: "CHECK COOLANT LEVEL" 14 months after fluid change



J.A.O.
02-06-05, 01:45 PM
I have checked the manual and it says that if you have to add coolant more than 4 times a year, then you need to worry. I got this message the other day but it went out as soon as the engine had warmed up for 5 minutes. The same exact thing happened about 14 months ago and I was told that coolant levels will decrease slightly over time but as long as it's not excessive, there is little to be concerned about. That was also about 15000 miles ago. The car is not overheating and the operating temp on the gauge has not changed. I had them add some coolant and the message has not returned but they also said that a possible cause is a leaky waterpump housing that will not show an obvious leak when the engine is hot as it is so slight that it might evporate before it could drip onto the ground. I guess my question is whether I have anything to worry about or is this little drop in coolant level in 14 months/15000 miles normal (It is according to the manual).
The car has 87000 on it by the way.



Anyone???? Thanks Fellas.

Jason

32V_DOHC
02-06-05, 03:08 PM
Sounds normal. Every time the car gets hot the surge tank expels warm moist air. When the car cools it takes in cool dry air. You lose coolant gradually every cycle.

That being said when was the last time you changed the coolant? If you can't remember or don't know or its been longer than 4 years then I would change. Pressure check the system and check the cap. Drain the coolant and refill. Add the coolant sealant tablets to the radiator hose. If you do have a tiny leak this will stop it.

HTH

John

Ranger
02-06-05, 04:53 PM
I agree with John. Don't worry about it. Just check it every 6 months and add as necessary. The earlier cars have a tendency to leak a bit from the water pump front cover. Mine has a very small leak there that is almost impossible to find. It is so small that I don't even see the level go down. Only a drop or two on the frame below the pump cover. I have been told that GM had redesigned the gasket and I have one sitting on my work bench but being that it is only a drop or two a day I am in no big hurry to fix it.

BeelzeBob
02-06-05, 07:48 PM
Sounds normal to me. Was the coolant supplement added to the system when the coolant was replaced 14 months ago?? If not, you might want to install the GM coolant supplement pellets to the system to seal any nusiance leaks due to a casting porosity or gasket surface imperfection. Be sure to install it in one of the radiator hoses NOT the surge tank at the pressure cap. Search the forum archives using "coolant supplement" for more info...read my posts on the archives on the subject. Addition of the coolant supplement/sealer is recommended at every cooling system service when the coolant is replaced. The supplement was installed at the factory and if you have replaced the coolant the supplement was lost at the coolant drain and it needs to be replaced.

J.A.O.
02-06-05, 09:32 PM
Thanks for the responses fellas. Peace of mind is priceless. The coolant supplement tabs were added to the system when the coolant was changed at the dealer. If in fact there is a small leak in the water pump housing, I'm debating about going in to have them replace the pump as it is covered under my extended warranty. I guess the trick will be whether we can convince the warranty company that the pump needs to be changed.

Thanks again guys...



Jason

joeveto
02-09-05, 12:04 AM
I love this forum. I have a 97 ETC with 83,000. Last Fall, I had the coolant flushed. Two days ago, the "CHECK COOLANT LEVEL" message popped on. This was the first time I had ever seen it. So I figured it was the water pump on its way out. But I checked here, and voila. Here is another owner with the same issue, and plenty of knowledge regarding it.

You guys are great.

chevyorange
02-12-05, 01:39 PM
I guess my question is, what is the "minimum" amount of time between fills and "check coolant level" message before I get worried?

How often when serviced by non-Cadillac techs do they not purge the system correctly? I know on my Saturn there is a valve to get air out of the system, does the Northstar have this?

Adam

Ranger
02-12-05, 05:40 PM
The Northstar is self purging as long as the purge line from the pump to the surge tank is not pluged. The "Check Coolant Level " should theoreticaly never come on. It is a sealed system. If it does, then there is a leak somewhere.

chevyorange
02-12-05, 05:44 PM
Yeah, I figured so - and I have never seen a drop from stationary or parking.

Is there a chance things would leak only while driving and at temperature? Say, if the engine gets hotter than normal operating temperatures?

If that is the case, I'm going to have to look at the water pump and pulley again - I just can't see the amount of water that goes missing burning up so quickly without major problems in engine running....

Adam

Ranger
02-12-05, 06:23 PM
Is there a chance things would leak only while driving and at temperature? Say, if the engine gets hotter than normal operating temperatures?
Adam
Absolutely. If you are using a lot of coolant look at the tip of the overflow hose to see if it is wet after your next trip. Maybe it is just going on the road. If not, then you need to get the cooling system pressure checked. If the pump and pulley check out ok, pressurize the system. Let it set for an hour or so and see if it holds pressure. If it has gone down. Pull the plugs and crank the engine. If coolant comes out of one or more of the spark plug holes, then it is most likely a head gasket.

chevyorange
02-12-05, 07:14 PM
I'm not looking forward to that! I love the car, have had it for about 6 months now.

Thanks for the help, I'm going to have to find time in the next few weeks.

Happy Birthday to me!

cguthrie
07-13-05, 10:09 AM
BBob,

I changed my coolant per your instructions (perhaps) about 5000 miles ago, pellets in hose, etc. changed belts, water pump pulley still swinging nicely, and got the check coolant level this AM.

Sure enough, I could still see coolant in the bottom of the surge tank but it was clearly low. Topped up w/50/50 dexcool mix.

The temp has been perfect, and no antifreeze on the garage floor.

I almost had a heart attack w/concern for head gasket issues. The car has never overheated since I purchased it at 40K.

Is it possible that I did not top off after the system was pressurized and may have not filled it up properly at the change?

Best,

CG
99STS 115K

chevyorange
07-13-05, 12:52 PM
I'm not looking forward to that! I love the car, have had it for about 6 months now.

Thanks for the help, I'm going to have to find time in the next few weeks.

Happy Birthday to me!

I ended up having a hairline and I mean hairline crack in the head (firewall side) and small leak at head gasket. Also, major oil leak going right on to the catalytic converter. So, I'm having the N* rebuilt.

So many little things, the costs added up so quick, with 91k on the clock I just said "do it".

7 year 100,000 mile warranty will have me happy for a couple years before selling. I love the car and it is paid for.

BeelzeBob
07-13-05, 11:50 PM
BBob,

I changed my coolant per your instructions (perhaps) about 5000 miles ago, pellets in hose, etc. changed belts, water pump pulley still swinging nicely, and got the check coolant level this AM.

Sure enough, I could still see coolant in the bottom of the surge tank but it was clearly low. Topped up w/50/50 dexcool mix.

The temp has been perfect, and no antifreeze on the garage floor.

I almost had a heart attack w/concern for head gasket issues. The car has never overheated since I purchased it at 40K.

Is it possible that I did not top off after the system was pressurized and may have not filled it up properly at the change?

Best,

CG
99STS 115K


I wouldn't worry about it. It is not too unusual for the coolant level to drop slightly over time. It may have been marginally full at the change and purged some additional air out and been within a hair of tripping the low coolant level warning for some time....so it only took a tiny bit of loss to turn the light on. Fill it up cold to within about 1.5 inches of the cap fitting and drive it. If you measure the coolant level from the cap fitting with a ruler as a reference dipstick when it is cold then you can check it occasionally again after that to see if it is really dropping at all. Otherwise, after that time and miles from the cooling sytem service I wouldn't think that suggests anything wrong.

EricChanning
07-19-05, 06:53 PM
I have a '97 seville. The "check coolant" started about three weeks ago. I topped it off with 50/50 AF probably every four days since. There is a couple of drips in the driveway after it sits a while, but I've never seen it drip. I did replace the cap, but it didn't seem to make a difference.

From the other post, I gather that a supplement might help. Is mine too severe considering I have to refill it every four days? I usually add between a half and gallon and a gallon in each time. It never has shown over normal running temperature however. Even in 95 degree weather. Please advise.

BeelzeBob
07-19-05, 11:59 PM
I have a '97 seville. The "check coolant" started about three weeks ago. I topped it off with 50/50 AF probably every four days since. There is a couple of drips in the driveway after it sits a while, but I've never seen it drip. I did replace the cap, but it didn't seem to make a difference.

From the other post, I gather that a supplement might help. Is mine too severe considering I have to refill it every four days? I usually add between a half and gallon and a gallon in each time. It never has shown over normal running temperature however. Even in 95 degree weather. Please advise.


If you are seeing coolant on the ground then there is an external leak somewhere...a hose, fitting, loose clamp, water pump seal, ???

The system builds pressure when the engine is running so if there is a leak point it will most likely leak when the engine is running and hot....while you are driving down the road so you never see the drips. When you park the car the system retains pressure for up to an hour or so, so there might be some leakage when you first park it.

Lay down some newspape or cardboard and park over it and try to get a handle on where the leak is relative to the location under the car or under the engine.

Borrow/rent/buy a cooling system pressure tester and use it to pump up the system to 15 PSI when it is cold. This will cause any likely leak source to leak and it is much easier to inspect the system closely when it is cold. Likely you will find the leak point like this.

The coolant supplement may solve the problem if it is a seepage at a gasket or joint somewhere in the system. If it is a hose or something like that, however, you want to find it and fix it before it turns into a catotrophic failure.

Keep in mind it may be the water pump seal so inspect around the water pump carefully. Replacing the water pump is the answer if that is the case.