Hummer owners know: They’re riding in one of the best offroad vehicles on the market.
General Motor’s Hummer series was based on the U.S. military’s all-terrain vehicle design. Some major features were transported over to the civilian version of the Hummer.
This monster of a vehicle can handle anything from hard-core rock trails, long desert highways, to stop-and-go traffic. The Hummer’s image is iconic and ready for all environments and all purposes.
But even a vehicle as rugged as the Hummer can have problems as its mileage rises years down the road.
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The engine is the heart and soul of any vehicle, and if the Hummer’s heart goes out – an engine replacement will be a costly endeavor.
Here are the signs to look for that will tell you if you need to replace your engine.
Oil on the Ground
This may seem to speak for itself but when you notice large oil patches appearing under your vehicle, it is time for a full investigation.
Begin by checking to see what substance your Hummer is leaking. Water is an entirely different symptom compared to actual oil.
Also, consider how large the spill is in relation to how long the vehicle has been there. If your Hummer is spilling a large amount of fluid, then the problem is significantly more critical.
The next step is to find the source. Take your Hummer to a spray wash, drop the front skid plate, then apply engine cleaner and let it sit. Then use a general spray cleaner and so that you can spot the leak.
From a tear or break in the internal or external oil lines to a faulty oil filter, this problem could spell permanent damage to your engine.
Check for discolored oil and oil foam on the dipstick which could signify that water or coolant entered the oil chamber.
Check the Exterior
A blown engine in need of replacement could have some telling damage that you can spot just by lifting the hood.
Any large cracks appearing in the engine block or a connecting rod protruding from the engine has the potential to equate to an engine replacement. A hole in the oil pan from the crankshaft or rod could mean life or death for your Hummer’s heart.
Also, take off the radiator cap on a cold engine to see if there is oil residue floating on the surface. Oil scum could suggest a bad head gasket or hole in the engine block between the oil galleys or cylinder wall.
It would be smart to also run a standard engine diagnostic on your vehicle with a diagnostic tool to see where problems may arise.
No. 8 Cylinder Problem
Hummer models made between the years 1996 – 2000 were made with a significant fault in the engine. The Hummer’s turbo-diesel engine is prone to cracks in the cylinder that could take the life of the engine.
Hummer’s made after 2000 were built with an enhanced engine block to fix the issue but it is worth checking to see if the Hummer you purchased was built within that timeline.
The most telling symptom for a crack in the cylinder is compression pressure in the coolant. To check remove the coolant cap and listen for pressure release. There should be none.
The engine could also produce white smoke, water could leak out of the exhaust pipe, and if the engine has cooling issues a crack in the cylinder would be a likely culprit.
This problem can cause significant damage to the entire engine, so Hummer owners should have their engine checked by a professional if it was built between those years. If they run into a problem, engine replacement could be the best option.
Back in the early 2000s mechanics were replacing problem engines with other faulty models. So, if your engine has been replaced before you owned it, it would be a good idea to have a mechanic check it out.
A Blown Head Gasket
The second most common engine-killing problem is a blown head gasket.
If there is coolant leaking from the vehicle, white-ish smoke emitted from the hood, or problems with the engine overheating – then there could be a head gasket problem.
Also, check the antifreeze. Oil in the antifreeze is a big indication that either the head gasket has blown or there is a significant crack in the engine block.
Often times a blown head gasket will quickly escalate into further damage to the engine block. While there are options to repair the damage, more often this could lead to an entire engine replacement.
A lack of oil can cause a flurry of problems like a blown head gasket, so make certain you are consistently keeping up with the simple maintenance tasks.
Should You Get an Engine Replacement?
Now that you’ve diagnosed the problem: Should you even replace the engine on your Hummer?
General Motors discontinued the Hummer line in 2010, so buying a new one is impossible at this point.
Before investing in a new engine you should consider the age and wear of the vehicle. An engine replacement is a costly and complicated process which should be undertaken by professional mechanics.
After 150,000 miles, even a repaired or replaced motor could run into other problems when parts begin to fail.
But the Hummer is a one-of-a-kind vehicle whose all-purpose design is a standard for all-terrain vehicles.
Knowledge is Power
With knowledge of the problems that could arise in your Hummer, you can adjust your maintenance accordingly. Simple steps, like checking the oil levels or keeping a well-maintained service log, will provide you with the best long-term experience for your vehicle.
While an engine replacement may cost you in the short term, it is considerably less expensive then replacing your Hummer.
As the miles go up and your vehicle gets older, you’re consistency and care will help your Hummer stay on the road.
Be sure to check out our helpful Hummer Service Repair Manuals.
Check out our service page or other blogs to see what options you have to take the best care of your ride.