GM 2.8/3.1 v6

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Hey fellow BITOGER's.. I was wondering what the usual failures were on the 3.1/2.8 besides the leaky manifold gaskets. My sister's 94 Cavalier threw a rod, it was a 2.8. Her friend drove it on the freewy, 2nd gear 60-65mph. Women..... My 91 Lumina Euro did the same, all of a sudden a knock hours after being parked. Brand new plugs, wires, oil&filter Tried limping it home 60 miles back home, mostly freeway. When I got to the 217 exit off I5, I floored it just for fun. SES light came on, rattled to a halt. it'd crank all day no start. There was a fresh mixture of oil/coolant, not diluted like milkshake. Crank position sensor wouldn't come out. What would you suspect happened? Car lot had pity, sold me an 81 Plymouth Champ 2dr w/ the twinstick for $40 cash.. That car was the best... till 40k later the OD broke in "Economy" range. Why did chevy produce those engines at all? Whats their weak points? The 4.3's are bulletproof though, I just have to roll my eyes when a friend needs his S10 crewcab looked at. TIA for your feedback.
 
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The GM 60 degree V6 is a durable and dependable motor. Is it as good as the 90 degree V6's, no. The narrower angle configuration allows it to more effectively fit in smaller engine compartments in a transverse configuration.
 
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They didn't start eating intake gaskets until 1996 ish. The 60 degree V6 was born to run in the FWD Citation in 1980. It eventually grew to 3.4 or 3.5 liters to pull minivans around.
 
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We had a 3.1 in a 2000 Malibu. Drove that baby to 231k. Ran good in the end too.
 
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Originally Posted By: Schmoe
I had a 3.3 V6 on my cutlass.....same problem happened, it was the crank sensor.
3.3 was a destroked 3.8, different engine family. I had a ciera with one, lots of fun in a 2900 lb car. I never figured out why the cutlass supreme, supposedly better, had the 2.8/ 3.1 "chevy" motor while the midsize ciera had the 3.3 "buick" motor with attached snobbery (more nickel in the alloy etc).
 

Bud_One

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I had a 1991 S-10 with the 2.8 V6 and a 5 speed , purchased in 95' with 52k miles on it. I reved the mess out of that little engine. Only work I had to do (other than routine maint) was the intake gaskets and ECM coolant sensor. My dad ended up with it after I got another vehicle in 97' - he just sold it a couple of years back- still running with R12 A/C still cooling and passing emissions with 215k miles on it.
 
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The original 2.8 motor had some main bearing issues. They enlarged them in/around 1985. After that the motor was fine as long as it was taken care of.
 
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Aside from piston slap and intake manifold gasket issues, the 3.1 is a good engine. I had two uoas done on a 2003 Malibu we used to have in the family and they came back great. The engine was still spotless and running great when we sold it at 150000 miles. We did replace the intake manifold gaskets 2 or 3 times, though.
 
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I had a Camaro with 2.8,low oil pressure and lifter tick.And that was at 69K miles.I unloaded it 2 years later (for a new 89 S10 with 2.5 Iron Duke....stupid me).End of GM here.
 
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I had an 82 S10 with the 2.8 that I bought for $50 off a friend because it had some damage to the bed. The oil pickup FELL OFF of the oil pump while driving, resulting in no oil pressure and a rod knock. I drove it home some 15 odd miles with no oil pressure. When I pulled off the oil pan I was flabbergasted that the engine oil pickup just fell off for no real apparent reason. Got a free 2.8 out of a wrecked Camaro and got the truck back on the road in a weekend.
 
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Originally Posted By: NHGUY
I had a Camaro with 2.8,low oil pressure and lifter tick.And that was at 69K miles.I unloaded it 2 years later (for a new 89 S10 with 2.5 Iron Duke....stupid me).End of GM here.
I had an '88 with the 2.5 and it was a good truck. Probably the best vehicle I ever owned. Very reliable, but primitive. I've seen a few 2.8's die from low oil pressure. The solution was to run 20W-50 in them until they blew. That was a good engine, but it had to be well maintained.
 
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I have seen some STUPID high miles 2.8s. They will run a long time given proper maintenance.....by that I mean change the oil regularly and don't run it short. They ran smooth, revved and made good power for the time. I had a 2.8 MPFI in an 88 Camaro. Nice V6 for its day. Only problems I had was a bad MAF sensor and a bad oil pressure sensor. I wouldnt be scared of the 2.8 at all. Dont know about the 3.1.
 
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^^^That's our story. Way back when my youngest started driving he had two Buicks with 2.8's in them. Both very high miles when purchased and very abusive teenager driving and wrecking them. Never saw any reason to think it was anything but reliable....
 
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the 3.1 is a bored out 2.8L. the 2.8L was a very decent motor. I had one in my 89 Firebird, I went 176k before I retired the car (not for the motor, this guy in a gang kept breaking into it trying to steal it.). I never had any leaking issues, never ever had to go on a tow truck, and never ran out of gas. I loved that car, was my first car too. Ran Maxlife antifreeze in it and Synpower 5w30 in winter and 5w40 in summer. Used Autolite plugs mostly, last 2 years it has AC Delco's and an AC Delco o2 sensor, only because it was $4 more than the bosch. Had a 3stage flowmaster on it, kyb gas-a-just shocks on the back and monroe sensa-trac on the fronts, worked pretty good for handling and I drove it hard! But I never had to tear down for anything, it burned a quart of oil every 2800 miles, which wasn't a big deal. Only issue with the firebird 2.8's was they were designed to run to lean, the camaro equivalent had 2 air intakes (2 air filters too) and had a smog pump, but they didn't run as lean. summer was fun trying to start the motor.. always dragged on. But in cooler weather, quick fire every time! oil pressure was an issue for me too.. I had best luck with Valvoline, hence why I stuck with it. But I went through 4 starters, 3 alternators and 4 oil pressure senders, which were all known to go bad on these..
 
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My 1984 Jeep Cherokee(1st year for the XJ Cherokee) has a 252,??? mile 2.8 under the hood, I have had and driven very hard this engine since 228,??? miles when i bought it in April 2007. One oil change since i bought it back then, the day i bought it. Tough engine.
 

hsd

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Son bought an 88 Z24 Cavalier 2.8 automatic with 100k on it when still in high school. Drove it for 10 years and put on another 106k before selling it. Engine and trans were still running fine with no oil use, but most accessories (starter, alternator, AC comp, fuel pump, ign module) had been replaced at least once and the body was starting to rust out.
 

JTK

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Aside from intake manifold gaskets, we never had any issues with GM 2.8/3.1/3.4s, or the 4spd autos they were coupled to. I remember in the late 1980's being amazed at the power and rip-snorting exhaust note of GM's FWD, multi-port injected 2.8/3.1s of the time period. So much different than the gutless RWD, carbureted 3.8's (and whatnot) I was used to.
 
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