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Radiator/Coolant Problems Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   porschegonzo 

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 12:54 PM

Im new to this forum and really need some help on my 1997 Firebird with the 3800V6. I decided to have my cooling system flushed and brought it to meineke to have it done. before it was done i had to constantly add antifreeze to the radiator because the level kept dropping over a 3 day period. Its been 3 days since the car was serviced and i decided to go check to see if the levels were ok. I checked the radiator this morning to find out what kind of antifreeze they used. To my surprise, when i removed the radiator cap, there was no visible fluid in the radiator. This is the same crap that i was getting and is why i brought it to people that know how to do it. So here is the question. Is there ANY reason as to why the radiator would look empty when the car is completly cold? would it be a function of pressure as the car warms up? i check i have no visible leaks under the car. i no longer smell antifreeze at stop lights. i have no white smoke coming out the back of the car even under full throttle i had my wife follow me to check. and i checked there seems to be no water or antifreeze in the engine oil. Any ideas can anyone else go check there 3800 V6 firebird when its cold to see of the radiator is topped off when cold?

any comments or feedback on this would be greatly appreciated

Thank you

Jeff
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#2 User is offline   TheDon619 

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 12:58 PM

its in the overflow reverse and sprays in when the car starts. or u got an air bubble int he line if its getting hot. Keep the cap off and start the car, if a stream flows in that ull be able to see its in the overflow, MIGHT need a top off bc it settled into creveses and air bubles got released. but its either a air restriction or its just overflowing into the catch like its made to do
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#3 User is offline   porschegonzo 

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 01:38 PM

View PostTheDon619, on Jun 23 2009, 12:58 PM, said:

its in the overflow reverse and sprays in when the car starts. or u got an air bubble int he line if its getting hot. Keep the cap off and start the car, if a stream flows in that ull be able to see its in the overflow, MIGHT need a top off bc it settled into creveses and air bubles got released. but its either a air restriction or its just overflowing into the catch like its made to do


Car is running cool though 1/4 of the temp guage. if i start the car with the cap off how long would it take for the overflow tank to add coolant or would it not do that with the cap off?

thank you for you reply
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#4 User is offline   TheDon619 

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 01:41 PM

ya itll add it with the cap off, be careful it dont flow out from the open cap tho, wont hurt anything. just defeats the purpose lol
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#5 User is offline   porschegonzo 

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 01:52 PM

View PostTheDon619, on Jun 23 2009, 01:41 PM, said:

ya itll add it with the cap off, be careful it dont flow out from the open cap tho, wont hurt anything. just defeats the purpose lol


ok im going to go try it now. im also going to bring a big flash light out so i can see into the radiator. right now i cant see anything. Also just for grins about a minute after the car starts, the level in the radiator starts to rise and if i leave the cap off it will start pouring all over the ground. but i will try what you said

thanks again
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#6 User is offline   foots16 

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 02:05 PM

I am having the same problem. Couldn't find any leaks of any kind and kept loosing coolant, i took mine to an oil change place and they said the water pump is leaking, but there are NO external signs.
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#7 User is offline   porschegonzo 

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 02:11 PM

View Postfoots16, on Jun 23 2009, 02:05 PM, said:

I am having the same problem. Couldn't find any leaks of any kind and kept loosing coolant, i took mine to an oil change place and they said the water pump is leaking, but there are NO external signs.


Ok but if the water pump was leaking it has to be leaking to somewhere. if its not on the ground where else did it go thats what i dont get.

i just tried what you said. after 5 mins of running, nothing came out of the overflow tank. however, the level in the radiator did rise all the way up to the top in which i had to put the cap back on. does that sound right. how could the level rise when the thermostat is probably still closed. the car had just barely registered a temp increase on the dash when the level in the radiator went all the way back up. i need an excorsism done

any ideas
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#8 User is offline   porschegonzo 

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 02:24 PM

View Postporschegonzo, on Jun 23 2009, 02:11 PM, said:

Ok but if the water pump was leaking it has to be leaking to somewhere. if its not on the ground where else did it go thats what i dont get.

i just tried what you said. after 5 mins of running, nothing came out of the overflow tank. however, the level in the radiator did rise all the way up to the top in which i had to put the cap back on. does that sound right. how could the level rise when the thermostat is probably still closed. the car had just barely registered a temp increase on the dash when the level in the radiator went all the way back up. i need an excorsism done

any ideas


ok i went out to check the car and the $#%@#% temp guage was almost to the point over overheating. the fans were running and there was a noticable "hissing" sound coming from the front of the engine near the belts. its where one of the hoses connects to the radiator. see pic. is there a gasket or something there that needs to be replaced

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#9 User is offline   porschegonzo 

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 03:30 PM

View Postporschegonzo, on Jun 23 2009, 02:24 PM, said:

ok i went out to check the car and the $#%@#% temp guage was almost to the point over overheating. the fans were running and there was a noticable "hissing" sound coming from the front of the engine near the belts. its where one of the hoses connects to the radiator. see pic. is there a gasket or something there that needs to be replaced


Ok here is what I found. The hissing was a result of the system being low on antifreeze. I waited for it to cool down and added 50/50 coolant to the radiator and yes its the same type as what was in the system. I started the car and prayed it would some how be better. Sure enough, the hissing went away, and the car was able to consisently at 185-190 degrees. it would slowly go up to 210 and then come back down. I ran the car for about 20 mins and it worked perfectly. the fans came on when they needed to, and it was able to hold the correct temp. So.... heres what we know.

1. The car loses enough antifreeze in a 3-5 day period to cause problems

2. There are NO signs of leaks anywhere (i also just wiped everything down incase something does start to leak i can see it)

3. I smell antifreeze sometimes when i sit at stop lights

4. The overflow tank does not add coolant when the radiator is low
(when the radiator was out of antifreeze, the overflow was full to the point where i could see it clearly)

5. When the radiator is half full, and the car is started with the radiator cap removed, the level rises to the point where it will overflow onto the ground

Any ideas

Thank you

Jeff
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#10 User is offline   wisdom 

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 07:37 AM

Maybe the leaking fluid evaporates almost instantly; I know sometimes leaks don't make it to the ground because of that. I've seen repair shops check for leaks using dyes. If there's some coloring you can safely add to the fluid, you might want to try that. But, and this might be implausible/stupid, perhaps the coolant is ending up in the wrong place, mixed in with some other fluids, but the dye trick ought to show that.

Have you tried contacting Meineke? With what you've done since then, it might be too late, but....

This post has been edited by wisdom: 24 June 2009 - 07:50 AM

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#11 User is offline   porschegonzo 

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 11:02 AM

View Postwisdom, on 24 June 2009 - 07:37 AM, said:

Maybe the leaking fluid evaporates almost instantly; I know sometimes leaks don't make it to the ground because of that. I've seen repair shops check for leaks using dyes. If there's some coloring you can safely add to the fluid, you might want to try that. But, and this might be implausible/stupid, perhaps the coolant is ending up in the wrong place, mixed in with some other fluids, but the dye trick ought to show that.

Have you tried contacting Meineke? With what you've done since then, it might be too late, but....


Yep i called meineke and told them what was going on. There GM called me and said i could bring it back in for free and that they would reflush the system because the overflow tank was still a nasty brown sludge after they flushed it. that doesnt solve the leak problem but at least it will be clean :-)
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#12 User is offline   My30thTA 

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 12:30 PM

Good Luck!! Keep us posted!
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#13 User is offline   porschegonzo 

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 02:26 PM

Well i added the leak stop and ran the car for the 30 mins. I then let it cool down and checked the radiator. Im still having to add coolant even after running for 30 mins. Why is the Coolant thats in the overflow tank not transferring to the radiator? Any ideas on this would be greatly appreciated. If i dont add coolant the car will literally start to overheat itself after a few days. Yet the Overflow is FULL... Any ideas?
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#14 User is offline   porschegonzo 

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 05:59 PM

Ok i have been reading for the last 4 hours on this and im wondering if its something so simple Im just missing it. According to several sites, when your overflow tank continues to fill up, and your radiator continues to drop its coolant level, the culprit is something as simple as the !@#$ radiator cap itself. there is a seal on it that is supposed to open and close to allow coolant to pass into the overflow tank. if it fails, then coolant is now stuck in the overflow tank leaving your radiator coolant level low. saying i cant find any antifreeze anywhere on or under the car, and my overflow tank is now completely FULL, it makes some sense that the radiator cap may possibly have failed. Any comments or thoughts on this

thank you
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#15 User is offline   porschegonzo 

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 06:56 PM

Can anyone with the 3800 V6 go check to see what the rating is on there radiator cap? as in 15lbs or 18lbs..

i would really appreciate it
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#16 User is offline   FBN Firebird Nation 

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 08:15 PM

You might find that info in the owner's manual.
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