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Old 04-24-2007, 01:32 PM   #1
GAGT - Member
AKA: Luke
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Lincoln NE
Posts: 331
Vehicle: 1999 Grand Am SE
angrysk8r Gettin' there
LIM and Head Gasket Change Walkthrough/FAQ

I've compiled this LIM and head gasket change walkthrough for the 3400 and took some pictures that hopefully will help anyone else who will be doing this. Iíve also edited much of the original thread in an attempt to make it more user-friendly while still keeping it as simple as possible. Note that at the end of the walkthrough I have added a common problems/faq and a url compilation of all of the pictures (and some others I didnít use) from the walkthrough. If youíre from another site feel free to link to the walkthrough or PM/email me ( for the original code so you can post it elsewhere (just donít be taking credit for it :-p ).

First off before you can start your LIM/head gasket change, you need a complete list of parts/tools that you're going to have to pick up. All together, since I didnít have some of the required tools (such as the proper torque wrench), it cost me ~$300 (still MUCH better than paying upwards of $800-1000 to have it done at a shop). Hereís what you should need:

Whatís Necessary (for LIM gasket change):
-Several buckets to drain radiator coolant/store old fluids
-Oil drain pan
-Acetone/paint thinner (To clean off old gasket material)
-Razor blades (To clean off old gasket material)
-About 6 liters of Dexcool antifreeze (Premixed) or ~3 liters unmixed (Assuming 50-50 mix of water to antifreeze)
-5 liters oil (4.5 needed for a refill but have some extra to pre-lubricate the pushrods/rockers)
-New thermostat w/ new thermostat o-ring
-12 fuel injector o-rings (Only if you plan to remove/clean the injectors and fuel rail)
-Thread Sealant
-RTV sealant
-LIM gasket kit (Contains both upper and lower intake gaskets)
-Throttle body gasket
-EGR gaskets
-Valve cover gaskets
-A torque wrench reading inch pounds (not foot pounds)
-A good set of wrenches, ratchets, sockets, screwdrivers, and pliers
-Ratchet extensions
-U-joint for a ratchet
-New hose clamps to replace the old ones
-Oil filter wrench
-A special bar with a square end (used for rotating the tensioned pulley so you can remove the serpentine belt)

For Head Gasket Change:
-Everything listed above
-Head Gaskets
-Exhaust Manifold Gaskets
-Head Bolts
-Torque Wrench that reads ft/lbs

Whatís not necessary but should be considered:
-Jack stands
-Mechanics gloves
-Magnetic tray to store bolts
-Sharpie and labels/tape to label hoses/electrical connections
-Magnetic bolt retriever (Incase you drop a couple bolts/tools)
-A Haynes or Chiltons manual (Just incase you are confused about something and need more clarification)

*Overall notes*:
-To remove coolant hoses, you must first remove the old hose clamp with a pair of pliers. It may take some force to remove the old coolant hoses for some parts of the LIM gasket change, so you may need to insert a small screwdriver in between the coolant hose and the metal pipe that is holding on to the hose to free it. If any of the coolant hoses are cracked or otherwise worn out you should replace them. Itís better to do it when youíre doing this then having to change them later and having to remove the stuff you just installed.
-For stuck or very hard to loosen bolts you may need some special penetrating oil that will help loosen stuck bolts. If that doesnít work, you may need to invest in a propane or oxy-fuel torch. Heat the stuck bolt until it starts to glow, while itís glowing tap it somewhat hard with a hammer, by heating it and tapping it, it should help loosen the bonds that hold the bolt in place. After the bolt cools try removing it. If for whatever reason it still wonít come out, try more penetrating oil.
-If you happen to break a bolt head off and the rest of the bolt is still in the block or whatever, there is a way to get it out without having to drill and re-tap. If you go to your local hardware store there are some special spiral bits (called easy outs) that look like drill bits with a reverse threading. All you need to do to get the broken bolt out is first drill down about a 1/4Ē through the broken bolt with a smaller drill bit, insert the correct size easy out into the drilled bolt, hit the top of the easy out lightly with a hammer, then while holding the easy out with a wrench or something similar start loosening the bolt.
-For some o-rings, especially on the injectors and fuel rail, it will make it a lot easier if you first coat them with a light film of fresh engine oil or Vaseline.
-If you have any other questions not listed in the FAQ at the end of the walkthrough, feel free to either PM me or email me at (also my msn messenger name).

Now finally you can get started. Make sure you take your time so you donít accidentally miss something that could end up costing you big $$$ (Such as putting pushrods in the wrong order, or forgetting to put RTV sealant on the ridges between the heads). It took me approx. 8 hours to finish everything (including head gaskets).

Since this is going to be a very long post, Iím going to have to split it up.

Last edited by angrysk8r; 03-30-2008 at 01:18 AM.
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