98 ETC Coolant Leak
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Cadillac Seville / Cadillac Eldorado Forum Discussion, 98 ETC Coolant Leak in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; Just bought a beautiful 98 ETC/54,000 miles and am experiencing a coolant leak. I am dreading the worst, but am ...
  1. #1
    JNathan is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    98 ETC Coolant Leak

    Just bought a beautiful 98 ETC/54,000 miles and am experiencing a coolant leak. I am dreading the worst, but am hopeful it may not be as bad as head gasket?? Every once in awhile, I see a whif of white smoke from the hood, but never out the tail pipes....and do occasionally smell an antifreeze smell.....where do I start looking? Thanks for the help, y'all....

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  3. #2
    Dubya is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 98 ETC Coolant Leak

    id bring it in, have it pressure tested. they should be able to tell where the leak is too, but bringing up the psi some.

  4. #3
    zonie77 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 98 ETC Coolant Leak

    There are three tests you can have done.

    You can get a combustion chamber test done. They check for combustion gases in the coolant. If you are refilling the coolant it may not read any gases because of the fresh coolant..

    You can do a compression test. Probably the most common but it may miss small leaks and won't differentiate between bad rings, bad valves, bad gaskets.

    You can do a leakdown test which is the most accurate but the most expensive.

    I would recommend trying them in this order.

  5. #4
    Anthony Cipriano is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 98 ETC Coolant Leak

    Quote Originally Posted by JNathan
    Just bought a beautiful 98 ETC/54,000 miles and am experiencing a coolant leak. I am dreading the worst, but am hopeful it may not be as bad as head gasket?? Every once in awhile, I see a whif of white smoke from the hood, but never out the tail pipes....and do occasionally smell an antifreeze smell.....where do I start looking? Thanks for the help, y'all....
    Don't jump to the conclusion that it's a head gasket. Open the pressurized surge tank when cold, make sure the coolant is 1.5/2 inches from the neck of the cap fitting and start the engine with the cap off. Watch the coolant for any signs of bubbling or false boiling. If a head gasket is leaking it'll likely show up as bubbling in the coolant. Not likely.

    I would rent, borrow or buy a coolant system pressure tester and pump up the system and look for leaks. May be anywhere - seal, hose, fitting, water pump, etcetera.

    It's a good time to drain the coolant and refresh with fresh coolant to replenish the corrosion inhibitors in the coolant. While draining, disconnect the radiator hose and install the GM coolant supplment pellets (6) or two tubes of the BarsLeaks "golden seal" powder to seal the sytem for any nuisance leaks like you are experiencing. The engine was installed at the factory with the sealant in it. Maybe it just needs to be repenished if it was sealing an incidental leak due to a porosity in a casting or something. The sealant is a cheap insurance and may very well solve your problem.

    If you really consider the head gaskets suspect as time progresses then there are several much more conclusive tests to run than a compression or leakdown test. Post back for information.

  6. #5
    JNathan is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 98 ETC Coolant Leak

    Thanks for the help and info, guys...I did do the radiator additive as suggested. I used, however, a Prestone product, <cant remember the name>, which worked similarly to Barrsleak, only seemed to be better formulated to work in a radiator system with a reserve tank than the Barrsleak product led me to believe. After using two bottles, I have now had no check coolant level messages, and the temp stays right at the half-way point on the temp guage all the time after the engine is warmed up....will keep you posted if anything else happens. Thanks..this is a great resource!

  7. #6
    Anthony Cipriano is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 98 ETC Coolant Leak

    Quote Originally Posted by JNathan
    Thanks for the help and info, guys...I did do the radiator additive as suggested. I used, however, a Prestone product, <cant remember the name>, which worked similarly to Barrsleak, only seemed to be better formulated to work in a radiator system with a reserve tank than the Barrsleak product led me to believe. After using two bottles, I have now had no check coolant level messages, and the temp stays right at the half-way point on the temp guage all the time after the engine is warmed up....will keep you posted if anything else happens. Thanks..this is a great resource!
    The Prestone product is not what was recommended. The BarsLeaks product, which is exactly the same material as the GM Coolant Supplement pellets, was tested and developed on the Northstar engine specifically. This is only a great resource if you follow the advice. Sorry to be negative but the BarsLeaks sealer was the way to go - not the Prestone product. Glad it stopped the leak, however, and hope you don't run into a plugged heater core later on with the Prestone product. It's good for that. That's why the BarsLeaks sealer was recommended. It wont plug heater cores.

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    JNathan is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 98 ETC Coolant Leak

    This is also only a great resource when it is used both ways...it would have been extremely helpful to have had advice against a certain product as well. It also is important to know that each car owner's individual situation is different. The product you mentioned was not available at the time, and I had read before that the product was not formulated to work as well in the radiator overflow tank like the one I used. Withholding valuable information was even more irresponsible. Guess I wont ask any further advice....

  9. #8
    Lawrence's Avatar
    Lawrence is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 98 ETC Coolant Leak

    JNathan........How is it you type so well........but see so bad? I cant figure you out, but here is my best shot. You are either an attorney or a ten year old. Possibly a ten year old attorney.

    It is only a great resource when BOTH parties can understand simple instructions.

    Anthony clearly stated which product to use and even added it was the factory fill. That doesn't mean to use a different product because he didn't say not to. If you need a list of all the things you shouldn't do it, you couldn't carry the book.

    BarsLeaks is THE supplement for NS in all situations, individual or otherwise.

    Not available?....Barsleak is availible in every region of the country. As are GM dealers. But you mave have had to make a second trip.

    And to top it off, you installed something different because you read it worked better?
    Do you have a leak in your overflow tank?.......No, Barsleak is not formulated to work in a overflow tank, it is made to work in the active cooling system. Which is why you put it there, into the lower rad hose.

    Withholding information.....give me a break! The purpose of this, and other, forums is to share information, ideas, knowledge from theory, practical application and experience to expand the mind of those who want to know more. Food for the mind. Experience commonly not being avaiable in the local library. Most people here participate because they beleive in these things. It is NOT their resposibility. You should appreciate those who actively give their time to others rather than expect them to give you a 6th grade education.

    To everyone else....... my apologies. I normally don't participate in this crap but I have never seen a group of five sentences in which all five infuriated me so.

    JNathan.......Just to be sure it is clear......DO NOT jump off a cliff! This could have detrimental effects to your body, mind and soul including but not limited to severe injury or death to yourself and possibly others.

    BTW.......Sorry we won't be seeing any more of you, you will be missed.

  10. #9
    Anthony Cipriano is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 98 ETC Coolant Leak

    Quote Originally Posted by JNathan
    This is also only a great resource when it is used both ways...it would have been extremely helpful to have had advice against a certain product as well. It also is important to know that each car owner's individual situation is different. The product you mentioned was not available at the time, and I had read before that the product was not formulated to work as well in the radiator overflow tank like the one I used. Withholding valuable information was even more irresponsible. Guess I wont ask any further advice....

    I guess it won't matter since you didn't follow the advice that was given anyway. Withholding valuable information? If you want a list of all the things that you shouldn't do and shouldn't use, ask for that. You asked what to use and were told so in plain language. It's not my fault you can't follow directions or read. Blame somebody else.

  11. #10
    El Dobro's Avatar
    El Dobro is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 98 ETC Coolant Leak

    Guys like that are the reason why new ladders come with about 20 different labels on what not to do with it.

  12. #11
    JNathan is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 98 ETC Coolant Leak

    Let's try a different approach. As I stated, it is important to understand the individual situation before "diving off the cliff." I had no choice but to use the product mentioned. None. Other than the small coolant leak, I had not experienced any sort of change of temperature, or problem with the car and took a chance. It was late at night when the car began to overheat, there was nothing open that had the BarsLeak available, <yes, even Wal Mart was out>, and I was en route to a funeral in an unfamiliar town. Faced with no tools to remove a radiator hose outside in 20 degree weather, no time to do it, and the hope of finding something that said it could work for my particular application, I tried it. It worked....at least for the time being. If I screwed up, I pay the consequences.
    You may not care... you may not agree....that's your choice. I am sorry I caused such a commotion...it was not my intention.
    Please continue to enjoy your friendly and helpful banter....

  13. #12
    Lawrence's Avatar
    Lawrence is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 98 ETC Coolant Leak

    First, sorry to hear about the funeral. Hope all turns out as well as can be.

    Glad to see you back a little more "quiet". You would have to admit your last post was unduly harsh. If anyone withheld information it was you. We are not mind readers.

    Over the years I have relied on a little jerry rigging to get home as well, as has most every one here. You certainly can't be faulted for that.

    I would still get that stuff out of there when you can. Refill with Havoline Dexcool and do add the sealant pellets. You can search Anthony Cipriano's prior posts for info on doing it.

    I would probably first flush the system with tap water (garden hose) to get all that stuff out of there. Preferrably, begin with the engine cold and not running. You can do it warm but that would require a different procedure. DO NOT add cold water to a warm motor that is NOT running. Also be carefull running the engine as you may have to have the fans loose to access the drain plug. Be sure to secure the fans before starting the engine. Also if the engine gets very warm watch out for the electric fans as they can come on by themselves. Also make the sure the "AC" and "Defrost" are set to the "Off" position as this will cause the fans to run. Pay attention to disposal regulations.

    1)First pull the thermostat and lower rad hose from rad (which will drain most coolant)

    2)Reinstall the lower rad hose to the rad end only (no need to fasten secure yet), leaving everything else apart.

    3)Loosen one end of all other hoses you can easily get at.

    4)Remove the expansion tank.

    5)Flush first with the engine off, this way and that. By that I mean put the garden hose into the lower rad hose and flush the rad (leaving the upper rad hose off) until a couple of minutes after the water turns clear. You'll have to wrap your hand or a rag or something around the hose and fitting to keep the water pressure up, be prepared to get wet.

    6)Then put garden hose into the upper rad hose, flush as above that way.

    7)Then go to the engine. Put the garden hose into the stat housing and flush that way.

    8)Put the garden hose into the upper rad hose fitting and flush that way.

    9)Flush whatever other hoses you have disconnect that may not have been flushed from the prior flushing.

    10)Thoroughly clean inside the expansion tank. Reinstall it.

    11)Reinstall all other hoses (again no need to secure them yet), leaving thermostat out.

    12)Fill system with tap water. Run motor about 2-3 min. Drain at lower rad hose.

    13)Repeat all above. This time though pull the rad drain plug to get as much out as possible.

    14)Re-install everything (again no need to be secure), except the stat.

    15)Fill with 100% distilled water. Run engine again 2-3 min.

    16)Repeat 13-15 if you can swing the water

    17)Now re-install the stat, open the drain plug to drain thoroughly. It is important here that you get as much water out of the system as you can to make room for the Dexcool.

    18)After a thorough draining close the drain plug, secure all hoses except the lower rad hose, secure the fan if you moved it.

    19)Drop 6 cooling system sealant tablets (GM PN. 1#3634621) into the lower rad hose (you can crush them), secure the rad hose.

    20)Then refill with coolant. I am not sure the cooling system capacity so you will have to find it, try the owners manual. You will need to end up with a 50/50 mix of distilled water and Dexcool. Because you flushed with water and the water remaining in there, that can not be drained, is 100% water you will have to first add 100% Dexcool to an amount that should equal 50% of the cooling system capacity. You may or may not need to add additional coolant. If after you have added the right amount of 100% Dexcool you still need more coolant to fill the system (2" below cap) top it off with distilled water. In the future you should only add a premixed 50/50 blend of distilled water/Dexcool.

  14. #13
    JNathan is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 98 ETC Coolant Leak

    I really do appreciate the time you took with this response...and will follow your advice. Believe it or not, this is the very first time I have ever had this type of problem...actually the first auto I have actually PURCHASED in several years after leasing, which in my case always came with a complete warranty.....I had nothing to do with the cars but call the garage, and I honestly can't remember the last time I have even had a car IN the garage for anything but routine servicing.
    Truce?
    Once again...thanks.

  15. #14
    Lawrence's Avatar
    Lawrence is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 98 ETC Coolant Leak

    Your Welcome. If you have any problems just post back. BTW, as you move around the engine keep your eyes open for the leak.

    Good Luck

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