Dealer destroys my car

I have quite a situation going on.

I own a Chevy Blazer 1997, which has been free of problems overall, and only has 85,000 (bought it new). However the service engine light came up and wouldn’t go away so I decided to get it checked since I was leaving ten days later for a 2500 miles road trip.

I put the car at Teton Motors (Jackson, WY). They found no problem and simply reset the light. They also changed the transmission and transfer case fluids and replaced leaky oil lines. Then gave me thumbs up for my trip although one thing I noticed at once was the car leaking more oil than before, and being low on oil.

I drove the car 2 days, about 20 miles to town and back total and on the 3rd day, after 15 minutes, the temperature gauge suddenly started climbing steadily all the way into the red.

So I put the car back at the dealership the next day, they test drove it and were able to reproduce the problem, figured out that it was a stuck thermostat and replaced it; at that point they realized that the radiator cooling fluid was sludge-like. They flushed the radiator once and gave me AGAIN thumbs up for my trip.

I left the next day, drove 20 miles… and the temp gauge went into the red again. I got towed back to the dealership for $250 (they lent me a replacement car for my 10 day trip), and they wound up changing the radiator. That didn’t help as apparently the cooling jacket was clogged up. They’ve now told me that I needed an engine replacement for $5700, or they would also give me $2500 as a trade-in.

So, 2 weeks ago I had a car with no problems, and now I own a more or less worthless piece of junk.

My questions are:

1. Is there a way to clean up the cooling system without having to replace the engine?

2. Wouldn’t a competent mechanic know that if the coolant system was that bad, they should perform more than one flush?

3. Doesn’t $5700 seem like a lot? I checked online and found out such engine costs about $1350.

4. Can I trust the dealership to do a good job considering what happened?

5. Do you have any suggestions or advice?

Thanks for any help,


First, ignore mmsamma’s insane and incoherent ramblings - they’ll get you nowhere.

Second, take the truck to a trusted, competent, independant mechanic and have him/her check it out - an inspection likely won’t cost much more than $100. Seeing that the dealer was willing to give you $2500 on trade, it leads me to suspect they are pulling your chain regrading engine replacement. If they’re giving you that much, they must be expecting to get at least a few hundred dollars more at auction, so the problems aren’t likely as bad as they are making it seem. But get a second, or even a third opinion.

The V-6’s in these have two known problems, the intake gaskets and the oil cooler lines. The intake gaskets warp and then start to leak coolant into the engine causing overheating, and the oil cooler lines start to leak at crimped joints between the hard lines and the flex lines causing oil leaks, the guy I work with has replaced the intake gaskets once and the cooler lines twice on his S10 pickup, he has the same engine as yours. The Dexcool antifreeze is part of the problem with the intake leaks, if you have to have the intake gaskets replaced have them flush the system and install the eythlene glycol antifreeze. I would get a second opinion, and / or find a different dealer.

It seems strange the dealer was so surprised to find sludge in the system and not know how to clean it out. You’re right, replacing the engine seems drastic to me. Where can I find more info on the best way to clean the engine? Any links?
Thanks for the posts, they helped a lot.

There is a service bulletin about cleaning the cooling system on these vehicles, the dealer shold be aware of it, it not they could call GM technical assistance about it. That said, cleaning the cooling system is a big job. and usually is only needed if there is a leak that allows the coolant to run low and mix in air. You probably have more than one problem, and I would expect to have to spend several to many hundered of dollars to fix it.

“It seems strange the dealer was so surprised to find sludge in the system and not know how to clean it out.”

There are many actors off Broadway. I was not there, so I can’t comment on whether this was an act or not, but you might consider it. If there is a TSB on it as Dleit53 mentions, it seems like the dealer should have known.