Question about 1995 Chevrolet Lumina

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I have a 1995 chevy lumina sedan, 3.1 v-6 engine. suddenly started knocking LOUDLY when running. (sounded like when an engine has no oil in it.) i checked oil, which is fine, other than just dirty. i noticed a small knock first when antifreeze was low. after adding antifreeze, noise went away. (i replaced the water pump roughly 6 months ago) knocking started again one day while i was driving. seemed like noise got louder when i tried to accelerate. i was afraid to push it, so i just went really slow to get to the nearest gas station a couple of miles away, so i am not sure if there is a loss of compression or not. the car has set ever since, however, since the weather has been so cold. i am fairly handy with working on my car, but this truly has me stumped, without taking the engine apart. i am trying to avoid doing this, if at all possible. i was told that it sounds like one of the rods are bad. if so, what is the best approach to fix this? also, another problem i have had with the car is regarding the antifreeze. it seems to be going somewhere, but i can't figure it out. nothing is leaking that i can tell. there is no leaking up under the dash. (heater core) there is no milkiness in the oil. (cracked head) any help would be much appreciated. i had just put a bunch of money into the brakes, etc. so i want to try to fix it if possible. (and not too expensive.)

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Hello,
Sounds like we have to things to address. The disappearance of antifreeze and a loud knock. So first the antifreeze. How much are you using? In other words how much are you topping it off with and how often? Now low antifreeze can make the engine overheat and knock from this. If you are absolutely positive that there is no head gasket leak and you are not loosing any antifreeze slowly out of the radiator cap or overflow reservoir then I would check for an intake manifold gasket leak. Often The problem with many mid "90s" vehicles is that GM had just introduced Dex-Cool antifreeze and it literally ate at every seal it came into contact with. A Google search will show you the billions in lawsuits they faced because of it. I can't tell you how many warranty repairs I did because of this.
Now if you car is continually running low on coolant and is heating up they it will ware on the rods and pistons and other engine parts. From what you have explained it does sound like you either snapped a rod somehow or dropped a valve. Unfortunately for this there is no other way to find out other than to pull the head and have a look. If you can fix this then it will be cheap enough parts and your labor. If you need to take it for a mechanic you will want to weight your options. I am very sure in my diagnosis. Anytime the engine knocks like that it is never good and you have to look inside to see how much damage is done. If you have any other questions feel free to ask.
Regards, Tony

Posted on Apr 07, 2011

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  • Christa Rohdy Apr 15, 2011

    about the antifreeze usage, i didn't have to add it very often; maybe every few days, depending how much i would drive the car. when i had to add antifreeze, i would only have to add enough to go up to hot or cold line on reservoir.(less than 1/2 a jug of antifreeze, maybe 1/2 a jug at most) usually when it would be low, it would just be a little at the bottom of reservoir. i never let the radiator get empty. i will start off with replacing the radiator cap and taking out the overflow reservoir to look for cracks. i really appreciate your input on this.

  • Iron
    Iron Apr 15, 2011

    It's good to know that you keep the level full. So many people don't. They think an oil change is all that's necessary. However the fact you have to add a half a gallon more than once a year is something to take a look at. You might have that one time that it would get overfilled and you might loose a little out of the relive hose on the reservoir. But you never over filled it so it is going into your engine system somewhere. When a water pump goes bad, when you can hear the bearings grind, it is a very distinctive noise. Where an engine just bangs or clacks real loud a water pump has a loud grind. When your engine is cooled down you can start the car, of course put the emergency brake on, and pop the hood and get right up on the engine and with your hand push back on the throttle. An engine noise you will hear and feel. A water pump you can hear more off to the side where it is located. Sounds goofy but you can also take a long screwdriver and put the handle to your ear and the tip on the suspected area and this will magnify the sound like a stethoscope would. Just don't ware any ties, jewelry, tuck any hair away and tie it up, or loose clothing. Most of the time you will not see an intake manifold gasket leak. Look closely when you change your oil for "chocolate milk." A dipstick will not always show this if the leak is not "too bad." It get's louder when you accelerate because the problem lies within the drive train. You made a good choice shutting her down until the problem is fixed.

    Regards,
    Tony

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As for oil not milky , this could still have a crack or bad headgasket just going through the exaust port in the head. As for the loud KNOCK may be your oil pump quit working, Really hard to say, Hopefully it's not ready for overhaul. Best of luck to you.

Posted on Apr 07, 2011

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