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Flexplate bolts

01 3.8 grandprix. Seller says flexplate bolts sheared off. Made odd sound during start attempt and now starter works but motor does not crank. Are odds high that crank end is beyond repair? Car is nice shape, low price, fairly rust free. Mechanic says starter is turning flexplate/torque conv. But he does not want to pay to do flexplate

How many miles are on this gem?

I’d guess it was more likely that the center of the flex plate (AKA flywheel) may still be bolted to the crank, but is has separated from the rest of the flex plate. The only way he (or you) can know for sure is to take it apart. If you are up to the challenge, and want an '01 Grand Prix, go for it.

IF the bolts are indeed sheared off, then you MAY be able to remove the remains of them with a misnamed tool called an EZ Out. Then again, you may be in for another engine. Good 3.8s are very available at salvage yards. They are used in a wide variety of GM cars that will fit “your” Pontiac. Check for some near you.

Without the flexplate repair you can,t asses the condition of the engine or transmission or see how the car drives. It is worth the price of junk + $100. If he wants more than that he has to fix the flexplate or sell it to someone else. He knows what kind of pig is in the poke, you don’t.

Does the engine turn? There has to be a reason the flexplate sheared off. See if the engine itself can be rotated from the harmonic balancer bolt. It it doesn’t, you have a much bigger problem.

Buying this car has HIGH risk to you. Do not take the word of the seller.

This is one of those ‘If you have to ask, then walk away’ questions to me. Unless you’ve bought and repaired near-junkers like this in the past, I wouldn’t want to risk it.

If the starter is turning the flexplate but not the rest of the engine (like the crank pulley at the front) you either have a flexplate problem or a broken crankshaft. Either way, the car is a pig in a poke and not worth more than the scrap tonnage. If you can’t hear the engine run, you should run.

@Mustangman Good point. `

“Starter works but engine does not crank” does not unequivocally equate to flex plate bolts sheared off. IMHO, a more likely scenario is the flex plate lost some teeth or the bendix isn’t extending than the bolts holding the flex plate shearing off, which would entail some catastrophic failure…has the owner visually verified that the flex plate is off the crank?

Buying an already broken car that cannot be started or driven is guaranteed to be a serious mistake. I strongly urge against this purchase. This car’s only value is as scrap.

The car already has serious problems. The disastrous paths it might take from here are too numerous to list.

Broken crank end? Sellers says motor idled fine at moment car stopped moving. Flexplate/torque convertor does turn with little effort now.

Drop the oil pan and check if the crankshaft is broken.

I’ve seen it happen on GM V6’s before.


Unless you intend to replace or rebuild the motor, walk away. This sounds too expensive.

As others have said either you have a broken flexplate that separated the ring gear from the inner portion; you have sheared the bolts attaching the flexplate to the crankshaft; or a broken crankshaft.

Unless someone is willing to get in there and determine the damage, you probably should eschew this car.