Home | Mailing List | Specifications | Care and Feeding | Modifications | Vendors | Literature


SOWHAT9 - The Complete Story of What Happened to Her Engine

new 07/22/2004. updated often

I intend to chronicle every aspect of what transpired to my beloved 97TR (Welded of course) during her last moments on this earth.
At the end of the day, no matter the outcome I hope that what we discover can help others to prevent what happened, then I can call it a good day.
I'm starting with before and after convention pictures so you can all appreciate what I did to try and make her stand proud at the National SHO Convention in California.
As the story unfolds, I will update this link.

If it turns out that she died because I was stupid I'll cop to it. If it turns out that it was a simple mechanical fubar I'll substantiate it. Bottom line, nobody should lose and engine to overheating as I did.
The journey begins now.

****Warning if you are on dialup these pix are huge - I'll get to them later. *********

Pre Convention work on the detailing of the car:


She was standing tall and good to go.

At the end of the day she wound up like this

Along with the help of many of this list including Eric, Kirk and too many others for this old fart to remember we will collectively figure out what went wrong to insure it never happens to another owner as long as I have any say in it.

Note the absence of any living thing in the background. Not a place where anybody wants to be!!

Stay Tuned.



And the curse continues. See the email from Cindee, Arthur's wife. Arthur is bringing the SHO east for a meet up August 2.

Hi Larry,
I just got a call from Arthur. He is in Wells, which is about an hour away from Wendover. He ran into a little problem in Fallon. The cops were trying to arrest him for grand theft auto! It took them 45 mins. before they could get someone from the dealership to say it was okay for him to take the car. Other than that, he is tired-but fine. I will email you when we get home with your car, but like I said it won't be till later this afternoon.
Take Care.

Hi Larry,
Yes, he was able to get it worked out, it just added an extra 45 mins to the trip is all. I guess Nevada cops are really anal. Arthur told them, "Would I come out to the middle of nowhere from Salt Lake City, Utah to steal a car, I don't think so!". The paperwork was in the car and it is now here in Salt Lake. We didn't have any troubles from Wendover to here. At least your car is now a little bit closer to home!


See Also: Larry Eck - Cam Failure #425



SW9 Post Mortem was performed last week and here are my findings:

1st - The Transmission Cooler INSIDE the radiator pinholed. Coolant leaked out of the radiator into the Tranny (and was found there during disassembly) and left the car from there. Apparently the car had been Mysteriously losing coolant for a while - Now we know where it went and why no one reported white smoke out the tailpipe.

2nd - The radiator was rather congested with plant fibers, aggravating the already existing cooling problems. Condenser was clean as a whistle. I'm nervous enough about this that I'm going to make up a special cleaning tool to get BETWEEN the condenser and radiator. Then I'm going to use the new tool on MY CARS. You CAN'T see the damn fibers from the front of the car and they DID NOT accumulate at all on the condenser.

3rd - The Motor (Or do you say Engine?) got BAKED. Both head gaskets failed. #6 cylinder was completely filled with coolant when I pulled the head off (that explains the starter problems). #2 to #3 had combustion chamber to combustion chamber gasket failure.

4th - The oil was Boiled into TAR but still clearly saved the motor from serious low end damage. Man, That stuff took a beating. No signs of coolant in the crankcase.

Repairs: At 125 k anyhow, a Full rebuild is advised. Deck the heads too, I think they're warped.

Eric Lehmann
97 Ebony - welded
97 Toreador Red # 285 - welded
96 Willow Green # 326 - welded
91 Jade Plus SHO-fa


Hello. I had the same problem with my 97 SHO. I had burnt it up going to Reno for a shake down test. I own a transmission shop in Ca. and this nice 97 came in with a bad converter clutch and it had 110,000 miles on it and the customer didn't want to fix it so I offered to buy it so before I pulled the trans I wanted to see how everything else worked so I could fix everything at once but the engine kept overheating going up hills. Just like you I knew better so I just waited till it cooled off and kept going and it lost all power and died. When I took the engine and trans out the radiator was plugged just like you said. I do not have much time to write but if you want to talk sometime I do have a lot of things I learned about aftermarket parts for the engine that does save a lot of money. My heads were also warped very bad and my friend that owns a machine shop straightened them and the both turned out fine. I also did another 96 SHO both engine and trans for my buddy and both are running great.



Was a great day today.

From this:

To This by days end.

Eric has taken my car from the abyss of planter and has revived my hope of soon again driving SW9. I'm eternally grateful. Maybe a moonwalk before the end of the week????



Eric and I worked furiously tonight to get SW9 to fire. I talked to him about 5:30 this evening on the way home. He laid out the plan and I was Skippy good with it. As soon as I had Tyler chained to the tree, awww c'mon y'all know I'm spoofing ya. I jumped into the garage outfit - you don't wanna know how it smells - I start out by prepping the engine (motor??) with fluids. I'm giddy with anticipation-- I grab the first quart of buck piss oil (oops, sorry Ron) and grab the funnel, remember Area 52's counting method, when all else fails line up the caps, I almost begin to pour oil. Wait, WTF is that black Bosch box over there on top of the case of cheap tranny fluid --OMFG - OIL FILTER!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK I caught that one. Installed the oil filter THEN dumped in the BP oil.

Next the tranny. OOPS no long spout on the funnel. ----- Off to AZ. $2.13 later we have the right tool. (Leave it alone) Back into the garage, Eric is zipping on the intake, And I happly begin to dump into my unkown tranny FL1 fluid - Hmmm 5 quarts later I'm looking at the Box and wimply said ---Eric????

OMFG HOW MUCH YOU PUT IN THERE......After the pan dropping on my freaking arm and ohhhh well do the math - that much hitting the garage floor---I'm pi$$ed.

I drain the pre 89FL1 fluid on the pan, grab the B12 clean it out, put 4 LBS of kitty litter on the damn fluid that is wandering all over the underside of the car --- which BTW I have to lay on again to reinstall the pan and grab a smoke while the pan is drying. Meanwhile Eric is just zipping through the upper runners and checking final plugs.

I zip the pan back in, pour in the buck pi$$ tranny fluid I bought just so we could start it and of course my battery which has been on trickle charge since 6 last evening wimps out, ORRR starter is drawing a ton of amps as the cables are warm to the touch.

All in all Long night with "almost" results. No biggie. But worth sharing. She will fire tomorrow or Saturday.

Larry Eck



At approximately 9:45  PM CDT guess what happened to SW9????


if that doesn't work try this


Warning, this is uncompressed .MOV format you will need quick time to see it until Uncle Scott fixes it.

Contact Information