: Help! Car at the dealer for a coolant leak...

03-20-09, 11:36 AM
Hey everyone

I have been getting the "Low Coolant Warning" message for the past few months and knew that there was a slow leak developing somewhere at the front of the car. Usually I could never actually see the leak so I assumed it was small and gradual. I have read the TSB detailing leaking coolant and the replacement of a radiator...or surge pressure cap.

This past week I noticed a huge pool of pinkish coolant under my car and figured it was time to deal with this problem.

I drove the 10 minutes to my dealer and dropped off the car this morning. After running a "pressure test" they can't seem to find any leaks.... But the service manager said he noticed coolant stains under or around the water pump.

Because they don't actually see it leaking (and because the water pump is a $1k part) I'm sort've hesitant to have them replace it without some verification of a failure.

Does the pressure test actually run the engine (which would then run the water pump)? Do water pumps on LS6's fail this early? Or is it more likely a hose or seal has gone bad.

Thanks for any advice. I'm not sure what I want to do yet. :(

03-20-09, 11:54 AM
a thousand bucks for a waterpump? dang you can buy them new for 150-200.... hell you can buy a electric one for 600 bucks and add some power while you are at it. If you don't know if it's the problem... get the electric pump and tell yourself it's an upgrade! Then you can see if you kill two birds with one stone by stopping the leak!

03-20-09, 12:00 PM
now that you mentioned it..i went to rockauto and sure enough the Cadillac water pump is only $185

maybe they meant with labor...which is ridiculous

thanks for pointing that out

03-20-09, 12:03 PM
that is a lot O labor! The worst I've seen was a dealer who wanted 280 to swap out an idler pulley.... I was WTF man... I'll do it myself... and did... in 10 minutes

03-20-09, 12:07 PM
yeah, i spoke again with the service manager and asked him to break the price down

water pump: $380 (?!)
labor $600
coolant flush $120

They claim that running the engine won't help diagnose the problem any better because the pump will heat up and likely seal the leak

i'm not a mechanic...so does this sound outrageous to anybody else? thanks for the advice guys!

03-20-09, 12:14 PM
another question

what is the normal engine operating temperature? after the latest coolant leak the engine temp would get up to 190 and hover around there. This would happen pretty fast, like within 5 minutes.

Is this normal or is it bad?

03-20-09, 12:25 PM
temp is fine they are charging alot for the job. i think

03-20-09, 12:46 PM
Just had my water pump replaced last week with same symptoms!

03-20-09, 12:59 PM
had my Rad replaced under warranty bout 10kmiles ago. small leak in bottom driver's corner. i believe there was a recall or TSB on it for 04-05...

03-20-09, 01:32 PM
Find a new shop. The shop I use has never charged me extra for a coolant flush when I had a water pump on previous cars or the radiator replaced on the V. I was only charged for the coolant.

The Tony Show
03-20-09, 01:35 PM
Add some florescent die to the coolant and drive around for a few days, then look for the leak with a black light in a dark garage. That'll pinpoint the source real quick, and prevent you from throwing parts at it.

03-20-09, 01:40 PM
Just had my water pump replaced last week with same symptoms!

did you get replaced at the dealer? how much did it cost?

03-20-09, 02:22 PM
I smell fluid in mine. Pretty sure it's coming from the small coolant pipe that runs in front of the manifold/under the TB. There are 2 tiny gaskets in there and i wouldnt be surprised if mine is somehow missing after the on again off again maggie, cam, etc... Not sure what mods you have but worth a shot to check that. Mine is a very slow leak, been about 4 months and still no coolant light

03-20-09, 02:31 PM
Add some florescent die to the coolant and drive around for a few days, then look for the leak with a black light in a dark garage. That'll pinpoint the source real quick, and prevent you from throwing parts at it.

This is the smart way to go about finding what is leaking. Find dye you can run in the coolant and then give it a shot.

We did that often with ac issues.

03-20-09, 02:33 PM
Thanks for the advice everyone!

the dealership called and claimed that after 2 hours of pressure testing they are 100% positive the water pump is the cause...I remain skeptical.

I am going to pick it up this afternoon and park it at home until I figure out what the best plan is. Since a water pump/gasket from rockauto is $200, I'm thinking I may have my local motor guy install some other choice goodies for me (headers here I come!). He's already going to be in the engine bay anyway and he charges way less (plus he's really talented on the LSx platform).

once again, thanks for the advice everyone!

03-20-09, 02:35 PM
Do the dye thing first (The Tony Show).

Next try:

03-20-09, 03:19 PM
Darkman FTW (again)

08-10-09, 06:46 PM
I had a similar issue with my 2005 CTS-V. Took it to the Cadillac dealer FIVE TIMES until they finally determined that the radiator was shot; cracked along one of the weld seams, so they replaced the radiator (under warranty thank God!). They kept telling me the same thing you are getting; pressure test, no leak, blah blah blah, until I started at the dealer and the low coolant light went on, and I wouldn't take the car back until they fixed it. Guess what? They fixed it rigth away after that! Let me know if this helps!

08-10-09, 08:49 PM
It would have helped.

About 5 months ago.