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I've done it both ways and would pull the engine out the front. I just made simple plates before I cut. So I drilled the holes in the core support, drilled holes in some plates to match then cut between the holes when it was time to remove the core support. There are dimples on the core support that I used as a "center punch" that worked fine. However, the headers I put on (V8 swap) no longer fit, the cut out wasn't wide enough. Pulling the v6 out with stock manifolds was fine. And yes, just as Mike and 3M said, keep the hook tight to the engine.
 

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I’m interested in the cut the core support method. It would save alot of labour and the mechanic isnt 100% opposed too it. Does it compromise the integrity of the support at all if bolted correctly?
We have cut a few radiator supports out years ago, even still do today for body damage. Best method was not to cut the support into pieces, but to air chisel the factory spot welds and remove the entire support. That way you can reweld at the factory spots and you will never know it was apart. If you have someone who knows what they are doing they can mig weld the support back in place, grind the welds, prime and paint and you will never know the difference. Plus, if it is welded as opposed to bolted, it will possess the same integrity it had when the van was made. Just don't get the same crew who performed the intake gasket to do it. GOD knows what you might end up with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
What did everyone use for bracket material? Self bent sheet metal? A quick survey of the local hardware stores doesn't turn up anything suitable, and the local junk yards wouldnt allow me to cut a support off.
 

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The OP is saying that the cylinder is cracked so the block is toast.
Of course the cylinder is cracked. They tried to start the engine with cylinder #3 hydro-locked. You cannot compress a liquid so something has to give - whether it be a head, gasket, piston, cylinder wall or connecting rod. They probably neglected to point that out to you. Would not let them off the hook for this one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 · (Edited)
The problem is is they started the van the night before and it ran fine. The next morning it didnt. So the issue is how did the problem develope over night with no indications anything was wrong. Is that their fault? I could be wrong but it doesnt sound like it too me.

Speculating now, They arent being truthful about the chain of events, they messed up the intake gasket and it leaked coolant and hydro locked the engine. how would it of gotten into cylinder 3 and not 1? The coolant jumped a cylinder? I had a UV dye in the coolant to help find the original leak which makes it easy to see where the coolant ended up. Lifter valley; just oil. Cylinder 1,2,4,5,6 only oil. The head and gasket were good, a little grime but all fluids in their proper place. The intake was spotless and with new gaskets, so I couldnt tell anything from there. What else could I look at to confirm or deny their story?
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Another thing worth mentioning, there was evidence of a minor foreign object event in #3 sometime in its life. Some minor dents in the walls that had been filled in with soot and invisible untill cleaned. Probably a broken off spark plug tip. If this was the case it was before I got the car, put about 45k on it without issue before this happened.
 

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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The fact it started the night before is irrelevant.

Sounds like gasket leaked coolant into one of the cylinder originally.
Improper fix caused new coolant to leak into the other cylinder (or something to that affect)
They cranked it with coolant in cylinder and cracked it.
That's my guess.

Or it's just a CRAZY coincidence that it broke immediately AFTER they fixed it.

Just coincidence that you started it the night before.. maybe different position of piston, or less coolant than they had when they cranked it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
There was no evidence the gasket was leaking into the cylinders up to maybe the day I took it in. I checked the oil 2+ times daily to be sure of that. And they ran a leak test on the coolant system before doing the job, it took them a couple hours to find it(it was a very minor leak, caught it early) If there was a leak internally it shouldve shown on that test correct? And all the cylinders besides 3 were, and are still clean.
I just dont see how the coolant could of only gotten into #3, the middle cylinder, from a bad gasket job. If it was on 1 or 5 I would of thought exactly that. And the intake surface is a 45 degree angle, it would of ran into the lifter valley before contaminating 3 correct?
 

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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They likely installed the intake gasket incorrectly and the coolant leaked into the cylinder overnight….
That's my "maybe" thoughts too... although I wonder how you could possibly install an intake gasket wrong. Something unnoticed may have happened, or a pending condition already existed. Regardless, it would be hard to pin it on them. For all we know.. the OP had a gasket leak which led to overheating.. the adjacent cylinder developed an initial hairline crack, then temperature variations (hot and near freezing overnight temps) widened the crack.

No way to know for sure.. and it DOES happen to people regardless of neglect or not.
 
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