Worth fixing?

We are proud owners of a 1997 Pontiac Transport minivan. We have spent very little on repairs and it now has 185,000 miles. Just got the oil changed and they told me the intake gaskets were beginning to leak. They said I could probably drive it for 500 or so more miles without problems. They estimated the cost at $460.00. Is is worth fixing?

If the car is in otherwise OK shape, then yes, it is worth fixing for $500 or so. 2500 to 5000 additional miles is about all you need to recoup the cost in miles of this single repair.

You might try re-torquing the bolts that secure the intake manifold and see what happens. Also, at this point, a can of “Bars-Leaks”, a cooling system sealer might be worth a try…I would try both these fixes before I spent $500 on new gaskets. I would also get a second opinion.

Agree; if the rest of the vehicle is OK I would go for the fix. But I would not drive it another 500 miles!! Shop around and find a good mechanic you can trust.

Good luck.

I had a '96 Chevy version of your van. They have a solid reliable motor and get good gas mileage. The transmissions seem to hold up well too. That car has “plastic” body panels that don’t rust. If the underside of the car is rust free it should hold up for a long time.

Who told you the intake gaskets were beginning to leak, your normal mechanic or an “unknown” shop? I’d get another opinion if you are not having any symptoms of poor performance or check engine light.

If there is a leak retorquing the heads is a good idea. I’m not too sure about putting in a stop leak compound. My worry would be what it does to the radiator, heater core and other cooling system components. If the gasket needs replacing I think you should do it if the vehicle still meets your needs.

My daughter still had my old van up to a year ago. They put 200K miles on it and traded up to a used “Uplander” with rear seat DVD. They pretty much couldn’t kill the old '96 van. They did a number of brake jobs and replaced some front end stuff over the years. The power windows and latches were more problems than motor and transmission.

It’s a known problem with these engines. If Roadrunner is watching this thread, maybe he’ll chime in with his account of this issue with his Olds Silhouette. That sounds like a decent price (as long as the diagnosis is correct, of course).

The last year for the Lumina APV was 1996. The 1997 Transport was the first year of the next generation as implied below by NYBo. The body panels were steel in this next generation. Same engine, though, as you said. As it aged, the HP went all the way up to 195 in 2003. It’s a bit noisy and slightly rough, but works well for us. (2003 Silhouette Premium)