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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have 2016 Malibu Limited with 2.5L. My son hit a water puddle in heavy rain and hydro locked the motor. I believe it must have bent a rod trying to start it back up. You can’t turn crank with a big ratchet either direction. We pulled cam covers off and valves and cams look ok. Pulled small oil pan off, but was not able to see anything. So now I’m thinking a replacement motor from wrecking yard is my best option? I wasn’t sure what year 2.5L would work? Are they fairly simple motors to pull out and reinstall?

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I read somewhere that they reverted back to the LCV engine but I'm not sure. The LKW has variable valve lift, the LCV doesn't, that's the only difference, but I would interchange them. LCV was used in crossovers and other models, while the LKW was only used in the Malibu and Impala.
 

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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With the spark plugs out, if it isn't turning, that boy of yours likely ran it out of oil and the bearings are seized up. If it was hydrolocked, pulling the plugs would let it turn just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I had checked the oil first and it was not milky, like it had water in it. When I drained the oil a small amount of water came out before the oil started. There was water in the intake and throttle body, but very little wetness looking down the spark plug hole.
 

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2017 SS Sedan 6.2L
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Water came out from the oil pan before the oil started? That's not a good sign.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I got a low mileage motor out of a wrecked car, the same year. So now I just have to figure out how to remove the old one. I was worried about the motor being locked up, how I would get to all the fly wheel bolts to remove it. Has anyone pulled one of these motors before? Is it best to pull the transmission with it, or separate?

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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The dealership replaced my 3.6L in 2016 under warranty. If you have access to some shop equipment, they removed the engine by removing 4 bolts that hold the front K member and dropping the whole engine/trans/axles/wheels, then swapping out the engine.

Of course, the AC line had to be opened and then recharged, but that's just some more equipment they have on hand.
 

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Dropping the whole front cradle with motor is one way if you have a lift. And that requires draining AC system.
Shade tree way would be take hood off and just pull motor with AC compressor unbolted and hopefully not having to drain Freon.
FWD is a pain, I haven't done a Malibu motor job, I've retired from engine jobs in my old age now.
 
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Water came out from the oil pan before the oil started? That's not a good sign.
If there was water in the crankcase, that would drain first before the oil, because water is heavier than oil.
But there is something missing from this story. The intake system would not aspirate water unless the standing water was above the grill. That's more than a "puddle".
 

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I had checked the oil first and it was not milky, like it had water in it. When I drained the oil a small amount of water came out before the oil started. There was water in the intake and throttle body, but very little wetness looking down the spark plug hole.
Antifreeze in oil is milky. Water in oil is just water, residing under the oil layer, as you saw when draining your oil pan.
 
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