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Old 10-08-2004, 05:25 PM
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Is GM's 3.4L V6 Trustworthy?

I'm pondering the purchase of a used base model 2004 Chevrolet Impala. This has the 3.4L V6 base motor.
I believe GM describes its family here: http://gmpartsdirect.com/perform...CATID=172.html
And this web site appears to be devoted to it:
http://60degreev6.com/
Some web site posters describe its family as prone to head gasket leaks leading up to costly repairs and occasional engine seizures.
I have a suspicion that this is a problem they may simply choose not to fix. Another part of me hears that they revised the gasket material last year, and that the 2004 models may be OK in the head gasket.
Anyone have any input?
Old 10-08-2004, 05:42 PM
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no real experience here, but i'd be wary if someone was trying to sell me a car that is at most 1 year old. Why in gods sake would someone do that? Unless it was a lease car, but even then thats usually 2 years.
Old 10-08-2004, 05:45 PM
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Good question. It was a fleet car. The dealership in question, at an given time, has 300 or so program cars. Some would have come from a rental fleet, some from GM's company car fleet, etc. I checked the codes written in the trunk of this car, and they include the GM code for "Fleet Purchase".
Old 10-10-2004, 02:04 PM
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Oh, and for the record, the dealer made it sound like it was formerly operated by "Enterprise". Of course, some would argue I shouldn't trust him any further than I can throw him, but I did notice that Enterprise had quite a few for disposal on their lots.
Old 10-10-2004, 02:27 PM
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My old '96 Blazer with the 4.3 v6 had a head gasket leak that ended up costing $500 to repair. Too bad for me that right after the repair the engine caught fire and totaled my car. My boss had a '99 Olds minivan that had the exact same head gasket leak and he had the 3.4 v6. Both of our vehicles only had around 70k miles at the time.

There's been quite a bit of press about head gasket failures in GM v6 engines lately. There's even talk of a class action lawsuit. A mechanic at the dealership I used to take my car to said that they see head gasket failures all the time (more than usual on engines too young to have this kind of problem).
Old 10-10-2004, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonix
...but i'd be wary if someone was trying to sell me a car that is at most 1 year old. Why in gods sake would someone do that?

The loss of a job could be a reason. Especially in this economy.
Old 10-10-2004, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broys
My old '96 Blazer with the 4.3 v6 had a head gasket leak that ended up costing $500 to repair. Too bad for me that right after the repair the engine caught fire and totaled my car. My boss had a '99 Olds minivan that had the exact same head gasket leak and he had the 3.4 v6. Both of our vehicles only had around 70k miles at the time.

There's been quite a bit of press about head gasket failures in GM v6 engines lately. There's even talk of a class action lawsuit. A mechanic at the dealership I used to take my car to said that they see head gasket failures all the time (more than usual on engines too young to have this kind of problem).
Ok. That seems to come in as a "no" vote.
I wish getting this same car with the 3.8 Liter (GM's most reliable engine, according to many) wasn't cost-prohibitive.
As it stands though, I suspect I'll get more miles out of my '96 Chevy Caprice with 86K on it than I would an '04 Impala with 32K on it. Except I'm in Ohio... and there is rust.. but aside from that.
Old 10-10-2004, 08:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ParentalAdvisory
The loss of a job could be a reason. Especially in this economy.
Only if the seller is an IT worker. Everyone else is employed., and wouldn't have a good reason, so as someone else said above, be wary.
Old 10-14-2004, 06:06 PM
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Based on these responses, and the fact that I couldn't find a SINGLE site maintaining that the head gasket quandary in this motor has been fixed, I've reached the conclusion that the problem is still chronic.
Or at least that I don't KNOW that it is not chronic, and cannot wisely purchase a vehicle that features this powerplant unless there is a substantial encouraging factor... like a $5000 discount.
Given the way the Dope normally works, I was expecting someone who works at GM Powerplant Engineering to pipe up and claim this motor's flaws were completely fixed in the 2004 model year when they switched the gasket material from 1920's style death rubber to a rubber-Adamantium compound.
Since no one did, I'll imagine some guy from GM Powerplant Engineering read my post, and then decided that he ought not pipe up saying "no, they didn't fix that problem, and after making this line of motors for nearly 20 years, simply intend to leave this bug in until the power plant ceases production in a few years."
I tell you, my number one fantasy about cars (leaving aside the ones that involve turret-mounted machine guns) is that they had a window sticker including average repair and maintenance costs during the next 20 years of operation.
I know the people who sell extended warranties have actuarial data along those lines, but I have no idea how much that data set would cost.. or even who to ask.
Old 10-14-2004, 06:17 PM
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I found what looks like a biased, but highly informative site related to this issue.
I've made my mind up now, but in case someone's search yields this thread in the future, the below site has lots to say about this motor.
http://gm-v6lemons.com/index.html
Old 10-15-2004, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Balthisar
Only if the seller is an IT worker. Everyone else is employed., and wouldn't have a good reason, so as someone else said above, be wary.

A lot of IT people out of work...
Old 10-16-2004, 12:39 AM
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This is what puzzles me about GM..they have excellent V-8 engines, but many of the V-6 engines have all of these problems. As for mating an aluminum head with a cast-iron block: this has been done for years (M-B has done it quite sucessfully). It is true that there will be some extra flexing of the head gasket, because aluminum and iron expand/contract at different rates. If you begin to get VISIBLE leakage, then already your engine has been damaged (the highly corrosive coolant will pit the cylinder walls).
FORD had a similar problem with their 3.8liter V-6. The fix is: high-quality asbestos/steel head gaskets, and correct torquing of he head bolts.
Why GM can't do this right is a mystery to me!
Old 10-16-2004, 10:21 AM
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I did notice a TSB for a new gasket, new torque specs on some bolts, and I believe even different bolts. It applied to 2003 and older vehicles. It led me to believe they MAY have fixed the issue in the '04s.
But, you know.. without better evidence than I have, it's not a gamble I'll wager $5000 on.
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