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Beau

1994 Cutlass Ciera 3.1L 84k miles

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Beau

Hello I'm a new member here... I bought the car a year and half ago from original owner. Her son was a GM mechanic and had a binder of every service from 1994. When i bought it I changed all the fluids and filters, plugs and wires. It ran like a new car. So quiet i couldn't here it at idle in the car. I drove the car to work and it drove great, drove it home and the same. I start it the next morning and the motor was clattering loudly so I shut it off. The oil is full, the coolant was low about 2 cups. It didn't over heat or even get hot. What could have gone wrong over night? Its crazy it drove perfect to my house and super quiet, and the next morning its chattering. I ran it for maybe 3 seconds and shut it down. I poured seafoam in oil and started it and the same, waited till the next day to let it do its thing and start it, same noise so I shut it down fast. Should I let it run and hope it was a clogged lifter? I just dont want to ruin a low miles taken care of motor. Thanks for any help

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digitaloutsider

A Ciera is technically an N-body, but the 3100 is generic enough. Being that the coolant is low, I'd look at the engine oil. See if it looks like a milkshake. If it does, the loud clattering could very well be indicative of a spun bearing.

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Amanita

Can you record the sound for us? I just went outside and recorded my 3100, though my engine was warm when I started it up.

 

Edited by Amanita

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Beau

The oil has around 500 miles on since the last change and it looks like new oil. No moisture under oil cap. No coolant has made its way into the oil. I will make a video of the noise tonight or tomorrow sometime. Thanks

 

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Beau

I looked for a N-body.com and couldnt find anything or anything on here about a nbody section. Do you know where I could find?Thank you

 

 

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digitaloutsider

I think there used to be an N-body forum somewhere. I guess I forgot that much like these cars, no one really cares about them anymore. You're welcome to hang out here and ask these sorts of questions, but things move pretty slowly over here. 

Also check out the www.60degreev6.com forums.

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Cutlass350
4 hours ago, digitaloutsider said:

I think there used to be an N-body forum somewhere. I guess I forgot that much like these cars, no one really cares about them anymore. You're welcome to hang out here and ask these sorts of questions, but things move pretty slowly over here. 

First, as you said, the OP's car is an A-body, not an N-Body.
My two Achievas are N-body cars.
Fwiw, there aren't any really active forums for N-Bodys.

Since the car is an Olds, a "possible" forum is at:
https://oldsmobileforums.com/forums/index.php

Note, as much as *I* am a die-hard Old's fan (I currently have three :)), I don't check out those forums anymore.  Imho, just about every new post was "how do I fix the car, but not spend any money at all".
Imho, in other words, they were really saying "I'll send this car to the crusher the second that I have to spend any real money on it".
Imho, spend money and do maintenance, or get another car and hope that it lasts.

Fwiw, I agree, I think that the OP should be welcome here.  This one of the few active forums for older GM cars.  There aren't a ton of posts.  But, imho, that's a good thing. :)

Also, I agree that we need a video with sound.  It might be something simple.  Or, it might not be.


 

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Beau

My mother has been in hospital since friday i haven't had the chance to record sound yet but im hoping to by Thursday at the latest. Thanks everyone

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Cutlass350

I hope that your mom gets better soon.

Record and post the video when you have the time.  No rush.

 

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55trucker

Not familiar with the Ciera instrument cluster, is there an oil pressure gauge or just an *idiot light*?

Do you see anything to suggest that there is little or no oil pressure?

 

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pontiac6ksteawd

www.A-Body.Net

Its not as active as it used to be. But its still alive and kicking. I am the forum moderator over there.. Come on over!

Would have to hear the sound the motor is making to give an honest answer.

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Cutlass350

That sounds like a bad lifter to me.
Change the oil. Put in a good multi-grade synthetic. My go-to oil is Mobil-1 synthetic.

Fwiw, my Quad 4 engines always had load lifter sounds. 🙂 Iirc, they are both near/past 200K miles.

A bad, fast leak down, lifter isn't the end of the world. That noise is the valve *slamming* against the valve seat. Depending on the length of time, and the miles, you'll put on the car, you "could" ignore the bad lifter.

If you have experience working on cars/engines, _in general_, replacing lifters isn't "horrible". I do not know the specifics of that engine, nor the common "PITA" things that can break/be-a-pain when replacing the lifters.
Imho, don't replace the lifters yourself, if you need the car "right away". You may have to order gaskets, sensors, etc.


Fwiw, on my '77 Olds 350, I put in a "3/4ths" race cam (hey, that's what it was called). I was young and foolish. It was WAY too much cam for the engine. I put on Rhoads lifters to "tame" the cam enough to get "okay" vacuum and performance with city driving (that I did ~95% with that car).
Rhoads lifters are "fast leak down" lifters (like a bad lifter :)). However, the purpose is to lessen the valve lift and duration at low rpms (like idle). But, at higher rpms, the lifter doesn't have a chance to leak down, do the full effect of the cam is used.
It's a mechanical way of having variable lift and variable duration for the cam.

I had stainless steel valve, and custom valve spring forces(higher) for the cam. I ran Rhoads lifters for well over a dozen years in my Olds 350. I put well over 100K miles on the engine with those lifters. The heads and valves were fine.
But, again, mine were not stock valves or valve seats. However, most people back then used the stock heads. For a head/valves in good shape, imho, lasting 50K+ miles, using Rhoads lifters, wasn't even a concern.


The video below gives a good idea of what Rhoads lifters sound like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0s_nwahCBU


1970 El Camino 383 Stroker with Rhodes lifters
Dick Fitzwell



Good Luck!

Edited by Cutlass350

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pontiac6ksteawd

Had me worried.. In your OP you said clattering, im thinking Flex Plate, or rod... But thats just lifter noise. As stated, you could continue driving as is, or get it fixed. The engine will last longer, and perform better if repaired.

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Beau

The oil was changed about 5 months back and only had about 450-500 miles on and then this sound started out of no where. I put the exact oil the owner guide calls for and filter, its also perfectly filled. It was actually worse when the noise first started and the 4 time I started it after to show friends and my brother the noise. Somehow after sitting a couple months it has gotten 3/4 quieter. I did empty the oil a little and added seafoam to the crank case like my brother said to, so maybe that helped ? Im not an online person so do you mind telling me what fwiw mean and lirc? Thank you guys I am very appreciative of you time and help

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Cutlass350

You can use google for any abbreviation that you're not familiar with. Google does a pretty good job with those. You may have to add "slang" or "online meaning" in the search term.

https://www.google.com/search?q=fwiw
===
Search Results
Featured snippet from the web
FWIW. acronym for "for what it's worth". Used mainly in computer-based conversation (instant messaging, email, text messaging, etc.) IANAL, but FWIW I think you're right about contract law. See more words with the same meaning: Internet, texting, SMS, email, chat acronyms (list of).Aug 23, 2012
===


https://www.google.com/search?q=lirc+meaning+slang
==========
Search Results
Featured snippet from the web
Meaning. IIRC. If I Read Correctly. IIRC. If I Recall/Remember Correctly.
==========


Seafoam is a so-so treatment. For oil, I'd do an oil change after ~100miles.

Lifters for OHV (OverHead Valve - older style heads/engines) go all the time.
That car is old. That engine is old. The parts are old.
Parts like lifters, fuel pumps, alternators, starters, etc can go at any time, because of their use and/or age.

You didn't list what part of the country you're in.
To help with weak lifters, use the heaviest oil that you can for your area and the time of year.
Also, after ~3,000 miles, all oils start to show their "age". It varies depending on many factors.
In New England, during the Spring and Fall, the daily highs and lows often result in condensation. Unless a car is kept in a sealed and climate controlled room/garage, then there's a good chance that the there will be condensation in the oil pan, even if the car is never run.

Also, there will be some moisture in the oil pan, every time an engine goes from being ambient temperature to being fully warmed up, then back to ambient temperature.

There are many ways in which an oil "ages".
Imho, change the oil ever ~3,000 miles and at least every 6 months. Imho, in New England, every 3 months is better.


https://www.google.com/search?q=Imho
======
IMHO is an acronym used mostly in texting, email, and social media that means in my humble opinion. It was first used in the 1980s in online forums, and decades later, some began erroneously attributing the H to the word honest
======


Good Luck!

Edited by Cutlass350

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Beau

Thanks for all the my friends, greatly appreciated! I'm from florida, is 10w30 the heaviest I should go to? When you said change oil after 100 miles, does that mean drive it with that tapping noise? If I didnt have so much money and time invested in maintenance in this, i would have junk yard it by now. I have changed out all suspension, calipers, rotors, water pump,thermostat, alternator, coils, plugs, wires, and a bunch of sensors. When I bought it, it was from an older woman that let it sit for a long time and all the fluids were funky. The son was a mechanic and had a folder logging all the maintenance from New. On another oldsmobile forum a guy told me to check exhaust for leak and to make sure plugs were seated, he said to him it sounded like one of those? What your thought on that? Thanks again have a blessed day

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Beau

I just got around to messing with the cutlass again today and started by draining the oil in a brand new oil collector and then in clear container to see if maybe there was something. The first 15 seconds it poured out nice and clean and then it took about 5 min for about 4 cups of sludge. I took the filter out and it was clogged with sludge. I took the valve cover off and its not sludged up. How is the lower motor sludged up but the heads arent? Is this motor salvageable? It wasnt ran long at all with the tapping. Could I take the oil pan off and clean the oil pump and screen and fill it with some strong motor flush or is this motor need to be taken apart? Thanks

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55trucker
56 minutes ago, Beau said:

Could I take the oil pan off and clean the oil pump and screen......

Couldn't hurt assuming you're comfortable doing so....whatever has been done to the engine is done.....clean out the pan & look for debris, pull off the pump and disassemble it to clean it out as well.

When the pump comes down more than likely the pump drive shaft will fall out as well, unless it is gunked up into place. You can't see the drive shaft at all, it is hidden up above the rear main cap assembly in a hollow passage. It is driven off the camshaft drive gear. If you see a world of sludge in the pan you can bet that the oil passages will be in the same condition and those passages feed the crank & cam bearings. 

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Beau

Today I took down the pan, and cleaned out a good 1/4'' of sludge stuck to it. I took down the oil pump and cleaned it and filter that was clogged. cleaned all the sludge i could see. filled it with new oil+filter and same tapping. Im about to dump all the oil out and put in the old oil filter and fill the motor with kerosene and turn it over a bunch without starting and hope it clean passages. Anyone know of any extreme motor flushes? Its junk yard bound so any last ditch efforts before. I hate that this car is mint like 9.8 out of 10. have over $3k in maintenance in the first 3 month of owning thinking it would last since it was so low mileage. I still have no idea how it sludged up

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pontiac6ksteawd

I would not suggest old filter, or kerosene. I would suggest that you drain 1 quart of oil, and replace it with 1 quart of transmission fluid. It is a very heavy detergent oil, while still having some lubrication properties. Run it for about 50 miles, and then perform an oil change.

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55trucker
On 5/6/2020 at 12:18 AM, Beau said:

I still have no idea how it sludged up

Serious lack of maintenance. Previous owner wasn't changing the oil at the proper interval.

Attempting to *clean* out the internals over a very short period of time isn't going to happen. Not knowing the history of the car, seems apparent that the engine has been run in that state for some time, a look at the bearing journals is warranted, the lifters are more than likely gummed up, the intake could also be choked via the PCV valve and the intake snorkel crankcase circulation tubing. but try what you can before you condemn the engine.

 

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Beau

I bought the car from an older woman that was the original owner. when I bought it I got a binder with everything done from new. She for sure had it maintained at a dealer and the oil was always done on time and logged. When I bought it I had the oil changed at the 3k mark and everytime after. I never dogged the car, it never leaked fluids anywhere. the whole motor is clean . This car really irritates me, I paid top dollar for it since it had 76k miles and original owner and all the documented care. I also put almost 4k$ in upgrades and maintenance thinking I was gonna have a long lasting car. Lasted 9 months lol

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