Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:06 pm Post subject: Severe Coolant Leak
Got home from work today (3 mile trip) and the car was smoking heavily from under the hood. It wasn't smoking at all before I left work, since I remote started it and saw nothing weird. By the time I was home, I smelled coolant smoke at the final stop sign and saw my temp was all the way up to the middle.
Looking under the hood, coolant is all over the front of the block, the fan housings, the engine cradle on the passenger side, and the transmission case.
I did the LIM/UIM and replaced the coolant elbows about 2 years / 15,000 miles ago. It doesn't appear to be coolant elbows, and the rad cap does not appear to be leaking. It's probably lost about a pint just out of the coolant overflow jug (I topped it up yesterday)
Where should I start looking? The car is parked until this is fixed, and sharing a car with the wife is not all that convenient Help!
There's three, right? Two uppers and one lower? They all appeared to be intact - the lower passenger side one was wet, but not right at the clamp: I assumed the moisture to just have been sprayed from whatever is damaged. The inside of the passenger tire is soaked and so is most of the undercarriage...
There are two big ones on the side of the block, and there should be a smaller one on each side of the head (driver/passenger side, not intake/exhaust side if that makes sense).
I've never done a freeze plug before, I've heard they can be quite the bitch to get them to seal correctly. The ones on the front are fairly easy to access, you may need to remove some things (fan shroud, starter, a/c compressor) to get the hammer and die in there to install it though. I think the front head has the freeze plugs covered up by the upper mount brackets, after they are off it should be smooth sailing.
Called and dropped it off at the dealer first thing this morning, was diagnosed, repaired and in my hands again by noon today.
Problem ended up being that the block heater itself had rusted through. 315 parts and labor. Ride home from the dealer and from home back to the dealer was free. Not terrible, not great, but the car runs fine and the service was fast and fairly priced.
Yeesh. Where is the block heater when its installed on these cars anyway (I assume its the thing you plug in to warm the engine in super cold climates)?
You're right about what it is - I've never used it but people in my area do if it's very cold out. I don't know where it's installed or even what it looks like, embarassingly. The plug and electrical wire for it are coiled up and placed where the factory airbox mounts up.
It basically replaces one of the block freeze plugs. So I was half right
Close enough to make me not look like an idiot at the dealership
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