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Old 10-03-2017, 01:22 PM   #1
lord_varon
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2008 VUE 3.6L
Default 3.6 education

Hey all,
I have been doing some digging, and maintenance on my 08 Equinox with the 3.6 in it. I learned many things about it, including a potential reason for the oil loss which leads to timing chain issues.
There is no real PCV valve on these engines. On the front bank there is an open fitting on the drivers side end of the valve cover and a tube that leads to just behind the MAF/MAS, whatever, sensor on the air inlet and intake. On the back bank is a small nipple looking thing with one small, maybe 1/16" opening on the top, and two slightly smaller openings on the bottom, which is stuck in the top of the valve cover. There is a tube that runs from this little nipple fitting to the very top of the intake. So the front bank breathes fairly easily, and the back, which is a major vacuum line for air to be drawn into the crankcase, clogs easily, which means the engine starts drawing crankcase air from wherever it can.... including through the rings.... When I pulled my back fitting out it, and its' hose were so caked with oil sludge, it was disgusting. I think I used most of a can of carb cleaner to get all the gunk out of the fitting and clean out the tube. I also drained about a quart of oil out, and then put back in a quart of engine flush. An oil change had just been done to the car less than a 1000 miles ago at the dealer where I got it... the oil at that time was nice and clean. The initial quart I drained was fairly dark. After running the engine for about 10 minutes with the engine flush in it, I drained all the oil.... and it was NASTY!!!! So, yeah... this thing wasn't as maintained as I thought. No wonder it is having issues.
I am sure that Satlite440 can explain this better, but I would lay odds that this is probably the main reason these engines have issues. I have seen a couple of videos on Youtube where folks put an actual PCV valve in the back bank, in place of the nipple fitting. I will probably do this when I get the timing chain replaced in the next few weeks. It just sounds like as simple solution to a potentially major problem.

As a side note.... did you know that the T-65 trans has a small drain plug on it as well as a dip stick??? The dip stick is located under the battery.... If you move the one air condtioning line away from the battery box, you can reach your hand down there and unscrew the cap and pull it, and the dip stick, out. The drain plug is a little 7/16" / 10 milimeter bolt sticking down about 4" back from the front of the trans, and about an 1" in from the drivers' side of the trans.
I found on several other forums where people are basically doing drain and fills on their fluid about every 30k miles. This actually sounds like a solid idea, combined with adding an extra trans cooler to help keep the heat down in the trans fluid and save the trans.... I can see myself doing that also. Anything to get/keep this little beast alive, behaving properly, and running well for a few years.

I hope that this helps.


John

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07 Vue V6 AWD LOADED!!! aka SUPER CRITTER!!! Sadly gone, and definitely missed.
08 Equinox Sport 3.6 6 spd auto, AWD, even more loaded. And the jury is still out on it.

Last edited by lord_varon; 10-03-2017 at 01:27 PM..

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Old 10-03-2017, 03:10 PM   #2
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Default Re: 3.6 education

John,
I am about to perform the mod to the rear bank breather on my 3.6L.
Drill out the top hole to 7/64" and two little holes on bottom to 5/64".

I have done the trans drain and fill. Btw, the trans is generally referred to as the 6T70. Be careful with the installation torque of the small drain plug on the trans. It is a 'tapered' thread so do NOT over torque when reinstalling this threaded drain plug.

I am on the run but in next couple of days will post some good videos and links if you want to pull the breather off the rear valve cover and open up the holes to reflect the flowrate of the current breather made today. That breather tube is not available separately so you just can't go out and buy a late model one that is more opened up....it comes with the valve cover. GM actually revised the valve cover design for better flow through this breather on later model 3.6L's and you are quite right about this bottleneck causing oil to be sucked into the throttle body rubber boot through the breather in the front valve cover once it becomes plugged aggravated by the undersized holes.

Last edited by gm7; 10-03-2017 at 03:15 PM..

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Old 10-03-2017, 10:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: 3.6 education

actuly as designed the bank 2 next to radiator on sidewinders and drivers side on longitudal mout. is the fresh air intake for the pcv system..the bank 1 rear cover has the fixed orifice pcv system.. I do not recommend modifying this ..gm's fix on non sidi engines was a larger orifice.sidi gen 2's have the 2 small orifices on the inside and 1 hole on the top.the fix for the gen 2's was a desighn change on the cover gasket that blocks off oil splash completely.. if the moter has been run till the oil rings carbon up and stick creating the oil consumption problem.enlarging the pcv orifice will only increase the consumption as blowby will take the path of least restance ie the fresh air intake.this is why the duct between the airfilter box and throttle body puddles with oil in it...

as a semi cheap hailmary ,some friends who had 1.let me try this

1st ran reg 6 qts oil,1/2 can of marvel mystry oil,1 qt atf...run 1 week
2nd drove it 20 miles,pulled all plugs.used 2 bottles of gm top end engine cleaner filled all cyc to top let soak for 2 hrs.sucked out the left over cleaner&changed out oil,changed out old ash fouled plugs with new. clear pcv ports and updated gasket,fresh oil plus a qt of atf again new air filter

add a 50/50 mix oil/atf for top off for the next 2 oil changes..brought it back down to the 1 qt per 2000 miles..








AS FOR ANYONE who is contemplating a after market trans cooler..don't..the oem trans lines are a large diameter.. like 3/8.. all the a/m cooler kits I have seen installed(mostly the aledged universal fit's em all ones) have a smaller line diaminter id and creates a restriction. so normal stock flow rate for qem lines is 2.4 to 3.2 gpm between 88 to 115 degrees ferenhight..ones I tested with a cooler were say .9 to 1.5gpm..


the reason gm never put an option for an additional aux trans cooler was the r/v platform's trans cooler system was designed from the start for awd plus towing the rated capacity trailer that's why the gpm is so high.. most k trucks (baring the duramax/Allison combination) are in the 1.0 to 1.9 gpm with and aux cooler at that..

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Old 10-04-2017, 05:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: 3.6 education

satlite440,
Thanks for your input on this issue.

Can you clarify something please? I do not have the sidi (direct injected) motor in my Vue as you know. As you wrote, GM's fix for the non sidi motor was to increase orifice size on the rear cyl bank fixed orifice breather on later models. On the '09 I have the orifices are quite tiny and prone to blockage. I am about to pull mine apart to check on the status of this breather. I don't have the ring sticking/blow by oil consumption issue on my healthy 3.6L non direct injected motor with 40K miles.

My understanding is... reading too much on this subject from people that understand this less than you do is....the rear bank breather small orifice size on engines like mine...plugged or semi plugged or not....this impedes/restricts air flow resistance on the rear cylinder bank. This blockage or at least resistance on the rear bank, increases blow-by on the front bank. The front bank is the blow-by stream drawn into the throttle body rubber boot...because the front cyl bank valve cover breather which doesn't require modification...this breather connects directly to the throttle body rubber duct which sucks oil into the intake and causes oil pooling in this rubber duct. This maybe wrong, but my understanding.

Because you noted the 'fix' on later non sidi motors was to increase orifice size...please see following link for pictures....for a healthy motor like mine, wouldn't it be advised to open the orifices on the rear bank breather to 7/64" for top hole and 5/64" for two small holes in bottom of the breather to allow the rear bank to flow better like it was changed in later model years?

Here is a link that discusses the mod:

http://www.moderncamaro.com/forum/v6...mportance.html


Thank you for any further thoughts you have on it as I always listen very carefully to your insightful advice...

Last edited by gm7; 10-04-2017 at 05:29 AM..

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Old 10-04-2017, 10:03 AM   #5
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Default Re: 3.6 education

my 1t choice would be buy the updated cover&gasket.. or enlarge the inner pair of holes..not the outer1. the reason for this is you can get a p0171&p0174 lean codes a this is considered unmetered air as it is after the mass/maf sensor. and these newer engines run off a predicted intake model for running several diagnostic's..

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Old 10-04-2017, 10:47 AM   #6
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Default Re: 3.6 education

Wow. Didn't know opening up the firewall side bank outer and inner breather holes would throw a lean code. Yikes!! Thanks so much for saving me this head ache.

So...in lieu of buying the new valve covers with redesigned crankcase ventilation breathers which I have seen pictures of on line that I don't want to spring for ....sounds like I can fractionally open up the two almost pin hole breather bottom holes to flow a hint more air without throwing a code. I am going to pull that breather this afternoon. Just started pulling it apart to clean the throttle body and replace the air filter. Current air filter looks nice and clean at 10K miles but since these motors are sensitive to clogged filters, I'm gonna change the filter anyway. I will report if there appears to be any blockage of my rear bank breather holes and if there is any appreciable oil accumulation at the breather inlet to the large diameter rubber throttle body duct...and also how dirty the throttle body is...etc.

Thanks again!

Last edited by gm7; 10-04-2017 at 10:56 AM..

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Old 10-04-2017, 04:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: 3.6 education

Update:
This afternoon, I pulled it apart which was a very small tear up. All I really did was pull the engine cover, pull the airbox lid, airbox rubber duct to the throttle body...cleaned the drive by wire throttle body...and even washed the motor off because I am anal and like a clean engine compartment.
Engine miles: 40.3K

OK...how did everything look? About as good as I could ever expect honestly.
Tip: Best way to remove the airbox lid which is 4 screws is to remove the airbox to throttle body rubber duct 'first'. Then you have easy access to the four screws in the corner of the airbox lid.

Condition of the throttle body? Excellent. About as clean a throttle body I have seen on a car with 40K. I am the original owner and have changed the oil in 3-5K intervals. Any deposits wiped right out by pushing open the butterfly plate and spraying throttle body cleaner on a old micro fiber cloth to keep lint out of there. Inside of TB sparkles now like new.

I decided to change my air filter proactively with only 10K on it because I live in Florida and a lot of dust and light sand in the air...I live near the gulf coast.

Throttle body rubber duct interior: Virtually clean and devoid of oil pooling commonly reported on these engines. Only trace of oil was where the front cylinder bank breather tube connects to the rubber duct. There was some spotting of oil in this area which is partitioned off from the major inside diameter and I presume for this reason...because there is technically no PCV valve on this engine. I wiped that small amount out with carb cleaner on a rag.

Last thing and more good news. Please see pics of the fixed orifice breather on the rear cylinder bank valve cover located on the driver side end of the cover. Easy to extract. Push the small lever on the side of the rubber hose base connector grommet 'away' from the connector and lightly pull and it pops right off.
To extract the breather from the cover, use a pair of regular vice grips with spring tension set to 'very light' so you don't crush the breather metal wall. Work it out by pull away from the cover with the left hand on the nose of the vice grip pliers as you rotated the pliers with the right hand. Comes right out as others have reported.

You can see how it looks after I wiped if off. Pretty apparent it is not clogged as others can be seen on the web. I took a very fine small diameter round file and lightly deburred the edges of the breather holes. I did not increase any of the hole sizes for two reasons:
a. The engine runs perfectly and shows no signs of oil consumption or PCV blockage.
b. I always listen carefully to satlite440 because he really knows what he's talking about and I know because I know more than a little about cars.

So, that's my update. Will say lastly, because there are many criticism's of on the web relative to the 3.6L and my personal opinion it is largely from owners that have bought these cars second or third hand when oil has not been changed vigilantly and levels have depleted starving the engine. The engine in my particular car...an '09 Redline...and because I am a car guy and have owned countless cars from Corvette's to BMW's to Porsches to VW's and a bunch of domestics in between...so I have broad ownership experience and have always done most of my own wrenching....the motor on this car is one of the very best I have ever owned. I put it in the 'freakishly good' category. Those around the industry know that engines are like playing the lottery. Some are average...some are bad and every once in a while you get one that runs better than it should. When I step on the gas, in first gear, I have to watch for tire slip. This thing runs better than it should.

Thanks to all and particular thanks to satelite440.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Saturn Vue Breather Pic 1.jpg (42.5 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg Saturn Vue Breather Pic 2.jpg (45.7 KB, 11 views)

Last edited by gm7; 10-04-2017 at 04:16 PM..

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Old 10-05-2017, 10:16 AM   #8
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2008 VUE 3.6L
Default Re: 3.6 education

GM7,
It sounds like your meticulous attention to detail and care of your engine is going to keep it, and you, happy for a while. I wish mine had been that well taken care of. I have done two oil changes in the past two days on mine, with an engine flush used both times. The first time it was black as coal and nasty after only about 500 miles. I ran the motor for about 5 minutes with the flush in it. I looked at the bottom of my oil drain pan yesterday, after dumping it into a couple of milk jugs, and saw a lot of shiny specks in the bottom of it, and even a few larger pieces. I cleaned the pan out very well, drained about a quart of oil, the brand new stuff with only about 30 miles on it was rather dark, and put in a quart of motor flush.. I then ran it, including some low speed driving, for about 20 minutes. Got home, jacked up the nose and drained the oil and pulled the filter. Put on new filter, filled it with fresh oil, both times Quaker State Ultimate Durability full synthetic, and let it run for a few minutes. Sounded fine. Drained the oil catch pan and found multiple specks of metal shavings and even some flakes of carbon. The oil was black and really nasty also. I am not going to do another flush on it, just get the timing chains replaced and keep it going until the spring and probably trade it in. I will be replacing the air filter when I have the chains done.

John.

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08 Equinox Sport 3.6 6 spd auto, AWD, even more loaded. And the jury is still out on it.

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Old 10-05-2017, 11:17 AM   #9
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Default Re: 3.6 education

Quote:
Originally Posted by lord_varon View Post
GM7,
It sounds like your meticulous attention to detail and care of your engine is going to keep it, and you, happy for a while. I wish mine had been that well taken care of. I have done two oil changes in the past two days on mine, with an engine flush used both times. The first time it was black as coal and nasty after only about 500 miles. I ran the motor for about 5 minutes with the flush in it. I looked at the bottom of my oil drain pan yesterday, after dumping it into a couple of milk jugs, and saw a lot of shiny specks in the bottom of it, and even a few larger pieces. I cleaned the pan out very well, drained about a quart of oil, the brand new stuff with only about 30 miles on it was rather dark, and put in a quart of motor flush.. I then ran it, including some low speed driving, for about 20 minutes. Got home, jacked up the nose and drained the oil and pulled the filter. Put on new filter, filled it with fresh oil, both times Quaker State Ultimate Durability full synthetic, and let it run for a few minutes. Sounded fine. Drained the oil catch pan and found multiple specks of metal shavings and even some flakes of carbon. The oil was black and really nasty also. I am not going to do another flush on it, just get the timing chains replaced and keep it going until the spring and probably trade it in. I will be replacing the air filter when I have the chains done.

John.
I think satlite440 articulated the issue quite well about the oil consumption and subsequent result on the 3.6L motors...sidi or not. Let's say, your engine started life as a motor that used a bit of oil...perhaps aggravated by poor break in. Engines come from the factory with different clearances...a statistical distribution...and some do use a bit of oil but can still be run to 200K miles without taking them apart. Before the computer algorithm change to increase oil change interval frequencies, many owners just drove the wheels off between infrequent changes...and as discussed, didn't check the oil level during this time. So far too many engines and likely yours is in this mix ran low on oil. It could be argued that the particular architecture of this engine needs a full oil level for best longevity perhaps even more than other engines because of its sump design. No doubt timing chain issues are a bellwether of oil neglect...especially on non sidi motors that have more robust chains. So basically a perfect storm. Truthfully, even if your engine was on the high end of oil ring clearance off the assembly line, it didn't have to end up as you describe. Some higher clearance motors create more hp as satlite440 explained and run the best even though they use a little bit of oil. Bottom line is oil level needs to be maintained.

A wise man once wrote about oil color and smell. If oil grows dark with mileage it is becoming contaminated. Dark oil is dirty oil. Dirty oil...that is low is not only more abrasive but low oil level also increases temperature and can coke an engine making marginal oil consumption from the factory into a trashed motor. I always make a point to do two things to the cars and motorcycles I have owned and have built my share of modified rides. Independent of mileage, when oil starts to turn dark, I get it out of the engine. Btw, same for all fluids...trans, and contaminated engine coolant due to combustion which ruins head gaskets and even brake fluid and periodically change power steering fluid as well. I always keep the oil level up and yes some even high end cars use more oil than others in my experience and I have owned newer BMW's that even spec'ed synthetic oil that I have run in many cars and motorcycles. I even had a little SL2 Saturn 3 door coupe 5 speed that I loved as much as a 3 series BMW...that used a bit of oil. But man did that little 4 banger sound and run good until a large deer ended its life prematurely on the freeway. I really liked that car. Doesn't matter if it wasn't a fancy high end car. The design was pure.

I can tell by your posts that you know cars John and the vast majority of the driving public doesn't and the motor in your car was clearly abused. With a looming trans issue and a motor shedding metal into the bottom of the pan, I personally would trade the car before I changed the timing chains. Find yourself a nice car where you can assess maintenance level...by accessing dealership records...or a personal maintenance log from an owner. I for example always change my own oil like you probably do to which gives me an opportunity to check out the undercarriage, steering...and leaks as well. Plus, I don't want some quick change oil guy cross threading my filter or putting it on too tight to get it off.

Best of luck.

Last edited by gm7; 10-05-2017 at 11:24 AM..

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Old 10-07-2017, 06:07 AM   #10
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Default Re: 3.6 education

Now for a little fun because conversation has died down a bit. We are all car guys here and what makes this forum such a good one. Plus, we like Saturn's because we don't have our heads up our @$$'s because a Saturn isn't a Lexus or a BMW. I have owned many of the cars I have wanted to own short of exotics I could never afford and didn't want to deal with the complexity for limited value added. This applies to BMW's which have moved more away from their more humble origins.

So below are some pics. First pic of an engine from my departed 1990 BMW735il...a car considered in its day to the premier sports sedan in the world. The car was basically a masterpiece even with its slight complexity. My '09 Saturn Vue also shown is a more complicated car FWIW. I bought the car from a colleague...a fellow engineer who worked in the auto industry...and the car like many high end cars had not been taken car of very good. I restored it close to showroom condition and modified it...I lowered it, modified the steering for more effort...did countless small things to it. It didn't need a lot.
John, pic shown is of the cylinders with 142K miles on it. All the cross hatching was still there. The M30 big size which is wonderful and primitive 2 valve motor can routinely go to 300-400K miles without taking the bottom end apart. This is with proper oil changes which this car had throughout its life...I ran both synthetic and regular dino oil depending on what I felt like and had on hand. But, the big six...a massive engine...are known to lose their head gasket every 125-150K and why I took the head off. Valves were still in nice shape and only need a light lap. This car at 100mph felt like most cars at 50. So good and the engine was so strong for a 2 valve motor in particular....this design predating BMW VANOS which is a PITA for many owners to this day because of its fragility and complication. After restoring the car and owning and loving it for a couple of years, I sold it to a collector who flew in from Nevada to drive it home. Wouldn't you know he got a speeding ticket going back. The car just wanted to run and what it was built for.

And then on the other end of the car spectrum. My beloved 2001 Saturn SC2 3 door coupe 5 speed. One of the favorite cars I have owned. It was jewel and what attracted me to Saturns to begin with. I only performed light mods to the car because it didn't need much. I installed a short shifter and relocated the driver seat back for my long legs and few other small things. The DOHC engine was a gem. It reminded me of some of the British sportscars I owned as a kid...only this car was more refined...but not too refined like a BMW which sometimes takes all the fun out of it btw and this is lost on many that don't know cars.

Lastly, a pic of my SC2 after a deer took it out at 70mph on I-94 over the holiday coming home after being out of state on business. I bought my Vue Redline because of that crash.

So...a bit of fun since we got into things like timing chains, PCV...we have talked about the trans issue...etc...what car guys do....we think about this stuff and of course the average person on the street never does.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg e32.jpg (111.5 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg vue.jpg (186.2 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg Saturn SC2.jpg (200.7 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg Saturn Deer Pic.jpg (205.1 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg M30PistonTopResize.jpg (180.1 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg M30FullView.jpg (95.1 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg E-32 M30 Big Six Cyl Head Rebuild.jpg (124.6 KB, 5 views)

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Old 10-07-2017, 11:02 AM   #11
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2008 VUE 3.6L
Default Re: 3.6 education

GM7,
Yeah, I am a bit of a car guy. I will get back to you on your pics in a minute... But I will say that the BMW 735iL is/was a great car..... and something that just wanted to GO!!! I always loved those cars.
Back on the 3.6 topic for a minute, and my issues. Due to the fact that I just got the car, with the matching loan, I need to get a year or so out of it before I can hope to get close to breaking even on the trade in value. So I am looking for a place that is inexpensive, not cheap, to do the chains and tensioners. I am going to baby the trans if possible, and pray for the best.... or a deer strike... which in my area is a definite possibility. I will say this though.... the handling on this Equinox is very good compared to my 07 Vue, but of course this is the Sport model that sits lower, and has the suspension designed for it. On my Vue, besides the naturally taller ride due to the Base suspension, I had tires that were almost 1 1/2" taller, but a stiffer sidewall, a 108 I think. So the Vue sat about 2"-3" taller than the Equinox, and the handling was naturally not as good.... but still not bad overall. And with those big tires it looked REALLY good!!! Kinda tough, but not over bearing.... just capable... and more than once in the winter I would come up my driveway with all 4 tires flailing as I was digging through snow, ice, or mud.... or any combination of the three.
One thing I have noticed about the 3.6 compared to the Honda 3.5.... you have to wind up the 3.6 to get it going, even when pulled back a gear or two.... the Honda engine just seemed to have a broader and flatter torque band, plus a greater willingness to downshift to get it into the torque band. Obviously I really haven't had a chance to play/beat on, the Nox, but once I get it straight, I am going to do some mild flailing on it to see how it does. Something else that is surprising to me, other than the more heavily bolstered front seats and the in-dash Nav system.... the Vue had the better designed interior. The center console in my Nox is silly as it is practically nonexistent, the emergency brake handle runs into the center arm rest, the only power plug is on the floorboards, there is one decent cupholder on the floorboard and a pair of silly plastic rings that pull forward from the center arm rest.... getting even more of the way of the E-brake. Depending on how long I keep the car, I think I am going to replace the entire center console with an 06-07 Vue one. In the back, the Nox rear seats fold down... but have 3" lip up over them so you can't really fit anything big back in the cargo area.... and there are none of the little storage cubbies between the rear wheel wells and the back hatch... I used to have the ones in my Vue filled with little trash cans and they were filled with tools and spare fluids. The Vue also had a trailer package on it, and I did a little light towing, nothing over 1500 lbs I am sure, and it handled it fine.... This lower sitting Nox.... I wouldn't dream of towing.... but again... that is the Sport package at play....
On a different subject... I am a fan of the old GM H-body... the Monza, Skyhawk, Starfire, and Sunbird.... I used to have a 78 Skyhawk that I had mildly tweaked, a slightly cammed 3.8 Buick 6, mild headers and a Buick 4.1 aluminum 4 barrel intake. I also had a 200/r4 in it with 3.23 limited slip rear gears. That was a fun little car.... If I could get and build another one, I would go a similar route, but get the 3800 Series II from a 97-99 F-body as they were a RWD engine. Get it mounted in, with the full electronics, and then slide an under the hood supercharger on it. I am estimating 300 H.P. and 350 Lbs/ft of torque... in drive it everyday trim... Give it polygraphite suspension and gas shocks with 16" rims all the way around.... It would go just fine...

John

...
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07 Vue V6 AWD LOADED!!! aka SUPER CRITTER!!! Sadly gone, and definitely missed.
08 Equinox Sport 3.6 6 spd auto, AWD, even more loaded. And the jury is still out on it.

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Old 10-07-2017, 12:52 PM   #12
gm7
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Default Re: 3.6 education

Sounds good John...understand. Hey, if you have the sport package in your Equinox which is likely very similar to the suspension in the Redline...my Vue has the lowered sport suspension and 18" wheels with short sidewall tires and ground effects etc...you may want to take the car on as a project and rebuild the motor and put a wave plate kit in the trans. If you like the car, it maybe worth the investment. Reason I keep my Vue is I just really like it and always have. It has been a truly great car with virtually no issues...or none worth mentioning I haven't been able to resolve.

You can certainly do the timing chains with the engine in the car as others have. Just give yourself a week to do it...a little at a time. Pace yourself and you will get it done.

As to different model cars, I have owned too many and remember the Monza even when they put a V8 it in. The 3.8 Buick motor supercharged is just a great motor and runs very strong. I had two late model Riviera's with that motor and both ran very strong and I loved to race different cars in spite of the mass of the Riveria it always put up a good fight. I even remember racing a guy at work in BMW Z3 with my Riv and pulling him...but it was close. He would have gotten me in the corners tho.

I owned a diamond white one and a black one...back to back model years...pic of the black one:

Be sure to share what you decide with your car. Just parts, labor and time.
Good luck.
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Old 10-07-2017, 01:06 PM   #13
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Default Re: 3.6 education

Another pic of my Vue on a farm in Michigan.
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Old 10-07-2017, 05:14 PM   #14
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Default Re: 3.6 education

And the iconic muscle car I never owned...a 69 Z-28 solid lifter 302 with Muncie 4 speed. I grew up building muscle cars and my dad worked at Chevy Engineering during what some consider the muscle car hay day. Very few cars create the sound of this car at full song with its symphony of solid lifters and small block that would rev to 8K RPM. A giant killer.

Homage to my dad for his great love of cars and his racer's heart. When I was a kid he brought them all home from work and after dinner we would take them out and run the wheels off of them:
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:05 PM   #15
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Default Re: 3.6 education

GM7,
I had a '98 Grand Prix GTP two door coupe with the 3800 Series II Supercharged engine under the hood, and that thing was a little MONSTER!!! I remember reading the Motor Trend article from late '95 or early '96 when they visited Pontiacs test facility where they got to test drive a pre-production test mule of the '97 Grand Prixs.... Some of the body panels were different, but most of the rest of the car was there. The car had the Supercharged 3800 in it and was pushing something like 320 Hp and 375-390 Lbs/torque. The Motor Trend writers asked the Pontiac guys if the engine would produce that kind of power when it hit the show rooms. The Pontiac guys said, 'No unfortunately. And the engine is not the problem. That engine has over 300K miles of sheer abuse put on it... it is untouched and we can't break it.... but we are on the 4th transmission.' Apparently there was no way to make a FWD trans that could handle the torque and abuse that the engine was capable of producing without breaking. If memory serves, the Pontiac guys stated that they had just torn down the engine to see what it looked like inside... and it still looked brand new.. despite producing those huge numbers and 300K miles of being pounded silly to see what it could take. That article was what caused me to get my Grand Prix. And I will never regret it. I could turn off the traction control and just melt the front tires at a traffic light.... And at 70 mph on the highway the engine was ticking over at 1800 rpm and I got 30 mpg.... but if I nailed it it would double downshift and jump right to about 3500-3800 rpm, which was right at max torque.... You would be buried in the back seat and that car would just keep pulling right up until it hit the speed limiter at 125 mph.... I often wondered what it would max out at if you pulled that limiter......
Another fun car that I grew up around was my oldest brothers' 1968 Pontiac Firebird, he actually had two them, one after the other. The first one went through several engines before he got his hands on a 428 block, had it bored to the 455 specs, and dropped a perfectly setup tri-power intake on it. It was backed by a built turbo 400 trans and upper 3 ratio posi rear gears. A few years later, the entire driveline was dropped into the second car, and by then I was driving. That thing was a BEAST!!! Sit and idle in traffic... cruise down the highway... never an issue, and get 14-18 mpg. Stand on it and up up those outer two carbs... and it would let out an unearthly roar and just bury you in the trunk. MY GOD would it launch!!! No matter what the speed was before you stood on the gas. That is kinda what I am looking at on the beefed up Skyhawk issue with my supercharged 6 idea.
On keeping the Equinox... that is up for debate, even if I fix it. My main thing is, despite the AWD, I need a little more ground clearance. My driveway is up hill, dirt, rutted, and not fun. I think that with the winter weather that it will have troubles due to ground clearance as much as anything.
I did come up with an interesting idea on getting my car fixed though. I have yet to find a garage that will touch it without charging me an arm and a leg. I know that the main concern of going through the side/top is smearing the rtv sealant and having an oil leak. I am wondering though.... what if I make an old school paper/cork/whatever gasket, put a very thin layer of rtv on both sides of the gasket, and go that way. Little to no chance of smearing the rtv, and the gasket can do the rest of the work. This way, I could do the work, over time, myself, and save a butt ton of money. I am fairly certain that it is otherwise in my skill set, as long as no specialty tools are needed. I do need to check out those videos you posted.
Well, I need to PM Satlite and see what he says on the gasket idea. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

John

...
aka
Lord_Varon
07 Vue V6 AWD LOADED!!! aka SUPER CRITTER!!! Sadly gone, and definitely missed.
08 Equinox Sport 3.6 6 spd auto, AWD, even more loaded. And the jury is still out on it.

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Old 10-14-2017, 05:58 AM   #16
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Default Re: 3.6 education

I remember the GTP. We could go on and on as fellow car guys. The 3800 Buick motor has been hot-rodded as you know for many years...great platform and of course most famous is turbo form...the Grand National. I had 3 Grand Prixes beginning with the first body redesign in '88 when it won car of the year...and then a 1990 and 1992. In '88 it had the 2.8L motor and had more bark than bite...a loudish exhaust and made a lot of noise. but didn't go very fast. Most GP's as you know in subsequent years had the normally aspirated 3.1L 60 degree V6...the GM workhorse motor which was utterly reliable but didn't have nearly the poke of the 3800. Still liked those cars but the supercharged 3800 car you owned took the GP to another level which was a bit lighter than the boat bodied Riv's I owned which had the ride of a big Cadillac. Great story you told about the HP of the motor and how the trans couldn't take too much power. Makes sense. I am sure you remember some owners turning up the wick on their 3800 by putting a bigger pully on the supercharger and overdriving it. Those cars ran great as you say. They just flat pulled when the blower kicked in. I love blown cars...just hate the longevity of running boost and what it does to engine life.

Will give you my 2 cents on installing the timing chains on the Equinox. I strongly encourage you not to go off the reservation and make your own gasket or do anything extraordinary. I believe with care, you can install factory gaskets properly even with limited clearance to the body. You may want to check installation procedure for using RTV versus dry installation...what the spec calls for.

What I would do personally, is try to get ahold of the people that have created the youtube videos...the one guy that did the Arcadia was particularly knowledgable...his video on 'gottchas' is very informative. Ask him what he did for putting it back together in the tight spots. He knew what he was doing. I would try to adhere as close as possible to factory procedure for all gaskets...whether they call for RTV or installed dry. You may need another set of hands...to guide the cover into place without smearing the sealant. A neighbor kid or friend under the car to intercept the cover with you lowering from the topside.

Let us know what you do and good luck!
PS: have you made any strides on cleaning out the motor and reducing oil consumption?

Last edited by gm7; 10-14-2017 at 06:08 AM..

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