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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Changing Coolant and the Right Number of Tablets in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; I am not trying to repair anything, I am not experiencing any coolant leaks this is purely a preventive maintenance ...
  1. #31
    racinrod67 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Changing Coolant and the Right Number of Tablets

    I am not trying to repair anything, I am not experiencing any coolant leaks this is purely a preventive maintenance issue. I have read the past threads on this topic, which include varying opinions and advice. Then add the instruction I received from the dealer (add all 6 tabs) and what I've read in my aftermarket repair manual (add three tabs but flush cooling system repeatedly until water is clear) and I find myself with more questions than I started with. But if the seal tabs are a good idea to add to new coolant in a N* with over 100,000 miles, then I will drain the system, not flush it, crush three tabs and place in the lower rad hose and fill with 50/50 mix of Dexcool and distilled water. Sound good, I'll wait for your replies, thanks guys.

  2. #32
    krimson_cardnal's Avatar
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    Re: Changing Coolant and the Right Number of Tablets

    That'll work. Tabs give a safety factor to minor gasket leaks in the cooling system, not necessarily the head gaskets. Last time I had a dealer do it they put six tabs in the lower hose. I maintain my system the same way. After market manuals are not a GM FSM, I wouldn't use one. I'm not running Dexcool. System didn't have it when I acquired the car and as I understand things, once Dex has been replaced with conventional coolant no sense trying to go back, just change it on a two year cycle. K_C

  3. #33
    Submariner409's Avatar
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    Re: Changing Coolant and the Right Number of Tablets

    ................from the 2002 Seville/Eldorado GM Factory Manual.

    Click on the pic and scroll in.

  4. #34
    AJxtcman's Avatar
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    Re: Changing Coolant and the Right Number of Tablets

    2000 Northstars (previous years are similar)

    Filling Procedure
    Notice: Do not add cold water to the cooling system with the engine at or above operating temperature. Adding cold water causes rapid cooling, resulting in possible engine damage.

    NOTICE: 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: Do not use a solution stronger than 70 percent antifreeze. Pure antifreeze can freeze at -22°C (-8°F).

    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 antifreeze could result 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.


    Important: This engine is not equipped with block drains, 2.5 l (2 qt) of residual coolant remains in the engine block.
    1. Refill the cooling system. In order to ensure sufficient engine cooling, freezing and corrosion protection, maintain the protection level at -37°C (-34°F) or lower.
    2. Start the engine.
    3. Place the heater and A/C control in any A/C mode except Max and the temperature in the highest setting.
    4. Allow the engine to continue idling until the lower radiator to water pump hose is hot.
    5. Turn OFF the engine.
    6. Allow the engine to cool to outside temperature. Ensure the coolant level in the surge tank is at the proper level (1).

    2001+ Northstar's

    Filling Procedure
    Notice: Do not add cold water to the cooling system with the engine at or above operating temperature. Adding cold water causes rapid cooling, resulting in possible engine damage.

    NOTICE: 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: Do not use a solution stronger than 70 percent antifreeze. Pure antifreeze can freeze at -22°C (-8°F).


    Important: This engine is not equipped with block drains, 2.5 L (2 Qt) of residual coolant remains in the engine block.
    1. Refill the cooling system. In order to ensure sufficient engine cooling, freezing and corrosion protection, maintain the protection level at -37°C (-34°F) or lower.
    2. Start the engine.
    3. Place the heater and A/C control in any A/C mode except Max and the temperature in the highest setting.
    4. Allow the engine to continue idling until the lower radiator to water pump hose is hot.
    5. Turn OFF the engine.
    6. Allow the engine to cool to outside temperature. Ensure the coolant level in the surge tank is at the proper level (1).

  5. #35
    racinrod67 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Changing Coolant and the Right Number of Tablets

    Hey guys, thanks for all the detailed responses, I think I better get a factory service manual and throw this aftermarket one away!

  6. #36
    jeffrsmith is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Changing Coolant and the Right Number of Tablets

    I'll Second that

  7. #37
    NHRATA01 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Changing Coolant and the Right Number of Tablets

    So does the 2001+ not specify the addition of the sealant tablets?

  8. #38
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    Re: Changing Coolant and the Right Number of Tablets

    I forget exactly what year GM stopped using them. My '03 doesn't. If they are recommended for your car, there should be a sticker on the radiator shroud.

  9. #39
    Eric is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Changing Coolant and the Right Number of Tablets

    From GM Techlink March 2004:



    Cooling System Seal Tabs What’s made of ground-up ginger root, almond shells and binder? And causes confusion in auto service departments?

    Some people call them coolant pellets, but the proper name is Cooling System Seal Tabs. And we hope to clear up some misunderstandings about them.

    How They Work
    Seal tabs are dissolved in the engine coolant and the resulting fibres circulate through the cooling system. At a microscopic level, the tabs break down into irregular, long, thin fibres. When a small leak or seepage occurs, the coolant carries the fibres into the opening, where they cluster up and jam together. (Think of logs and branches in a beaver dam.) This mechanism is very effective at stopping leaks. Any fibres that make it to the surface will crust over and enhance the seal.

    This sealing method is useful only for small-scale leaks and seepage, and tends to work best in conditions where the surrounding parts aren’t moving. The seals tend to break down in areas between metals that are expanding and contracting with temperature changes, for instance.

    A Secondary Benefit
    The traditional green-colored coolant, used until DEXCOOL® was introduced in 1996, contained silicates, which deposit on cooling system surfaces. The tiny fibres from the seal tabs acted as scouring pads, removing silicate deposits from the water pump seal faces, which contributed to longer water pump seal life.

    Side Effects of Seal Tabs
    In addition to the benefits of sealing small leaks and scrubbing silicates from water pump seals, seal tabs also have some side effects.

    After awhile, a brown, dirty-looking stain may form on translucent coolant bottles. Residue may form on the backside of the radiator cap. And deposits that resemble rust may be found in the cooling system.

    These are not problems, in the sense that they cause no physical harm. But their appearance can be alarming, especially on a new vehicle. Both customers and well-intentioned technicians can be misled by these deposits.

    Another side effect comes from overuse. When seal tabs are used in the prescribed amounts, they will not cause restrictions or plugging in an otherwise properly operating cooling system.

    But, if a little is good, a lot must be better. Wrong!! Overuse can lead to plugging, especially in the relatively small tubes used in heater cores.

    Some History
    There was a time when seal tabs were installed in every new vehicle, at the factory, to account for the inevitable small leaks that occur in castings, joints, and so on. By the mid ‘90s, manufacturing and machining techniques had improved to the point where the seal tabs were no longer needed on a universal basis.

    With the introduction of long-life coolant, silicate deposits were no longer a concern, so the scrubbing action from the seal tab fibres was no longer needed.

    TIP: GM plants, as well as other manufacturers, still occasionally use seal tabs to address specific concerns.

    Today’s Recommendations
    In short, GM no longer endorses universal use of seal tabs. Procedures in SI have been specifically written to discourage their use in most cases.

    When a condition appears in which seal tabs may be beneficial, a specific bulletin is released, describing their proper use. One such bulletin is Customer Satisfaction Program 03034, dated 7/7/03. This applies to specific 3.8L engines only, and is in effect until July 31, 2005.

    TIP: After performing the procedure in the bulletin, be sure to install a recall identification label to the vehicle to indicate that the seal tabs have been installed.

    TIP: If seal tabs were installed in a vehicle at the factory, it’s OK that the proper amount of tabs be installed if the coolant must be drained and replaced.

    What’s a Recommended Dose?
    TIP: Use this information only when instructed to do so by bulletin or SI procedure.

    The proper number of Cooling System Seal Tabs depends on the capacity of the vehicle’s cooling system. Use between 1 and 1 1/2 grams of tabs per liter of cooling system capacity.

    TIP: Cooling System Seal Tabs are packaged in two sizes.12378254 Small tabs (4 grams each) 5 tabs per package
    3634621 Large tabs (10 grams each) 6 tabs per package

    - Thanks to Greg Cockerill and Gary McAdam

  10. #40
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    Re: Changing Coolant and the Right Number of Tablets

    Thanks Eric. I'm going to copy and sticky this for future reference.

  11. #41
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    Re: Changing Coolant and the Right Number of Tablets

    GREAT info long sought by many! Kudos to Eric. K_C

  12. #42
    racinrod67 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Changing Coolant and the Right Number of Tablets

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post

    The proper number of Cooling System Seal Tabs depends on the capacity of the vehicle’s cooling system. Use between 1 and 1 1/2 grams of tabs per liter of cooling system capacity.

    TIP: Cooling System Seal Tabs are packaged in two sizes.12378254 Small tabs (4 grams each) 5 tabs per package
    3634621 Large tabs (10 grams each) 6 tabs per package
    According to these figures, I have just added anywhere from 2-3 times the recommended amount during my recent coolant change. I wonder now if I need to drain half the coolant back out and replace with new Dexcool/Demin water without tabs to dilute the mixture before any damage is done!!!

  13. #43
    krimson_cardnal's Avatar
    krimson_cardnal is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Changing Coolant and the Right Number of Tablets

    IMHO - no. If you added the recommended tabs to the upper or lower hose you're most likely in OK shape. Too much attention and concern is being applied to the issue. Again, it is only my opinion, Eric's post explains things in an updated way - great info to ease our minds and guide us in the future, however, he references 2004 GM Techlink. I have done the same as you with no ill effects what so ever. K_C

  14. #44
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    Re: Changing Coolant and the Right Number of Tablets

    Our old Guru said that it was almost impossible to put too many in....... unless you go crazy.

  15. #45
    racinrod67 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Changing Coolant and the Right Number of Tablets

    I'll leave it alone then, thanks guys.

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