Leaking coolant? Head gasket???
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Leaking coolant? Head gasket??? in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; I own a 1996 Caddy Sedan Deville. I just changed the radiator, pressure cap, thermostat, and water pump and my ...
  1. #1
    96Caddy is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Leaking coolant? Head gasket???

    I own a 1996 Caddy Sedan Deville. I just changed the radiator, pressure cap, thermostat, and water pump and my car is still low on coolant every 2 or 3 days with minimal driving. The oil doesn't have a water in it and there is no smoke coming out of the tailpipes. Any ideas where the water is going??? There isn't any water leaking onto the ground.

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    ShadowLvr400's Avatar
    ShadowLvr400 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Leaking coolant? Head gasket???

    It sounds like it's pushing the coolant out somewhere.... Try this, reload the water, and have another vehicle drive alongside you on the right. (Think like you just passed someone.) Drive, stomp on the gas, cruise, play around a bit. If your friend gets blasted with water, you've got the same blow I have. Another option is to simply go for a drive, be a bit hard on the car if you want. stop, get out, and check your passenger front tire. If there's moisture on it, and probably on the side there, it's pushing the coolant out the release line. You other option is to do a compression test. Not astoundingly hard.

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    Anthony Cipriano is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Leaking coolant? Head gasket???

    Did you add the GM coolant supplement (sealer) to the sytem to make sure that there are no nuisance leaks anywhere? Possibly there's a coolant leak into the valley of the engine that is going undetected. The sealer would stop that quickly. Use 6 of the GM coolant supplement pellets or two tubes of the BarsLeaks "golden seal" powder in the clear tubes (same exact material) and install it into the radiator hose not the surge tank. Just disconnect the hose, install the supplement/sealer and reconnect the hose. Refill the system with 50/50 premix and drive for 10-20 miles to get the sealant circulating through the system. Do not install the sealer into the pressurized surge tank as it will not get transferred through the sytem correctly. There is very little flow through the surge tank to disperse the sealer.

    Use a strong flashlight to look into the valley of the engine (the valley is dry) just behind the power steering pump. You can see down into the valley there. Look for coolant that would indicate a leak into the valley. If so, it's harmless. Use the sealer to seal the system up.

    The sealer was installed when the engine was installed at the factory. It may need replenishing if there was a casting or porosity seepage that it was sealing all this time. Harmless - just a nuisance leak.

    If you continue to lose coolant you can check the head gaskets if you suspect them. Use an old spark plug shell as an adapter and pressurize each chamber with 120psi shop air through the spark plug port. Watch the pressurized surge tank for bubbling. Foolproof check to see if the head gasket is the problem.

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    96Caddy is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Leaking coolant? Head gasket???

    The water level is going down faster and faster. Yesterday I had to pour three containers of coolant into it. All day I drove it twice, maybe 5 miles all day at most.

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    Anthony Cipriano is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Leaking coolant? Head gasket???

    Quote Originally Posted by 96Caddy
    The water level is going down faster and faster. Yesterday I had to pour three containers of coolant into it. All day I drove it twice, maybe 5 miles all day at most.
    Did you install the coolant supplement/sealer? Did you look under the intake to see if it is leaking into the (dry) valley of the engine?

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    96Caddy is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Leaking coolant? Head gasket???

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Cipriano
    Did you install the coolant supplement/sealer?

    Did you install the coolant supplement/sealer? Did you look under the intake to see if it is leaking into the (dry) valley of the engine?
    I installed the coolant supplement/ sealer but I put it in the tank. I'm someone told me to take off the radiator hose and put two of them in there. I'm going to do that later on today.

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    Anthony Cipriano is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Leaking coolant? Head gasket???

    Quote Originally Posted by 96Caddy
    I installed the coolant supplement/ sealer but I put it in the tank. I'm someone told me to take off the radiator hose and put two of them in there. I'm going to do that later on today.
    Yes. Those were the instructions in the first response to your post. See above.

    "Use 6 of the GM coolant supplement pellets or two tubes of the BarsLeaks "golden seal" powder in the clear tubes (same exact material) and install it into the radiator hose not the surge tank. Just disconnect the hose, install the supplement/sealer and reconnect the hose."

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    Aurora5000's Avatar
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    Re: Leaking coolant? Head gasket???

    Hey Anthony,
    What is the best way to install the pellets/bars goldenseal into the
    system? Do you drain the radiator first then install pellets in the rad. hose
    that runs on the topside of radiator. I have 4.0L 2002 Aurora and assume
    the plumbing is similiar. I am trying to keep the fluid loss at a min.--catching in a clean drain pan and then re-inserting fluid back in line or overflow tank.
    The leak is coming fron the water pump area. Still under warranty but hate to take it in unless necessary. Only leaks 2 or 3 drops a day. If it sits for 2
    days, you have a puddle about the size of a dollar bill. Has the pink Dexcool form factory.
    What is your take?

    Thanks,
    Steve

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    WillGlueIt is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Leaking coolant? Head gasket???

    The coolant supplement pellets should be put into the hose that feeds into the bottom of the radiator. Drain the cooling system, install the pellets then use a 50/50 mix of Dexcool and distilled water too refill the system.

    Dexcool is ORANGE, if you are seeing a pink fluid you might be seeing transmission fluid. I would not re-insert that fluid you are collecting in the pan, back into the cooling system.

    If the car is still under warranty, just take it in. What ever you do, DO NOT tell them you re-inserted that fluid into the cooling system. That could give them a reason to void your warranty.

    Good Luck

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    Anthony Cipriano is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Leaking coolant? Head gasket???

    Quote Originally Posted by Aurora5000
    Hey Anthony,
    What is the best way to install the pellets/bars goldenseal into the
    system? Do you drain the radiator first then install pellets in the rad. hose
    that runs on the topside of radiator. I have 4.0L 2002 Aurora and assume
    the plumbing is similiar. I am trying to keep the fluid loss at a min.--catching in a clean drain pan and then re-inserting fluid back in line or overflow tank.
    The leak is coming fron the water pump area. Still under warranty but hate to take it in unless necessary. Only leaks 2 or 3 drops a day. If it sits for 2
    days, you have a puddle about the size of a dollar bill. Has the pink Dexcool form factory.
    What is your take?

    Thanks,
    Steve
    You can put the coolant supplement/sealer into either of the radiator hoses. Whichever is more convenient. Just don't put it into the pressurized surge tank as it wont get dispersed through the system. Personally, I would take the opportunity when you "spill" a little fluid to add fresh rather than reuse. Just a good opportunity to keep replenishing the coolant and refreshing the sytem rather than reinstalling old fluid.

  12. #11
    Aurora5000's Avatar
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    Re: Leaking coolant? Head gasket???

    Thanks Will and Anthony...I have been sick for 3 days and found a puddle
    today as I thought I would. Will take into dealership soon. After closer
    inspection, the fluid is closer to orange color than pink I stated earlier.
    It is definetly cooling system fluid.

    FYI, did GM put in the new factory
    fills these stop-leak pellets?

    Thanks,
    Steve

  13. #12
    Anthony Cipriano is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Leaking coolant? Head gasket???

    Quote Originally Posted by Aurora5000
    Thanks Will and Anthony...I have been sick for 3 days and found a puddle
    today as I thought I would. Will take into dealership soon. After closer
    inspection, the fluid is closer to orange color than pink I stated earlier.
    It is definetly cooling system fluid.

    FYI, did GM put in the new factory
    fills these stop-leak pellets?

    Thanks,
    Steve
    Yes and no. The coolant supplement was a standard part of the factory fill of coolant for many years dating back from the 70's and into the late 90's. It was stopped for several years as the various improvements and castings, sealing, hose clamps, etcetera seemed to make the sealer unnecessary for incidental leaks. After several years without the sealer added at the factory (around 2000 - 2003 model years roughly) there was enough warranty data to justify the continued use of the sealer as there is a small but persistent underlying number of purely nuisance leaks that the sealer prevents so it was reinstituted as part of the factory fill.

    In any case, the sealer becomes ineffective after many miles and years and needs to be replenished. Basically the small organic fibers that make up the compostion of the sealer become more and more "chopped up" by the action of the water pump vanes and eventually become too small to be effective. Also, as the coolant is drained and replaced per normal service the sealer needs to be replenished as a lot of it is lost when the coolant is drained. So, if the engine had the sealant from the factory a seepage may still show up years later as the original charge of sealant becomes depleted or ineffective and the seepage that it was sealing reappears. Also, a new seepage may show up that the sealant cannot seal due to being depleted.

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    Aurora5000's Avatar
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    Re: Leaking coolant? Head gasket???

    Thanks for the info. Anthony... which brings me to other questions...

    My car I bought new is 2002, so it probably doesn't have the pellets installed at the factory.
    I have 28K miles on car. How long does the leak pellets last?

    Do I need to mention at the dealership when I take it in under factory
    warranty when they work on it, to add the leak pellets?

    With the orange Dexcool, what is the realistic range it can be left in
    the car before drain and refill?

    I appreciate this board, and your hard work.

    Thanks,
    Steve

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    Anthony Cipriano is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Leaking coolant? Head gasket???

    Quote Originally Posted by Aurora5000
    Thanks for the info. Anthony... which brings me to other questions...

    My car I bought new is 2002, so it probably doesn't have the pellets installed at the factory.
    I have 28K miles on car. How long does the leak pellets last?

    Do I need to mention at the dealership when I take it in under factory
    warranty when they work on it, to add the leak pellets?

    With the orange Dexcool, what is the realistic range it can be left in
    the car before drain and refill?

    I appreciate this board, and your hard work.

    Thanks,
    Steve

    I'd definitely add the coolant sealer to the system regardless of the model year engine. It's cheap insurance against incidental leaks and wont hurt a thing. It's totally compatible with the DexCool regardless of what the internet "experts" say.

    DexCool is basically lifetime coolant. That being said I would personally follow the 5 years/100K miles guidelines for draining and refreshing. On my own personal cars with green coolant or DexCool I just drain the system down on a yearly basis and refill with fresh 50/50 coolant/distilled water to keep replenishing the charge. It only takes a moment while you're changing the oil and by doing it frequently it's quick and easy to just drain a gallon or so and refill with fresh. Keeps the system refreshed and I don't have to worry then. Lack of cooling system maintenance has caused more seemingly unrelated problems than people will ever realize - especially with all aluminum engines and engines with aluminum heads.

  16. #15
    Aurora5000's Avatar
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    Re: Leaking coolant? Head gasket???

    And what did you say the lifespan of the coolant sealent tablets
    were? Do I need to ask the dealership to install tablets on this
    upcoming repair?

    Thanks,
    Steve

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