Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:59 am Post subject: 2005 Impala coolant level question (3800)
This is going to seem like a dumb question, but what is the proper level of coolant in the reservoir?
I am accustomed to seeing "cold fill" and "hot fill" written on the side of the reservoir.
On this one, there is just an icon of a manual, with a long arrow extending down to a line that is almost at the bottom of the reservoir.
To my way of thinking, it seems the coolant level ought to be above the level of the tubing that connects it to the radiator, so there can be a circuit. So I put in coolant when the engine is cold, up to the level where there is a slight bulge on the coolant tank, on the engine side. This is above the tubing to the radiator cap, but well below the overflow outlet at the back of the reservoir. 2 weeks later, I check, and the coolant is back down below the level of the tubing, but above the silly line at the bottom with the long arrow from the "manual" icon.
I look in the radiator, and it is full. Is this normal?
I'm with you on the level. I keep mine at the same mark that you filled yours to.
You probably have some air in the system. When I did my coolant service (05, 3.8) it took some careful work to bleed it all out but now my level in the reservoir stays at the point that you filled it to. A hair above that slight bulge.
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I recently replaced the elbows and tried to bleed it. If this keeps on, I'm thinking I'll have to look into the gaskets on the intake manifold.
The history of this goes back a month or so. Because of my work situation, I only get to service this car on the weekends when I am home, some 300 miles away from where I work.
So about a month ago, I noticed low coolant, and filled to the bulge, and added the GM factory-approved "pellets" (aka Barr's leaks). (A miracle in a bottle IMHO. It has fixed mysterious slow leaks on a half dozen occasions over the past ten years.)
Two weeks later, when I was back home, it was bottomed out again.
An investigation ensued, and I found the larger elbow (aka "bypass", although not really, it's just a coupling to the belt tensioner, of all things, which acts as a pair of pipes which then connect to the heater hoses ) was spurting out coolant, so I replaced the elbows and bled with the bleeder screw.
Two weeks later, it's once again below the level of the hose running to the radiator cap.
How will I know if it's the intake manifold gaskets, or is it just a SWAG / shotgun approach to dealing with them?
I'd hate to have to tear that all down if it's not necessary.
(And by the way, does the coolant in the reservoir EVER remain any higher than the line at the bottom of the long arrow?
And why couldn't they write the words "HOT" and "COLD" on the side of the thing, like every other car?)
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