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loosing coolant


joeb

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My 96 STS has about 95k miles. I had an occasional leak on the short hoses leading to the heater core thru the firewall. I had to add about 1 gallon of coolant in a years time. I changed the hoses a few weeks ago and topped of the surge tank. but in the last 2 weeks i have had to add about 1/2 gallon of coolant. i was hoping I just did not add enough coolant when I drained the radiator to put the new hoses on. the garage floor is dry and i can see no leakage in the engine compartment. the oil looks good and there are no bubbles in the surge tank. can a bad intake gasket allow coolant to be sucked into the motor? how do i track down this elusive leak?

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My 96 STS has about 95k miles. I had an occasional leak on the short hoses leading to the heater core thru the firewall. I had to add about 1 gallon of coolant in a years time. I changed the hoses a few weeks ago and topped of the surge tank. but in the last 2 weeks i have had to add about 1/2 gallon of coolant. i was hoping I just did not add enough coolant when I drained the radiator to put the new hoses on. the garage floor is dry and i can see no leakage in the engine compartment. the oil looks good and there are no bubbles in the surge tank. can a bad intake gasket allow coolant to be sucked into the motor? how do i track down this elusive leak?

When you drained the radiator did you replenish the cooling supplement tablets? If not add six crushed tablets into the upper or lower hose, not the tank.

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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joeb,

If you have to keep adding the coolant, there may be a leak, but I'd suspect the recent repair area to be the potential problem. Look for signs of coolant down the firewall or at the connections immediately next to the heater core nipples.

If this was a one-time addition of 1/2 gal of coolant, you may simply be seeing the air being purged from the system. The surge tank would capture the air.

It's not very likely that coolant is being sucked into the engine. The N* design does not provide a path for coolant to be induced into the intake via a leaking intake manifold gasket.

Good luck! :)

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I did check the firewall area. it looks dry. I had 5-6 dribbles on the garage floor after the repair but none in the last week. the frame rail under the surge tank is dry as well as the firewall. I used bars "golden seal" and mixed it with coolant to make a slurry and poured it into my surge tank and than added the coolant i had drained from the radiator. i am sure it got into the cooling system. the longest trip we took was around 20 miles in the previous several weeks. I checked the surge tank before I left and it was within 1" from the radiator cap. we made a 200mi roundtrip and i checked the tank yesterday and had to add about 1 quart. I will check it this week and see where the level stays.

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A couple of months ago, I had the radiator out of my car. After that, it went through a phase of a few weeks where I had to keep adding coolant to it. Then it stabilized and everything is fine now. I never figured out why.

You may just want to sit tight and keep an eye on it for a little while.

Note - if you're over-filling the surge tank, it will push out the excess when hot. The correct level for it is about half-full, not brim-full......

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I used bars "golden seal" and mixed it with coolant to make a slurry and poured it into my surge tank and than added the coolant i had drained from the radiator. i am sure it got into the cooling system.

I wouldn't do this again, I would put it directly into your radiator. When you get a chance take the cap off and see if its clogged at all. I believe the concern is that it will affect the cap, but I am not 100% sure about that... Plus it may create a sedement in the tank.. Maybe the way you did it by pouring coolant afterward minimized any problems...

Maybe Guru will confirm my concerns about putting the supplement into the tank.

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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I would disconnect the line from the surge tank and flush out the bar's leaks as it will do nothing in the surge tank as it is a low circulation area. The proper location to add the tablets is the lower radiator hose.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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yes the surge tank may be a low circulation area but if I drained out a gallon of coolant from the radiator before i changed the hoses and than added the "slurry" to the surge tank and than poured in over 1 gallon of coolant I would have to believe most if not all of the sealer was washed/flushed into the cooling system. how do you add the tablets to the lower radiator hose on a full system without making a flippin mess?

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yes the surge tank may be a low circulation area but if I drained out a gallon of coolant from the radiator before i changed the hoses and than added the "slurry" to the surge tank and than poured in over 1 gallon of coolant I would have to believe most if not all of the sealer was washed/flushed into the cooling system. how do you add the tablets to the lower radiator hose on a full system without making a flippin mess?

I agree with you on the lower hose, that is why I use the upper hose and crush the tabs...

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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Pressure test anyone?

I suffered a similar mystery with my baby last year. Weeks of unexplained loss of coolant were followed by the sudden failure of the water pump. Interestingly, I got to test Cadillac's run-dry feature. Neat! Got me home.

Apparently, the leak only occurred under speed.

Regards,

Warren

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There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved. - Ludwig von Mises

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yes the surge tank may be a low circulation area but if I drained out a gallon of coolant from the radiator before i changed the hoses and than added the "slurry" to the surge tank and than poured in over 1 gallon of coolant I would have to believe most if not all of the sealer was washed/flushed into the cooling system. how do you add the tablets to the lower radiator hose on a full system without making a flippin mess?

The sealant tabs will not get properly distributed in the system if added to the surge tank - regardless of how much coolant you add to the surge tank. As Mike said you could add the tabs to the upper hose and reduce the amount of coolant lost.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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Kevin,

I'm not sure I agree. If he put the tabs in the premixed coolant and "disolved" them thoroughly, then I think there would be enough flow to circulate them into the system during the fill.

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The shop manual is very specific in stating that the selant is to be added to the lower hose. If it were my car, I'd pull the hose off the surge tank and flush the surge tank and add pellets to the upper hose and refill the system.

The first time I changed the coolant in my '96 SLS, I mistakenly pre-dissolved the pellets into the coolant and then added it to the surge tank....I had to replace the water pump about a month later so I flushed out the surge tank (most of the sealant was still in there) and after I replaced the water pump, added the pellets to the lower hose while the system was empty and then refilled.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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The first time I changed the coolant in my '96 SLS, I mistakenly pre-dissolved the pellets into the coolant and then added it to the surge tank....I had to replace the water pump about a month later so I flushed out the surge tank (most of the sealant was still in there) and after I replaced the water pump, added the pellets to the lower hose while the system was empty and then refilled.

Can't argue with expirience. I surrender.

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don't want to beat a dead horse here but i did take out the surge tank when i changed the heater hoses. i was suprised how much coolant came out of the tee fitting near the bottom of the surge tank after i had dained the radiator. i can get the bottom hose off the surge tank to flush it and save some coolant for reuse if i drain the radiator again. i checked under the car again yesterday and i still have a small leak. maybe several tablespoons of coolant on the passenger side. if a WP starts to leak would you expect to see coolant stains nearby?

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Kevin,

I have been thinking about this last night and this morning and I have to retract my surrender. If you think about it there is a constant flow through the surge tank, albeit a slow one. Assuming one follows the change requirement and changes coolant once in five years, at some point, all the tablet particals are going to pass through the tank via the purge line. Assuming your senario is correct, how does it get back out into the system? If your assumption is that they can't, then our tanks would be a "trap" that would slowly fill up with ginger root. I am not saying this is the prefered method and I will stick with the radiator hose but, IF it were mixed thouroghly I can see no reason why it would not flow into the system. What it takes to mix it thouroghly, I am not sure. Also remember that when using this method you have a greater flow while filling the system than the purge line provides.

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so I admit i still have a leak. and than i ask how to check if the WP is leaking? what was I thinking? I have to figure out exactly where my leak is. if the new hoses/clamps are leaking than I am in a tight spot here. how do you tighten a spring clamp? change the clamp? also, when i took out the surge tank before it was empty. I have used the "slurry" method before so i know it works.

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I personally would not use the original spring clamps as they might have lost their pressure. I would used some properly sized high quality screw type clamps being careful not to overtighten them.

PS, you are thick-headed about that slurry method, :lol::lol::lol: I am usually NOT one for going against the GRAIN, if the manual and experienced individuals including Guru say put it in the hose, who the hell am I do go against that? :blink: I can not tell you how many times I have read BBOBYNSKI say DON'T put them in the TANK, are you smarther than HIM?

You know, if you WERE NOT having problems, I personally would not care how you put the tablets in, you could stand on your head and whistle dixie while doing it, BUT, you ARE having problems including the possibility of a head gasket leak, I would MAKE F'N sure that those tablets got to where they were suppose to get to and stop being thickheaded about it, Hey, but that's me! I suppose I could be criticized for being a SHEEP!

But if the tablet material falls out of suspension and ends up on the bottom of your TANK or HOSES it is useless...

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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This photo is from cruzajc1's web site, do you see the approximate 3/8" of thickness of the cylinder sleeve? That is what keeps coolant OUT of your cylinders.... You want to mess around with that? Not me with my 96....

post-3-1114525051_thumb.jpg

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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Guys,

Since the radiator drain was thoughtfully placed where only a midget with a 3 foot long arm that has 2 wrists and 3 elbows can easily get to it, :P I came up with an easier method for getting the coolant level low enough to add the pellets to the upper hose. (This is assuming that you don't need to replace the coolant!)

Start this procedure with a COLD engine. Remove the pressure cap. Remove the hose from the small return line that goes to the surge tank from the front of the engine (assuming a N*). Add a length of hose to the pipe that you removed the hose from. Place the other end into a CLEAN container (if you are reusing the anti freeze). start the engine and allow to idle until you have pumped about 1 1/2 to two gallons out. Stop the engine. Now you can remove the UPPER hose with a minimum amount of coolant loss. Crush the tabs & dump them into the hose. Reassemble all the hoses removed. Refill the system with the proper amount of antifreeze. If it all won't fit, you will need to start the engine an let it idle while it purges the air from the system. Add coolant until the system is full to the proper level and stays there. Replace the surge tank cap. & you're done. Total time spent: 1 hour or less. Mess to clean up: Minimal.

And for whoever wants to say that it will damage the engine, I say that the engine will not be damaged in the short time that it takes to accomplish this task. If done correctly, the engine will not even reach operating temperature, let alone get into the "limp home" mode.

Britt

Britt
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ok, I'll try the radiator hose method. I can reach the radiator drain so that part is not too bad. my new hoses came with attached spring clamps. i would dread replacing them with screw clamps. its real tight to reach them. since i have an external coolant leak I feel a bit better than the thought of a bad headgasket. who knows, maybe i have both. :o

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ok, I'll try the radiator hose method. I can reach the radiator drain so that part is not too bad. my new hoses came with attached spring clamps. i would dread replacing them with screw clamps. its real tight to reach them. since i have an external coolant leak I feel a bit better than the thought of a bad headgasket. who knows, maybe i have both. :o

If it is an OEM hose, and has attached spring clamps I am sure has been validated and it will be ok.

However, if this is an aftermarket part, make sure the spring clamps are correctly sized and that they apply proper tension/pressure.

Sorry about the rant above, but I always take care of the SURE THINGS, so that there is NO possibility of a problem, for me to go against the grain opens me up for the potential for something to go wrong. Why test fate or Murphy's Law. I especially don't take any chances that can contribute to a head gasket leak or have the potential to stop seepage. Summer is coming, I don't want any problems given how hot these engines can get.

But I see you are in Minnesota, maybe you don't sit in bumper to bumper traffic like I do watching the temp rise above 240 degrees for 25 miles while my blood pressure rises over 150/100. :lol::lol:

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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Did any of you hear a gergeling noise or running water noise coming from console/dash area after changing coolant and waiting for system to purge air?

that is your heater core filling up and purging itself of air, no problem

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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Pressure test anyone?

I suffered a similar mystery with my baby last year. Weeks of unexplained loss of coolant were followed by the sudden failure of the water pump. Interestingly, I got to test Cadillac's run-dry feature. Neat! Got me home.

Apparently, the leak only occurred under speed.

Regards,

Warren

So your water pump wasn't making any noises or leaking until it just up and failed?

When you replaced your water pump, did the overheating problem go away?

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