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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, like the title says, I'm new here and inherited a 1997 S10 X-cab Pickup 4.3 Vortec with a leaky radiator. I have bought a new radiator but to be honest I haven't had a chance to look too closely at how much trouble it will be to remove and replace.

To add to the problem, I am a 6 hour drive away from the vehicle (belongs to me now but was my daughters PU and is at her house). What I need to know is what tools do I need to take along when I go to take care of this job?

Next question is the oil looks like "chocolate milk", from the coolant getting into the oil. How much damage do you think has been done to the engine if any? I don't think the engine ever got too hot. The local chevy dealer (where my daughter lives) told her the engine was ruined and wanted over $6000 to put a new one in. My feelings are change the radiator out, change the oil and filter (maybe a couple of time in short succession) and drive it. What is the opinion here?
 

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Sounds like you have a blown headgasket. COuld be OK if it wasn't driven much after it blew. I'd figure which head gasket blew and change the head gasket. If worse comes to worse it will knock and be ruined, then you will just be out time and money for a head gasket. And for the radiator does it have factory tranny cooler?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
jeffrm20 said:
Sounds like you have a blown headgasket. COuld be OK if it wasn't driven much after it blew. I'd figure which head gasket blew and change the head gasket. If worse comes to worse it will knock and be ruined, then you will just be out time and money for a head gasket. And for the radiator does it have factory tranny cooler?
At worst, that's what I figured as well. Yes it has the factory transmission cooler and engine oil cooler as well. The new radiator came with little brass fittings and a plastic "release" tool, are these for the EOC or the TOC? Also How much junk do I have to remove to remove the radiator? Oh and thanks for the response.
 

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yeah... that's STATIC
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take a basic ratcheting socket with you, and some pliers. it can be done in less than 20 minutes to change it. but you'll probably want to do a flush on the system as well

the coolant does sound like a head gasket... that sucks. no advice there
 

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just the plastic fan shroud is all you have to remove, if i remember correctly
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
rat said:
The coolant in the oil could also be from the intake manifold gaskets, annother common problem on these trucks.
Ok, how difficult a job are 1. Head gaskets and 2. Intake gaskets? I realize that when/if I do head gaskets I will be doing the intake as well.

Please note, I have been away from doing mechanic work since basically the middle 1970's.
 

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From here: http://www.s10forum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=221025
Start by removing the intake bonnet, and unplug all of the wires that go to egr, evap, tps, iac. The plugs are all different, so when you go to put them back, they only plug into their coresponding component. Somepeople like to label everything, and put bolts in bags, i usualy just remember where they went. Remove the throttle cables.

Drain the coolant, just pull the lower rad hose, then hose out your garage is what i usualy do.

Take off the distributor cap. Turn the engine over until the distributor is pointing at something easy to remember, like the little arrow pointing at the passenger side headlight. Remove the distributor, the hold down can be hard to get to, i usualy use a couple of 1/4" extentions, and a u-joint. Don't turn the engine after the distributor is removed. It would be wise to line up the harmonic ballancer line with the mark on the timing cover before the distributor is removed. EDIT: make sure you get the distributor back in the way it came out(it won't run otherwise), and that it seats fully, the bottom of the distributor drives the oil pump, so you have to make sure you get that lined up, otherwise the distributor might not seat fully(you will know it).

Now, remove the coolant line for the heater core, the bypass, and the return line to the radiator.

Unbolt the a/c compressor, but do NOT remove the lines from it. I usualy let it hang down on the bumper with a rag under it to keep the paint from scratching. Now the bracket that you unbolted the a/c compressor must be pulled forward a couple inches. There are a couple hard to see bolts at the bottom of the bracket, and one that goes into the drivers side of the block.

Next remove the fuel lines. I usualy take them off of the injecotor pod, and not at the fittings at the back of the engine bay, it usualy takes some musle to get them to go back in.

Now remove the 8 bolts that bolt the manifold into the heads. The manifold will lift out of the engine bay.

Clean the gasket surfaces. You only need the lower intake manifold gasket set. Get some sensor safe rtv sealant, like permatex ultra blue. The rtv goes at the back and front of the block. The new gaskets will have tabs on them to hold them in the right spot on the head.

Instalation is the reverse of removal. Be careful not to mess up your rtv bead when you put the manifold back.

Tools/supply's needed:
Torque wrench
metric and standard socket set with a few extentions
torx set for the distributor cap
baisic hand tools
i use ultra blue rtv usualy
lower intake manifold gasket set
Torque specs, and tightening sequence for intake manifold bolts
coolant
oil(change your oil when you get it back together, some coolant will leak into the oil)


Head gaskets will require removing the exhaust manifolds, rockers, pushrods, and heads. And you will want to check the heads for streightness, and replace the bolts. You are going to want ot buy a service manual for torque specs probably as well. I have the haynes, but i think the chiltons is more specific to the '96 and up stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Rat, basically it doesn't sound drastically different from the old 327's I used to mess with. As a matter of fact isn't the 4.3 just a small block shortened by the front two cylinders?

Would you be concerned about the bearings? When I asked the dealer about just replacing the head gaskets, their big deal was the main and rod bearings. I just can't believe that the antifreeze would do that much damage to those in such a short period of time.
 

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You are correct, the 4.3 is very simmaler to a sbc. There are some differences, but nothing you shouldn't be able to figure out if you already have experience with sbc's. I think they are easier than the old ones, don't have to set timing with a light, and don't have to adjust rockers, everything kind of bolts together and plugs in.

Water is terible for the bearings. Oil floats on water, and the pickup for the pump is at the bottom of the pan, meaning as soon as that coolant lifts the oil over the pickup you are pumping coolant to lubricate your motor.

I would consider draining the coolant, changing the oil, and starting it for a couple of minutes without coolant(not long at all though, don't want to overheat)before i started working on it. Just to see if it is making any obvious noises.

Here is a site with various bearing damage photo's: http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/bearingwear/bearingwearanalysis.htm
 

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be carefull not to let the antfreeze(dexcool, the red stuff) set in the open air too long, it gets highly corrosive.
 

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i dont know if anyone has said yet but if it is the head gasket then use a straight edge and use a feeler gauge to check for warp. i think the most should be is .05 at the most guys correct me if im wrong. and also if it is warped you got to have a machine shop shave the block to make it good again
 

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gpwrastler said:
i dont know if anyone has said yet but if it is the head gasket then use a straight edge and use a feeler gauge to check for warp. i think the most should be is .05 at the most guys correct me if im wrong. and also if it is warped you got to have a machine shop shave the block to make it good again
I'd check the head for warp, and have that machined if it is warped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the help/suggestions. I will let you know how it all turns out. I am not going to have a chance to do anything with it until the end of this month (29th 30th). And with what I have heard here I think that I will probably just tow it back here and do the work here at home rather than try to do it up there where I won't have all my tools.
 
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