: coolant change

10-13-06, 04:20 AM
how's it goin guys i have a huge 12 hr drive to take this weekend and i was thinking it'd probobly be best to change out the coolant before hitting the road....i was wondering where the purge valve that everyone else takes about and what the steps are in changing the coolant besides pulling the plug at the bottom of the radiator?

10-13-06, 10:39 AM
Do a search on my name. I give some good ideas. If you have specific questions then ask.

10-13-06, 02:59 PM
There is no purge "valve". It is a purge line and will purge air automatically. Just drain and refill 50/50 green coolant/distilled water and don't forget the cooling system suppliment tabs in the radiator hose, not the surge tank.

10-13-06, 05:10 PM
Putting those tabs is a mandatory task ? What happens if you don't add the tabs but only refill 50/50 ?

10-13-06, 06:14 PM
From what ive read on this, and boy have I read alot, YES they are mandatory.
I believe they assist in preventing corrosion of the aluminum, as well as helping in the sealing of the gaskets during the shrinking and expansion of the aluminum during heating and cooling.

I know thats not very tecnical but I believe thats the jest of it. Either way you had better put them in. Will probably end up with major expensive problems in the long run that could have been avoided for a couple bucks.

If I could get in on this thread to I would appreciate it ? :halo:

Maybe I shouldnt have read so much into this. I cant believe how freaked out I am over a simple coolant change.
Hopefully I can get some answeres to my concerns ? Clear a couple things up ?

Im bringing my 01 to the dealer tomorrow for its scheduled "change". I have waranty still so I feel better that its on record being done. They will be using the Orange Dex-Cool. And Im good with that.
They say "change" in the letter but can gaurantee they will insist on a flush.

So in a nut shell this is what I understand so far. Want to make sure I have it all right :(

So if its flushed
1) I should ensure that the heater and fan are turned on ?
2) I should insist that they blow out the system with air ?
3) 50/50 Dex-Cool and distilled water ?
4) Supplement tabs of course ! In upper or lower hose only ?

Or should I insist that they ONLY change it ?
1) Drain out the old Dex-Cool,
and dont worry about blowing all out or running heater ?
2) Refill with 50/50 then ad Suplement tabs.

I know this is not rocket science.
But after reading and reading so much its made my head spin.
I just want to make sure that whichever of the 2 routes above I take, I do it correctly. Seein as it is an important maintance procedure.

Please and Thank You. :confused:

10-13-06, 08:08 PM
The sealant tabs are "mandatory" on the 4.9. I believe that the reason is that an intake manifold gasket leak can let coolant into the oil. It is "recommended" per our old Guru on the Northstar, though the older manuals called for it. At some point they quit using them from the factory. The sealant tabs do not prevent corrosion. That is what the corrosion inhibitors in the antifreeze do, nor do they have any effect on the head gasket. If a head gasket is going to fail, they are going to fail, with or without the tabs. They are simply to prevent niusance leaks from porous aluminum castings or mayby some seepage from a gasket (other than a head gasket). Nothing will happen if you didn't put them in.

No need to blow out any air. The system is self purging. No need to have the heater or fan on. Coolant flows continuosly through the heater core. HEat is achieved via the air mix door, not by a valve that opens and closes flow to the heater core. That was the old days. Distilled water is for us purist DIY'ers. Not likely that the dealer has any. Tap water is not going to cause any problems. I used it for many years. It simply adds some unnecassary elements to the system (calcium, lime, iron, etc) albeit in small amounts. Seaknt tabs would be a good idea though.

10-13-06, 08:32 PM
I've always wondered if OEM's use distilled water in the mix on new vehicles. Makes you wonder.


10-13-06, 08:39 PM
I too have pondered that. My guess is no. Likewise with the brake bedding proceedure, but I digress.

10-14-06, 10:04 AM
Thanks guys for the explainations :)
BTW, Ranger I tried to add you some reputation but denied . It says I must spread some reps before adding you reps again :halo:

10-15-06, 01:22 PM
Thanks guys for the explainations :)
BTW, Ranger I tried to add you some reputation but denied . It says I must spread some reps before adding you reps again :halo:

I added reps.
Thanx so much Ranger.
Like I had said earlier I had been reading alot on it.
Put my head into a spin and made me unnecisarilly parinoid.

When I asked the dealer about the tabs he was quite confused.

Told me that all it would do is thicken the coolant. Said it wouldnt help in any kind of prevention.
Told me that proper schedualed maintanance is the way to prevention of any problems.
Said that sure hes seen a couple come in with a problem but that they were few and far between.
Told me they could put them in my 01 STS if I wanted but in no way did GM recomend it.
And seein as I still have just over 2 years waranty I wasnt about to ask for some thing they didnt recomend or authorize. Leaving the ball in there hands. so to speak.

As to how they flushed and made sure everything was removed.
They hook up to a machine that apparently completely flushes out the old then replaces with the new. All automated or something like that.
Wether or not the water is distilled or not I dont know. I forgot to ask.
I would like to assume that the machine is filled with pre mixed 50/50. It would make sense that it would come to them in bulk that way.
Either way im feeling good about it all.

Comes with a free coolant inspection every 3 mnths so will go for it.

Thanx again Ranger. Also for clearing up my misinformation that I had posted.
Just so many posts on it kinda rolled into one giant puddle of brain mush that no longer make much sense lol.

On a side note.
Had 3 different Employes come up to me when I was there to comment on the finish.
Even the guy who sold it to me said "It looks better than when we gave it to you"
Ill have to go back and give them Garys card. :yup:

10-18-06, 02:16 PM
In my humble opinion the ''tabs'' are put into the engine for one purpose only.
That is to help stop any external leaks to atmosphere.
As the N* engine has so many pipes,tubes etc at almost inaccessable places this is essential to help prevent a catastrophic leak.
Once you have a leak you are on a downward slope unless it is halted quickly, as most peeps will panic and add water not coolant.
They cannot prevent HG leakage.

10-18-06, 10:27 PM
The coolant supplement pellets are NOT for corrosion protection. They are NOT for "thickening the coolant" .... whatever that means.

The ARE installed into the cooling systems to seal up any minor coolant leaks or seepage due to gasket imperfections, minor casting porosity, imperfect sealing at hose connections, etc.

In te 4.1/4.5/4.9 engines the coolant supplement pellets are mandatory to guard against any internal coolant leakage into the oil that could go undetected and cause engine damage. In the Northstar Tricky is right, they are just for guarding against incidental coolant seepage to the atmosphere as the chance of internal coolant leakage is virtually non-existent due to the basic engine design.

The GM assembly plants use de-ionized water. This is generally analogous to distilled water in that the de-ionization process removes impurities, minerals, etc. in the water. So, yes, the factory fill was with "distilled" water or it's equivalent.

10-19-06, 08:18 AM
Told me they could put them in my 01 STS if I wanted but in no way did GM recomend it.

Pop the hood and have them read the sticker on the shroud over the radiator...

10-19-06, 09:05 AM
My 96DeVille does not have a sticker under the hood. None of any sort, was removed by prior owner. Can someone post a pic of appropriate sticker??
Many thanks K_C

10-19-06, 09:23 AM
My 95 Eldo has the exact sticker JimHare posted.

10-19-06, 05:09 PM
Pop the hood and have them read the sticker on the shroud over the radiator...

Thank You VERY Much JimHare !!!

Holy... am I ever steamed :mad2: :mad2: :mad2:
I just called them and talked to the jag that said GM doesnt auothorize them.
Hes still standing behind what he said about all it will do is gumm up the system.
Sure they are needed in the older models but not in the newer N# he says

Then Why In The Hell Does It Say Its Required Right On My Shroud ????
I asked
And he still cant answer me. :horse:
Said he will look into it and let me know.

I cant believe the arogance of that man :annoyed:


Cant wait to here what he comes up with when he calls back :thehand: :blasted:

Thanx again :canttalk: :bomb:

10-19-06, 05:22 PM
At some point I believe that GM stopped using them. Don't get too upset. They are not mandatory on the Northstar as Chevelle said. Nothing bad will happen without them. Worst case is that you develope a small leak and find it rather than having the tabs mask it. I just had a crossover gasket replaced under warranty yesterday. I asked about the tabs and was told that they don't use them anymore. Having thought ahead, I had 4 in the glovebox and told them to use them. It was even printed on the work order that I has given, but when I picked her up this morning, they where still in the glove box. I have yet to determine if they used their own or just did not add them. In either case I am not to concerned. Now my wifes 3800 is another story. It will always get them.

10-19-06, 06:21 PM
The following are from the 1998 Service Manual Second Edition, Page 6-234

"When adding coolant, it is important that you use GM Goodwrench DEX-COOL or Havoline DEX-COOL coolant. If Coolant other than DEX-COOL or HAVOLINE DEX-COOL is added to the system the engine coolant will require change sooner - at 50,000 km, (30,000 mi.) or 24 months"

"Notice: This engine uses DEX-COOL and GM coolant supplement (sealant) P/N 3634621 specifically designed for use in aluminum engines. Failure to use the engine coolant supplement (sealant) and the approved coolant antifreesze could resut in major engine damage. When refilling the cooling system, add three pellets of the engine coolant supplement sealant GM P/N 3634621 to the lower radiator hose."

Page 6-235

Under filling procedure:

"Notice: When adding coolant, use DEX-COOL coolant. If silicated coolant is added to the system premature engine, heater core or radiator corrosion may result. In addition, the engine coolant will reauire change sooner- at 50,000 km (30,000 mi) or 24 months."

I'm sure some of the above has been changed over time, but for what it's worth this is what the factory said in 1998.

"Ride boldly ride," James Caan and Edgar Allen Poe.

10-19-06, 06:45 PM
Just read the manual for 2001 Seville.

page 6-25.
Says twice not to add anything.
Thats just too weird. Theyve really got to get it together.
Good thing I didnt ream him too hard. Am still curious as to what hes going to say when he calls back.
Probably the same as my manual lol.
Thanx again Ranger. Dont think you'll have to repeat it to me a third time :cheers:

10-21-06, 06:01 PM
Murph, Re: Your owner's manual.

I think what GM is saying in the lower-right hand box about "adding other stuff" is directed towards the gummy stop-leak stuff, "water wetter" and other things like that.

The bottom line here is that, at least on my car, the shroud sticker says to use the pellets. So does my FSM. So I did.

As Ranger noted, the use is more "cautionary" than "required." The ginger-root is there to stop the small porosity leaks, and minor little squirts, not to plug up that .45 caliber hole in your radiator.

As to why some dealers put them in without even being asked, some put them in if you ask, and others declaim any knowledge whatsoever about them, ya got me...

10-23-06, 05:43 PM
I got the call back from GM today.
He looked into it and it was confirmed that yes they were supposed to put them in. He had left a message on our home machine.
He even had the gaul and oddacity to say that it was a good thing that "WE" decided to inquirer about it.

Now heres the Big Cahuna !!

After work I stopped at the store around the corner from home for some cola.
I came out to find a puddle of coolant quickly forming under my car :shocked2:
I immediatally called him and he started to repeat the mesage he left.
When I told him I was leaking coolant he was speachless.
Then said it may be a hose that wasnt tightened blah blah.

When he realized I had warranty, thats when he started talkin about the water pump. Could also be the problem.
Tellin me there are "Changeover Parts" for that.

Changeover meaning there is a re-design because GM has found what they were using isnt that efficiant.
"Not A Recall" that they pay for. :thehand:
A changeover that I would pay for. :kick:

What I am worried about;
He told me that if it is the water pump then it would be no fault of theres.

That is just too much of a coincidence for me.

Is it possible that them not putting the pellets in could cause the pump to leak ?
Or maybe the pressure from the machine they use to change the coolant, or something like that ?
(If it is the pump thats the problem) ??

I had it changed only a week ago :holycrap:
What are the odds that it is not there fault ?

I know I have warranty, but its still $100 deductable plus Ill be missing work.
Hopefully someone could give me some ammunition to go in there with.

10-23-06, 06:35 PM
I don't think that it would cause your wp to go, but it makes me wonder what else we not know about what they did. Why would a hose be loose? Did they pull the hose to drain it? I think you should find out everything that is wrong first. Then you can use THAT as ammo. I would definately not pay for anything else there. Also I would get my money back. You may have to go to small claims court in the end. I hope you won't have to, but most judges are pretty ignorant. So you could link everything together and that should win a verdict. It probably won't come to that, but it's something to put in the back of your mind.

10-23-06, 09:41 PM
Not putting the tabs in is not likely to cause a leak. The fact that it started leaking right after they worked on it is highly suspect, but they will never admit a mistake unless you can prove it beyond a doubt. Where was the leak. Maybe they overfilled it and it was venting the excess through the overflow tube.

10-25-06, 06:00 PM
Holy Jesus Murphy !!!

Everyone take a seat for this one !!

So apparently it was the water pump that had gone.
And like you said Ranger in NO way did they admit it was anything that they did wrong.
No matter how much I bitched, as far as they were concerned its a 5 year old car and they can do that. They kept bringing that up along with the fact thats also the reason GM has since changed the design on the pump. RE. the changover parts Id mentioned earlier.
Then they also dinged me with needing a new hose. I asked why they didnt notice that during the initial inspection with the coolant change. Turns out the inside is what was detriorating. But they would have discovered that before if they had put the tabs in originally. But I still would have had to pay for it.
So 100 dollars for deductable and the cost of the hose. That was yesterday.

Just too fishy but in no way can I prove anything.

Now here's where it gets better.

On my way to work this morning and realize its still a bit cold in the car. Its blowing air but its not warm.
Thats when I see out of the corner of my eye that the temp gauge is past the middle mark. I take a good look at it and its not stopped. Its still moving up :eek:
The damned thing is over heating.:shocked2:

Well at least I wasnt on the highway yet.
Was able to carefully drive it back to the dealer. I know it has a camel mode, but I still pulled over a few times to let it cool. Better safe than sorry.
I really feel bad for the first guy that I saw there.
I think he almost crapped his pants.

I litterally exploded on him :brutal:

Then stormed into the service managers office and gave it to him ten times worse. He was the one that Id been having the original problems with. Tellin me that in NO WAY does GM authorize etc etc.......
When he finally had a chance to speak he was dumfounded. Said he didnt understand. Said its a simple standard procedure that they do all the time with no problems.

"A Simple Standard Procedure That You Couldnt Even Get Right The First Time", I screamed at him !!

Thats when he decided to try to find his balls. In his snarky hollier than thou tone, (that id heard before from him), he quipped back; "Not putting the pellets in didnt cause this".

"I Didnt Say It Caused This. I Said It Was A Simple Standard Procedure That You Didnt Even Do Right The First Time !! And Now Im Here For The Third Time And Its Still Not Right. Everything Was Fine Untill I came Here For A SIMPLE STANDARD PROCEDURE !!!!!!".

So the reason I was given this time was that the belt had slipped of the water pump.
No appoligy no nothin :mad:
And I only found out that excuse because I was lucky enough to catch the mechanic when he was parking it.
All the service consultant had to say was that its done and I can go.
Mechanic figured that when he had washed everything off that some water had gotten on/under the belt and that had caused it to slip.
Also said he had some great land in the Florida Everglades he wanted to sell me LOL. :alchi:

I had since driven the car home. Yesterday. And it had sat in the garage over night. Not to mention the fact that he had also road tested it etc. etc.....
Must be that extra wet super slow drying water that we have here in Milton :holycrap:
Guess I better hope that we never get any heavy rain and that I drive reeeeealy slow through any puddles in the future.

I made sure that they changed the oil. Manual states that after over heating it needs to be done.
No charge of course but ended up loosing another 3 hours pay on top of yesterday.

Simple coolant change :bonkers: :bonkers: :bonkers: :bonkers:

And the total is
135 for coolant flush and change
100 deductable for water pump
75 for hose (but no labour woho lol)
0 for oil change (woho lol)
40 approx for some taxes and disposal fees
= 341.07

Also 11 hrs lost pay :rant2:

Boy did I get a deal from Wallace GM in Milton Ont. :thepan:

10-26-06, 09:37 AM
^^^ Wow. I hate dealers sometimes.

10-27-06, 05:05 PM
Holy iSht! Thats sounds like a fiasko. That is why I do all of my own work. The 94' STS I just bought has a coolant leak originating from the passenger side radiator area. Could be a hose or the end tank. I'm going to replace the upper and lower hoses, the radiator, the thermostat and all the gaskets and do a complete coolant change with the GM tabs. That should keep it up to par for awhile. I will also have the coolant tested for exhaust gasses or oil to see if the engine is okay with 160k on it.

11-03-06, 11:35 AM
as I understand it, you can't just add pellits to coolant resivour? but need to disconect hase and add while running? what a pain. could you crush add to warm dist. water shake and just add to resivour? while on sub, of cooland resvouir, why no sight line on side? poor enginering, other brands you dont need to remove cap, and look down.

11-03-06, 02:13 PM
They need to go in the hose upper/lower, however, no not try this with the motor running. Big mess. Upper hose should work fine and minimize coolant loss. As far as no sight line on the reservoir, guess Cadillac figures with all the bells and whistles no need. They sort of set things up so the driver sees a warning and takes it to the service guys to be checked out. Like no need to get your hands dirty. IMO...K_C

11-03-06, 04:24 PM
as I understand it, you can't just add pellits to coolant resivour? but need to disconect hase and add while running? what a pain. could you crush add to warm dist. water shake and just add to resivour? while on sub, of cooland resvouir, why no sight line on side? poor enginering, other brands you dont need to remove cap, and look down.
Not the recommended method, but doable.