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Old 01-09-2018, 02:27 PM   #1
Maninthebox
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AKA: Jason
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Harrison, Arkansas
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Vehicle: 1999Grand Am GT 4 DOOR
Maninthebox Gettin' there
Bad reviews

I was reading some bad reviews on the 1999 Grand Am GTmodel. Some of the negative things covered were:

Having to change out intake manifold gasket every 1-2 years.

Head gasket change every few years

Frequent overheating

Power steering pump change

Door mirrors falling off easily

Those things were about it. Some people pretty much said that the GM 3400 motor is junk. Have any of you experienced these things or other things happening?

Thanks very much.

Last edited by Maninthebox; 01-09-2018 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 01-12-2018, 10:09 AM   #2
AaronGTR
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Detroit area, MI
Age: 40
Posts: 12,233
Vehicle: 2000 Grand Am GT1 2dr
AaronGTR has made plenty of valid pointsAaronGTR has made plenty of valid points
Actually for something designed in the late 90's, the 3400 is a fairly dependable motor. They can have problems... but a lot depends on how well you maintain it. If you don't take care of it, they will break down, like anything else.

Frequent over heating? Not common.
Power steering pump failures? Not common.
Door mirrors falling off? I've heard of this before... but usually when someone takes them through a car wash that's too rough. In normal use, they don't just fall off.

Head gaskets? This engine is an iron block with aluminum heads which expand at different rates. This can cause some shearing as it's called, and this was before they started using MLS gaskets and very fine surface finishes on the sealing surfaces... BUT, the stock gaskets are coated with graphite which is supposed to account for this. Really, it comes back to the maintenance thing. I've heard of people going over 200,000 miles with no issues. If you keep the cooling system in good shape and keep the engine running properly (not detonating, not overheating and warping the heads) it shouldn't be a problem. If you do have a gasket failure, use a good gasket and not a cheap replacement, and it won't be a problem.

They are known for lower intake gasket failures, but again, it's down to maintenance and also mileage. Nothing lasts forever. Overhead cam engines with timing belts or timing chains commonly need replacements anywhere from 40,000-80,000 miles, even if the rest of the engine is fine, and it's usually an expensive and time consuming fix. Is this a defect? Or a consequence of the design of the engine? The 3400 has coolant ports that go through the lower intake manifold to the cylinder heads. They had a problem with the early gasket designs and revised the material and added a metal spacer to prevent over compression, sometime around 2001-2002 if I remember right. They aren't perfect, but they do last longer than the older design. The material will still get brittle over time and eventually fail. It takes a lot longer than 1-2 years though. Most people having failures that often is because they used cheap gaskets and didn't install them properly. I prefer to use the fel-pro premium gasket which is molded rubber over metal instead of nylon/plastic. Even with some of the better plastic ones they can last a long time though if properly installed. I've done over 10 LIM gasket jobs and never had one leak after.
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Old 01-12-2018, 07:43 PM   #3
01OhioAlero
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Vehicle: 2001 Alero
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Yup do a headgasket job using the metal felpro and never worry about intake or head gasket. Overheating is normally caused by those 2 so get rid of that. I have had 4 nbodys and none of my ps pumps have gone bad, 3 over 170k miles as well.
Mirrors are only the dual post ones that break easily, the ones that come on a alero or the "mickey mouse" arent as weak.
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