Interesting. How can I see the condition of the cam shaft bearings then?
Disassemble the engine.
Well that sucks
That’s why I try to talk people out of it.
You can access the cams by pulling the valve covers, which he will do as part of the head job. Have him measure oil pressure - if it is in spec, your crank bearings are still OK, but make sure you thoroughly change the oil to get rid of any residual coolant.
In my defense, it wasn’t the cat was it? Going to a professional was a good idea, I do hate to see people wasting money on unneeded parts and I was only trying to help you avoid that.
Not being there to see the vehicle myself, and the fact that you didn’t mention low coolant, I would never have guessed the head gasket. Your mechanic had that advantage over me. The low coolant and contaminated oil is evidence your mechanic used to determine the failure.
If you hadn’t been having to add coolant and it wasn’t too low, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that there probably isn’t much damage to the engine, but again I don’t have eyes on so I can’t be sure. Good luck.
Edit: not to be a pain again, but the 3800 (which doesn’t have the cams in the head BTW @Hirnbeiss) does have a history with the intake manifold gasket leaking coolant into the oil. But I’m sure your mechanic has further evidence of head gasket failure that I am not aware of.
The 2001 Park Avenue came with 3.8 L push rod engine. Which means there’s one camshaft in the engine block.
Once the heads are off, the lifters can be removed to inspect the lobes on the cam for the lifters. But in order to inspect cam bearings/bearing journals on the cam, the camshaft has to come out.
That Likely means the engine has to be pulled to get the camshaft out, huh?
Here are some photos of the nastiness that the mechanic sent me today. Judging the little area I can see of the cam, that particular spot doesn’t look bad at all…right? Opinions?
Its really hard to tell from a few pictures, but to me it doesn’t look too bad. There is just about no way to remove the intake manifold and heads and not get some antifreeze spilled onto this area. What you have to worry about is when the antifreeze gets emulsified in the oil which happens in the oil pump and the oil pan. Then the oil looses lubricity.
Oil emulsified with antifreeze looks like a Jamoca Milkshake from Arby’s. At that point, I’d abandon the engine. But from here, I can’t see everything so you will have to rely on your mechanic.
Right, my bad this is the pushrod engine. In this case, I would just check oil pressure and drive until something dies. The labor to replace the cam, even if you do it using the engine lowering method is the same as swapping in a replacement engine, which is the route I would go if it fails and I still wanted to drive the car. 20 years and 220K miles was faithful service.