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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:51 am 
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Daily Driver

Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:59 pm
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Hey all.

I recently decided it was time to pull the heads on my 83 Malibu 3.8l 229 V6.
I drive this baby back and forth from Northern Wisconsin to Georgia about 6 to 12 times a year. Been reliable as heck. Always kept up on fluids, and changes. Been a great car. Got it with 96k original and I've put on about 30k in the year and a half I've had it. It was running rough for the guy that sold it to me so I checked all vacuum lines, rebuilt the carb, replaced the fuel pump, plugs, wires, and tightened all the fuel connections. Ran like a champ. Changed out steering box, all wheel bearings, calipers, rotors, upper and lower balljoints, inner and outer tie rod ends, center drag link, pitman arm, sway bar links, shocks all around, new door hinge pins, new door gasket seals, and a bunch of other little things I can't even think of. Basically, I want to have this car for a while. It's an 83 which is the year I was born, and I've always LOVED G-Body cars. My first two cars were 78 and 79 Monte's. Crashed one, and the other was stolen.
Sooo...
Out of nowhere I got a steady misfire in Cyl-6.
I've known for a long time that the heads needed rebuilding. Dollar bill trick at the tail pipe was more like the dissapearing dollar bill trick. It seemed to suck the bill against the exhaust pipe as much as it blew it away which was the worse it's ever been.
Figured bad exhaust valves and have been putting it off.
Car ran like a 15 year old 2 legged dog.
Changed plugs, wires, and dist. cap.
Miss was still there.
I figured "Yup, there goes that exhaust valve". Figured it burned all to #### so I didn't drive it and decided to take off the heads since I KNEW they needed to be rebuilt anyway. Didn't do a compression test #-o
Figured it HAD to be a burnt valve and since pulling the plug on the #6 cylinder made absolutely NO difference in the engine I figured I had it nailed.
Pulled the head and the valve showed minor burn. Only that valve leaked when I filled the runners with kerosene, and just BARELY. It wasn't a hole or a missing a good amount of metal like I was expecting. So I pull the other head thinking the other head must be REALLY bad. Other side all valves leaked kerosene. Intake, and exhaust. Intake valves leaked more than the exhaust so that spun me a bit.

Either way, I ordered 2 remanufactured heads for less than what they wanted to reman one of mine here locally.

While taking the intake manifold, and heads off I noticed more than a few loose bolts. No leaking of coolant between the gaskets so I was lucky to catch that. I thought maybe the loose intake manifold bolts could cause the engine to run crappy, but not so much on just 1 cylinder. Thought about it some more, and the vacuum port for the vacuum modulator runs right into the runner of the number 6 cylinder. Had some electric tape wrapped around it to hold it on.

Guessing that was probably the misfire problem, but I'm no mechanic. This is the first sbc I've ever taken apart. I've messed with all kinds of engines and am not afraid to jump into whatever and 9 times out of 10 I can get it fixed.

Also, the intake manifold EGR ports were CLOGGED. I don't mean a little. I mean SOLID PACKED for a good 2 inches. Ports on the heads were about as bad. I have had to run higher octane gas, or retard timing to avoid ping ever since I got the car. I figured it to be carbon buildup in the combustion chamber.

The EGR valve was disconnected when I got it, and I would REALLY like to get it operating again. From what I hear it cools the engine, and keeps detonation down which I would guess would increase MPG since I could stop running retard timing and maybe get some advance in there. The problem is, I've ordered a new EGR valve(the old one has a bad diaphragm) BUT I don't know how he heck to hook the thing up. I know how to put it in, but I don't believe it should go straight to a ported vacuum source. Most of the emissions stuff is gone. I'm not sure how to run the vacuum to it. I have a ported vacuum switch on the intake that I think is used for that, but I'm not sure what else I'm missing. Some kind of a solenoid I would think.

If anyone has any info on hooking up my EGR and getting it to function properly on a 229 3.8 I would give my pinky finger to hear it.

This is the only diagram I could find, and it's not that clear. Maybe I just don't understand it. Like I said, I'm no mechanic. I believe it shows the EGR coming from the Evap Control Solenoid. I don't have that. Wouldn't know where to start hooking it up unless I had a bit of help.

http://repairguide.autozone.com/znetrgs ... 05167c.gif

Thanks for checking this out. I'll get some pics up of the car, heads, engine block and all that tomorrow.


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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:45 pm 
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Daily Driver

Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:59 pm
Posts: 15
I've done some more reading, and I'm thinking that I may just need to run ported vacuum to the Thermal Vacuum Switch and then to the EGR.
I don't see why it wouldn't work. Keeping fingers crossed. I can't stand the thought of putting on new heads along with a thoroughly cleaned intake manifold just to have it all gunk up and have to do it all over again.

Also, I would love to be able to get the timing out of the retarded zone and run 87 without ping.
Just being able to advance the timing a bit (bring it to where it should be) should give me a couple more mpg I would think.

May end up rebuilding the bottom end as well while I'm at it. That way everything is done and with some luck I can get another 60-80k out of it before having to machine the block and rebuild again. If I had the money I'd go ahead and have it bored .010 over and have really fresh cylinders, but money is limiting.
Funny, the rebuild kit only cost 300 bucks, but the machining cost at least twice that around here.
If I was to get the crank ground, Align honed, cylinders bored, and all that I'm sure I'd be looking at some dough.

And Really, the 229 isn't worth it.

The only reason I've kept it in there is because I drive cross country and mpg is important, but eventually it'll be replaced with a 383, or a Twin Turbo 350.

A man can dream, can't he?


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 Post Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:10 pm 
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Location: columbus, ohio
Are the heads off now?? Pull the lifters on #6, one at a time, put back in the same position,, look at the bottom of each lifter and look for wear,, before I would plant a lot of money into the 229, I would get a 4.3 lt V-6 and build that ,,, get one out of a S-10 or Astro van,, get a 96 and later Vortec and build it,, I have a 4.3 lt I rebuilt, .030 over and reground the crank, .010/.25mm ,, screwy I know, .010 on the mains and .25mm on the rods,, My V-6 is a 95 lower end with Vortec heads and a 2 barrel of a malibu and a adapter i fabbed up,, everything off the 229 should bolt up to a 4.3lt,, exhaust pulleys ect,,,, and I have rebuilt many SB & V-6 motors and .010 wont clean up on the bores, crank yes,, punch it .030,, and wait until the machine work is done to order the rebuild kit,, if you drive by Columbus ohio come and buy my V-6!!
This way you can re-do the 4.3 while you drive the 3.8,, and I would bet money on a worn camshaft in the 3.8 229,, that was some bad castings and poor cams made for GM back then,, i can recall when they started to show up in machine shops in the early to late 80`s,, let us know if the heads are on or off,,, and I have a pair of 229 rebuilt ready to go as well,,, Matty man

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 Post Posted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:50 pm 
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Location: Finksburg, Md
Intresting project...

I plan on pulling my heads...but to do a little port work.

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-Greg...the Exhaust Guy.
I was into Malibus before they were 'cool'.
--'82 alldoor 267 Turbo/200r4/3.73LSD 'malibu5' 'worlds fastest 267 lol'
Undergoing Toyota aluminum 4L V8 swap
--'84 Bonneville 311/200r4/4.11 8.5...soon to be drag sleeper

Past Malibus,
-79 Malibu 4dr
-79 Malibu 2dr
-80 Malibu 4dr
-79 Malibu 4dr
-83 Malibu 4dr


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 Post Posted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:30 pm 
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Daily Driver

Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:59 pm
Posts: 15
I've already taken the heads off.
I found these at Surplus Auto Parts And Machinery for 50 bucks a piece. Dead stock/Clearance.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/120706110943?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649

They are the same heads that Advanced are selling. Only 200 bucks cheaper(250 including core charge from Advanced)
http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_cylinder-head-remanufactured-spartan-atk-engines_99980249-p?searchTerm=cylinder+head

I'm pretty sure Oreilly is selling the same ones (Same Price).
http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/detail/PTQ0/2C29/02257.oap?year=1983&make=Chevrolet&model=Malibu&vi=1055427&ck=Search_cylinder+head_1055427_3845&keyword=cylinder+head
I already rebuilt the engine, just waiting on the heads to show up Monday.
Record cold temps here. -65 with windchill. -30 air temp.

I pulled the engine before it hit, threw it on a dolly and brought it into the basement, and threw it on a stand where I could do it in a heated area. \:D/
Timing Chain was loose enough to gouge out the cover pretty bad. Main bearings were pretty beat. Cam had a lot of wear on it.
Lifters didn't look too bad though. A small bit concave, but about right I would think for 30 years old and 150k showing on the Odo.

I kept the pistons, connecting rods and the Crank. They actually looked good.
Everything else is new.


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 Post Posted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:37 pm 
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Daily Driver

Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:59 pm
Posts: 15
Now I just have to get it to start, lol.

Dot to Dot timing marks show No1 piston at TDC, but not sure if it's the compression stroke or not.
Waiting for he heads to show up and I guess I'll try the Finger in the spark plug hole.

Other than that, torqued everything to spec, used plenty of assembly lube.
Rented the oil pressure primer tool from AutoZone to prime everything before starting.
Slowly turn the crank until oil comes from all rockers?
Hoping for pop, pop, bang and no metal on metal sounds.


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 Post Posted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:03 pm 
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Location: columbus, ohio
Nice!! Make sure you use the correct oil to break in the cam & lifters,, I wiped a cam just after 2500 miles,, so take the time to break it in right,, yes on the dot to dot,, this is the start of the 720 degree engine cycle,, once the heads are on, the valves are adjusted right, rotate the #1 to tdc and drop in the distribitor,, keep us posted on the progress,, V-6`s rock,,,, Matty man

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 Post Posted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:23 pm 
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Posts: 3783
Location: Finksburg, Md
I saw those heads the other day...though about getting them to do the porting on so my motor down time is minimal

Shame I won't be using any of the valves or springs for that matter

_________________
-Greg...the Exhaust Guy.
I was into Malibus before they were 'cool'.
--'82 alldoor 267 Turbo/200r4/3.73LSD 'malibu5' 'worlds fastest 267 lol'
Undergoing Toyota aluminum 4L V8 swap
--'84 Bonneville 311/200r4/4.11 8.5...soon to be drag sleeper

Past Malibus,
-79 Malibu 4dr
-79 Malibu 2dr
-80 Malibu 4dr
-79 Malibu 4dr
-83 Malibu 4dr


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 Post Posted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:26 pm 
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Daily Driver

Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:59 pm
Posts: 15
Thanks Man. Pretty proud of myself so far.
The only issue I have now (other than the weather -30) is the torque specs for the con rod bolts.
I have the chilton manual but it's 1000 miles away right now.
I have the Haynes manual, but it doesn't give torque specs for the rod bolts.
I assumed it was the same as the mains, but it doesn't seem right to me.
Right now they are at 50 Ft. lbs.
I re-used the bolts if that matters.

That, and I can't find an EGR solenoid no matter HOW HARD I look, lol.

MB


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 Post Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:02 am 
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Daily Driver

Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:59 pm
Posts: 15
malibuguy wrote:
I saw those heads the other day...though about getting them to do the porting on so my motor down time is minimal

Shame I won't be using any of the valves or springs for that matter

I just got the heads in today and they look darn good.
Everything is new but the head itself which has a pretty good black paintjob on it.
Good deal for a Benjamin.

MB


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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:12 pm 
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Location: North Jersey
The connecting rod torque spec for the 229 is the same as any small block- 45 lbs. ft.

Tommy

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20k mile '80 Malibu, currently undergoing long term (aka no money) factory style install LS6 454, Cowl Induction, Legend LGT 700 5 speed. Full Global West suspension, 17" N90 wheels, 12" front/11" rear disc brakes, 9" 3.70 Auburn Pro posi.

"The older I get, the faster I was"


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 Post Posted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:50 pm 
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Putting it back in now. Should be starting her up for the first time here in an hour or so.
I'll let ya guys know how it goes.

Wish me luck.

MB.


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 Post Posted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:02 pm 
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Good luck!!

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matty man..malibu fan


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 Post Posted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:37 pm 
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Snap some pics :)

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 Post Posted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:13 am 
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Any updates?? My guess would be this winter weather,, I know I have not been in my pole barn for a good month now due to the snow & ice,,, post some pics when ya can,, Matty man

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