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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

Today, I received the unfortunate news from my local shop that my Solstice's engine has seized up.

There weren't any typical indicators that I may be having an oil leak issue. Nothing on the ground, plenty of oil when I checked, no fluids leaking upon inspection. I thought it to be the starter due to the typical click associated with a failed starter. Eventually, it was determined that the sensor that would alert me to a leak had failed leading to of course a much larger failure. While I thought that I'd been safe in checking my sensors with an OBDII diagnostic... let this serve as a PSA to CHECK YOUR SENSORS.

Anyhow, the shop has quoted me about $1500 parts and labor on top of the $300 for parts of labor for the starter/sensor replacement. What are your thoughts on this? In terms of the engine replacement, I've been told that any GM 2.4L engine block should do... that it should accept the Solstice engine components due to the GM parts bin policy of the era. Is this accurate? Additionally, if I do have another engine put into it, are there any upgrades or just things in general that I may consider doing since this is hopefully once in an ownership deal. I'd left this one stock without the famous tunes as I prefer a balanced car (as a daily driver) over a hot rod build. But I'm open.

Another option that I'll start to explore this evening is potentially parting out my Solstice. This wouldn't be a drastic overreaction to one issue but rather I was very,very,very slowly warming to the idea of potentially moving on from the Solstice due to weird design flaws. I bought my Solstice right before Mazda announced it's Miata design refresh a few years ago so I kind of keep comparing it to that. I love driving the Solstice and I love that some people (non-car people) treat it as a really expensive car because they may have never seen one before. But I admit that this last battery change, mixed with another solenoid failure, mixed with the MAF sensor having a long standing issue (meaning that I get even less fuel economy), mixed with the MAF issue causing hard downshifts (the infamous downshift issue on these forums), mixed with the engine seizure has taken me from "I love driving around town with the top down" to "It's just a car. They come and go". However, I don't know how large the market is even after doing an analysis of the past three years.

I also don't think that there's a real chance that my base model would become a modern classic so I'm not attached to it that way the way that I am my other car.

What would you advise given the situation?
 

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I haven't gotten past the mention of a sensor that will alert you to an oil leak. As far as I know there is no such thing.

How much do you trust your local shop?
 

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Part it out and walk away, you should be able to get a few dollars for all the parts you could sell.
 

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A) Yes, pretty much any 2.4L from that era. The last one I put in my '06 came out of a 2010 Malibu. Depending on the donor, you might have to swap the oil pan since every other application is FWD. The Malibu motor cost me $500 with 30k miles on it. (Seller had the paperwork and the rest of the car that it was pulled from.)

B) What sensor are you talking about? Oil level sensor? The diagnostics on this sound very suspect.

C) Part it and walk away. The newer Miatas are great cars. C5 & C6 prices are also becoming very reasonable.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I haven't gotten past the mention of a sensor that will alert you to an oil leak. As far as I know there is no such thing.

How much do you trust your local shop?
I apologize. I meant the oil pressure switch. The oil was leaking from the switch onto the starter. Because the switch didn't appear to send an error to the ECU, I didn't receive a check engine or alert that their was a low amount of oil.. which in a roundabout way would've triggered a search for a leak. At least that's how I figured in my head. Please let me know if that doesn't sound correct!

I've built up a lot of trust with this shop. They won me by being the only shop in town that could diagnose a complex issue.. I had to put the pieces together using these forums over a few weeks. My exact issue had never seemingly been observed. I played dumb at each shop I went to so I was impressed when they immediately diagnosed it, gave me a better price, agreed to let me bring my own parts, and welcomed me to check over their shoulder so that I knew that they were honest.

I might have conveyed their explanation poorly? Hopefully at least.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Part it out and walk away, you should be able to get a few dollars for all the parts you could sell.
Simple and straight to the point. I appreciate it. It sounds like I'll start looking for the next car.

A) Yes, pretty much any 2.4L from that era. The last one I put in my '06 came out of a 2010 Malibu. Depending on the donor, you might have to swap the oil pan since every other application is FWD.

B) What sensor are you talking about? Oil level sensor? The diagnostics on this sound very suspect.

C) Part it and walk away. The newer Miatas are great cars. C5 & C6 prices are also becoming very reasonable.
A) That's good to know. Yeah I was more worried about the FWD... Kind of the gift and curse of the GM parts from that era. I saved a lot of money from pulling out of other cars. But the parts seem to have a higher load rate.

B) Oil pressure switch. They're logic was that they know that I take care of my cars and that I like to only bother them if I don't have the tools, feel safe about a job, or something like that. So it wouldn't have been just forgetting to check the oil. They also had the car for a bit (took it right before Thanksgiving) to know that it wasn't throwing a check engine or error that we hadn't seen before. It made sense to me but if it doesn't make sense to you let me know.

C) Sounds like these forums have spoken haha. I know some Solstice owners that bash Miatas so I didn't want to open that conversation. But I think that the mixture of design cues, solid engineering, fuel economy and fun have me leaning towards trying to work my way into the Miata. I'm a fan of Mazda in general.

Thanks for the quick responses guys.
 

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Where you at? Have a number in mind of what you'd want for the whole car?
Arkansas. No not yet. I came here as soon as I visited to shop to look over everything. So I'm still in the research phase but if you're interested in more details feel free to message me. And I can get a price to you or if you have an offer (based on condition) in mind let me know.

I will say that when I bought it three years ago now, it only had around 8,000 miles on it. I want to say 7,954. I was the second owner so it's lived an easy going life.
 

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I had a '99 Miata and an '05. I put about 90k miles on the '99, having bought it with nearly 100k on the clock. Had to replace typical stuff but it ran like a top. That engine was damn near bullet proof. The '05 was given up as a gift-with-purchase with the ex-wife, so I hope that it wasn't nearly as reliable.

If you were happy with your NA, you'll be happy with the Miata. Power is about the same (or better on newer models), build quality is better, parts are cheaper (not to mention things like tires)...

Tell you what: come get my GXP and I'll go get a Miata. Everybody wins.
 

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I was the second owner so it's lived an easy going life.
I was the first owner of my Corvette.

It did NOT have an easy life.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I had a '99 Miata and an '05. I put about 90k miles on the '99, having bought it with nearly 100k on the clock. Had to replace typical stuff but it ran like a top. That engine was damn near bullet proof. The '05 was given up as a gift-with-purchase with the ex-wife, so I hope that it wasn't nearly as reliable.

If you were happy with your NA, you'll be happy with the Miata. Power is about the same (or better on newer models), build quality is better, parts are cheaper (not to mention things like tires)...

Tell you what: come get my GXP and I'll go get a Miata. Everybody wins.
I was the first owner of my Corvette.

It did NOT have an easy life.
Hahaha.

I meant to say good shout on the vettes.

Yeah my ex got my old 90's Benz 560sel. I was happy when it became such a nuisance that she gave it back to me for a free.

I had a friend with a GXP. He used to always tell me it's "dumb fun" because only dumb people keep them but you have a lot of fun while they're yours.
 

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I can't get past the fact your shop only want's $1500 for parts and labor....I would be very hesitant as to what it needs. $1500 in parts maybe...but not labor too. That's unbelievably cheap. You can't rebuild a motor for that.... I would get a second opinion...something sounds fishy...that's WAAAAYYYYYYY too cheap for a rebuild. Heck, it's $2200 just to change the timing chain....

Unless he's putting a used motor in it.....then I might be able to see $2k....
 

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Also,

If your engine is seized, it’s not just immobile. You’ll hear a lot more than a click when you try and start it.

When you run an engine out of oil these days, they don’t just lock up. They throw rods. That’s a very dramatic, very loud process that is entirely unlike a bad starter.

I strongly recommend getting a second opinion on this.

The last time I let someone put an engine in my car - before I learned to do this crap myself - it was north of $3k including a used - not rebuilt - engine. (That lasted about 1200 miles. Grrr.)

There’s no way that $1500 is going to come close to covering parts and labor on an engine. Something else is going on here.


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Discussion Starter #16
I can't get past the fact your shop only want's $1500 for parts and labor....I would be very hesitant as to what it needs. $1500 in parts maybe...but not labor too. That's unbelievably cheap. You can't rebuild a motor for that.... I would get a second opinion...something sounds fishy...that's WAAAAYYYYYYY too cheap for a rebuild. Heck, it's $2200 just to change the timing chain....

Unless he's putting a used motor in it.....then I might be able to see $2k....
I think that the plan was to put a used motor block in it from any 2.4L GM engine during that era. And then build upon that.

I love the car but not that much haha. Plus I feel like LS Swaps that I've driven or been a passenger in weren't well balanced. I know some LS Swap ex owners that said that it ended up being a lot less fun of a ride after maybe the first two months.
 

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I'd get a second opinion, at least. Low mileage I'm guessing. Basically the same the same engine used in many GM cars, and these other cars have few issues with their engines.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Also,

If your engine is seized, it’s not just immobile. You’ll hear a lot more than a click when you try and start it.

When you run an engine out of oil these days, they don’t just lock up. They throw rods. That’s a very dramatic, very loud process that is entirely unlike a bad starter.

I strongly recommend getting a second opinion on this.

The last time I let someone put an engine in my car - before I learned to do this crap myself - it was north of $3k including a used - not rebuilt - engine. (That lasted about 1200 miles. Grrr.)

There’s no way that $1500 is going to come close to covering parts and labor on an engine. Something else is going on here.


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I appreciate the heads up.

Those were my reservations when I originally received the news. I looked over my inspection notes, checked my OBDII logs, etc. and like I said I don't remember ever seeing an oil drip or a warning light. Plus I feel that I remember checking the oil (just out of habit) before having it towed... though that could've been my other car.

There weren't any loud noises while driving. The car didn't experience a sudden loss of power. I had a very slightly slow start once and I may be inventing that to rationalize. I went to start one day before work and I got a single click which I know can mean engine failure but usually indicates a starter given these conditions.

My original thought process before taking it to the shop was something like this: It may be the starter contacts which are only $10 but I'd be willing to just get a new starter. Our cars are notorious for having weird symptoms caused by a bad battery. Perhaps that could be it. Of course, our cars are notorious for solenoid failures. I swapped out both solenoids with my old ones... the old ones didn't fix the hard downshift issue.

When I went to the shop, I asked if they thought it might instead be a battery issue or more likely a solenoid issue. Perhaps a ground issue, cable connection issue to the starter or a corroded cable in a place that I missed. They responded by saying that they attempted to turn the crankshaft pulley to no avail.. this is the first time that I wasn't there to watch them work on a car so I couldn't confirm. But it wouldn't have occurred to me that they might be lying.

They told me that they should be able to take a used engine block and just attach everything else to it with a one year warranty for that price.

I didn't think to check my passenger floor fuse... just the ones in the engine bay. Tomorrow I plan to go with my OBDII diagnostic to pull codes again. Though I don't think it means much, I get plenty of power to the lights, radio, etc.

I remember seeing a video a while back about a guy that managed to get his car running after realizing that the negative ground cable wasn't secure to the engine or something of that sort. Like I said, I'm a bit shocked by all of this.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'd get a second opinion, at least. Low mileage I'm guessing. Basically the same the same engine used in many GM cars, and these other cars have few issues with their engines.
Yeah I think that's sounding more and more appealing. I'd say low.
 

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How long did the car sit between running OK and not starting? Engines generally don't seize when sitting for a short time if they were running properly when shut down, in fact I have never heard of it happening.

One possible cause of not being able to turn the engine by hand is the starter pinion being jammed into the flywheel.
 
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