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View Full Version : 1996 Buick Century Wagon,,,head gaskets



CenturyMan
08-14-2016, 08:36 PM
Hey all, first time on here. I am buying a 1996 Buick century wagon with only 56k on it but the old antifreeze kill the head gaskets using dex-cool. Im buying the car for only $700.00 it came out from Florida 2 years ago. I've been watching every video on youtube on replacement on the 3100 engines. I collect and restore WWII vehicles which are a lot easier to work on. My knowledge is mechanical good but not super great. Before i pay the guy anything I should look very close at ?
thanks all.
chris

Keiths1976
08-14-2016, 11:47 PM
Well the 96 is a good engine with low mileage I would also be ready to have the heads taken to a shop since there aluminum and it overheated they tend to be not straight . Honestly that motor has a good track record make sure when you do this to pick up the revised Intake manifold gaskets as well there steel and head gaskets New head bolts as well . The drive train once you get this taken care of is very reliable . To over heat that motor couple things could have done it besides the intake gasket not really the dex cool . Since low mileage a faulty thermostat, water pump , and plus lack of maintenance . Keep in mind you should flush out the radiator, heater core and replace all the rubber hoses . This way fix right and correctly so no further problems . The water pump is cheap enough as well as the thermostat to do s whole package thing . Since you have a record and know how to fix and repair anything . Just don't skip anything cause it could run more issues . Especially a water pump failure as your there while the whole engine apart decide to flush out the dex cool and run the green stuff . I have a 95 Buick century same engine with 160k on it and been reliable over all . There are tons of people on here to with that engine also that have replaced the intake gaskets or head gaskets . I hope this helps there simple cars with greet records and reliable service I would talk him down a tad since you can always tell him the amount of work . That's up to you I hope Shes in mint shape for that low mileage . Have a good night my friend . My name is Keith as well :) look up in project forum for the old girl

Duke George V
08-15-2016, 04:48 AM
Please feel free to peruse my thread from a few years ago on this very subject. (http://www.a-body.net/forums/showthread.php?11563)

93centsp
08-15-2016, 01:02 PM
Before i pay the guy anything I should look very close at ?

In addition to the advice from Keith, I would be suspicious of engine bearing (all lubricated surfaces) wear due to coolant in the crankcase. If true, then budget for an engine rebuild or a replacement engine. Since modern engine oils do not mix with coolant to form a milkshake-like liquid, most car owners will not notice the coolant-in-crankcase problem and continue to use the car until consumption becomes excessive.

Also, budget for a new radiator and heater core. They have deteriorated due to acidic coolant exposure.



Im buying the car for only $700.00 it came out from Florida 2 years ago.

I agree with Keith; $700 is high for a known head gasket problem. I think the price should be around $300 to $400 for a perfect condition, running, driving, 56k mile wagon.If it doesn't run, then lower your offer because other components could require replacement.

Century7667
08-15-2016, 06:52 PM
Hey all, first time on here. I am buying a 1996 Buick century wagon with only 56k on it but the old antifreeze kill the head gaskets using dex-cool. Im buying the car for only $700.00 it came out from Florida 2 years ago. I've been watching every video on youtube on replacement on the 3100 engines. I collect and restore WWII vehicles which are a lot easier to work on. My knowledge is mechanical good but not super great. Before i pay the guy anything I should look very close at ?
thanks all.
chris

I've done this job twice both the '95 and '96 3100 Century cars (lots of pictures).

The '96: http://www.a-body.net/forums/showthread.php?33584-It-begins-LIM

The '95: www.a-body.net/forums/showthread.php?61345-LIM-Project-2!

A few observations:

1. These engines don't generally blow head gaskets unless they are overheated badly.

2. There are three types of L82 3100 engines you can find in a '96 Century: 1) Ones that will need their LIM gaskets replaced, 2) Ones that will need it replaced again because the original GM plastic gasket was used in the repair, or 3) Ones that use the steel / neoprene Fel-Pro Problem Solver gaskets. Don't bother doing the job unless you use the Fel-Pro.

3. If you replace the LIM bolts, there's a catalog error at GM and Felpro. IF you order the bolts for your application, the corner bolts will be too short. Just order for a later model 3100 ( LG8 ). ...or clean the old bolts and apply a good sealing thread locker.

4. The quick connect heater connection at the intake manifold is pretty cheesy, and some of the parts are discontinued. I just put in a standard nipple, and bypassed the throttle body heater. It's not really needed in the south anyway.

5. This job presents a good time to get the fuel injectors serviced along with the fuel pressure regulator. Multec-2 injectors don't usually fail, but they do tend to leak or clog after while. Removing the fuel rail isn't bad, just take pictures.

6. Dex-cool Voodoo. If it makes you feel good to replace the Dex-Cool with green, go for it. I left the Dex-Cool in my '96 and I run the green in my '95. I really don't think it makes much difference at all. I've got 173,000 on my S10 with Dexcool, all original. I really think the real issue with the 3100 engines and 3400 engines is the lousy gasket design. The fact that the 3500 gasket has double wall seals around the coolant ports, while running Dexcool seems to have fixed the issue. Still, I prefer green because it doesn't get confused with trans fluid. If you change, be sure to purge all the old, and don't mix the two. I also recommend running distilled water with whatever you use to prevent radiator deposits.

Ken T.

CenturyMan
08-16-2016, 07:30 PM
I will go there this sunday and hear it run , If its in a lot different condition than the pictures are I will think about it twice. In my head i do think $700.00 is still a bit step but giving the low miles are so low I will ride out and look at it. Duke George V , I have read your WHOLE thread about twice on what you went through. I am will be in no crazy rush in getting it done in like a weekend. I will have most of the parts ready when I do the job I think now I will compression test the engine before I start pulling the heads, but if i am that far into it I might just get the heads checked up anyway. At one time I owned an 1989 oldsmobile ceria wagon with the 2.5 liter and one day it took me 20 minutes to find the dam oil filter (guess that"s why they make manuals) for it. Man I loved that car had a really weird problem, when the weather dropped 40 degrees it would turn over but not start, but when it went over 50 degrees it would start. three mechanics couldn't find the answer so I sold it. SO I BEEN LONGING FOR ANOTHER WAGON FOR A LONG TIME.
THANK YOU ALL for your answering my thread, it really means a lot