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Oil leaking from head gasket?

This is a discussion on Oil leaking from head gasket? within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; hello everyone, its been awile since i've been here. i have been without an ls1 for a couple years now ...

  1. #1
    caraholic ggino85's Avatar
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    blue green chameleon
    1998 Trans Am

    Oil leaking from head gasket?

    hello everyone, its been awile since i've been here. i have been without an ls1 for a couple years now, i have a 99' silverado 2500 with 200k on the body and 100k on the motor.....i use to use the truck for work but i no longer have that job so i really have no use for it anymore, plus the wife doesnt like to drive it....i have it listed for sale but someone contacted me about a trade and im seriously considering it.... i am thinking of trading my 99' silverado for a 98 trans am, the only problem is the owner of the t/a says it has a oil leak from the head gasket (it overheats). im pretty comfortable with working on ls1's (i've had a few), i've done some minor stuff like pushrods and sparkplugs but never anything as complicated as a head gasket....... i just wanted to get opinions from members here to see what you guys think, should i trade? how hard is a head gasket job. i just talked to the owner today for the first time, here is what i know so far about the trans am. its a 98 t/a, metallic green with tan leather interior....the body and interior are in perfect condition. the transmission was recently rebuilt and it has a two year warranty, the motor was also rebuilt about 3,000 miles ago (he says, still waiting to see reciepts), it has a cam (dont know wat kind yet, im waiting for an email with the info on that, plus reciept) he says the motor runs good, no ticking or anything, its just that it leaks the oil and overheats. so........what do you guys think? i will post up more info and maybe a pic here in a little bit when he responds to my email.....

    thanks for any replies,
    gino

  2. #2
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    ok, what you need is a complete list of what's been done to the car. Sounds like it's been used and abused hard with no reach around curiosity.

    Is it local?, go and see it, take some pics, post here if possible.

    Head gasket is a job, but it can be done in a garage if you have your own tools and aren't afraid to get dirty or have some busted knuckles (I say this jokingly because you've done more then most ppl have around engines). With someone else it could take you a weekend and that's not including getting the heads decked.

    Bottom line you 're inheriting someones problem child that they don't want to deal with anymore. There could be much more problems then he's letting on.

    It may be a good project car if you have the time and money that you want to invest in, but I'd look at what I'm trading vs getting in trade.

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Mean Black
    1998 Trans Am

    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    ok, what you need is a complete list of what's been done to the car. Sounds like it's been used and abused hard with no reach around curiosity.

    Is it local?, go and see it, take some pics, post here if possible.

    Head gasket is a job, but it can be done in a garage if you have your own tools and aren't afraid to get dirty or have some busted knuckles (I say this jokingly because you've done more then most ppl have around engines). With someone else it could take you a weekend and that's not including getting the heads decked.

    Bottom line you 're inheriting someones problem child that they don't want to deal with anymore. There could be much more problems then he's letting on.

    It may be a good project car if you have the time and money that you want to invest in, but I'd look at what I'm trading vs getting in trade.
    good advise.

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    caraholic ggino85's Avatar
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    blue green chameleon
    1998 Trans Am

    yes it is local, im going to go check it out tomorrow. i will bring my camera. the guy says he has reciepts for the work and parts, i will get specifics later on tonight or tomorrow. he claim that the he has a good deal of money put into the car and he doesnt want to get rid of it but he really needs a good work truck. im hoping thats the case but who knows. i'll get a better idea of how ''honest'' he seems tomorrow when i meet him in person......me and a buddy of mine would be doing the headgasket job. my buddy has a lot of experience working on cars but niether of us have ever done anything as extensive as taking off the heads im just gonna really look it over carefully, maybe even try to get it to a shop that way i can make sure the headgasket is the only thing that is wrong. if its something thats causing the gasket to blow what could it be? warped, cracked heads? what else could cause the gasket to blow?

  5. #5
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    incorrect or crappy gasket. There have been lots of ppl and shops that will put $1000's of dollars in parts and just turn around and put a $2 paper gasket and think it will last. Also if the builder was in a rush or incompetent. The most important think is make sure that cylinder head is flat. Take to a machine shop and pay the $40-$80, otherwise your pissing your money away and will be at best where you are now or worse your block grenades on the side of the road or track.


    one more thing of advice. If you can drive it, do so. I test drove 2 for an hour when I was shopping for mine. Some things don't show unless you take them on hwy. The first one was awesome and ran like a devil but......as we were heading into town to do the paperwork it threw a rod. If I had gotten it, it would have done this on the 800 mile trip back hm.
    Last edited by SMWS6TA; 06-24-2011 at 08:41 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Mean Black
    1998 Trans Am

    Quote Originally Posted by SMWS6TA View Post
    incorrect or crappy gasket. There have been lots of ppl and shops that will put $1000's of dollars in parts and just turn around and put a $2 paper gasket and think it will last. Also if the builder was in a rush or incompetent. The most important think is make sure that cylinder head is flat. Take to a machine shop and pay the $40-$80, otherwise your pissing your money away and will be at best where you are now or worse your block grenades on the side of the road or track.


    one more thing of advice. If you can drive it, do so. I test drove 2 for an hour when I was shopping for mine. Some things don't show unless you take them on hwy. The first one was awesome and ran like a devil but......as we were heading into town to do the paperwork it threw a rod. If I had gotten it, it would have done this on the 800 mile trip back hm.
    nice catch

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    caraholic ggino85's Avatar
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    blue green chameleon
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    one of my buddies that ''kinda'' knows about cars was telling me not to do it because it could be the pistons? i really dont know what he meant but............? i talked a little more to the owner today and he stated that it doesnt leak any fluids externally or internally, for some reason i was pictureing an external leak. an internal one is a little scarier and how would and oil leak internally cause the engine to overheat?

    he stats its drivable to meet me but wouldnt recommend i drive it home (i live 35 min. from where we would meet), he recommends having it towed, which is what i wanted to do anyway but its wierd he doesnt want me to come to his house to see it, right?

    smws6ta, when u say pay the 40-80 dollars are you talking about after i trade it? or before? i was thinking about taking it to a shop so they could check it out and tell me if its a headgasket but in order for them to be sure they would have to do a few hundred dollars worth of inspecting wouldnt they?

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ggino85 View Post
    one of my buddies that ''kinda'' knows about cars was telling me not to do it because it could be the pistons? i really dont know what he meant but............? i talked a little more to the owner today and he stated that it doesnt leak any fluids externally or internally, for some reason i was pictureing an external leak. an internal one is a little scarier and how would and oil leak internally cause the engine to overheat?

    he stats its drivable to meet me but wouldnt recommend i drive it home (i live 35 min. from where we would meet), he recommends having it towed, which is what i wanted to do anyway but its wierd he doesnt want me to come to his house to see it, right?

    smws6ta, when u say pay the 40-80 dollars are you talking about after i trade it? or before? i was thinking about taking it to a shop so they could check it out and tell me if its a headgasket but in order for them to be sure they would have to do a few hundred dollars worth of inspecting wouldnt they?
    my opinion.....walk away from this deal. there are many more out there. anybody that is afraid to sell/trade you a vehicle from his house IMHO means it is a crooked deal. It means to me that he is hiding more then what he's telling you.

    Yours is a fully running truck right? why would you trade for something that has major problems from a stranger?

    the $40-$80 I was talking about is what it cost to have a cylinder head machined down to a 100% flat surface across the cylinder.

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    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    I agree with Scott. Sounds fishy to me as well. Granted, the car is a rare color, but it sounds like the car was neglected and not put back together thoroughly. Something tells me he did the work and didn't do things right. And the BIG red flag was the recommendation to tow the car.

  10. #10
    Bone it like you own it FORD RECOVERY EXPERT's Avatar
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    if its only 35 miles away, its worth looking at.....

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    caraholic ggino85's Avatar
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    blue green chameleon
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    smws6ta, i kind of understand the not wanting to meet at his house, i've sold multiple cars that didnt have any problems (that i did not disclose at the first meet up) and i did not want to meet at my house just because of the ''what if factor''. some people in my area can be very unreasonable and would blame someone for something happening even though it was clearly there fault. i cannot condemn him for that, but in this case it does make me very skeptical also.

    i talked to him a little more after that last post and he said we should meet close to his house so i can drive it for a bit and see how strong it is before it has a chance to overheat, he also said it would probably make it the 35 miles (without overheating) but i should tow it just to be safe. he also stated two shops where he lives stated that it was a head gasket problem, the quote for the shop to fix it, he says is 1700-2200 dollars, i wanna see the paperwork, so i think im gonna meet up with him and see what paper work and reciepts he has and then go from there...... i dont know...........i know if i go see it im gonna want it.

    the reasons im getting rid of the truck; my wife doesnt like it, at all, she wont drive it. i use to have an 01 ws6 and that was her favorite car, go figure huh. girls love the ws6's. its too big, our driveway is really narrow and i literally have inches from my house when i pull in the driveway at night. Oh, last but not least, i no longer have a use for it, its an ext. cab with an 8' bed, its big. i have a 97 jetta that i can drive while i would be working on the t/a.

    thanks,
    gino
    Last edited by ggino85; 06-26-2011 at 04:20 AM.

  12. #12
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Good luck and look it over very good.

    $1700 for a head gasket? Damn I need to start a side business.

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    caraholic ggino85's Avatar
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    blue green chameleon
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    the paper says 1700 for both......i just got back from looking at it and everything seems ok, you cant even tell there is a problem. i only drove it for about 15 min. didnt want to mess it up more than it already is...........

    now im just comtemplating what the heck to do............

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    Bone it like you own it FORD RECOVERY EXPERT's Avatar
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    Do it.... If you think its a good deal, and you like it.... Do it. and do Patriot Stage II and an MS3 or 4 whilst your in there!


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    caraholic ggino85's Avatar
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    blue green chameleon
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    Ok.......so i couldnt help myself, i did it. i was gonna post up pictures but i cant remember my photobucket account info (i'll keep trying). i went to the guys house and he seemed pretty straight forward. he had all the paperwork about from a shop about the head gasket. im going to start breaking her down tomorrow, it'll be interesting. im starting a automechanics class in the fall so if worse comes to worse i'll see if i can bring it in there......but im pretty sure i can get it done. i will start a thread and post pictures soon.

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    Bone it like you own it FORD RECOVERY EXPERT's Avatar
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    Sweet.... Congrats!

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    well congrates, I hope she turns out well. Glad you rescue another T/A. I know I said I'd walk away, but your situation is different. I really hope it's just a head gasket.

    Now to make some serious suggestions while you have it broke down.


    Replace the following:

    1) Do the LS6 VCT mod now and up grade to 99-02 knock sensors and wire harness - doing these both now will save you later in time and money. You have to remove these anyways to do the head gasket and the KS will most likely be rusted out and long overdue. I have a couple of threads as to the reasons on why you should do this mod. One has been sticky.

    These two if they haven't already done it when they did the rebuild or if you know they just used stock parts:

    2) Oil pump - get a LS6 OP - the 95-98 LS1 OP's are a major weakness that eventually can lead to oil starvation at high rpms. It's best to do when doing a cam upgrade, but it can't hurt now since your well into a tear down.

    3) LS2 timing chain - If they didn't do it during the rebuild or God forbid that they reused the old one. This timing chain is very beefy and is as good as a double roller and doesn't require a new face plate.

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    LSX whore allbaugh_04's Avatar
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    Let us know how she works out for ya.

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    caraholic ggino85's Avatar
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    blue green chameleon
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    thanks all of you for the encouragement!

    smws6ta, i too am glad i saved a trans am.....i have had a lot of fbodies (camaro's and trans am) come and go and i have decided that i want to stick with a t/a. something about them i will never get tired of looking at. i will do the things you listed, im pretty sure they didnt do any of them. i think i actually read one of your threads about the ls6 vct mod, i do a lot of browsing and reading and i remember something about that. the ls6 vct mod is moving the pcv to a different spot were it sucks less oil and is more efficient,....isn't it? l'll look it up..............

    I also really hope its just the head gasket. we will find out in time. i will post pictures of everything.

    anyone know the name of the blue green chameleon paint that came on trans ams? im just curious what the name of the color is.

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    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    now you need to update your info.....no longer in the hunt

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