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Old 08-07-2020, 07:42 AM   #1
Highmile
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Default Highmile engine question

So how many miles can highmile get out of a head gasket.

Question answered this morning... almost exactly 300k.

Yup lost a head gasket on the long commute this am. Noticed temp climbing so backed it down, heat on high, a/c on then off to run fan. Fortunately I was close to a family members house so limped it there.

Autopsy report coming soon

Highmile
95 SL1 714k but not counting
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: Highmile engine question

That's a shame, but at least you didn't toast the engine. Still rooting for you to become the first million mile owner documented on this site!
...
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Old 08-07-2020, 12:57 PM   #3
Highmile
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Default Re: Highmile engine question

Prior to this morning it had been running great. Still less than a 1/2 pint oil usage in 5k miles, etc.

I had noticed however that at times the temp would start to climb a bit, maybe a needle width or two above the 1/2 mark. Normally it was in fast traffic and I always blamed the thermostat. If I'd slow down a bit it would quickly drop back to normal.

I checked the oil a few min ago, after I trailered it home, and no signs of coolant in the crankcase.

SO plan is headgasket of course, have the local machine shop check the head and replace valves or guides or whatever it needs (head has about 500k on it), water pump, thermostat, timing set, belt, belt tensioner, belt idler, and probably a handful more. Remember I keep it in drive to California (from st louis Missouri) condition. So a lot might sound like overkill but most of those parts were new when I build the engine.

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Old 08-07-2020, 02:40 PM   #4
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Default Re: Highmile engine question

A fresh top end rebuild should get you to the million mile mark. Hope you have the opportunity to drive that much.
...
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Old 08-07-2020, 04:05 PM   #5
Highmile
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Default Re: Highmile engine question

Autopsy report complete.

Blew through fire ring on back drivers side of #3.

Timing chain looks like brand new. I broke the tensioner side guide on disassembly. Cylinders look great with no obvious wear, cross hatch still visible at the top of the bore.

Bad news.... broke the timing cover. Broke the boss off for the idler pulley when taking the pulley off. It was worn badly and is going to be replaced.

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'95 SL1 714k and holding (broke)
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Old 08-07-2020, 04:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: Highmile engine question

That's why you should own several...

Always have a backup... And a backup backup....

And a backup x 3...

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93 SC2
96 SC2
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01 SC2 x 2 yellow
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2 94 SC2 parted out
2 96 SC2
98 SC2 - rusty frame minus engine.
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Old 08-07-2020, 04:48 PM   #7
Highmile
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Default Re: Highmile engine question

Well I have a couple of backups although not saturns....

1995 chevy k2500 extended cab 8' bed diesel 5 spd

2012 chevy cruze eco

I'll prob drive the cruze unless taking the head to and from the machine shop.


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Old 08-09-2020, 01:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: Highmile engine question

How many miles are on your current bottom end? I am impressed with your mileage on the single cam head.
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Old 08-09-2020, 07:01 PM   #9
Highmile
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Default Re: Highmile engine question

It was a complete rebuild 300k ago
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Old 08-13-2020, 07:41 PM   #10
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Default Re: Highmile engine question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Highmile View Post

SO plan is headgasket of course, have the local machine shop check the head and replace valves or guides or whatever it needs (head has about 500k on it), water pump, thermostat, timing set, belt, belt tensioner, belt idler, and probably a handful more. Remember I keep it in drive to California (from st louis Missouri) condition. So a lot might sound like overkill but most of those parts were new when I build the engine.

Highmile
Highmile, sorry to hear about your motor, but I'm glad it's not worse.

I'm right there with you on changing all those parts while it's broken down. I had the same thing done when I had the remanufactured engine put in. The mechanic thought I was crazy to even replace the engine, much less add all those new parts - he even came out into the waiting room, sat down beside me and said, "It's time to make a decision. You could get a much newer car for the money you're about to spend on this one." So I replied, "But then I wouldn't have a Saturn!"

By the way, Highmile, you're my inspiration - I will soon hit the big 300k!
...
.

2001 SL2 manual - original owner - remanufactured engine at 228k miles, December 2015
1992 SL1 manual - bought used in '93, totaled in '00 at 170k miles, drove it cross-country a lot!
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Old 08-14-2020, 12:16 PM   #11
Highmile
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Default Re: Highmile engine question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Upstate Saturn View Post
Highmile, sorry to hear about your motor, but I'm glad it's not worse.

I'm right there with you on changing all those parts while it's broken down. I had the same thing done when I had the remanufactured engine put in. The mechanic thought I was crazy to even replace the engine, much less add all those new parts - he even came out into the waiting room, sat down beside me and said, "It's time to make a decision. You could get a much newer car for the money you're about to spend on this one." So I replied, "But then I wouldn't have a Saturn!"

By the way, Highmile, you're my inspiration - I will soon hit the big 300k!
I've heard the same thing from time to time although I do all my own work. If I'd trade to newer then, higher taxes, higher insurance, same repairs after a couple of years, and replacement probably wouldn't get 40mpg at 70 mph day in and day out.

Highmile
'95 SL1 714k and holding for the moment
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Old 08-14-2020, 12:18 PM   #12
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Default Re: Highmile engine question

Machine shop update;

Exhaust valves were way thin on the margin after we ground them. Installed 4 new ones.

otherwise head looked good.

Should have head done Monday/Tuesday next week.

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Old 08-20-2020, 08:46 AM   #13
Highmile
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Default Re: Highmile engine question

Head picked up and looks really good.

Besides the valve replacement they took about .005 off the deck just to clean it up. They said it was surprisingly flat.

Now all I need to do is let my back heal after a slip/fall so I can get back to putting it back together. Think I could do it in an afternoon if the old body would cooperate.

Highmile
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Old 08-28-2020, 07:57 AM   #14
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Default Re: Highmile engine question

Yes ,
You are an inspiration to me also, keeping my fleet going.
Currently my single cam spare at the machinists for a go through.
Now if only my high mile body would cooperate, I would be in the garage more....
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Old 09-08-2020, 10:16 AM   #15
Highmile
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Default Re: Highmile engine question

I was on vacation from the normal 6-2:30 job so finished putting the old car back together.

Primed oil system then installed plugs and prepared for first start. Was uneventful, fired up almost like normal. Lifters were noisy for a couple of seconds then quieted down as well.

Took her out for a short drive and all seemed well. I'll do some around town stuff before I trust it for the daily commute duties.

Highmile
'95 SL1 714k and rolling again
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