Coolant looks like muddy chocolate milk.
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Cadillac Catera and Cimarron Forum Discussion, Coolant looks like muddy chocolate milk. in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; I have a 1997 cadillac catera. The upper radiator hose blew and I replaced it, but the coolant looks like ...
  1. #1
    jdmcnamara is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Coolant looks like muddy chocolate milk.

    I have a 1997 cadillac catera. The upper radiator hose blew and I replaced it, but the coolant looks like chocolate milk. What could this be?

    I flushed out the coolant system the best I could before adding water and some coolant, but could only add about 1 gallon. The coolant looks like chocolate milk. The oil pan is clean according to what shows up on the dipstick as regulator oil. About 4 months ago I had the transmission flushed out as it was slipping and had new transmission fluid put in. Car has been running fine but did notice a slip in the transmission a day or 2 before the upper radiator hose blew.

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    MoistCabbage's Avatar
    MoistCabbage is online now Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Does the Catera have a trans cooler in one of the radiator end tanks? If so, check the trans fluid.

  4. #3
    jdmcnamara is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Coolant looks like muddy chocolate milk.

    I couldn't find one. The transmission is a closed system with no way to check it. Had a complete coolant flush done yesterday and the coolant still looks like chocolate milk - not quite as thick as it was before. The car is running cooler.

  5. #4
    investor74 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Coolant looks like muddy chocolate milk.

    Quote Originally Posted by jdmcnamara View Post
    I couldn't find one. The transmission is a closed system with no way to check it. Had a complete coolant flush done yesterday and the coolant still looks like chocolate milk - not quite as thick as it was before. The car is running cooler.
    Your car definitely has a transmission cooler on the passenger side of the radiator. Follow the two metal tubes running back to front under the air cleaner. They go from the transmission to the radiator.

    So, brand new coolant is now also brown. Was it all changed? Could be rust from a rusty radiator, or oil. Could also be transmission fluid as stated above.

    Could also be just bits of the old coolant still remaining and coloring the new coolant. The old coolant could have been brown from the previous owner putting in stop leak, if you just got the car.

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    MoistCabbage's Avatar
    MoistCabbage is online now Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by investor74
    Could be rust from a rusty radiator
    The radiator is aluminum, it can't rust. The Catera uses an iron block, correct? That CAN rust if the cooling system is neglected. That said, coolant that looks like "chocolate milk" has some kind of oil in it.

  7. #6
    jdmcnamara is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Coolant looks like muddy chocolate milk.

    I can't find the transmission cooler - can hardly see anything in there, maybe it's in the radiator.

    I had a new radiator put in 2 years ago so I don't think that it is rust. I put a bunch of stop leak before having the new radiator put in, so I don't think stop leak is the problem as system was flushed out. Had complete coolant flush done 2 days ago and new coolant put in. Still looks like chocolate milk and now heater blows cold air.

    Transmission fluid must have leaked into the cooling system (had transmission serviced 4 months ago and new fluid put in. Mechanic said old transmission fluid was like gunk).

    Oil dipstick is clean oil with no signs of coolant in the oil pan. Not sure what to do from here. Anybody want to buy a 97 Catera with 92k miles on it?

  8. #7
    investor74 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Coolant looks like muddy chocolate milk.

    Now that you mention that you had a new radiator put in , it is not likely to be the transmission cooler within the radiator leaking trans fluid.

    Another point where oil can get into the coolant is at the oil cooler located under the intake manifold. I now believe this is the most likely source of your problem.

  9. #8
    ronniearch2001 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Coolant looks like muddy chocolate milk.

    I'm having the same issue...I got my oil changed and the next day my low oil light came on. When I went to check under the hood to see what's going on, I found that my coolant reservoir had a brown milk substance in it. I took the car to the shop and the mechanic told me that my oil cooler was the problem. WHY DID CADILLAC MAKE THIS CAR LIKE THIS??? I just got this car and now i'm pouring big money into it before I can enjoy it. I can't afford to be putting this type of money in this car. Now i'm thinking why I didn't get that Lincoln.

  10. #9
    amunderdog is online now Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Coolant looks like muddy chocolate milk.

    Dexcool?
    It does some strange things.

    Found this interesting.
    http://blazerforum.com/forum/engine-...ak-pics-69664/
    What you have is Dexcool and regular old green antifreeze mixed! It has to be all one or the other. You can flush it, which you said you did witch helps but it has to be done several times and you still wont get all that crap out but vastly improve it.

  11. #10
    MoistCabbage's Avatar
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    The cooling system in that blazer looks like someone dumped a LOT of stop leak in it. That WILL NOT happen by mixing DEX with the "all makes/all models green stuff"

    ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by ronniearch2001
    WHY DID CADILLAC MAKE THIS CAR LIKE THIS???
    Cadillac didn't "make the car like this". It's an older car, and the oil cooler failed.

    .....Probably due to corrosion, because a previous owner didn't change the coolant when they were supposed to. Most people never even THINK about the cooling system until there's a puddle of coolant on the ground, or the engine overheats.

  12. #11
    elvin315's Avatar
    elvin315 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Coolant looks like muddy chocolate milk.

    This is a common Catera problem. The engine's oil cooler is in the coolant gallery under the intake plenum. It's a coolant to oil heat exchanger and if the coolant isn't replaced regularly it turns acidic and eats its way into the cooler. The following link takes you to the Omega Owners Forum's Oil Cooler How2.

    http://www.omegaowners.com/forum/ind...493#msg1155493

  13. #12
    retho78 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Coolant looks like muddy chocolate milk.

    replace oil cooler!

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