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Severe Coolant Leak

 
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Lingenfelter
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:06 pm    Post subject:  Severe Coolant Leak Reply with quote

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 Confused Help! Sad

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IffyG
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:31 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Did you blow out one of the coolant hoses? I know the ones on my 2002 Monte Carlo are starting to look pretty haggard and I've been meaning to replace them.

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Lingenfelter
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:38 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

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...

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nightryder
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:44 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Sounds like you popped a freeze plug to me.

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Lingenfelter
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:48 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

nightryder wrote:
Sounds like you popped a freeze plug to me.


I did do this on my 91 Bonneville... Idea

Any idea where I would look to find said plug, and if it's a fixable thing in the driveway?

I think on the Bonneville it wasn't very accessible and was actually "rusted" out.

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nightryder
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:02 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

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.

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Lingenfelter
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:04 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Hrm.... I am in the middle of finishing the basement and am just not up for fiddling with something where something else is likely to break while I'm working on it..

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Lingenfelter
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:02 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

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.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:12 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Ugg.... Well at least you got it fixed. Nothing worse than something you can't see.
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IffyG
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:09 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Lingenfelter wrote:

Problem ended up being that the block heater itself had rusted through.


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)?

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:24 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

It basically replaces one of the block freeze plugs. So I was half right Laughing

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Lingenfelter
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:42 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

IffyG wrote:

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.


nightryder wrote:
It basically replaces one of the block freeze plugs. So I was half right Laughing


Close enough to make me not look like an idiot at the dealership Laughing

Thank you both for your help! Very Happy

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