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Missing coolant, no apparent leak.

 
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macleod348
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:36 pm    Post subject:  Missing coolant, no apparent leak. Reply with quote

05 LS 3.8 non supercharged, I had a flush and fill done a few weeks ago and was hoping for some sort of blockage to be causing the overheating issue. But I am back to where I was before the work. I am overheating at stops and the coolant appears to be missing from the reservoir. I cannot find any evidence of a leak though. I am taking it in for it's annual transmission check on Monday and they are going to pressure test to see if they can find a leak. Just curious if anybody has experienced this and can prepare me for the worst.

Thanks!
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IffyG
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:46 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

My car was losing coolant internally for years. Eventually, the LIM gasket gave out and after having that replaced I haven't had to add anything. Not necessarily your exact problem, but it is certainly possible to have coolant dump into the engine.

How does your oil look? Anything resembling a milkshake?

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macleod348
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:57 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Oil is black, a little bit low, but black. Of course that is leaking too, but I have yet to track that one down either.
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Lingenfelter
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:51 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

If it's overheating I would check or replace the thermostat, then burp the coolant system to make sure you don't have an air bubble caught up somewhere.

Does the car only overheat while in traffic or during low speed driving? Maybe one of your fans is not coming on and you're just noticing it in the warmer weather now.

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macleod348
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:23 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

the overheat only occurs at low speed or stops, once I start moving again the needle drops to below half. I had it running in the driveway tonight and both fans came on without issue. When sitting at a stoplight I can hear the fans kick on when needed and then the needle drops. The thermostat was replaced last year, and the system burped. I assume the shop would have done the same after the flush and fill, but we all know what happens when we do that. I will burp it again in the morning. Not sure how to check the thermostat though!

I guess I should note too that when starting hot the car would sputter and sound like it was choking, also shaking violently. Once I give it some gas it settles in though. I added some coolant to the reservoir this afternoon and when starting hot it did NOT do the shaking and sputtering. Don't know if the two are related or not.
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Lingenfelter
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:01 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

I don't know how to check the function of the thermostat. I beleive if the thermostat is not functioning, the hot coolant from the engine will never leave, and the cool (measured) coolant outside of the engine will never circulate. I think the result would be that the coolant temp gauge will never go up... so this may have been a moot suggestion (sorry).

I think it is somewhat common for the car to stumble a little bit when starting it hot. I know mine and some others' cars do this as well. Not sure on the fix for that, if there is one.

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VictoryRed09
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:15 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

with a 3.8, Missing coolant with no appearent leak, can also be a leak between the Upper Intake manifold and the lower intake manifold and the coolant is sucked into the cylinders and burned. It is slow at first and not noticable until the plastic manifold gives out completely.
if it is the upper, do the lower gaskets too, as they won't be far behind.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:12 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Lingenfelter wrote:
I don't know how to check the function of the thermostat. I beleive if the thermostat is not functioning, the hot coolant from the engine will never leave, and the cool (measured) coolant outside of the engine will never circulate. I think the result would be that the coolant temp gauge will never go up... so this may have been a moot suggestion (sorry).

I think it is somewhat common for the car to stumble a little bit when starting it hot. I know mine and some others' cars do this as well. Not sure on the fix for that, if there is one.


i thought the temp sensor would be in the block. at least in the old trucks it is

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:22 pm    Post subject:  missing colant Reply with quote

I would be very suspicious of UIM/LIM leaking internally. The fact that you have stumbling on a hot start tells me coolant is getting into a cylider and on the spark plug, hence the stumbling. If it is internal and it's getting burnt your cat will be slowly getting plugged up, also affecting performance. Pull spark plugs and do a taste test. Cool

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Frank
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:22 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Warm start issue could also be a faulty fuel pressure regulator. You could also be leaking coolant slowly from a cooling elbow...if it's slow enough, the coolant will burn off before it drips to the ground.

I had both issues happen to me. Wink

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98ss
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:17 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Hot start could be fpr as said above. Pressure tester would be a good route to go if you have one, or can borrow one from someone.
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macleod348
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:30 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Thanks for the suggestions all. I will see about getting a pressure tester, or may have the shop do that for me on Monday as well.

Filled up the reservoir again on Wednesday night. Today I found a bunch of coolant in the pan beneath where the lowest pulley sits on the passenger side. I am hoping that the water pump has just taken a crap on me.
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