: Check Coolant Level



97d'elegance
03-31-04, 03:22 PM
Good Afternoon Everyone. I got in my car to go to lunch today and the "Check Coolant Level" message appeared in the DIC immediately after I started the car. It stayed on for about 1 minute and then went off. I went ahead to lunch and then directly to the Cadillac Dealership watching the engine temperature the entire time. It never ran above 220. (It's 80 here today in FL and the a/c was on so that is normal for this car in the heat and traffic). The check coolant message did not come back on the entire drive. The dealership checked the car and said there are no leaks, the coolant level is fine and there are no codes. What do you guys think? I have never seen the light go on and I had the cooling system serviced by the dealership about a month ago with DexCool. It has always had Dexcool in it. He said at that time they do a cooling system check for leaks which would include making sure the headgaskets aren't leaking and my car checked out
A-okay. Does this sound like the coolant level sensor? They didn't charge me anything (whewww!!! - this time) and washed the car as well. Thanks for your help!

dloch
03-31-04, 03:39 PM
It could have just been low. You can check when the car is cold to see if it is indeed low. I believe you want the level to be about 1-1/2 - 2" below the cap opening. If it is low you can buy premixed DexCool from most auto stores down there.


By chance, when the dealership serviced your car did they add more of the coolant suppliment (BarsLeak) when they did it??

BeelzeBob
03-31-04, 03:57 PM
Check the coolant level when the system is cold. Just take the cap off . The coolant should be about 1 to 1.5 inches from the cap. Maybe it is just a touch low and when cold and on a slope or something it tripped the low coolant level sensor in the bottle. I would check the level. If it looks good to you then just add a few ounces to bring the level up slightly and monitor the situation. If it looks low then add appropriately. Use 50/50 DexCool/distilled water or the premixed DexCool that is available on the shelf. Don't take the cap off if the system is hot at all as it could spew coolant (hot coolant) over you. But when the engine is not running and cold it is a simple check to take the cap off the surge tank and check it. Press down firmly on the cap to remove it BTW.

Olds3.5
03-31-04, 04:36 PM
I have heard of those circumstances before and the mechanic's solution was simply to change the colant level sending unit/sensor.

97d'elegance
04-02-04, 07:40 PM
So I had my problem with the "Check Coolant Level" the other day. I took everyone's advice and checked it when it was Cold. I could not see any DexCool in the reservoir. I didn't have a chance until this morning to take it back to the dealership and have them add more. They told me the level was normal and that it shouldn't have any added. They said if we did it would blow out the overflow hose. I told them since it would blow out anyway, to quote them, to please fill it to where I could see it an inch from the top. They did this. The temp is still running between 201 - 218 in traffic. Why do you think they would have told me the full level was so low? Thanks!

BeelzeBob
04-02-04, 11:10 PM
So I had my problem with the "Check Coolant Level" the other day. I took everyone's advice and checked it when it was Cold. I could not see any DexCool in the reservoir. I didn't have a chance until this morning to take it back to the dealership and have them add more. They told me the level was normal and that it shouldn't have any added. They said if we did it would blow out the overflow hose. I told them since it would blow out anyway, to quote them, to please fill it to where I could see it an inch from the top. They did this. The temp is still running between 201 - 218 in traffic. Why do you think they would have told me the full level was so low? Thanks!
Ignorance....???? About the only explaination I can think of. It is appaling isn't it??

If they were the same ones who serviced the cooling system a month ago then it sounds like they just left it a little low.... that would explain the random "low coolant warning"... The system is working like it is supposed to so far.....

The temps look fine. The cooling fans do not even activate due to the coolant temp until about 220....

Keep an eye on the coolant level when cold. If it drops then there must be a pinhole leak somewhere. Take the car to the dealer and have them install 6 of the GM Coolant supplement pellets INTO THE RADIATOR HOSE, not the pressurized surge tank. Specifically tell them one of the radiator hoses. If they don't know the correct coolant level then they may not know how to install the coolant supplement correctly. The engine needs the coolant supplement/sealer in it to seal any porosities in castings or incidental leaks due to gasket surfaces, etc. All aluminum engines will typically use some sort of sealer in the cooling system due to the relatively high incident of porosity in the aluminum castings.

97d'elegance
04-03-04, 10:41 AM
Thanks for the info. Believe it or not I had the service manager, service advisor and 3 mechanics in the drive looking at my car and trying to tell me this about the level. Pretty sad. They are the ones that did the cooling system flush back in late January and I have no idea if they put the supplement in the system. Kinda scared to ask them now at this point ... One more thing .. the A/C is on ALL the time so the fans are always operational. I never turn it off so .. is the temp still okay running around 217 in heavy traffic? .. the only thing that makes me wonder is it can go from 199 to 217 in just a few minutes and then back down 199 again ... I'm assumming it's fine I just always wonder ..

Thanks again!

JOHNNY Z
04-03-04, 02:25 PM
I keep my Driver info center set to display coolant all the time. 95 STS- I run 217-223 city stop and go and about 205-209 steady at excessive (80-85 sometimes triple digits for a few minutes) highway speeds. I have seen the N Star go from 209 to 228 in a matter of minutes then creep back down to 217 city temp again. I have a brand new 2 day old radiator and it still runs these exact same temps as it has for years now. They run a little hotter than most cars but its by design. No need to worry. But your disappearing coolant could be cause for an investigation. By the way I've never run as low as 199.

jgr7
04-04-04, 12:56 PM
JOHNNY Z, I've only had my 94 Eldorado for a couple of weeks and have been watching the temp very close and I am getting about the same temps as you with the exception of the 199, mine drops to 199 when I'm crusing at 80, temp drops to 199 and mpg sits at 28 rpm at 21-2200 , real nice I think. It is strange that at 65 - 70 mph it sits at 205-210:bonkers:

Jeff

J.A.O.
05-04-04, 09:14 PM
I'm only curious if anyone could give an educated guess on why some Northstars run cooler than others assuming that the colling systems are functioning normally. obviously, different conditions and environments will give different results, but my roomate and I both have 96 Cadillacs. His temp gauge never moves while mine fluctuates in a similar manner to that described by the ones with the temp displayed on the DIC. Although my car has never overheated, I'm having trouble putting the pieces together on that one.

BeelzeBob
05-04-04, 10:46 PM
You guys are gettting WAY to obcessive about the coolant temp....LOL...

Thermostats are not "precision" devices. They are all close but they do vary very slightly in their settings and will vary slightly over time as the wax motor in the thermostat changes its reactivity due to slight coolant contamination, etc... If you are seeing temps go down to 199 then that is definitely a "low side" of the temperature range thermostat....or it is just getting a bit lazy with age and is a little slow to close so it overshoots slightly on the cold side.

All the temps you are seeing sound fine. Turn off the coolant display and get some relaxation. If something bad happens there are numerous warnings to let you know well in advance of a disaster...besides, with the loss of coolant limp home mode you really aren't going to damage the engine anyway. If you don't "trust" the warnings and idiot lights remember that the info for the warnings and protection mode comes from the same sensor and the same PCM....so if you believe the temp gauge then you should trust the warning system.

Remember that with the AC on the fans run almost all the time whether the coolant temp requires it or not so the constant airflow for the AC will tend to make the engine run a little cooler in mild weather. Perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.

I hate to tell you this but different model year cars will react differently on the coolant temp gauge....the later year cars have a deliberate "dead zone" near center...meaning that the guage needle will not move even with movement in the coolant temp....BECAUSE there were WAY too many complaints from customers of exactly like what is described above.... Customers were coming into the dealerships if the coolant temp needle wagged just a tiny bit...and because their car was running a half a needle width hotter than their friends. IT IS NOT THAT CRITICAL. So the gauge was "dumbed down" to make the needle hang still at the center.

Cars with electric fans typically see some fairly large coolant temp excursions...perfectly normal as the fans turn on and off and such. Quite worrying unless red lights come on and/or steam is coming from under the hood....LOL.

clutterking
05-06-04, 02:34 PM
I bought my car not to long ago and am constantly getting the "Coolant level low" warning even though its got enought coolant :confused:

any ideas?

BeelzeBob
05-06-04, 03:54 PM
I bought my car not to long ago and am constantly getting the "Coolant level low" warning even though its got enought coolant :confused:

any ideas?

The coolant level switch in the pressurized surge tank.....

Koz
05-08-04, 02:35 AM
you guys all have OCD take PAXIL

94STC
07-04-04, 12:41 PM
Thanks for the reality check. My 94 Eldo ran at 196 for 9 years and then jumped to 205-207. I didn't even want to try to replace the coolant temp sensor, seeing where is was located and what it might take to get to it.

Now I will find something else to obsess about

BeelzeBob
07-04-04, 07:14 PM
Thanks for the reality check. My 94 Eldo ran at 196 for 9 years and then jumped to 205-207. I didn't even want to try to replace the coolant temp sensor, seeing where is was located and what it might take to get to it.

Now I will find something else to obsess about


Well.....if that is still the original thermostat in that 94 and it has shifted operating points you might take that as a warning and replace the thermostat before it sticks and causes and overheat. After 10 years/100K thermostats do not owe you a dime. They should be considered normal wear and tear maintenance items and should be replaced. If your's is starting to "change" and the operating temp you observe is going up it is a likely clue that the stat is getting lazy and may be ready to fail.

Thermostats operate via a wax filled pellet that is immersed in the coolant. As the wax expands due to the temp of the coolant it moves the paddle that opens the stat. The wax is doped with copper filings usually to change the reactivity and shift point of the stat. When the wax starts to get contaminated with coolant the stat starts to change it's operating characteristics and eventually that is the root cause of failure of most all thermostats....coolant contamination of the wax motor.

I would replace yours at your earliest convenience to avoid an untimely walk home due to an overheat.

wake
07-04-04, 10:36 PM
I would replace yours at your earliest convenience to avoid an untimely walk home due to an overheat.

Don't these thermostats fail open???

I had a strange incident one night on a drive home from AZ... I was cruising after a couple hours and my coolant temp dropped down to ~125F... I continued on watching the temp and after about 30 minutes it climbed back to 190F and stayed there... I stopped to get gas and after I got back on the freeway, I noticed it started at ~225F after being shut down for 20 mins for gas and bathroom break... It dropped as usual once I hit cruising speed, but continued down past the 190F that I usually see and dropped to around 125F again for most of the rest of the way home, around 2hrs...

It mimmiced that behavior a couple more times while I owned it, but never overheated only running cold on a few occasions... I bought a new thermostat and planned on changing it but traded it for a newer ETC before I got around to swapping it out...

Anyone know if the thermostats for a 94 and 98 Northstar are the same??? :lol:

BeelzeBob
07-05-04, 12:42 AM
They can fail open or closed.


The same stat for a 94 should work fine in a 98. I would recommend the OEM stat if you have an aftermarket replacement, however.

wake
07-05-04, 08:35 AM
They can fail open or closed.


The same stat for a 94 should work fine in a 98. I would recommend the OEM stat if you have an aftermarket replacement, however.

Thanks, OEM is what I picked up for the 94, glad I can use it on the 98 when it comes time...