By November 30, 20080 Comments Read More →

1996 Chevy Camaro – Blown Head Gasket or EGR Problem?

Reader Question

About two months ago the check engine light on my 1996 3.8L V6 Chevy Camaro came on. I went to an auto parts store where they read the code and told me I needed a new EGR valve because mine was only function at 10% of what it should be. Well, my mechanic disagreed, saying the EGR valve should not go bad after only 90,000 miles.

So, I continued to drive it until it began misfiring violently at very random times. I took it back to my mechanic. He read the code which said their was a problem with the EGR valve pintel position. He took the valve off-it didn’t change the misfire. He said the valve appeared to be clean and not clogged with carbon.

He still didn’t believe the problem was with the EGR valve. He said the EGR valve should only make it misfire during idle, not at driving speeds. So, I drove it until it began to smoke. My father examined it and said my catalytic converter was clogged. So, $500 later the cat was replaced. The misfire continued until the computer was reset. Then, the car ran beautifully…for about two days.

Then, the check engine light came on with the same EGR pintel position code. My mechanic checked my coolant on a hunch and said he believe their was oil in the radiator because the fluid looked foamy. He said it could be caused by a blown head gasket. However, my radiator fluid (the orange gunk that only GM uses) has ALWAYS looked foamy and separated, and I’ve never had this problem or a loss of oil.

So, my question is do you think the code is still stuck in the computer? Or do you think the EGR valve is bad? Or perhaps a blown head gasket? Again, my mechanic said a head gasket would only cause a misfire while the car was warming up. And at this point, most of the misfiring comes after the car has warmed up.

Hello there Amy

You need to find a REAL mechanic, I don’t think this current one is capable of diagnosing a computer related problem like this….and he will probably spend 5 X’s more money guessing at parts rather than spending $85 for a proper diagnosis at the dealership.

You can always get this mechanic to do the repairs once you are sure what the problem is. Sounds like a problem with the EGR valve or a sensor connected with the EGR system…..but it could be something as simple as a bad spark plug wire causing the missfire and check engine light BUT an EGR code is stored in your memory.

If you just want to guess……then replace the EGR valve and cross your fingers.

Austin Davis

Posted in: Running Problems

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