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Discussion Starter #1
Went and fired up my Camaro(ZZ4) yesterday and water started leaking
from the left side. I was close to tears since then engine has less than 250 miles on it. One question I would like some feedback on is could I clean up around the crack and have someone TIG weld or is it a loss? I am trying to avoid the inevitable pulling the motor apart and purchasing a new block.. Any advice would be appreciated..
 

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If the crack is on the outside water jacket there are several ways that can be repaired.When welding on cast iron you have to pre heat the block or the crack will keep moving. If the crack is small you can pin it.

My first step would be to remove the engine and tare it down and have it wet maged before any thing to see if it is cracked anywhere else.
 

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I've seen head bolts leak coolant. Might want to check them first...just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the feedback. I looked at it closer today and it is approx 3 inches long about 1 inch below the deck. Too close for comfort. Will have to replace the block.. Still not sure what caused it. I drained all of the water several months ago. I am still in tears over this... $3400 down the drain..
 

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Heck, clean the crack about as good as you can get it after you drop the coolant level down a bunch AND slap some good old JBWeld on the outside of it!

(I'd use some lacquer thinner or CRC Brake Klean to get her about a spotless as I could!!)....

Let it set up over several days and drive her after filling the rad. back up!

pdq67
 

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If it didn't freeze, what caused the crack? Is it out of warranty? It could be a bad casting to start with. Was it ever overheated? I feel for you, that has to suck. Blocks don't just crack for no reason. See if you can havi it sonic checked and see if it is a thin casting. If so you may be able to get GM to swap you for a new one.
 

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I've seen a block welded before with a nickel rod...I think it was nickle. It was not the water passage though, it was a hole caused buy a broken rod in the crank case (four cyl engine). It can be done, and I think that the fact it is in the water passage is a plus. The heat from the welding won't be passed on to the cylinders. It will probably be passed to the deck of the block though. I would talk to a couple of reputable welding shops to make sure you have exhausted all options. I'll find out about the nickle rod.
 

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pdq67 said:
Heck, clean the crack about as good as you can get it after you drop the coolant level down a bunch AND slap some good old JBWeld on the outside of it!

(I'd use some lacquer thinner or CRC Brake Klean to get her about a spotless as I could!!)....

Let it set up over several days and drive her after filling the rad. back up!

pdq67
While I might try to get gm to replace it... if they wouldn't, i wouldn't hesitate a second to pick up some JB... absolutely notihing to lose!
 

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pdq67 and JimM are right. See if GM will replace it, if not JB Weld will do the trick. Just make sure it is extremely clean and dry mix it according to the directions and you just saved a bundle. After it sets up you can grind it and rough it up and paint over it so it wont be such a noticeable fix while in the car. I think Indy Cylinder Heads do head and block repair and I know others do I just cant think of their names if you really want it welded. I know it takes someone that really knows what their doing when welding cast iron. (if it is cast iron?)
 

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If you want to try an easy out (like JB weld) I would suggest picking up a container of Copper Block Weld. This will stop the leak and it is semi permanent. It does work and work very well. Personally for a beater car I would do it, but not for your 1st gen Camaro. That is a brand new engine 250 miles, I would want to band aid fix it. JB weld "might" stop the leak, but it is not gong to prevent the block from cracking more. Bite the bullet and do what it takes to fix it. I wouldn't weld it either, mainly because of where the crack is. You will have to machine the deck, and the price will start going up. Not all welding shops will do cast iron. Get a quote and see if they will garantee the work. I would hate to see you spend $500 to repair that block (welding, machine work, gaskets, misc...) and then have more problems. Compare that to the cost of a new block.
 

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Yes, JBWeld is a "shade-tree" way of getting by and several of the guys have done this to their motors and posted about their successes in the past.

I'm "old-school/shade-tree" and so wouldn't hessitate to use it b/c I have ran cracked headed motors for several years using waterglass, (i.e., sodium silicate), to stop the leak a couple of times through the years and years!!

pdq67
 

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I had a block crack in the same place, I couldnt get jb weld to work so i took the engine out and cleaned the crack with a grinder (just the surface) then pre-heated with a butane torch then welded with a mig, cool it down slowly, then I put jb weld on it and let it dry overnight. It held for five years till the engine blew. May not be the best way to do it but it worked.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Wow, there are some 'shadetree' options I never thought of. I will wind up replacing the block in the future(after the left quarter is compelte and a few other major components are replaced. Thanks for the JB suggestion. I did not drain the block. It has only been below freezing here for a few days so far this year..
 

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If the block split on the outside due to freezing I wonder how many cracks are in the lifter galley that yoou can't see.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I agree. Thats what worries me. I would hate to destroy rods/crank when and have to replace rather than just swap over to a new block..
 

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i welded up a split manifold [ 6 cyl.] yesterday.. used high nickle rods and ran a heavy bead all the way around the flange.. heat transfer was so little, that i was able to handle the manifold without gloves within 5 minutes of finishing welding. but the reply about drilling a hole to stop the "runner" was right on.. about 1/8 inch should do it....clean well and lay down a bead..really don,t have much to loose at this point.
 
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