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Old 02-02-2014, 01:57 PM   #21
3 Rivet Member
1999 34' Excella
Cinnaminson , New Jersey
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 158
it happens... nothing you did made that happen and nothing you can do will prevent it from happening again. It wont happen again. I'm a Diesel mechanic for Caterpillar I can tell you sometimes small imperfections (very small) can make it past the elaborate checks that almost every engine manufacture does. In the industry we call it a porous block. Most likely not a crack, but was an imperfection in the casting process that was just was too thin. eventually the temperature changes and vibrations caused a pin hole to develop and the leak occurred. Also can be influenced by poor cooling system maintenance. low quality coolants that do not have the correct corrosion and inhibitor packages and accelerate that kind of a failure. This is the reason you have a warranty. Even if you were out of the warranty period by a little, most manufactures will still replace it because its a manufacture defect. No engine out there should expect to have a block failure ever... if it was taken care of and doesn't suffer damage from another failure like a crank or bearing. In 18 years I've seen it happen 3 times, and one of them was on a remanufactured engine so its questionable if it was a casting issue.

You got a new life on the motor don't worry about it. biggest thing to keep an eye out for are leaks like hoses and fittings. most were reused and something can leak in the future.
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Old 02-02-2014, 02:28 PM   #22
3 Rivet Member
2003 22' International CCD
East Durham , New York
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 126
new engine

Hi, and thanks everyone for your responses. I decided to trade the truck in a get something else. I simply didn't trust the Nissan after this happened. I'm now a very happy owner of a 2014 Chevy Silverado. The dealer gave me an incredible deal on the trade (probably because it had a new engine). The new truck is awesome. My first American car! I love it. Haven't towed yet but certainly not worried about it, it gets better mileage as a daily driver than the Frontier, even with a V8!

Thanks for all the thoughtful responses. I'm looking forward to my first camping trip in the spring.

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Old 02-02-2014, 03:07 PM   #23
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2002 31' Classic
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 442
Images: 1
Originally Posted by crispyboy View Post
It can happen to any brand but typically it is a casting issue but sometimes it is a design issue.
From 1999 to 2001 Cummins had a B series engine which was known as the "53" casting block could develop cracks.
Cummins # 53 Block Casting | Identification, History, & Repair

Another engine that was known for cracked blocks were the Cadillac Northstar engines. A member in our family had one of these infamous cars that developed a crack.

It wouldn't surprise me that there isn't more trouble with cracked blocks as auto manufacturers are always trying new methods/materials to get costs down. Most engine troubles seem to show up with warped cylinder heads where an aluminum alloy is used or the manufacturer doesn't use enough or the correct type of fasteners to keep the cylinder head from warping.

I would keep driving the vehicle with the new engine but one thing you may want to do is let the engine idle for a couple of minutes after making a particularly hard tow or driving the interstate - this helps to cool down the internal components or other hot spots in the water jacket.
Regarding the Cadillac Northstar engine, my mother has a 2003 Sedan DeVille which experienced this problem as evidenced by the #4 cylinder "hydraulically locking" with coolant after engine shut-down, which is actually due the steel head stud threads electrolyzing with the aluminum block threads and thus releasing the torque holding the heads against the gasket. The dealer fix was to R&R the engine and install "time serts" in the block for ~$4,000.

My solution was to pour a new product, "Bar's Leaks Head Gasket Fix" (rear label actually states that it fixes Northstar engines), into the coolant system which after ~two years has maintained the problem.

The product has also maintained my 1990 Lincoln Continental engine with head gasket problems. The stuff seems to really work.
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