View Full Version : mmm... coolant...

06-04-09, 11:30 PM
I have been having to top off my radiator every week or so for a while now. I pull my dipstick every time and inpect/taste the oil. If there's coolant in the oil it will taste sweet. There has never been any sweet taste to my oil. It just tastes like the inside of an engine. There are also no wet spots under the hood, and none under the car (I park in the same spot every night.) The other day I was turning onto a road from a stop-sign. I happened to catch the rear of my car blow a big poof of white out the back as I gave it some gas. Well, now that I know that it is consuming coolant, I need to know from where. My car has the HT4100, and I know that they are infamous for intake and head gaskets. Is there any specific way of knowing if it is the intake or the head gasket? I asked my auto instuctor if an intake gasket would let the car consume coolant, and he said yes. So, should I pull the intake and inspect that gasket? I know that even if it isn't bad it would need replaced then. I'm just trying to save some money. I have my Olds engine waiting for a swap this winter, but I can't afford to put it in right now. So I just want my HT to last until the fall. Thanks for any info. Also, how hard is it to remove the intake?

06-04-09, 11:59 PM
Before you do anything as drastic as pulling the heads, try running Bar's Leak (http://www.barsproducts.com/1186.htm) through the system. It should help the problem.

Before you use the Bar's Leak, have the cooling system flushed and fresh coolant put in. With the 4100, this is supposed to be done on a regular basis because it has aluminum heads and a steel block (galvanic action at its best) . The engine should get you to winter and further.

06-05-09, 10:36 AM
You don't need to taste the oil to see if there is coolant in it. If there is, it will look like a chocolate milkshake.

06-05-09, 12:25 PM
You could run a compression test & leakdown test. If there is a significant enough leak in the head gasket, one or more cylinders will test poorly (low compression, or a fairly rapid leakdown).

In my opinion, a head gasket seems more likely than an intake gasket, since the head gasket is subject to far more pressure and heat cycles etc. Though, it is possible for the intake gasket to fail allowing coolant to flow from one of the coolant tracts to an intake runner.

06-05-09, 01:29 PM
Yea... as the post above said... the oil will have white milky streaks through it. I know this all too well, as Im a Saab enthusiast as well as a Caddy enthusiast. Saabs are notorious for head gaskets. I just changed mine on my 89 900 Turbo. The coolant had a layer of oil on it also. I would not suggest tasting it... yuck.

06-05-09, 03:42 PM
I have some reservations with the bars leak. My auto instructor said that it just works on external leaks, won't have any effect on interior leaks, and will clog up the heater core. A friend of mine says it is a VERY involved job to replace one of those. (he had an '81 Coupe) I flushed my cooling system right before I put it away for the winter. I know how touchy the HT's are so I have been keeping up on the cooling system. And with all the coolant that has been consumed (about a third of the radiator and the over-flow box about every 10 days) I think it is pretty well flushed. I just want to avoid the car blowing up on me and resulting in tow bill. There is no way of knowing if it will just blow, is there? Or since it hasn't yet, will it be all right? Thanks,

06-05-09, 06:28 PM
Make sure you use the Bar's Leaks tablets, not the syrup, and you'll do no harm.