Check Coolant Level after Water Pump R/R
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Check Coolant Level after Water Pump R/R in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; I had my waterpump replaced Monday of this week at a local Cadillac dealership here in Central FL. (97 Deville) ...
  1. #1
    97d'elegance is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Check Coolant Level after Water Pump R/R

    I had my waterpump replaced Monday of this week at a local Cadillac dealership here in Central FL. (97 Deville) The pump was leaking badly. After the waterpump, thermostat, gaskets and an accessory drive belt replacement it was $577. Ouch ... Fastforward to today ... Just got in the car to leave the office for lunch and the check coolant level indicator came on ... I was ticked off .. I called the dealership and my service person said they usually do that when a waterpump is replaced because it will get air in the system and take a few days to get it out ... he said I could bring in by and they'll add Dexcool for me or I can do it myself. He said he was 99% certain this is what the problem is because they did a cooling system pressure check after they replaced the pump ... does this sound correct?

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    JimD is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Check Coolant Level after Water Pump R/R

    Yes, it can happen that way. Except they should have burped the cooling system before the job was called complete and the hood was closed.

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    97d'elegance is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Check Coolant Level after Water Pump R/R

    Thanks for the quick response. It would have been nice if they'd done it correctly from the start so I wouldn't worry. One good thing though ... my car is running WAY cooler than before. Cruising down the freeway around 75 it hovered between 210 - 220 with A/C on. Now with the new pump it stays at 197 around 80 ... driving really hard on it in traffic it hasn't raised above 206 ...

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    97d'elegance is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Check Coolant Level after Water Pump R/R

    Okay ... sorry for the long post but there are obviously more problems here ... after the waterpump replacement this past monday I thought my problems were solved. I had to add coolant on Wednesday because the dealership told me it probably had an air bubble and I should add coolant and it would be fine. I just got in the car to grab some breakfast and the "Check Coolant Level" warning came on again... UGH!! I have been smelling coolant for months and then even worse after the waterpump was replaced. I can't find any coolant on the ground though. When I first start the car and the climate control kicks in I get a coolant smell from the A/C vents. If I run the car without the A/C compressor on the windows fog up ... is this the heater core? If it is the heater core, where does the coolant go? Does is leak out while I'm driving? How detailed a repair is this for my particular car? I have to take it back to the same dealership and this concerns me because they said they did a cooling system test when I brought it in. I personally think because you could see the coolant leaking from the waterpump housing they just replaced that and assumed there was nothing else wrong. Any suggestions?

    Thanks Guys!

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    Dadillac is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Check Coolant Level after Water Pump R/R

    Check the carpet on the passenger side floor. If it is wet/damp, heater core is leaking.

    Don

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    automover is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Check Coolant Level after Water Pump R/R

    i think Don is right sounds like a heater core to me as well.

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    97d'elegance is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Check Coolant Level after Water Pump R/R

    Would the heater core make it run hotter than usual? I had to run some errands and drove about 30 miles roundtrip. The temp kept fluctation very oddly. It would be at 199 for a while then spike up to 230 then back to 206 then 215 and so on ... you get the point. It's never done that before. Could the heater core cause this? I also had the thermostat and belt replaced at the same time as the waterpump. This has me stumped.

    Thanks again guys!

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    Re: Check Coolant Level after Water Pump R/R

    The car is running hotter because the heater core is leaking and the coolant is going down. Keep that coolant topped of til you get it back there for repair.

    The Northstar does not need to be "burped" to get air out of the system. It is self purging and if they serviced it properly ie: slowly fill the system there will be no air in the system to be burped out in the first place.

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    97d'elegance is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Check Coolant Level after Water Pump R/R

    Thanks for the advice .... Where does the coolant go when the heater core is leaking? I never see any on the ground underneath the car. Does it blow out from somewhere when I drive? The minute the check coolant level warning came on I added 50/50 Dexcool ... so it's not low at the moment. Would that still make it run hotter? Also, it's not running hotter everytime .. I just went to grab dinner and sat in a drive thru for 15 minutes with the car in Drive and it never raised above 199 ... strange to me ...

  11. #10
    haymaker is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Check Coolant Level after Water Pump R/R

    Quote Originally Posted by 97d'elegance
    Would the heater core make it run hotter than usual? I had to run some errands and drove about 30 miles roundtrip. The temp kept fluctation very oddly. It would be at 199 for a while then spike up to 230 then back to 206 then 215 and so on ... you get the point. It's never done that before. Could the heater core cause this? I also had the thermostat and belt replaced at the same time as the waterpump. This has me stumped.

    Thanks again guys!
    One of the things that happen after you have had an overheating problem is your constant checking of the temp gauge. With the analog gauge you don’t notice all the fluctuations as when watching the digital gauge. Since I added the digital readout to my display I now notice the temp reading covers a greater range than I expected. I see you are from Orlando so the air conditioner may or may not be on. If it is on one fan is running so the 199 on up will vary by the driving conditions, speed, grade, traffic and load. Once the temp reaches 228 or so the second fan comes on so that would be the 230 spike, then the temp should start to drop again until the cutoff point of the second fan. If the air is not on the temps will be a little higher, instead of the 199 it maybe 208-212 that’s where my 97 SLS runs when the air is off then when in stop and go traffic the temp will climb to 228-230, the fan comes on then the temps start to drop again.

    If you think your heater core is leaking you do need to check that out. Like the others stated check the passenger side foot well carpet and make sure you remove the floor mat as it may conceal the wet carpet area underneath that should be wet it the core has been leaking.

    When adding the 50/50 mix of dex-cool, with the engine cold or cool remove the cap from the expansion tank, start the engine, turn the heater control all the way up to 90, add the dex-cool to the expansion tank until it is just below the neck of the tank and let the engine continue to warm-up for a few minutes then recheck the coolant level as you may need to add more coolant. I noticed on my car the heater starts to yield warm air at 120 degrees on the temp gauge so I will assume the coolant is flowing through the core by that temp reading. I would think by the time the temp gauge has reached 150-160 you could recheck the coolant level add if needed then install the cap. I found on my car if I didn’t have the heater on when refilling the cooling system it would always be low when I next rechecked the coolant level.

    You will need to check your owner’s manual as to the proper coolant level when cold.
    On my 97 SLS it is 2 ½” below the neck (not the top) of the expansion tank. You can fill the tank all the way to the top if you like but it will only push the excess out of the overflow when the engine has ran through a few complete warm-up and cool down cycles. Whatever your owner’s manual indicates as the proper coolant level, use that level as to the need to add coolant otherwise you will chase the level forever.

    Good Luck..

  12. #11
    97d'elegance is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Check Coolant Level after Water Pump R/R

    It's going back to the dealership this Wednesday morning ... I'll let everyone know then.

    Thanks again

  13. #12
    97d'elegance is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Check Coolant Level after Water Pump R/R

    Man am I depressed .... I just got home from the Cadillac dealership and they told me my head gaskets are leaking at the head bolts and that is the reason for the continued coolant loss ... they assured me this was the problem. They quoted $3,000 for the timesert repair but told me they can't guarantee the block won't crack when they're doing it (whatever that means)... $5,000 for a used engine with 70,000 and a year warranty or $10,000 for a new one ... should I do the repair or spring for the used engine? I also would love to be able to find some place other than the dealership to do the repair but am concerned about the quality of their work vs. the dealership ... does anyone know of any good reputable auto repair center in the central FL area?

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