2012 Buick Lacrosse / Dealer says engine is blown. How can I be sure?

Ken Vol Fan

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2012 Buick Lacrosse
Help an old guy out here if you can. Local GM/Buick/Chev dealer says the engine is blown.
2012 Lacrosse V6.
I was driving 70 mph and the engine just quit. Coasted to a stop. Would not restart.
Warning message "Service Battery Charging System" came on.
Tried a jump start. No luck. Got one click each time I tried to start, but the starter would
not engage. Battery is still good, fairly new. 50 miles before this, the "Stabil Trac Service" light came on. (May not be related.)
Towed to the dealer. Mechanic said he finally got it started, and the engine was "clunking"
terrible. He first said all the oil was out of the engine, but we looked at the dipstick and it
appeared only 1 qt low.
There is no oil leak signs on the engine, no oil spill where I broke down.
There was no unusual noise or engine vibration when the motor quit on me.
Does this sound right? With an estimate of $7K for a used engine on a car worth less
than $10K total (96K miles on it), I'm not inclined to replace the engine.
Should I have it towed to another dealer/shop for a second opinion?
You would think I could trust a high volume GM dealer, but this whole thing sounds
fishy to me.
 

MelsRegal

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Seems like you're only choice if you dont trust them is to tow it to a private shop that you trust where the labor rate is lower to determine the problem.
 

EDSELRANGER

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Sounds "fishy" to me too.

Pretty hard to determine what went wrong with your engine from behind this keyboard. The mechanic says the "engine is blown". Sounds like what he's really saying is that he can't fix it because he's not exactly sure what's wrong with it.

One thing is for sure... either the engine had oil or it didn't. You say the mechanic told you that "all the oil was out of the engine" but the dipstick showed only a quart low. Who are you gonna believe... the dipstick or the mechanic? (Actually this may be a case of one dipstick's word against another.)

Better find another qualified mechanic for a second opinion.
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ThatsNotABuick!

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2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo M6
Sounds like the mechanic is the dipstick! I would never have a dealer replace the engine, they charge too much. I saw a 2012 engine with only 7500 miles (almost brand new) for $1200. A decent independent shop should be able to put it in for less than $2K.
 

Davidayackle

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Sounds like the mechanic is the dipstick! I would never have a dealer replace the engine, they charge too much. I saw a 2012 engine with only 7500 miles (almost brand new) for $1200. A decent independent shop should be able to put it in for less than $2K.
Awesome you say this... I just love when people think dealers are too expensive. I agree some are, You have to do some shopping around. What if I told you I know a Buick dealer that charges $97 a hour labor. All day long everyday they work on the same make and model car you drive. This motor swap calls for 7.9 hours labor... Call it 8 hours and that's $776 in labor from a actual GM certified tech that can do the work blindfolded. Or go to Joe blow down the street for your 2k.
 

MelsRegal

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Awesome you say this... I just love when people think dealers are too expensive. I agree some are, You have to do some shopping around. What if I told you I know a Buick dealer that charges $97 a hour labor. All day long everyday they work on the same make and model car you drive. This motor swap calls for 7.9 hours labor... Call it 8 hours and that's $776 in labor from a actual GM certified tech that can do the work blindfolded. Or go to Joe blow down the street for your 2k.
You actually have GM dealers in the same geographical area that have different hourly rates?
Havent seen 97/hr in decades. Current rate for the only dealer left is 130/hr.
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Mad*Max

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2010 LaCrosse CXS, 2019 Corvette Stingray, 2018 Cadillac ATS AWD
Awesome you say this... I just love when people think dealers are too expensive. I agree some are, You have to do some shopping around. What if I told you I know a Buick dealer that charges $97 a hour labor. All day long everyday they work on the same make and model car you drive. This motor swap calls for 7.9 hours labor... Call it 8 hours and that's $776 in labor from a actual GM certified tech that can do the work blindfolded. Or go to Joe blow down the street for your 2k.
Forget the hourly rate...their lies can get very expensive.
 

ThatsNotABuick!

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2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo M6
Awesome you say this... I just love when people think dealers are too expensive. I agree some are, You have to do some shopping around. What if I told you I know a Buick dealer that charges $97 a hour labor. All day long everyday they work on the same make and model car you drive. This motor swap calls for 7.9 hours labor... Call it 8 hours and that's $776 in labor from a actual GM certified tech that can do the work blindfolded. Or go to Joe blow down the street for your 2k.
Well most dealers are too expensive. Good for you that you have one that is reasonable. Unfortunately, people have limited choices in their immediate areas. That $7K quote was ridiculous for a used engine! I would be expecting a brand new engine for that much. Just because someone is a certified tech, doesn't mean they can't make mistakes. I promise you that can not do it blindfolded and beat book time! Most guys just want to pump out as much as they can. Sure there are some tricks that save time, but any competent non-GM mechanic should be able to pull out and install an engine with no issues. I pull and install transmissions for one brand all the time, but would not have a problem with another make. The basics are the same and you just have to pay attention to the differences. We have people on our FB forum that does it faster than that book time and they don't even have a lift!
 

HotZ28

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Help an old guy out here if you can. Local GM/Buick/Chev dealer says the engine is blown.
2012 Lacrosse V6.
I was driving 70 mph and the engine just quit. Coasted to a stop. Would not restart.
Warning message "Service Battery Charging System" came on.
Tried a jump start. No luck. Got one click each time I tried to start, but the starter would
not engage. Battery is still good, fairly new. 50 miles before this, the "Stabil Trac Service" light came on. (May not be related.)

fishy to me.
Have you had the battery load tested? If the alternator has failed, it can not keep a new battery charged! If battery voltage drops below 11-v it would be very hard to "jump" start the car. Yes, there is something "fishy" going on here!!
 

2007LucerneCXL

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2007 Lucerne CXL. and 1995 Lesabre currently, past 1973 Riviera, 1968 Riviera
The clunking noise is not as serious as a banging noise, but more serious than a tapping noise. I would recommend just buying a new vehicle and be done with all technical noise mumbo jumbo issue as that would be the easiest route for the service center.

If they can't give you more details on the specific problem, remember you paid them for their service, ask what process they went through to come to this decision. It very well may be a dropped rod, broken rocker, bad piston, timing chain, etc but it's in the details of the problem that help in deciding what is your next step will be.

Look on the bright side, these people decided on the automotive field and not the medical field LOL.
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Davidayackle

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The clunking noise is not as serious as a banging noise, but more serious than a tapping noise. I would recommend just buying a new vehicle and be done with all technical noise mumbo jumbo issue as that would be the easiest route for the service center.

If they can't give you more details on the specific problem, remember you paid them for their service, ask what process they went through to come to this decision. It very well may be a dropped rod, broken rocker, bad piston, timing chain, etc but it's in the details of the problem that help in deciding what is your next step will be.

Look on the bright side, these people decided on the automotive field and not the medical field LOL.
Turns out it was a the timing chain. It was stretched for some reason. Replaced with new chain kit, new water pump chain and new guides tensioners and front seal with all new bolts. Like new again.
 

Globetrot1

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LaCrosse CX, (2008, first gen) 3800 V6 Series III; previous: Regal coupe (1992) 3800 V6 Series I
Sounds "fishy" to me too.

Pretty hard to determine what went wrong with your engine from behind this keyboard. The mechanic says the "engine is blown". Sounds like what he's really saying is that he can't fix it because he's not exactly sure what's wrong with it.

One thing is for sure... either the engine had oil or it didn't. You say the mechanic told you that "all the oil was out of the engine" but the dipstick showed only a quart low. Who are you gonna believe... the dipstick or the mechanic? (Actually this may be a case of one dipstick's word against another.)

Better find another qualified mechanic for a second opinion.
If a person is the original owner and knows the car's history, they should know what's reasonable and what's not reasonable. They would know even if they're not the original owner but know how the car "behaves." When a dealer or mechanic goes to the highest cost problem to fix, you definitely need a second opinion. I've heard some eye raising stories about dentists, too, for that matter. Get a second opinion when they throw out high numbers.

Just a guess here: your timing chain.
Exactly what I was thinking. I've only lost a timing chain once and it was on an '84 Cutlass Supreme Brougham coupe with a 3.8 V6 with a little over 170,000 miles. It was running very smoothly and the engine was original. It did leak some oil up front. I came up to a light after a long freeway trip and it just died. There was a very, very faint clunk. The starter motor sounded "fast" but would not get the car to crank over. I suspected the timing chain. I had a good mechanic and it was the timing chain. He did the front gasket and the water pump (original and very little extra cost) at the same time.

On a newer engine where you can't grind the starter, I don't know if it would spin freely. The technology may have changed.

Kudos to non-interference / free wheeling engines where the loss of a timing chain usually doesn't destroy the engine because of the clearance with the valves. Smaller, higher performance engines may be interference / NOT free wheeling for planned obsolescence.
 

Ken Vol Fan

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2012 Buick Lacrosse
Update/Thread Closure: Thanks for the advice. I had the car towed to a second repair shop. They confirmed the engine is blown. A valve dropped, cracked a piston, and the engine is seized. Thanks again.
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Karl33

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Lacrosse cxl
Karl33
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So, I own a 2007 Buick LaCrosse cxl that recently started up like the usual in the morning but then I noticed my tailpipe was putting & the car was shaking somewhat. Then when I put it in reverse it got worse & I pulled back into the parking space which at that moment the car shut off. Afterwards it would try to start but wouldn’t turnover, so then I pushed the pedal to the floor to clear the throttle & it started but this time I heard a soft tapping noise which sounded like it was coming from the radiator fan so I hurried up & drove it next door to an auto shop but soon as I pulled in the car shut off & wouldn’t do anything. They said the engine is locked up & they tried to turn it by putting a socket wrench on the balancer but was unsuccessful. So now they’re saying the engine is shot & I need a new one. This is a 3800 V6 btw which I’ve been told are really good engines. My father said he thinks it may be the timing chain & not the engine at all because they haven’t simply told me why the engine is shot therefore they need to look into that possibility. The car had 152,000 mls, can anyone off any other suggestions?
 

ThatsNotABuick!

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2011 Buick Regal CXL Turbo M6
I would double check make sure one of the pulleys did not seize up. One of my friends has a Malibust and his engine would not turn over. An "expert" mechanic told him he needed a new engine. In reality the air conditioning compressor locked up which prevented everything else from turning. They put in a new compressor and it ran fine.
 

Globetrot1

Member
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LaCrosse CX, (2008, first gen) 3800 V6 Series III; previous: Regal coupe (1992) 3800 V6 Series I
I would double check make sure one of the pulleys did not seize up. One of my friends has a Malibust and his engine would not turn over. An "expert" mechanic told him he needed a new engine. In reality the air conditioning compressor locked up which prevented everything else from turning. They put in a new compressor and it ran fine.
Generally speaking, always look for cheaper solutions (and distrust the first mechanic's opinion when they go to the engine is blown right away). It happens, but it's not common with "younger' engines. Looking at the different pulleys, the battery, and the charging system are better places to start. Also, since you mention shaking and sputtering, it could be something in the ignition system.

A 3800 V6 is one of the very last cast iron block and cast iron head engines. If the oil is changed every 3,000 miles and it is not overheated, among a few other small maintenance items, they can last up to 300,000 miles. I've heard it's the rule rather than the exception.

Good luck and let us know!
 
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