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View Full Version : Mysterious antifreeze leak



Liger86
06-03-2004, 09:08 PM
Ok, I got this 1992 Z24 chevy cavalier and today my coolant light turned on, so I went to murrays and filled up on coolant, about 25 miles later it came on again.

I filled it up and looked under the car but could not find anything, nothing leaked. I left it for couple of minutes running on the driveway and moved it and didn't see anything on the ground.

please advise! anything - you know what I mean - would be helpfull!

prog-bman
06-04-2004, 01:49 AM
Sounds like your sensor for the coolent level is messed.
Is the car running hot or anything like that?

axon
06-04-2004, 07:33 AM
best thing to do is to check all the hoses. On a car that old, many of the hoses could have deteriorated with time, especially in the places where they are locked with those older metal fittings. Also, the coolant can be leaking only when you are driving, and not when the car is in idle; this is because while driving the pressures are much higher, and a hole that might not leak during idle, could be a fountain while driving.

If you can't spot a leak/hole, drive the car around a bit after the coolant light comes up and see if the temperature rises. If it does, then you do have a leak, if it doesn't then it is most likely the sensor.

adrianxw
06-04-2004, 07:38 AM
If the coolant level indicator lights, and the coolant level is low, then you've lost coolant. If the indicator lights and your coolant is full, then your indicator is probably out.

The question is, does your coolant level drop?

If it is dropping, but not obviously leaking, it could be seeping through the head gasket into a cylinder. Could take a while to notice that if the leak is small enough.

VirtualAce
06-05-2004, 11:45 PM
If this is a 16-valve DOHC engine then I would say that your head gasket is blown. Check your oil to see if their is a milky substance in it. Usually the milky substance is at the bottom of the oil dipstick. On these engines blowing the head gasket does not mean you will overheat. On my 2.5 DOHC engine the head gasket blew between cylinders 2 and 3 which allowed coolant to get into the cylinders and it basically burned it during combustion. If this is happening you should notice a white puff of smoke when you accelerate hard or when you first turn the car on. White smoke is not normal exhaust color and if you have this then you have a major repair bill on your hands.

Do not attempt to repair the head gasket yourself unless you are extremely experienced. This engine is not easy to remove the head from if you do not know what you are doing and some of the bolts are reverse torque if I remember correctly.

If you are not leaking the antifreeze then you are burning it. Period.

Many of the old 2.5 liter DOHCs built by Suzuki for GM had this problem but the new 2.4 liter models have been retooled and have metal inserts at key abrasion points on the head gasket.

Here is the problem. You have a steel block with an aluminum head on it. Steel and aluminum expand and contract at different rates. What this translates to is that the head is constantly in a state of flux atop the steel block. The head gasket takes the brunt of this movement and flux and eventually wears out. There was a recall back in the late 80's for the Pontiac Grand Am because of this known flaw in the engineering design. If you have a late model 2.4 liter engine then its possible that the gasket is just old and has failed.

Shadow
06-06-2004, 11:13 AM
My dad had the white smoke issue for a mid 90's minivan. I went about 20 miles to bring him lots of antifreeze and help him limp it home carefully. While driving down the road normally, there would be a bit of white exhaust smoke. Whenever he would speed up(even gradually) out of a town's reduced speed zone, or speed up from a stop sign, or anything like that, the white smoke was really apparent.

$900 to repair the headgasket I believe.

RoD
06-06-2004, 07:45 PM
white smoke and low AF is a dead giveaway for a head gasket. When the head gasket goes the AF finds its way into the combustion chamber.

If the coolant is going down its a leak. If you cant see it under the car check near the coolan catch can and around the water pump. The problem is on that car im fairly certain the waterpump is behind the timing cover, so make SURE you cant find the leak before you go that far as to pull the cover off.

civix
06-09-2004, 12:02 AM
One time, we had a truck that had a similar problem... Only we eventually found the antifreeze leaking from the radiator, because something was broken in it and the coolant was being held in the radiator.. or something.

EDIT: Does coolant even go into the radiator...? Meh, i'm confusing myself.

RoD
06-09-2004, 11:00 AM
It goes into the chamber along the side, and sometimes the bottom, of the radiator, and uses pressure to be forced through th tubes of the rad. See the radiator works by forcing coolant through about 100-150ft worth of these thin little tubing, which is what the fins are attached too, and the air flowing through as well as these fins allow the heat to escape the coolant.

civix
06-09-2004, 11:41 AM
It goes into the chamber along the side, and sometimes the bottom, of the radiator, and uses pressure to be forced through th tubes of the rad. See the radiator works by forcing coolant through about 100-150ft worth of these thin little tubing, which is what the fins are attached too, and the air flowing through as well as these fins allow the heat to escape the coolant.

Thats what I thought... wasn't too sure, though... :p