: Crap!!! Coolant leak! what do I do!?!?!?



grebesbakery
03-29-09, 04:46 PM
Hey guys,
we just received some snow last night and when went to move my caddy today there was coolant in the snow, enough to make me think of the dreaded head gasket problem? I have not been able to get under the car yet to check it out. I want to say the coolant on the ground was center of the car maybe middle to behind the engine.

IS THE HEAD GASKET SOMETHING I NEED TO WORRY ABOUT????

also how the hell do you check the coolant or now if there is enough in there?

THANKS

C.J.
03-29-09, 05:08 PM
There are a few things you can check first: Pull the oil dipstick and check if you might have coolant in your oil. If so it could very well be your head gasket. Check the coolant on the right side just unscrew the cap and look in. the leak could be coming from the excess hose. You can always see a mechanic and get him to do a pressure check of you're coolant system.

Ranger
03-29-09, 05:55 PM
Northstars rarely put oil in the coolant when a head gasket goes and a head gasket rarely leaks externally. There are a coupe of heater pipes that run along the rear head, between the engine and firewall. They have been known to rust and leak. They are also a PITA to get at. Does that sound like the area you saw the leak?

Mark C
03-29-09, 06:05 PM
Headgaskets don't usually leak externally. If its the middle of the car behind the engine chances are its one of the metal heater pipes that circle the back of the engine just below the valve covers, major pain in the butt to replace. They are about 70 bucks a peice at the dealer and they do rust out pretty frequently.

pimpdaddycaddy91
03-29-09, 08:07 PM
A bad HG usually will cause loss of coolant through the overflow tube on the surge tank because the typical HG failure will cause a leak between the coolant passages inside the block and the combustion chamber. This causes not only steam coming out of the tail pipe from coolant getting into the exaust but it also causes exhaust to to get into the cooling system which will pressurize it til the 15psi spring on your cap will pop sending coolant out your overflow tube onto the ground just behind the back of the passanger tire.

You need to try to find where the leak is coming from visually. It could be a number of differnt things.

32vmonte
03-29-09, 10:02 PM
A bad HG usually will cause loss of coolant through the overflow tube on the surge tank because the typical HG failure will cause a leak between the coolant passages inside the block and the combustion chamber. This causes not only steam coming out of the tail pipe from coolant getting into the exaust but it also causes exhaust to to get into the cooling system which will pressurize it til the 15psi spring on your cap will pop sending coolant out your overflow tube onto the ground just behind the back of the passanger tire.

You need to try to find where the leak is coming from visually. It could be a number of differnt things.

What you described is what myn did, my cap would open up all the coolant would overflow into my overflow tank. (different setup than in a cadi) It would then have lower coolant in the radiator and overheat. Had me real confused for awhile.

grebesbakery
03-30-09, 03:23 AM
Thanks for the input! i will take a closer look and let you know!

sbiehle
04-04-09, 12:28 PM
I also developed coolant leak on my 97 Deville at about 114K miles. Turned out to be water pump. Replaced it and everything seems fine. However, I just recently learned of the DEX Cool issues which scare the hell out of me and makes me think bigger problems lie ahead. Was the 4.6L Northstar included in the DEX Cool lawsuit settlement? I can't find any documentation on it.

zonie77
04-04-09, 05:01 PM
sbiehle,

What dexcool lawsuit settlement?

Dexcool has to be changed every 5 yrs, aluminum is more susceptible to corrosion than cast iron, engines run low on coolant in a closed system have even more corrosion. Dexcool is not the problem, lack of maintenance is. The car companies should have made a bigger point of coolant changes at 4-5 yrs instead of keeping it a secret.

pimpdaddycaddy91
04-05-09, 12:48 AM
There was a final ruling on a class action lawsuit against GM claiming the Dexcool would prematurely erode gaskets and other engine parts but the lawsuit only included 3.1 & 3.4 v6 from 95-03, 3.8 v6 95-04, and 4.3 v6 95-00. They are reimbursing repair costs from $50-$800 but only if the repair was done before 5-30-08 and submitted a claim before 10-27-08. I know because i fixed the bad intake gasket on my 01 3.4 alero. I never submitted a claim though because i didnt learn about it til november...lol but I did the job myself on a saturday afternoon and only spent $100...no big deal.

There is much discussion about Dexcool BUT as Zonie said the bigger problem is lack of maintenance. I personally dont have a problem with Dexcool, at least Prestone Dexcool but I wouldnt go 5 years. Most around here will tell you no matter what coolant you use to change your coolant every other year.

Also on the chev v6s like in my alero the intake gasket is plastic and it just melts if you overheat once. my opinion it was the gasket quality not the coolant. I overheated because of a crack in my overflow caused me to lose my coolant and overheat...then melted my gasket. Replaced it with Felpros metal gasket-much higher quality...leave it to the aftermarket to fix GM's flaws.

Northstars HG issues -in my opinion - are the bad bolt design, not the coolant. And waterpumps are not unusual to go out at 100,000 miles but I would still be worried about your headbolts/HG especially if you overheat the engine. So i suggest bookmarking northstarperformance.com to have a better than new engine when your HG's fail. Leave it to the aftermarket...

I love GM, even many cars that people dont like, i like. I think they make good cars and engines but they just screw up something on almost every car and they just let the aftermarket figure out how to fix it and thank goodness for forums like this!
Well enough of my ranting.

egheorghe
04-17-09, 04:45 PM
grebesbakery have you figured out where was leaking from? I have the same problem, but i don't see any hoses around that area (center of the car, somewhere between the engine and transmission) . Strange that it doesn't leak all the time..