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Chevy Uplander intake gasket -- disaster waiting to happen?

I got a beat on a 2005 Chevy Uplander. Great condition, great price. My mechanic says to pass on it. Sez the '05s had intake gasket issues. “GM used a plastic gasket that lasted 50k miles at best. When it goes coolant enters the crankcase.” I asked him if there was a better gasket that could be installed. He said, “Nope, the only replacement is the same crappy plastic one.”

Is this true? I believe the problem is real – but no better aftermarket alternatives to cheap plastic?

Maybe you should talk to the Chevrolet parts dept. about this. I don’t consider myself a late model Chevy expert by a long shot but I thought the intake gasket problems were pretty much confined to the 3.1 and the 3.4 engines?
Generally when there is a problem (no matter which car company it is) there will be Tech. Service Bulletins issued along with updated or modified parts.

The parts dept. should gladly answer any questions about this and can provide you with any pertinent info on updated gaskets; and that’s assuming the vehicle even needs it or ever will need it.
They do not all drop like flies and checking the engine oil every week (which should be done anyway) will reveal if there is ever an oil dilution problem.

GM is not the only one that has used “plastic gaskets” (w/rubber inserts) over the years.

I think the problem occurs with pretty much all GM V6 and V8 engines made between certain dates- not sure of the time frame. However, the problem is far from universal, and I believe it has to due with Dexcool being exposed to air from leaks and/or failure to change the coolant frequently enough. The coolant then attacks the gaskets.

This vehicle is new enough to be a pretty safe bet as long as the cooling system is intact and proper maintenance has been done (as with any other used car, of course).

Here’s a list of all the engines covered and what years.

My 2000 Blazer developed an intake gasket leak after I changed the Dexcool in Feb 2004 at 43k miles. The level in the overflow tank started dropping slowly. The next oil change my mechanic found some coolant in the oil. Besides Dexcool contamination, another factor is the different expansion rates of the iron block and the aluminum intake, some of the existing gaskets can’t handle it. I think it’s a combination of both factors that led to a high number of intake gasket leaks. This was a problem with 4.3, 5.0, and 5.7 Vortec engines of this era, the 7.4 didn’t have this problem (iron block and manifold).

Although the truck was out of warranty the dealer paid 50% of the repair as a goodwill gesture. I believe the new gasket is an improved version. I had the Dexcool replaced with regular green coolant. I check the coolant and oil level on a regular basis and have not had any further problems.

I would hope by 2005 Chevrolet was using improved gaskets, I would suggest some further research on your part.

Good luck,

Ed B.

There are some good aftermarket solutions too. In fact they are probably better then OEM solutions. Felpro has been making a new gasket to fix this for YEARS. Too bad GM didn’t adopt this solution sooner. It was a known issue in the 90’s with aftermarket solutions…GM didn’t FIX the problem until 2003-2004.