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Old 12-21-2006, 10:13 PM   #1
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1972 25' Tradewind
Merrimakc , New Hampshire
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Busted Head Gasket?

We were driving our 25' Tradewind from NH to TN and when we were 10 miles from our final destination we were forced to pull over.

While climbing a hill we heard a few short tick noises then a pop and steam poured out the hood of our 86 GMC Suburban.

After immediately pulling over and shutting down the vehicle, I check the damage.

What looked like radiator fluid was all over the passenger side lower portion of the engine. There was radiator fluid collected in parts of the frame. Steam was pouring out of the oil dipstick, and our PVC plug popped out of the engine as well as our air conditioners belt had broken.

I will post pictures after climbing back under it i the AM and was hoping anyone could give me pointers of what I should be looking for to diagnose this and fix it.

Oh and when i tried to start the car after it was brought to the yard by the tow truck, it made a chunking noise and didnt even think about starting. It sounds bad to me.

Thanks for any advice.
Bill
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Old 12-21-2006, 11:38 PM   #2
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2005 25' Safari
Salem , Oregon
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Advice

Hi, Buy a new head gasket and wrap a brand new engine around it. Possible story: Belt broke, engine overheated, coolant leaked into combustion chamber, Piston hydrauliced and broke, pressure from coolant bypassed broken piston, coolant escaped from dip stick tube and sudden pressure blew out PCV. Also look for vent hole in side of engine block; In other words a broken hole in side of engine caused by broken connecting rod.
Sorry for the bad story, but it is what I came up with according to your discription of what happened. GOOD LUCK.


Bob
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Old 12-22-2006, 12:51 AM   #3
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1975 Argosy 26
1963 24' Tradewind
Seattle , Washington
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Check your toast...

it's done. Seriously. I too would check for a hole in the side of the block. No head gasket is going to fix it.

I think I remember you said that you have a limited budget. What year is you 'burb? I think a new motor is your best option. If you bought another in the same price range, you probably would be faced with the same thing.

Good luck!
Marc
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Old 12-22-2006, 01:13 AM   #4
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1960 24' Tradewind
santa barbara , California
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Hello airspleen ,yes ,sounds bad ,we know this already .you can buy a brand new factory GM crate engine by application for your burb ,they run around
2100 dollars or so ,the shop probably will add abit of markup maybe ,but
thats the best way to go .do the radiator ,all the coolant hoses ,water pump
tune up items .GM gives a very good warranty ,usually 2 or 3 year 36000 .


Good luck there ,

Scott of scottanlily
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Old 12-22-2006, 01:43 AM   #5
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Bill and Company,


You guys have all the luck!
Sorry to hear about your burb , but hey, a least it's a little warmer than NH.

Visited your blog, neat. Looks like you're getting all the adventure part of your experience out of the way first!

Good luck, be safe,

Michael
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Old 12-22-2006, 05:12 AM   #6
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Wow, only 10 miles to go! Bummer!
But you wanted the spiffy new F250 with the crew cab and the big power stroker right?
Best of luck with the rest of the trip.
Best to remember the famous words..."cheer up things could be worse.....sure enough I cheered up and things got worse!"
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Old 12-22-2006, 05:28 AM   #7
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1993 21' Sovereign
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Stick a fork in it...

It's done.
The ticking noise you heard was probably the sound of a connecting rod flailing around inside the engine. If you want to find the hole in the side of the engine, fill the radiator with water, and wherever the water pours out, is where the hole is.
It's now decision time. Do you repair your truck, or get another one? Do you have a way to get the trailer home while you are waiting for an engine to be installed? Were you kind of looking for an excuse to get a new tow vehicle? Between now and the end of the year are when the dealers are really trying to get rid of this year's inventory, so they don't have to pay another year's worth of taxes on them. Good luck.
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Old 12-22-2006, 08:16 AM   #8
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1975 27' Overlander
High River , Alberta
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junkyard engine?

It's a 20 year old truck. What about a used engine from a wreck? No guarantees on durability, but 350 Chevys can't be expensive, and they should be pretty straightforward to replace for anyone who's done a few. Just be sure to get a truck motor with 4-bolt mains.
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Old 12-22-2006, 09:58 AM   #9
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1972 25' Tradewind
Merrimakc , New Hampshire
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I was afraid that you would all tell the truth. Thanks everyone for the sad but true news.

But I am working on plan B which is to price check slapping a new engine in and using my new neighbors favorite mechanic. The big question does the engine I buy need to be from an 86 GMC suburban or did they use the same engine in multiple years. If I can get an 86-91 Suburban, that would probably increase my chances of finding a good replacement.

Thanks for everything.
Bill and Kelly
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Old 12-22-2006, 11:46 AM   #10
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1975 28' Argosy 28
Hopkinsville , Kentucky
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Bill, Here is a web site that sells a reconditioned engine at a fair price for

around $2,500 they should be able to help you out. Although if you have a

good machanic that has rebuilt engines and access to a machine shop you

could rebuild it for less then $1,200. Best of Luck.


Regards, Keith


This site for complete engines:

GM Crate Engines, Factory Rebuilt GM Engines for GM cars and trucks

This site for Long Blocks, if the heads are good.

PowerPro Automotive Engines 2000, your complete dealer for performance engines!

This site if you want to rebuild your existing engine:

Northern Auto Parts: Home
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Old 12-23-2006, 08:16 PM   #11
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I believe Chevy started using the Throttle Body Injection for the '88 model year. There may be some of the '87 model year trucks that were outfitted with the system but I am not sure. My Hanes manual isn't at my fingertips right now. Anyway, throttle body fuel injection did away with the fuel pump on the side of the engine block. There are fuel injected 350 and carburated 350 engines and there may be some differences between them if you were thinking of short block vs long block. Those in the know will be able to let you know which are appropriate.
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Old 12-23-2006, 08:26 PM   #12
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The 5.7 in our Chevy van was the same TBI engine that was in my neighbor's '87 C10. Almost all differences were in the electronics, which you would want to change anyway (no telling what's about to go bad on a used engine).
If you have a carb, then you would go back a few years, say from '79 up to your year.
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