What is the life expectancy of a 1997 Lumina with a 3.1 liter engine?


Asked by May 03, 2012 at 09:21 PM about the 1997 Chevrolet Lumina 4 Dr STD Sedan

Question type: General

10 Answers


The 3.1 liter is an awsome engine. I say that from personal experience and from working on them. Most of the 1995's and up that I know of have well over 200,000 miles on and still very strong. I had 278,000 on mine when I sold it. It still ran perfect and everything still worked on the car. The only issue that I had was an intake gasket at 200,000. The intake on these is common to go out. It's not too bad of a job however.

9 of 9 people found this helpful.

Thanks for your very prompt and professional response. The reason I asked about the life expectancy of my 1997 Chevy Lumina which currently has 208,000 miles on it is that the transmission gave out and I received an estimate of $2,677 to have the transmission rebuilt with a 4 year 100,000 mile warranty. Did the 3.1 liter engine require any internal engine work such as a timing belt or other internal engine repairs before or after 200,000 miles? Thanks BrooklynJoker

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Engine was fine other than the intake gasket. The only issue I had with the transmission was the parking detent. This made the transmission stay in park while the gear selector was in another position. This was about a $290 repair. Is this what your experiencing?

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

The transmission needs a complete rebuilt, since it currently has no reverse and can only go up to 10 miles per hour in drive. I was wondering if it was worth it to pay $2,677 to have the transmission rebuilt since the car has 208,000 miles on it. I changed the engine oil and filter every 3,000 miles and only let it go to 4,000 miles on maybe three or four occasions. The tires, brakes, a/c compressor, alternator and battery have all been replaced in the last year. Thanks BrooklynJoker

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Instead of rebuilding for that cost I would go to a salvage yard and get a tranny that has less miles on it. You should be able to get one for 3-4 hundred $. Many salvage yards will even guarantee them. There is a really effective and easy way to check if a used tranny has lots of wear. Pull the dipstick on the used tranny. With a clean white cloth wipe down the dipstick. You should see mostly pinkish red. You will get some black to dark brown also. If you notice an excessive amount of darkness look to another tranny.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

I second the motion. You can even find them online and have them delivered for less than a rebuild. What are they going to do... replace every part with it's titanium equivalent and then gold plate the casing?!?! They probably flush it, clean it, slap in a valve kit... i bet their coffee don't even get cold before their done... and then send you on your way... You've got a lot invested in it... so it sounds like you really like the car. The only soft sensitive spot now is the timing chain... and not so much the chain as the guide for the chain... it wears away and then instead of guiding the chain it catches it and because we're talking about a great deal of speed, it wrecks the chain... and it's a big job to replace it... BUT... we're not through yet... they call these and similar engines interference engines, in short, when the chain goes, the valves get wrecked, so you have to get the heads done as well. Before it happens, take your time, shop around, and see if you can find someone to do the timing chain... I think $500 ballpark, parts materials included... would be a good deal... make sure it's a good chain set they use, like Borg Warner, which may be about 90 bucks or so right there... make sure they know what they're doing, mention the interference, valve thing, and make sure they know all about and that they have experience... I won't go into why I don't have my '91 pontiac sunbird convertible anymore... just saying... make sure! These 3.1's are great engines. Go to any of the other websites that involve them... wbody.com I think is one, and V6Z24.com... have a lot of talk about them... and there's help for them there as well. When they're taken care of it seems they can live forever... and the gas mileage for such an engine is fantastic. You wouldn't expect an old GM V6 to get 27-30 hwy and 20+ in the city. I drove from Florida to Upstate Ny, loaded with stuff, I was relocating... I gave it a shot of Lucas... and got 30 mpg for the trip... ran perfectly... like it was no big deal... that engine was enjoying the ride. I had 175k on the engine. I now have a 90 Lumina Euro Coupe with the 3.1 of course. The car is in not so good shape. I got it last summer when the sunbird bit the dust. That was too bad. I picked up the Euro because I lhad a 90 Lumina many years ago and I liked it a lot... it had the 3.1 and it was a coupe as well. So last summer I needed a car fast, just started a new job... and I needed a car that was just driveable to get me back and forth to work a short distance. I found this Euro for 800 and picked it up. Because I knew I could swap some parts to it from my dead sunbird, and it was a car I was familiar with and more easily fix it up and keep it alive... and then when things settled down, and If I had the money, I could fix it up nice. Unfortunately I think it needs a valve job. I think the #1 cylinder might be useless. But the damn thing still runs great, and gets great gas mileage. It's funny. I gave it a tune up, did all the standard things, new plugs, wires, bushings, suspension components, on and on... I lost my job, due my lumbars fell apart, so car improvements came to a screeching halt. My sweetheart uses it though to go to work because it's quite a distance away, and the Lumina gets much, much better mileage than her lousy 2003 jeep wrangler. What a pig that is! She's fallen in love with the automatic overdrive transmission and the cruise control. She's been converted. So will see what happens with that. The jeep has a high resale value and it's almost paid off so we're going to sell it, get her a better car for her that gets good gas mileage and is easier for her to drive. She's not 5 feet tall so she needs something smaller. And if it seems reasonable, I might have the Euro all fixed up and made pretty again... maybe... Alright so I'm chatting on and on... that's cause I'm all cooped up because of my spine being such a mess... so I got time to be social on the computer. So if I can be of any help, I'l be around... 24/7... Later! John B. Ps. Don't let the pic fool you... the paint is an awesome mess. The left front fender is wrecked... there's a pretty good dent in the front left corner of the hood... it's a mess. The interior is Ok, just a real good cleaning and I got some really nice seat covers for it because I have dogs. The fabric seat covers hold every hair... so I got some quality faux leather ones, black, real nice and the hair and dirt just wipe away.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Hi 90V6Redhot LiminaEuro, Thanks for the information on the transmission as well as the information on the timing belt. Thanks Again, BrooklynJoker

I have a 2001 Chevy Malibu with the 3.1. It has 236000 miles on car. I've changed the oil every 3,000 miles and it don't use more than a half quart of oil between changes. Leaks very little. Still runs very good, I wouldn't be afraid to drive it to the coast and back and I live in Kansas. I expect to get at least another 100,000 out of it! Very pleased. Bought it new.

if you haven't got it figured out yet I would try dropping the tranny pan and gasket and changing the filter and the gasket in the fluid would be a lot cheaper then getting a used rebuilt or new one

Chevylover1 where in ks u from I'm in ks also

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