclined.
 
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4,415
Location
Guilford, CT
Sounds like my wife's Escalade. I replaced the engine oil cooler lines, had to drop the front diff to do it. I replaced the trans. cooler lines, had to remove the whole front bumper and grille, and had to unbolt the front sway bar from the frame. One of the sway bar bolts snapped. I removed the front sway bar and left it like that for 9 months before I finally got around to fixing the broken bolt. I did a transmission service on it and had to unbolt the exhaust Y-pipe from the manifolds, since the exhaust goes right underneath the transmission pan. That resulted in some broken and mangled exhaust fasteners. I had to remove the driver side manifold to fix it. I don't understand people who say GMs are easy to work on.
 
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14,975
Location
NE,Ohio
Originally Posted by exranger06
Sounds like my wife's Escalade. I replaced the engine oil cooler lines, had to drop the front diff to do it. I replaced the trans. cooler lines, had to remove the whole front bumper and grille, and had to unbolt the front sway bar from the frame. One of the sway bar bolts snapped. I removed the front sway bar and left it like that for 9 months before I finally got around to fixing the broken bolt. I did a transmission service on it and had to unbolt the exhaust Y-pipe from the manifolds, since the exhaust goes right underneath the transmission pan. That resulted in some broken and mangled exhaust fasteners. I had to remove the driver side manifold to fix it. I don't understand people who say GMs are easy to work on.
would any of that have happened in California? /no road salt?
 
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1,378
Location
Ontario, Canada
Way to go 14Accent! I commend you on your hard work. I don't miss working on those tough jobs one bit. My lower back still aches after all these years.
 
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1,444
Location
MN
Thread starter
Wow! I didn't expect all these comments! I certainly won't be doing another one of these again any time soon. I agree that S10's are tough as nails, and this one was clean, but it's still a ton of money to drop on a 20 year old truck! My current project is a 2.4 ecotec in a 2wd Equinox. You don't even need to take the wheels off to do an engine! I've gotten so good at them that I can have the old engine out in about 2.5 hours, another hour to transfer components, and running by the end of a 9 hour shift. That's with lunch and smoke breaks. Talk about cake compared to last week, and it pays better!
 
Those blazers were junk for sure. They ate hub bearings at an alarming rate too. To be fair to GM the explorer was also garbage. 4.0 with 4 chains anyone? Its a shame really...i liked the look of the zr2 blazer and the 4.3 was awesome...but man they were doo doo And to think...she could have purchased a 4runner for comparable money...- the $7500 in incentives ford and gm have to give to convince people to buy these things
 
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6,842
Location
California
Originally Posted by exranger06
I don't understand people who say GMs are easy to work on.
I feel like GM and VW build things to be easy to put together on the assembly line and to a price point to keep COGS down when it comes to labor. But it's a different story when one needs to wrench on it. One thing about breaking ties with an ex-friend who had a late-model C/K Blazer(Tahoe 2-door) is that I don't need to work on that bucket anymore. The thing was leaking oil from the cooler lines and needed a whole front end rebuild, which at the minimum needed the front diff and control arms to be pulled in order to access the lines and linkages. I sure hope the LIM is still sealed though...
 
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1,618
Location
Flatlands of Indiana
My wife bought a new S-10 bazer ZR2 in 2000. It was back to the dealer for oil leaks under warranty more times than I can remember. I tried to get her to trade it for a new 4-runner in 2002. She wouldn't have any of it because the 4-runner was a 4-door. I told her after the warranty was up I would NOT be fixing any oil leaks. It was actually a decent truck for the 17 years we owned it other than the oil leaks. Handed it down to my son, he sold it last year with 144K on it, still leaking oil.
 
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111
Location
Pennsylvania
You can get that diff out without taking it apart. I pull the steering linkage completely then unbolt the steering box and shove it up. That gives you enough room to get the diff out. Still not a fun diff to do but on the bright side, those cooler lines are real easy to do with the diff out! Hope you used GM lines or you will be doing the cooler lines again soon from experience. The Dorman lines tend to last about a year before they start leaking
 
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1,267
Location
Elizabeth. Colorado
Originally Posted by Doublehaul
Those blazers were junk for sure. They ate hub bearings at an alarming rate too. To be fair to GM the explorer was also garbage. 4.0 with 4 chains anyone? Its a shame really...i liked the look of the zr2 blazer and the 4.3 was awesome...but man they were doo doo And to think...she could have purchased a 4runner for comparable money...- the $7500 in incentives ford and gm have to give to convince people to buy these things
A little Toyota fan boy take on things? One wheel bearing in 90k miles is alarming I know. Funny my neighbors brothers uncles neighbor 2nd grade teacher 4runner was junk too, guess it just matters which one you get.
 
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