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Author Topic: 3.4L V6 Teardown Part 1  (Read 50834 times)
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alchemist
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« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2010, 08:08:08 PM »

Just a note on the negative terminal... I'm not aware of any US vehicles that have positive ground anymore, and I know for certain our Aztek's don't so the negative terminal of the battery is actually connected directly to the frame.  Touching the fender wall from that terminal won't hurt anything.  It's the positive side you have to watch out for.

You want a real scary situation, try changing the battery on a Farmall C tractor.  Positive ground, and the battery sits directly under the metal gas tank.  One wrong move there and BOOM!
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If you can't fix it yourself, redesign it since it was obviously poorly designed to begin with, otherwise you could fix it yourself.  Right?
Wolfy1969
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« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2010, 11:31:46 PM »

Alchemist is of course correct.  I realized my mistake after reading it a few times.  I didn't see any way to edit a post once it's posted, so I guess there's no way to fix it.

Thanks for the correction.

RedTek - Sure - come on over and clean it for me  Grin  I'm more interested in getting the damn thing running again than how clean it is, LOL...this is a haulin' workhorse, not a show car.  It's not in good enough shape to be that like yours is.  Thanks for the compliments, though.

Aztek-Knight - you're welcome and thanks - maybe make this a sticky so it doesn't get buried? 

I'll be adding more threads on this topic as I do them - next will be tearing down the front (left or belt) end.

Mike
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RedTek02
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Josh


« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2010, 11:13:29 AM »

come on over and clean it for me  Grin 
I just might.  Wink

not a show car.  It's not in good enough shape to be that like yours is.
Who said my 'Tek was in good enough shape to be a "show car"?  Shocked
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Used to own a 2002 Pontiac Aztek, 1SB, FWD, 164,000 miles
TropicsTek
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'01 'Tek GT AWD Red


« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2011, 11:31:21 AM »

Wolfy, you are THE MAN, I work on machinery all the time at work but I had never replaced head gaskets before. My wife's Tek decided to leak at the LIMG AND around the head bolts. with your detailed descriptions and extensive pictures I got it done!! Great Job!
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The clock of life is wound just once
And no one has the power
To say just when those hands will stop
At a late or early hour

The only time we own is now
The past is just a golden link
So live, love and toil with a will
for at any time the hands may be still
Wolfy1969
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« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2011, 12:48:01 PM »

Tropics - Thanks - the fact that it helped someone else made it all worth the effort.  Now, if I can only get my own running again Sad

Mike
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tt29mp
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« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2015, 12:03:07 AM »

Hello,

I have a 2002 aztek and it blew the headgasket, I wasn't sure about it initially and I spent alot of time trying to figure out what was wrong with it and lots of money on antifreeze and other crap. I was desperate due to my job required me to drive my car daily and it was early november in pennsylvania and freezing cold last year. I'm a pretty good back yard mechanic, but if it wasn't for your complete breakdown on how to accomplish this, I would of never took the chance to do it. My vehicle would overheat sometimes and at other times it would n't. Finally, it would just overheat just about all of the time. I had it checked out and was told that the headgasket was blown. I did the typical stuff hoping that I would not have to have the repair done. I used head gasket repairs, some worked for a little while but most failed after a week or two. I got desperate and bought this head gasket repair goop that cost $60.00 dollars a bottle and really messed things up. I read your post about 10 times, watched a guy do it on youtube and finally took the plunge in the freezing cold!!! It took me two weeks due to doing it at my parents house and only being able to stand working on it for about an hour at a time. Warm up and go out and try it again. It was like having a second job!! Most of the time spent was reviewing your steps and taking things apart, matching nuts and bolts with parts and trying to have hands like a chimpanzee to get into those tight spaces. One of my biggest mistakes was not taking out the radiator. It was hell trying to remove those bolts, I would never do that again!!!!! Take his advice and remove it. Also, I broke the little nipple on the powersteering pump and had to replace that. It was a bear to get that bugger back into the slot for it. Also, I spent alot of time second guessing myself and backtracking at various points. There was a few times that I wanted to run down the street screaming I got so frustrated at times. When I finally got the heads off, I had to clean out all of the gunk from the that expensive head gasket fluid. especially inside the water jacket at the lower intake manifold. use the cheap stuff " the silver or copper stuff" if you have to keep it going till you can take the time to get the job done.  My suggestion is to let an antifreeze bottles worth of coolant out of the system. Put the sealer in the antifreeze bottle and shake it up real good and then put it in the radiator. Don't put anything in the radiator tank. The one thing that drove me nuts was the little metal shims for the header in the back. What a pain in the butt, but I finally got smart and put permatex on them and let them harden together and put the on. getting those bolts back in was hell in the back. Also, the number one spark plug was hell to get out and had to have new threads put in, but the head shop messed that up and when I got it back together, it was saying there was a misfire on that cylinder. Finally figured out how to fix it. There are these thing called "indexing rings" that racers put on spark plug threads so that all of the electrodes are pointing the same way. put one of those in with some permatex red hardening agent. Bang, runs like a brand new vehicle. I have also replaced the heater core in my car. What a pain, but I will let you know that the easy way is to take a box cutter and cut the plastic duct in the back and after you fold yourself in half to remove those nuts under the dash you can take it out without removing all of the stuff between the seats. It is a small space to work in but it can be done. The aztek is a fine vehicle, if you are willing to do the work and get familiar with the vehicle. Don't buy a versatek though unless your rich or own your own tranny shop. Thanks again for you attention to detail on your teardown. But I would suggest that a person start with removing the rear manifold before they start the teardown. I have done the following repairs:   Head gasket, altenator, power steering pump, brake line under the engine, spark plugs and wires, fuel injector replacement, fuel filter, tie rod ends, wheel bearings, brakes: fron and back, heater core, replaced the ignition switch; ask me about that sometime, it was hell until I came across the easy way to do it in about 15 minutes. I have been thinking about buying two more if I can find them at the right price and re-selling them.
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KingBoss83
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« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2016, 05:25:56 PM »

hey wolfy1969...I have a question that i hope you can answer for me on this engine.

in your picture of disconnecting the wire harness connectors...you stated that the green band connector going to the back of the coil pack is not connected to the main harness...WHERE exactly can i find that wire buddy? haha my buddy tore down the engine and replaced the head gasket and etc and now am almost done getting everything back together...but we cannot locate the connector that plugs into the coil pack. we have the left side one connected and the first one on the right side connected but the 2nd one on right side(the one with the green band that isn't connected to main harness) we cannot see anywhere. wondering where on the back of the engine this comes from so we can hopefully trace it back to find it.
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Bill Salina
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2003 Gold FWD Aztek - aka "The Warthog"


« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2016, 05:48:48 PM »

KingBoss83

Not sure if Wolfy1969 will see this in time to help you, but this YouTube video might have some info that might help:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS1Rzq8XuNw#t=3.211664

Hope that helps!

Bill

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Bill (aka Bird Dog)
2003 Gold FWD Aztek "The Warthog"
Tronman
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Any car gets great mileage when you ride your bike


« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2018, 09:39:05 PM »

Great post except for Photobucket, so I can't see any of the pictures :-(
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jnorten
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« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2018, 12:09:31 PM »

I read forums often, including this one.  RARELY do I post.  In this case, I had to!

I want to say,

THANK YOU!

I'm not completely done, but after a week of on again / off again work, everything is apart down to the engine block.  I have the Fel Pro gasket kit, I got the absolutely CLEAN cylinder heads back from a local racing engine machine shop ($215 to smooth out the surface that mates with engine block, remove one broken exhaust stud, pressure test valves, and give the whole thing a beautiful bath of some sort.  It looks almost new.

Now, I begin putting it all back together.  This is the first time I've done anything like this.  I do brake jobs, oil changes, and a little suspension work.  But, never, ever something like this.

Your information and photos are the best resource out there. 

Additionally, there are a few YouTube videos.  The GM3400 ones are helpful.  There is a specific one where the engine was in a 'Tek--about 20 minutes long and although it didn't SHOW everything coming apart, the description given by the narrator was excellent.

I sprang $30 for the 12 month AllData online subscription.  It had all diagrams and TORQUE values for everything.  This is worth it as opposed to saving some $$ and maybe or maybe not finding the correct torque values online.

A few other notes:
I read much about exhaust bolts breaking.  As advised, I took my time, lots of PB blaster, patient waiting, and slow and steady torque to loosen them.  I broke NONE.  One was already broken once I took manifold cover off.  Even the mani cover bolts were all ok.  I'm sure had I not read all the advice that I'd have rushed and broken more.

The guy at the engine machine shop was great.  I figured since I was paying him that I could pick his brain.  I did and asked him a ton of questions.  He was very helpful.  He put my mind at ease about things that worried me and gave me a few tips I'd otherwise not have known.

Everything about the gaskets and torques are completely anal. I'm anal, but some of these dire warnings are scary.

I removed the cylinder heads / exhaust mani / exhaust X-over as ONE piece.  I had a friend help me lift it out.  I could have done it one foot on a stool, second foot on the transmission, straddling the front bumper...I even got in the position.  I really wanted a photo.   I was lifting it.  But, my buddy was across the street and it only took 5 minutes (and I helped him clean his gutters after that).  This was probably the safe bet.

Removing this last bit as ONE piece saved having to loosen a few exhaust bolts, and thus less chance to break something.

I think I can put it back like this too.  I did have to remove everything from the cylinders for the machine shop, but the exhaust was able to stay in one piece.

LAST QUESTION-

How to clean up the oil and coolant once it's all back together.  I've read and talked to folks, but everyone has a different opinion.

Here is my plan:
Currently, all coolant is drained.  Oil is NOT.

1.  Fill radiator with water

2.  Add a quart of oil cleaner / break it stuff to engine oil (I think I'm about a quart low now).  The parts store recommended this.  Is it a hoax?.  Supposedly it picks up all the debris and helps flush things out.  Or, is the unnecessary since all of the debris just make it's way to oil filter anyways??

3. Run engine to warm up.  At this point, do I use one of those cooling system flush kits to force stuff backwards through cooling system and out the radiator pressure cap??

4.  Once engine hot (running heater full blast to open thermostat and force a backwards cooling flush) and water runs clear out top of radiator, shut her down.

5.  Proper oil/filter change and fill cooling system with DexCool (yikes).

I was careful with all of the cleaning.  But, really, with oil, coolant, debris from cleaning the engine block...I know stuff got in the coolant and oil openings.  I did my best to clean this out with shop vac and compressed air.

Of course, all of the above assumes she actually starts!!  Does it ever happen that someone spends two weeks on this and then the car never every starts again??!!  I'm so worried that I'll forget some obscure electrical connection in an inaccessible place once it's all reassembled.

Wolfy, I cannot thank you enough!
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jnorten
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« Reply #25 on: June 19, 2018, 05:54:10 AM »

Well, two weeks start to finish.

It runs smooth and no leaks!

I was meticulous with reinstalling everything exactly as it came out, right down to the small clips that hold electrical connectors in specific places (like the small clip near the power steering pump and the small clip on the edge of the ignition module bracket.

As I reinstalled everything, I carefully cleaned and degreased stuff.  I got to a point where I felt like it was going to work, and sure enough when I turned the key, it did.

It ran VERY rough at first, and required some gas pedal to no stall.  I figured I'd have to troubleshoot at the least.  The odds of forgetting one hose, connector, or something is very real with the sheer amount of stuff dealt with.

Well, I forgot that when reinstalling the spark plug wires to the ignition coils that I tucked a vacuum hose going to the back of the upper intake up and out of the way--up into the arms for the windshield wipers.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Once I reinstalled that vacuum line, then it ran GREAT!  It sounds new, really.  Mostly, it is.  I spent $200 to have a machine shop specializing in racing engines clean and pressure test the cylinder heads.  The heads looked great he said.  In fact, the engine as I dismantled really looked pretty good.  He didn't have to do much serious work, only a really good cleaning.  To me, this was money well spent.

All in, including the machine shop was $525.  This was compared to about $2000 that local GM dealers wanted.  I'm not a mechanic, but there is NO WAY that a GM dealer--no disrespect intended--would have so carefully cleaned stuff.  I had toothbrush and degreaser out for bolts.  I was careful to not break exhaust bolts, etc.  (lots of PB blaster, waiting, etc.)

I'm surprised at how clean things really were.

I flushed oil and cooling as I planned...after about three flushes of cooling, mainly water was coming out.  So, I let it run onto driveway (seriously it was mostly water).  The first several flushes I collected about 4 gallons total of coolant, which a local established mechanic shop kindly took for disposal.  The first draining was terrible--sooooo much stuff.  I looked at the residue closely.  I felt good since it was mostly scaly, rusty, deposits.  I found very few metal chips when I looked in the bottom of the bucket.  The small sand grain sized particles I could crush in my hand--rust.  In one bucket, I did locate two small metal flakes--probably stuff from cleaning the engine block a little more aggressively than I should have???  Who knows.

So, reflecting, would I do it again?  Yes.  Not any time soon though.  In a few years, if my Saturn goes out, and if the gaskets are a little more accessible than in the 'Tek, then I'll certainly give it a go.  I had two weeks solid to work on it.  Probably me the intermediate mechanic could have done it in one week.  I spent almost one week only on the cleaning stuff!  Most working folks don't have that kind of time.  That said, with patience (tough for me), this could DEFINITELY be done in an on again, off again, weekends as available manner!

Part storage tip--I folded the 'Tek rear seats forward and neatly stored and labeled everything in the rear cargo area.  It was just enough space to store everything--no extra garage space needed.

A few loose ends:
The initially forgotten vacuum hose caused misfires and stuff.  So the service engine soon light (not check engine light) is on.  I had parts store scan, and a few codes return (misfires, system lean, and a few sensors returning weird voltages).  Of course, the store immediately says "O2 sensor".  I've done a lot of readings...it could be O2.  But, it could be a host of things causing the system to run lean....

It could be a wire connection, a leak in an otherwise properly installed hose, who knows!!??  This is frustrating because it's hard to track down, and the car runs GREAT.   The parts store cleared the codes....but it came back immediately....

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Tronman
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Any car gets great mileage when you ride your bike


« Reply #26 on: June 19, 2018, 11:25:36 PM »

That's great news, congratulations!  Glad you got it running great again :-)
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NotAztek
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« Reply #27 on: August 10, 2018, 09:42:17 AM »

This is an incredible resource. The photos are very helpful for my Buick Rendezvous - same engine and same pain!

These are very good cars with a few quirks. . .
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