GM- Coolant leaks

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Sep 18, 2003
Has GM fixed their problem with the coolant leaks? I believe it's a gasket issue and showed up on most of their 3.4 engines (I had the Montana mini van then got rid of it).
I have a 1996 Chevy truck that I got in 1998. Ever since I've owned it, it has "used" coolant. I have no idea where it goes. Over the years I've checked all the hoses, the heater core, radiator, water pump, (which I replaced about six months ago), and have yet to figure out where it goes. The oil is always clean with no visible water or moisture. Uses about a gallon every six months. 305 V-8. Truck runs good and I've used it for a lot of heavy work and it burns no oil. It just has a taste for antifreeze.
GreeCguy, have you done a UOA on the oil in the truck. If you're not seeing any coolant outside the engine, odds are it's leaking inside the engine. A UOA will tell you for sure.
GreeCguy, I have the exact same year of vehicle. The coolant is going inside your engine somewhere. Trust me. I don't know a single person who owns a Vortec engine around me who has not had that Intake manifold gasket leak on them. Go get it fixed immediately and make sure they use a Felpro gasket, not the OEM junk. GM says they corrected the gasket problem but why trust them again. GM will NEVER acknowledge this problem. They are already going bankrupt so why? I'm actually in a class action lawsuit against GM on this very subject. I'm sure they will settle and issue 300 dollar off your next purchase of a GM product. Sure, I'll use that!! Anyways, if the truck is in decent shape and you want to keep it for awhile, get the gasket fixed and as soon as that's done, change your oil out. Good luck.
I have owned two "Vortec" engines in GM trucks. A 1998 5.0L and a 2000 5.3L. The 5.3L did lose some coolant during the first 40k miles, but not a drop after. No problems with intake gaskets on either. I did have a problem with the intake gasket leaking on a 1998 Lumina (along with a laundry list of stuff tearing up). I also saw many GM vehicles at a private garage getting intake gaskets replaced. People wonder if I want another GM and "what's wrong with GM?"
If any oil company made an oil that caused your engine to require $800 of repair before 100k, you'd avoid it, tell everyone you know about it. I don't see any difference with GM and gasket leaks.
All interesting as I have a 3.4L equinox with no trouble. Would be interested in some objective data showing the 3.4L issues. Can you point me in that direction ? Far as Dexcool goes, I see no trouble with it as long as it is maintained, not mixed, air allowed in the system and the puke tank maintained with the proper level....but that's just my own analysis....had 6 vehicles and almost 800K of miles without any leakage, sludging or anything like that...even sent my coolant samples in for analysis and all were just fine...but only my experiences... I'd be interested in other data on that as well....
The 3.4 in an Equniox is not the same as the other 3.4 GM engines.Its made in China and used in the Buicks that they make overthere.The intake gasket a nd manifold design has been completely changed in the 2006 US versions.
Uses about a gallon every six months.
Wow. That's a couple of gallons of antifreeze a year. If you're not going to get the head gasket repaired at least you'll never have to change the coolant. As much as you're pouring in it will keep itself fresh!
Not trying to stir the pot or beat a dead horse. I own a Buick Regal, my son owns a S-10 pickup and I unloaded a Pontiac Montana a little over a year ago. I've always been a GM fan and likely will get a Grand Prix GPX as my next car. I was just curious to know if they've fixed this issue.
Yes, its fixed on the 2006 and up.Also if you have a model that uses the newer style GM gaskets, the bolts are replaced and torqued correctly the problem is solved.Too bad that they didn't find a fix sooner.They also have some head gasket problems - not so much on the cars but on the mimi-vans and sport utes.Usually the rear head.GM is now picking up the tab if its beyond warranty.The should have been doing that for the last 10 years. I have a 3400 engine in my Montana.My previous GM vans had 3800 engines.I never could figure out how they could get by with the smaller 3400.To my surprise it has more power and better gas milage that the 3800-even though the vehicle is larger and weighs more than the old dust-buster vans.A very smooth engine and drive train.The intake gasket was replaced at 80,000 miles but I still love the van and the engine. There are other makes with intake problems as they all use the plastic/rubber band type gasket.You hear so much about the GM problem because the engine is perhaps the most common engine to be found.There are millions of them out there.
Reading threads like this one make me realize how blessed I am with mechanical ability, and having a well equipped arsenal of Snap-on Tools. [Big Grin]
Yes, my truck is a vortec - 305-V8. And I have no choice but to believe the coolant is going somewhere in the motor. BUT - It's been doing this for 10 years now, (I bought it from my Dad who bought it new in '96). There is no water/"milk-shake" in the oil, oil cap, dip-stick. Other than a cool morning like today, (34 degrees right now), no vapor comes from the exhaust pipe. When I drain the oil, it's oil, no water or water/oil mix. I've even left the oil in a five gallon bucket for months trying to see if maybe a little coolant will eventually separate from the oil - nothing. In this truck I use Delo 400 15W40 and change at 5,000 miles. I drive this truck around 12,000 miles per year and most of those 12,000 miles I'm pulling or hauling something. I hate to say "so far so good," but . . . .
If you have a pre 2003 3.1/3.4 GM, a pre 2005 3.8 GM, or any motor using a gallon of coolant a year, I'd spend $20 on a UOA at least once.
I have an '00 Grand Am GT with the 3.4L. I currently have 101K+ on the odometer. I've never had a coolant leak (knock on wood).
I have a '98 Chev k1500 with the 5.7L vortec. I had the intake manifold leak, just like everyone else. The leak is inherent to the design of the gaskets and the way they were torqued at the factory. INSIST on Felpro gaskets. They are over $100, but they pay off because you will only have to repair it once. Go get a UOA. It will detect glycol is my guess. If it were me, I wouldn't even bother with a UOA, I'd just get the intake manifolds fixed with Felpro. You're using a ton of coolant, and my guess is that your likelihood of an intake manifold leak is 99.999%....just like everyone else with the 96-98 vortec small blocks. Here's a good site that will tell you everything you need to know about your truck! It's a suburban site, but all the mechanicals and other issues are the same. Good luck to you!
Tony,I don't know.....I sell tools at the largest Chevrolet Dealer in Wisconsin and have yet to see an Equinox engine far so good.In fact I have seen no problems with the vehicle.The transmission is also a new unit.Called the Asian Warner it was designed by Ford and GM to be used in mid-sized vehicles.In general I have not seen any 2005 engines with leaks as yet.Can't say that about the 2004's....Also the intake leaks seem to be more common in cold weather when the aluminum expands and contracts more. Could be worse. Could have a Ford truck with a 5.4 that blows the sparks plugs out of the head to a tune of thousands of dollars.
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