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Old 03-15-2017, 11:55 PM   #1
sugar ray
GAGT - Member
AKA: Sean
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 224
Vehicle: 2002 Grand Am
sugar ray Gettin' there
3.4 head replacement options?? Adding OBX headers

02 SE 3.4

I did the bad LIMS 7 years ago. Bought my ride brand new and it gets parked during our brutal Canadian winters. Anyways, just before putting it away last winter I developed the dreaded white smoke out of tail pipe at start up only then clears a few seconds later. Compression test and bad head gasket. Never over heated but know it's bad so stripped it all down. Cars got 196,000 Kms (not miles) and is in terrific shape. Heads look ok but will have to investigate further to ensure no warping. I bought a set of OBX headers off eBay cheap, guess they are trying to dump old stock no one really wants anymore?? Read some acceptable reviews on them, no their not pace setters but price was right.

Was considering rebuilding the heads while their off but parts and machine shop time, I'm seeing rebuilds on eBay for $300/pair. Cheaper and less headache and if one of my heads turns out to be not true flat, this becomes a nice option.

My only concern is quality of these vendors that list the rebuilds?
I'm not asking to win any 1/4 mile races. Just want to put it all back together knowing I'll get some trouble free miles in the future. Heads are cheap for 3.4s, but quality may be a different story

Any suggestions??

Many thanks
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Old 03-26-2017, 04:21 PM   #2
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AKA: Aaron
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Detroit area, MI
Age: 39
Posts: 12,230
Vehicle: 2000 Grand Am GT1 2dr
AaronGTR has made plenty of valid pointsAaronGTR has made plenty of valid points
Might just need a new set of head gaskets and some valve seals. Aluminum heads on an iron block always fail head gaskets eventually because of the different expansion rates. That's why our head gaskets have the silver graphite coating on them. Acts like a lubricant/filler. Anyway, it's pretty easy to tell for yourself if it's warped if you get a machinists straight edge and some feeler gauges.
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Old 03-31-2017, 10:03 PM   #3
sugar ray
GAGT - Member
AKA: Sean
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 224
Vehicle: 2002 Grand Am
sugar ray Gettin' there
As always Aaron

appreciate the input!!

Almost saddens me. These boards are getting fewer and fewer visitors as the GA's die off.

My 02 SE was the first car we ever purchased "brand new"
What was painful, was having it parked every Canadian winter while still making payments on something I wasn't using during the first 5 years

The payoff comes now, $0-biweekly and in terrific shape. Only draw back, they ain't worth nuttin, and seeing fewer and fewer GA's on the road. Still fun to tinker with.

I ended tearing apart the heads. Got them machined then bead blasted them as im convinced this will be the last time ill ever be in there. Heads were NOT warped and the block is true as well. New seals and found out the hard way the spring retainers are a "dealer only" part. only needed 2. A good friend of mine who's a motor head ported them out so it should breathe nicer with the headers. Also Powder coated the Plenum and both valve covers to match body color. not expecting earth shattering gains with ported heads/header combination but at the very least she will breathe nicer and perhaps pick up a few MPG while im at it?

Cat will be replaced with a resonator. Sure do like the looks of the OBX header kit which has both o2 bungs in tact. Seen mixed reviews, most good, but the price was sure right

I'll follow up with some pics as I get it all back together over the coming weeks. Going to be a slow process as the little thing called "work" always seems to get in the way

Last edited by sugar ray; 03-31-2017 at 10:08 PM.
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