1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

low coolant

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by ABES, Nov 10, 2007.

  1. ABES

    ABES PlowSite.com Addict
    from MN
    Messages: 1,322

    lately ive noticed my truck has been using a little coolant its not much but its definately using coolant. when i looked in the overflow tank its got a bunch of small chunks of mud/dirt in there how it got in there i have no idea. there is no leaks on my driveway so i am thinking its burning coolant somewhere. is there a way to test if i have a bad intake gasket or bad head gasket??? and is this a thing that should be fixed right away or can it wait as long as i check the coolant often??? also because of the junk in the overflow tank is there a way to flush all the junk out of the system or should i take it to the local radiator shop and have them do a flush and ask about the loss of coolant??? thanks for the help guys.

    edit i just noticed when i stick my finger into the radiator filler there is a coat of greasy junk on everything. this is starting to sound like its going to be an expensive fix.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2007
  2. William B.

    William B. Senior Member
    from S.E. IA
    Messages: 978

    Check your oil and see if it looks milky. If it does then your getting coolant into the oil(bad head gasket) You can flush the coolant your self. Just pull the lower rad hose off drain everything into a couple buckets and then run water through the system. At least thats how I remember doing it. Its been a while. Also one thing to check would be the water pump gasket. On my 01, the gasket was going bad. It would leak just enough to cause the low coolant level light to come on but I would never see a puddle. It would just run down the front of the block and dry up.
     
  3. ABES

    ABES PlowSite.com Addict
    from MN
    Messages: 1,322

    the oil doesnt look milky so thats a good sign anyways for now i just unbolted the overflow tank and cleaned it out really good. if i try to "flush" the system myself will it do as good of a job (getting all the junk out) as if i bring it into a shop??
     
  4. dakotasrock

    dakotasrock Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 260

    yea it should. I just hook up a garden hose, altho they say not to do it cause its hard water, and it can create calcium build up.
     
  5. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Your truck is new enough to have the Dex-cool coolant in it ABES, and what your seeing in the overflow and the rad is exactly what Dex-cool does when it's been in the system way too long and breaks down into a slimy brown mess. Needs a good flush and clean, and new antifreeze.

    Your coolant is more than likely getting out under the intake gaskets..they usually leak at the rear of the engine (and usually on the pass side) verses the front where you can easily see it, and it will run down the back of the engine and burn off on the exhaust and trans so in many cases you'll never see any coolant actually leak on the ground...

    The Vortec small blocks are notorious for intake gaskets leaking coolant...
     
  6. ABES

    ABES PlowSite.com Addict
    from MN
    Messages: 1,322

    Thanks B&B :waving: i bought this truck with 135K on it and ive only put on 5K so my guess is that its the origional coolant. should i attempt to flush it myself or would a shop do a better job. and since its a small leak is this something i should get fixed right away??

    thanks again.
     
  7. exmark1

    exmark1 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,321

    Personally I would fix the intake leak regardless of how minor of a leak jmo but I would think it would get worse and then render the truck undrivable most likely at a time where you REALLY need it!
     
  8. ABES

    ABES PlowSite.com Addict
    from MN
    Messages: 1,322

    i know i should get it fixed as i like to keep my truck in top notch condition but being right before winter i would like to keep a healthy savings incase it doesnt snow. anybody know if this is a job an average home mechanic can do or should it be left to the professionals.
     
  9. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    It's not something that you should really attempt unless you know what your doing ABES. You have to pull a lot of components off in order to pull the intake, including the distributor.. and if you get a Vortec engine just a little out of time it wont run or run right...and the timing has to be set through the ECM with a scan tool with an accuracy of + or - 2 deg for the cam sensor to be phased correctly in reference with the crank sensor.

    The one thing you can try though is to re-torque the intake bolts, as many times the gaskets are fine since they're a silicone beaded O-ring/plastic composition setup and simply retorquing the bolts will stop the leak and postpone the repair for a while.. you wont be able to access all 8 bolts but with if you remove a couple small mounting brackets you can get to the rear 2 on each side and the 2 front ones on the passenger side. The two at the front on the driver side are under the A/C bracket and would require a lot of dis assembly to get but if you can get 6 of the 8 it could be enough to stop the leak..
     
  10. ABES

    ABES PlowSite.com Addict
    from MN
    Messages: 1,322

    ya i figured it should be left to the professionals. The only time ive done any major engine work was when i helped my buddy swap in a different cam and do an EFI to carb conversion on his 89 F150 but im not sure i trust myself with my truck
     
  11. CGLC

    CGLC Senior Member
    Messages: 100

    Same Problem

    Yeah, I have the same problem, and I took it to a shop ($1100.00 estimate.) A customer of mine that I landscape/ plow for owns an auto shop and used to teach automotive classes said that the leak I have was not too bad. He said that some late 1980’s Cadillac engines had the same problem, and GM had some company make a stop leak product that looks like a thick cookie. You can put it into your radiator that should stop the leak or at least in my case. I also am leaking coolant out of my left frost plug maybe your leak could be the same?
     
  12. ABES

    ABES PlowSite.com Addict
    from MN
    Messages: 1,322

    well today i got back from vacation and on the garage floor was several small puddles on the garage floor so i think it must be leaking now which is a good sign that must mean its not burning. but the problem is i cant find the damn leak:realmad: i am thinking i am going to take it into the dealer within the next week or 2 and get it checked out.
     
  13. ABES

    ABES PlowSite.com Addict
    from MN
    Messages: 1,322

    well i finally got around to taking it into a local shop. they did a pressure test on the system and found that the oil cooler line gaskets were bad. this was a big relief as i was not looking forword to spending $1200 on a new intake gasket. so i went to napa and ordered the new oil cooler gaskets, is there anything i need to know when i put in the new gaskets?? Thanks.

    one more question when i put in the new coolant should i use the green or the dex cool??
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2008
  14. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    What p/n did you order for the gaskets?
     
  15. ABES

    ABES PlowSite.com Addict
    from MN
    Messages: 1,322

    Item#: FPGES72671
     
  16. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Thats what I thought..

    Those gaskets go between the oil filter/cooler adapter and the engine block. They only seal oil as theirs no coolant run through the filter/cooler line adapter..so that can't be where your coolant is leaking from. I think you need to have it rechecked..and I'll bet they find that it is in fact the rear of the intake leaking and running down the rear of the block and dripping off the cooler adapter... might want to find a different shop too, because they should have known that their isn't coolant in the oil cooler/filter adapter.
     
  17. ABES

    ABES PlowSite.com Addict
    from MN
    Messages: 1,322

    Thanks for the info B&B ya i didnt really understand how a coolant leak was coming from the oil cooler lines. i thought i could trust this shop because they are a radiator/cooling/heating shop. i think i might just break down and bring it into the dealer and see what they have to say.
     
  18. sechracer

    sechracer Senior Member
    Messages: 478

    I agree with B&B, take it somewhere else as it is most likely the intake. The factory ones are plastic and a little bit of rubber. I just not too long ago (last month I think) replaced the intake gaskets on mine. Took me about 6 hours. Its tedious. Better off paying someone to do it if you arent that good with cars.

    Just my $.02
    Tom
     
  19. NICHOLS LANDSCA

    NICHOLS LANDSCA PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,305

    It's the intake leaking and you are lucky letting it go this long:nono: they are pretty easy to do I've done 7 of them. Go get the Fel-Pro intake set, first time probably 6hrs I have it down to 4-4.5hrs. Make sure you get oil/filter while at the parts store you will get coolant in the motor I get a couple extra qts to (wash) out the coolant. If you need/want help let me know, I'm not to far away. I would be up to doing for you also I can always use extrapayup
     
  20. Knightcrawler

    Knightcrawler Junior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 28

    I would get a shop light and get under thetruck and take off your skid plate if you have one, and splash shield. look all around the water pump, there are 6 bolts 3 on each side, this is where they start to leak. I have done plenty of them 2 of mine and for my buddys. drain the coolant and remove the water pump, clean all the areas that the gaskets were on and replace with new gaskets, they are about 8 bucks a piece. this is where i would look first because as i said alot of the time this is the problem.