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super confused/oil burning/engine diagnostic/Buick Lacrosse 2006

bajasurferchick

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Buick Ownership
lacrosse 2006
1) preface: I know nothing about cars my apologies.
2) June: after overheating had gasket head and the valves replaced
3) Circa August: black smoke starts.
4) Circa Sept: start burning through lots of oil about a quart a week
5) Mechanic replaces some small pieces on the oil gauge ///// little things that might have to do with oil leaking doesn't fix problem
6) Supposedly the machinist says my 3 month warranty is up on the actual head and valves. [although mechanic does not tell me]; not sure what the mechanic actually diagnoses he had my car for a few days.
7) Mechanic says we will just put in lucas oil additive.
8) Circa a month later still seeing the smoke. it only appears at times.
9) Speak to friend. Friend says mechanic will have to take my engine apart to redo the valve job. and then if it still uses oil he will have to rebuild the motor. Friend tells me that the mechanic will say the valve seals were fine and it needs rings.
10) I speak to mechanic and tell him what my friend said.
11) mechanic takes car puts the scope down the car. I saw the scope and I saw where the oil was but I cant figure out what he was saying it meant.

He seemed to be saying from where the oil was coming from it indicates its the lower not the upper part of the engine? [not sure I understood this correctly]

But I have no idea how he saw this I was really confused how the camera was working and what was up and what was down. [Slight language barrier as well]....

He showed me two of the spark plus had oil around the rings so I am confused

is this burning oil problem related to the gasket and valves or a seperate problem

other questions: So is the gasket and the valve considered the upper engine?
Also question: does the oil around the spark plugs mean anything?

I am pretty confused about what we are fixing but apparently I left the car there to do a seafoam wash on the piston heads or some rings or something I really have no idea what
He showed me this youtube video

But I am still confused what exactly we are fixing. I said well what if this doesn't work and he says we have to try first.

I guess my ultimate question is just with the camera and not taking anything apart how do we know the gasket and the valves are okay?

And...what exactly are we fixing?

And.....am I still going to need my engine rebuilt after all this.

If anyone has time to read this long and complicated post I thank you.

Car: Buick LaCross 2006 milesage 173,400 3.8 L Cxl
 

whirligig

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2018 Buick Regal Sportsback
Your mechanic is hoping the sea foam will free up the piston rings so they will seal properly. Each piston comes with three rings. The top two rings are for compression when the piston goes up the cylinder toward the head, the valves are closed, air and fuel compresses, spark from the plugs, and boom (combustion) the piston is forced downward to make the crankshaft, transmission, and finally the tires to spin. The third and bottom piston ring is an oil control ring which scrapes the oil from the cylinder walls as the piston returns to the bottom of the cylinder. If this ring is stuck, then oil gets past the piston and is burned during combustion giving you the oily smoke in the exhaust. Also, the sparks plugs will be covered with black burnt oil residue.

Your mechanic is hoping the sea foam will remove any gunk from the rings that is preventing the rings from doing their job. If this doesn't work, you have these options, rebuild the old engine, buy a new rebuilt engine, or get another car. I would seriously have the mechanic do a compression test before throwing more money at it. This takes an hour to do and it will tell you if any of the pistons are just plain worn out from 173,000 miles of driving.

Good Luck.
 

HotZ28

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1996 Roadmaster Limited Collectors Edition 58k - 1996 PAU
You need some other mechanic opinions. Were the valve guide seals replaced and installed correctly? That engine & piston rings should last 500k with recommended oil changes without any problem. I totally rebuilt my heads @ 185K due to leaking valve seals which caused 1-qt oil comsumption in 1,5K. The converter was clogged with oil and had to be replaced also. Now @ 235K the car will only consume less than 1/2 qt in 3.5k. Some Ting Wong here with the diagnosis.
 

bajasurferchick

New member
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Buick Ownership
lacrosse 2006
Your mechanic is hoping the sea foam will free up the piston rings so they will seal properly. Each piston comes with three rings. The top two rings are for compression when the piston goes up the cylinder toward the head, the valves are closed, air and fuel compresses, spark from the plugs, and boom (combustion) the piston is forced downward to make the crankshaft, transmission, and finally the tires to spin. The third and bottom piston ring is an oil control ring which scrapes the oil from the cylinder walls as the piston returns to the bottom of the cylinder. If this ring is stuck, then oil gets past the piston and is burned during combustion giving you the oily smoke in the exhaust. Also, the sparks plugs will be covered with black burnt oil residue.

Your mechanic is hoping the sea foam will remove any gunk from the rings that is preventing the rings from doing their job. If this doesn't work, you have these options, rebuild the old engine, buy a new rebuilt engine, or get another car. I would seriously have the mechanic do a compression test before throwing more money at it. This takes an hour to do and it will tell you if any of the pistons are just plain worn out from 173,000 miles of driving.

Good Luck.
so should I trust him that the gasket and the gasket heads are not the problem for now?
______________________________
 

bajasurferchick

New member
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Buick Ownership
lacrosse 2006
You need some other mechanic opinions. Were the valve guide seals replaced and installed correctly? That engine & piston rings should last 500k with recommended oil changes without any problem. I totally rebuilt my heads @ 185K due to leaking valve seals which caused 1-qt oil comsumption in 1,5K. The converter was clogged with oil and had to be replaced also. Now @ 235K the car will only consume less than 1/2 qt in 3.5k. Some Ting Wong here with the diagnosis.
....okay this is where I get confused....
the valve seals.....how would you diagnose these as the problem?

all I know is mechanic showed me the microscope --- he saw the oil was in the scope

He JUST SAYS THAT HE CAN SEE THAT THE OIL IS LEAKING IN THE LOWER PART OF THE ENGINE........[AND SAYS WE REPLACED UPPER PART SO WE KNOW IT IS NOT THE GASKET OR THE …..OTHER PART]

SO NOW WE THINK THE PROBLEM IS THE RING? NOW WE ARE TRYING SEAFOAM AND NOW AFTER IF THIS DOESNT WORK THEN NEW PLAN.
 
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HotZ28

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1996 Roadmaster Limited Collectors Edition 58k - 1996 PAU
Were the valve guide seals replaced and installed correctly?
....okay this is where I get confused....
the valve seals.....how would you diagnose these as the problem?
You did not answer my question of "Were the valve guide seals replaced and installed correctly?" Failed Valve seals can allow oil to be sucked down into the combustion chamber, and may look the same as leaking oil rings. That will kill the CAT! Start the engine and let it idle for 10-min then accelerate to 3-k. If you see blue smoke, more than likely the valve seals are leaking.
 

Rich B.

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2016 LaCrosse & 2013 Boss 302 Mustang
First thought is that black smoke indicates engine is running too rich; white- condensation, blue/gray- oil. Plugs show oil or raw fuel? See if I can find something..... Advance Auto Parts - Down for Maintenance

As mentioned afore, rings may require seating. Hopefully bores were honed if pistons removed to replace rings. Wouldn’t condemn mechanic work just yet. Guess rings never replaced yet lol, reread.
 
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d2305

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14 Lacrosse
You need major repair, piston rings. Might as well do replace the valves while your're at it. Or trade it in.
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whirligig

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2018 Buick Regal Sportsback
so should I trust him that the gasket and the gasket heads are not the problem for now?
I don't know. Did he give you an invoice listing what was done to the head and valves? Since this is a V6, there are two heads and so which head blew a gasket? Was it warped? If so, was it re-surfaced? Was there valve work done with new seals and maybe new guides?

If he hasn't given you an itemized list on what was done, then find another mechanic.
 

bajasurferchick

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lacrosse 2006
I don't know. Did he give you an invoice listing what was done to the head and valves? Since this is a V6, there are two heads and so which head blew a gasket? Was it warped? If so, was it re-surfaced? Was there valve work done with new seals and maybe new guides?

If he hasn't given you an itemized list on what was done, then find another mechanic.
Okay I will find my paper work. Is re surfaced the same as getting a new gasket? Yes from what I know it was a gasket and the valve but I don't know what a guide is. I will find my paperwork and follow up soon. Thank you.
 

bajasurferchick

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Buick Ownership
lacrosse 2006
Update: I got car back mechanic claims the seafoam is working. He said drive and we will see what happens next. I will try to get a better understanding of replies people have provided. Thank you for helping me. Thank you for your input.:icon::love:
 

HotZ28

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1996 Roadmaster Limited Collectors Edition 58k - 1996 PAU
Is re surfaced the same as getting a new gasket?
NO, the resurfacing of the head requires machine work with a surface grinder to make it level across the whole head surface. Valve guides are what guide the valves when they open & close. They have seals, springs, & keepers mounted over the outside of them.
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2007LucerneCXL

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2007 Lucerne CXL. and 1995 Lesabre currently, past 1973 Riviera, 1968 Riviera
This may help on understanding automotive parts, basic 101, and how they work in your car. Not everyone has been exposed to the inside of a engine or even had the parts explained hopefully this will help.
How a Car Works
 

whirligig

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2018 Buick Regal Sportsback
Update: I got car back mechanic claims the seafoam is working. He said drive and we will see what happens next. I will try to get a better understanding of replies people have provided. Thank you for helping me. Thank you for your input.:icon::love:
Wow, good luck and Happy Thanksgiving. Keep your receipts and invoices.

Sometimes I wish a garage was more like the Doctor's office with diagrams and models to make it easier to explain a problem.
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