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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of my recent purchases is an '01 2-door Blazer. Guy I bought it from had bought it from another fellow about 60 miles away. At some point, the tailpipe was cutout and missing from right at the merge point in the Y-pipe all the way past the cat and nearly to the muffler. This guy tried to drive it home in this condition but at some point it started missing badly and getting hot. They finally towed it the rest of the way.
Hoping it had just run rich and just needed plugs cleaned, etc., I decided to pull the plugs and use my borescope to check out the cylinders. Right out of the gate, #1 showed some bad vertical scratches and I eventually found a gap in the top of the piston where I'm guessing the ring ends butted and it popped the top of the piston off right at that point. No need to even look any further, it's junk.
So...since the O2 sensor for the passenger bank was only about 3" upstream from the end of the exhaust, I'm assuming it richened everything to the point where it got too hot and took itself out.
Too bad, if he'd just towed it the whole way and replaced the damaged Y-pipe and cat, it would still be on the road. 161K miles, way too soon for one to die.
What I take from this is don't drive one with missing exhaust - like where someone stole the catalytic converter - or you take a chance of grenading it. At least install a cheater pipe if you have to drive it.
 

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Usually running lean is what creates heat in the cylinders. A lean mixture is approaching an explosion instead of a burn and generates too much heat.
Doesn't really matter. Your point is that driving with an exposed O2 sensor is going to cause something bad to happen. Which I agree fully with.
 
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Enough to cause an engine failure though? I mean, I've been around these trucks a long time. I've seen all kinds of cobbled together crap with/without exhaust systems, working or even present o2 sensors just to name a couple things. A lot of them still lived and/or are still living.
 

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Good point. Before the 3rd guy got it, when the 2nd guy bought it from the first guy who knows what condition the engine was in.
When looking at used engines I try not to buy ones that someone is selling that they bought for a project, but then changed their mind. He never heard it run and the guy he bought it from may not have either. As Salty mentions one of those $10 cell phone bore scopes can be very useful.
Just need to use it before the purchase.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The guy claimed it ran just find when they started it and began the drive home. Claimed. I've seen headers glow bright orange from running too rich but as ODS says, that's typically from running lean...
I think that the guy continued to drive it after it spit out all the coolant and just flat cooked it to death. I'm going to pull this engine in a few weeks, I'll pull the heads and see what the rest of the guts look like.
Fine by me, I wasn't counting on using the engine and looked at as a bonus if it turned out OK. It's getting a stroker that my son built a few years ago in high school. I have headers and mounts and a Champion radiator, will start the swap project as soon as I collect the rest.

We're 2-for-2 on engines pulled from the local wrecking yard. I look for cars that look like they belonged to middle aged women. They take care of stuff better than youngsters, IMHO. Good paint and interior from being parked in the garage, sometimes find maintenance records in the glove box. Taking the time to pull one valve cover can pay huge dividends since this is one place that sludge tends to build up. If they took good care of the rest of the car, chances are good that they did the same to the engine.
As opposed to a 1-ton I bought a couple of years ago. Should say rescued from an idiot that thought it was cool to rev it up and drop the 4L80E in gear. That's the first busted transmission case I had seen in years. Thank goodness the dumbass only owned the truck for a month, he'd have finished it off in another couple of weeks. I couldn't pass up the $800 deal for a '98 with 454 and 4L80E. It's a good runner now and will pull anything I hook it to...including the trailer I use to drag more and more S10's home...
 
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I'd bet the engine already had problems and they cut the cat off to sell it or to see if it would fix the rough running issue, like mo said, i've seen and heard of so many haggard s10's and blazers with cut off exhaust and screwed up leaky exhaust and the engine didn't fail because of it.
 
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