When it comes to GM's legendary 3800 V6, not even a gooey, deadly cocktail of oil and coolant can kill it. But it can certainly make a mess of things.
The orange juice-like mixture you see here is the result of mixing orange-colored engine coolant with oil to create a sickly sludge that usually spells doom for internal combustion components. A recent engine teardown video from I Do Cars on YouTube examines the effects on a Series III 3800, the ultimate evolution of GM's enduring 3.8-liter six-pot that had its origins in the 1960s. This particular mill came from a 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix GT with 126,000 miles on the clock, and it's certainly seen better days.
That much is certain from the beginning, when orange coolant pours from the engine drain plug instead of oil. Without proper lubrication, it doesn't take long for an engine to seize up from heat. But this mill still turns over by hand without issue, exhibiting some strong compression in the process. The teardown doesn't reveal much in the way of problems until the lower intake comes off, at which point we're greeted with all the problems.
The lower intake manifold gaskets failed at some point, which caused the coolant to leak into the oil. Portions of the gaskets are straight-up gone, but a deeper investigation reveals this engine was used long after the gaskets failed. That led to goop building up in oil and coolant passages, getting things hot enough to melt portions of the gaskets into the heads. Yikes.
With such a mess, we'd surely expect damage to the cylinders and bottom end. Alas, there is none. The lifters are covered in goop and the oil pan looks like a disgusting milkshake, but the cylinder walls, pistons, and crankshaft aren't too bad. Yes, there's a bit of wear in spots, but considering the general lack of lubrication within this engine, the old 3800 lives up to its legendary status. Even the rod bearings look good enough to reuse.
The video concludes that the engine could likely be rebuilt with many of its original components despite all the orange juice in the oil. We knew the old 3800 had a reputation for being indestructible. Thanks to this video, we have a better look into just how robust this engine truly is.