: Preventing head gasket and cooling system failures...

02-12-05, 11:42 PM
I have learned so much from visiting this forum regularly. You guys rock!

I am in the process of purchasing this beauty, 1998 ETC Crimson Pearl 68K miles, looks great in and out! Test drove it for an hour today--checked it thoroughly (my mechanic will look at it early next week for the final OK).

My Preventive Measures--Am I on the right track?:

My preventive measures will be the following:

I plan to have the coolant replaced w Dex-Cool 50/50 distilled coolant (with 2 barleaks powder as recommended here)--who knows what the previous owner put in there.. so I must do this ASAP.

as well as having the oil changed--(thinking Max Life Synthetic--for engines over 75000 miles, protects and lubricates gaskets and seals) as soon as it is in my hands--possibly immediately after the mechanical check-out.

Are any of the other BarLeaks products as good as the powder for the coolant?

Should I have the trans fluid / steering fluid replaced too? i was thinking of leaving that choice up to my mechanic

Please advise--your help is appreciated! I am very excited to join the club!

Best Regards,


02-13-05, 01:02 AM
Wow! Congratulations, that is a GORGEOUS car. I don't think I have ever been quite as jealous as I've been since I found this forum.

02-13-05, 02:10 AM
You're mostly on the right track... Definitely I would do the cooling system refill with 50/50 distilled water and DexCool plus the Bars Leaks powder.

As far as the oil change, anything I say will probably spark a holy war, but I personally don't think the MaxLife stuff is worth the money. Whatever they put in there to "condition" seals means they had to subtract something that was probably serving a useful purpose before. It might help stop or slow a tiny leak, but it isn't the best oil out there, and it certainly won't fix any problems. If you want to put good oil in there, use a quality synthetic like Mobil 1 and use a good quality filter like a PureOne, AC/Delco, or Mobil 1. Don't put anything in the oil. Additives, whatever they do, are probably not worth the money or trouble. Or, you could save the money and use an AC/Delco filter and conventional "dino" or "mineral" non-synthetic motor oil 10W-30 and get by just fine.

Check the trans fluid. What does it look like? Is it a nice bright red, or is it dull and brownish or dirty? It should be red and smell like transmission fluid. If it smells burnt, or is leaning toward grey/brown in color, change it with a quality Dexron-III transmission fluid. No matter what anybody at any shop tells you, do not have the transmission flushed or pumped. Under ideal circumstances, theoretically, the pump should be a good thing, but in reality, it doesn't get done correctly to have the right benefits and can actually cause damage to the transmission. It should only be drained from the pan and the hidden side cover drain screw removed and replaced. The screens need to be cleaned and re-installed and the pan gasket can be reused. Someone jump in here and correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Bbobynski mentioned that the factory fills them up with a Texaco brand fluid.

I don't know what to tell you about power steering fluid. There's a filter on the power steering system, and unless the system has been opened for a long time or some other problem has happened to the pump or something, the fluid should be fine. Never heard anyone here mention changing it, but if you choose to do so, make sure to get the air out of the system per instructions in the manual.

Do it yourself or have your mechanic check for codes in the computer. Hold down the OFF and passenger-side WARMER buttons for a few seconds until all the dash lights come on and it will scroll through the codes. Write them down, including the 6-character code and whether it's CURRENT or HISTORY, then post them here.

It's late and I can't think of anything else right now. I'm sure someone else will chime in with more recommendations. In the meantime, the car sure looks nice. Somebody has done a good job of detailing it and spraying silicone all over the stuff under the hood so it's nice and shiny. Looks like a million bux. Good luck, and keep us in the loop of how things work out.

02-13-05, 05:48 PM
Are any of the other BarLeaks products as good as the powder for the coolant?

"HDC" on this link would be the other choice. Basically the same stuff in tablet form. (same thing the dealer sells)

02-15-05, 02:34 PM
Yep...I'm totally jealous! That car is gorgeous! Congrats dude :)