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2005 and Earlier Chevrolet Impala

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  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    Please do... I would be interested to know, although it will be awhile before I need to change plugs. I am only at 25K right now and the way it's going it's going to be near another 7 years before I get to 100K at 10K a year.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    I would also tend to think that it is related to the coolant. My '04 does it and has done since new. I have never taken it in to have it checked out, but I don't think it's a major deal. But I do think it is air in the cooling system that could be aleviated by have the system purged??
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    sounds like this is an recurring issue. Mine is also an '04 with the 3.4. Not a serious issue, but could be annoying listening to that sound of gurgling water. Sounds like flushing the toilet in the car. :D...

    Maybe I'll try changing out the coolant or locating those bleed valves.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    Wish I could help on the oil coated plug (sounds like oil blow-by). That sounds a little odd even at 112K miles no matter what the motor. Usually the indicates worn out ring seals, but if a motor has been maintained properly, then that shouldn't be a problem. Something doesn't quite add up. From what I know, the 3.4 is a fairly stout motor, although not as bullet proof as the 3.8.

    The sludge issue in the radiator however, I can attest that the GM's "brilliant" Dex-cool is not all that it is cracked up to be. My 01 S-10 had Dex-cool in it and by 75K and 4 years it was a brown as a mud and just about a cruddy. I had it changed out the same time the radiator tanks were replaced. So at 112K miles and 4 years old on your car, I am not surprised to see that it has sludged up....

    So a couple of things could have happened. Either the mechanic you took it to is trying to pull a fast on on the oil coated plug (probable, but since I don't know the mechanic or thier business pratices, I can't point the finger at them), and the motor really is okay, since it is highly unusual even at 112K to have blown seals on a regularly maintained engine.

    It is also possible that the you blew a head gasket and coolant leaked into the combustion chamber and deteriorated the ring seals. But I think you would have noticed a burning coolant smell and or noticed coming out the tail pipe (For that matter, with oil coated plugs, you should also see evidence of oil in the combustion chamber coming out of the tail pipe).

    Also possible is that maintenance was not performed as it should before you got the car, but if you aquired it at 16K that's not a long time to do permanent damage. Even if the car only received one oil change in the 16K period, that's not too extreme. With the quality of today's oils, 16K and one oil change is pushing the limit, but shouldn't have caused permanent damage. So like I said before, something doesn't sound right. It is also possible that you just got a flukey car that just happened to do atypical things... Sometimes you just have that luck.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    That's good that you have a mechanic like that... I had one in AZ that was just like that. He never charged me for just "looking", or even to reset a check engine light...

    It is odd that you are having such problems as my 3.4 has plenty of go juice. Not going to blow you out of the water of course, but plenty adequate. So maybe you really did just get a flukey car. Luckily, if you liked the car otherwise, they are a dime a dozen and you can get one pretty cheap. Even the newer ones from 06 can be had at a pretty good bargain and they make the '00-05 ones look a decade old.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    GET RID OF DEXCOOL. Yes, the brown sludge is caused by the long-life coolant. There is a a coolant now that is interchangible, or at least can be used with both GM Dex-Cool and regular green stuff. You can find it in both orange and green. Or you once the radiator is completely flushed of the old stuff you can put back in regular green.

    I would recomend you go with the interchangible stuff. With that you can probably change it every other year or so without a problem. I am not really sure what the change interval on coolant is, but I do know that I have never been able to go more than 3 years on Dex-Cool, even though it says it is good for 5 or 150K miles.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    Prestone makes both the long life, dual use and regular. Also any parts house like Autozone or Checker will have a couple of brands. Wal-mart has the Prestone and also it's house brand. It's about 10 bucks a gallon or so. Not sure about the regular stuff hurting any of the seals? I wouldn't think so, but then again I don't know. Everything I own I have switched over to the dual use.

    I notice this forum is a little slow sometimes and you might want to post your question here as well.

    http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/WebX/.ef790fb/0

    You might get a better response and probably a more qualified one too. It is also possible that the very question you are asking is contained through out the discussion.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    awsome... good story. Thanks. I forgot that most exhause systems have an 80K mile warranty on them...
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    wow - then 04 must have been the golden year. My 04 with 25K miles on has only been to the shop once for a faulty horn. And the tires have never been rotated and they still have the same tread all the way around.... although they do and should have been rotated a long time ago, but I am still running at about 8/32's of tread.

    But then again, it is also a base bare bones model. 3.4 motor, and all the basic options. All in all, been a great car. I do wish I had bought the used cream color LS one they had on the lot... it already had 25K on it, but it was an LS and even had a sun roof..... but financing was better on the new one so that's what we got.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    I might suggest, but this is just me and Delco radios, but if you're going to take the radio out to try and fix it, you might as well just replace it with a decent aftermarket one. You can get a really good one for less than $200, and even decent ones for close to a $100 now-a-days. That way you wouldn't have to worry about the factory player messing up again even if you did fix it. Just don't forget to to buy the chime adapter as well because (this is why I really dis-like Delco and GM radios) GM thought it would be a great idea to run all the chimes and door lock functions and even the oil life monitor through the radio. You still have to mount the factory radio somewhere in the car, like the trunk, so that you still have access to all those functions. Or so I've been told since I have never done it myself.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    Quick question. 2004 3.4 with 27K miles. At a steady speed, generally low speeds in the range of 5-35 MPH, sometimes at higher highway speeds, the motor will seem to stumble, almost as if the fuel flow was cut-off.

    I am thinking this is signs of a clogged fuel filter. Car has 27K miles and it has never been changed. How hard is it to change a fuel filter on this car?? I've done it on my trucks, but never on this car...
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    Do I need to relieve the fuel pressure first? I failed to do that on my S-10 and I ended up with an ear and face full of fuel... It wasn't the most enjoyable experience and I don't want a repeat if I can help it.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    ya - that is the way you relieve the pressure on my S-10. There is a valve next to the throttle body... I assumed there might be on on the Impala, but I hadn't bothered to check under the hood yet. Call me lazy I guess. The whole procedure sounds just like what I did to for my truck. Pretty basic.

    Maybe I'll try the fuse thing and see what happens. If not, a little bit of degreaser and a good hosedown of the engine bay would get rid of any lingering gas and keep it from burning and smelling off. Thanks for the info.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    Fuel filter is done changed... we'll see if it helps or if the stumble is still there. I pulled the fuel pump fuse under the hood and ran the car until it died, then cranked it over again to relieve all the pressure. Then I depressed the pressure relief valve under the hood. I have this gas phobia and didn't want to get sprayed again.

    Loosened the nut side of the filter first and let the remaining gas drain out. There was no pressure so it didn't spray, thankfully. Put the new filter on. All in all about 15 minutes worth of work.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    yes this is good to know... if it weren't for the fact that all the door locks, chimes and oil life monitor settings were also controlled by the CD player head unit, I would have already replaced the factory unit.

    I know you can buy an adpater and such, but I don't want to deal with it and I don't drive the car enough to need/want better sound. My wife drives it mostly and she thinks the sound is fine and the CD player still works just fine too... By the time the CD player needs replacing if and when it quits, I think the car will have been replaced. It only gets about 10K a year if that. We bought it 3 years ago next month and it just barely broke 27K.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    so how often should these air filters be changed? Mine has 3 years and almost 30K miles since new.

    Also I have been having issues with the horn. I have taken it twice to the dealership and they have replaced the horn twice. Once was the low note, the next they said it was the high note and just after we got home from picking it up for that, I checked the horn and it was only one tone again. I guess I should have tested it before I left the dealership, but oh well. Back it goes. It has to go back and sit overnight anyway so they can test an intermittent stumble.

    I can't figure out what the stumble is. I feels as if the fuel flow is being cut off. I have changed fuel filters and also changed brands of gas. No codes have been tripped, and of course when we took it in, it showed no symptoms at all. So we are going to leave it overnight because it is most noticeable first thing in the morning.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    can't help you on the blinkers, but any dealer's body shop will be able to repaint the spoiler with the proper color. For that matter, any reputable body shop has access to all factory colors and would be able to repaint your spoiler as well.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    actually, they haven't figured it out... I have yet to take it back again. They have fixed it twice so far. I have a mind to just get a horn and do it myself and see what happens... If I do I'll let you know the prognosis.

    The history is as old as we have had the car. I first noticed the problem when we first bought it and every once in a while the horn would only sound one note of it's dual horns. Then after about 1 1/2 years or so it finally became a constant single not horn. It stayed that way until I took it in to have it fixed and it stayed fixed for about a month. I took it back it and I didn't try the horn until I got it home, and when I did, I noticed it only had one note. That was a couple months ago and I haven't been back yet. Call me lazy, but it hasn't been a high priority for me... the car is now out of warranty, and although I am sure I could take it back and state my case, I am not sure I want to deal with the hassel. I would much rather just get a new horn and replace it myself and see what happens.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    can't be too hard... depending on where it's located. A couple of bolts and a wiring harness I am sure is all it is. Getting to it is probably the hardest part...

    edit: I just did some quick research on the net since the car isn't home right now for me to look at and it appears that the horn is located behind the rh (passenger?)headlight. When my car gets home, I'll take a closer look and see if I can tell without tearing anything apart.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,069
    hmmm.. wonder if they will still cover my horn under warranty, since I am now out?? I should take it back and see what they do since it was been in twice now for the horn while under warranty. Thanks for the info; I just might give it a shot....

    BTW, I just completed a 2600 (finally after 3 1/2 years of ownership, I broke 30K miles) mile round trip from Oregon to AZ and back in my Imp. This was the longest I had spent in the car and the longest trip it has ever taken... A few things to report. While it wasn't a horrible trip (I can think of worse vehicles to make a long trip in), it wasn't entirely without discomfort. The seats began to get hard after about 8 hours of sitting in them and I found it hard sometimes to get comfortable... but then again, I think that almost any vehicle's seats would be a tad hard after so long in them.

    I will say that I appreciated the room. The large trunk and the lack of goosneck hinges allowed me to stuff all our luggage and our substantial amount of presents into it. The only thing in the cabin of the car was the car seat, a stack of DVD's and, a couple of pillows and blankets and our snacks. Even with the 3.4 motor, I was never at a lack of passing power or hill climbing power. The transmission did an okay job of hill holding as long as I was able to maintain 60-70. Any slower and I was having to brake more than I like on the hills. Average speed was probably in the upper 70's and I was able to maintain an average of 30 MPG. When we got to town, the tank I burned while running around town dropped to 25, but all tanks all the highway returned over 30 and I even crept close to 32 when I filled up with premium by accident. So overall, not a bad travel car.

    I honestly still like my S-10 though, although it is not a family vehicle, gets way worse mileage and rides more like a truck. But it is actually quieter at highway speeds and the seats are more comfortable and it has a better stereo... but I digress. If you are looking for a good, reliable and spacious comfort family car, I say Impala. I'd buy another, but by the time it reaches that point, I'll need a larger car.
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