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Discussion Starter #1
Got an intermittent low coolant light this weekend. Checked the bottle and it is indeed a hair low. I'll be watching it closely - 57k miles on it - to make sure my water pump isn't starting to go.

Going to pick up some dex-cool today to top it off. Wondered if anybody had a preference of brand? Any brands to avoid?

Thanks,

CW
 

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Got an intermittent low coolant light this weekend. Checked the bottle and it is indeed a hair low. I'll be watching it closely - 57k miles on it - to make sure my water pump isn't starting to go.

Going to pick up some dex-cool today to top it off. Wondered if anybody had a preference of brand? Any brands to avoid?

Thanks,

CW
Avoid everything not recommended by OEM..:yesnod:
 

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Arguably, Dexcool is far from one of the better long-life, aluminum radiator coolants out there.

However, Dexcool is very incompatible with many other coolants (turns into mucousy sludge). So unless you can guarantee getting every drop of Dexcool out, I'd suggest sticking with Dexcool . . . it's not a horrible coolant, just don't take it to the 5 year maximum life.

I hear good things about some of the "blue" tinted coolants these days. They give you the same aluminum compatibility with the extended service life. First of all, they are truly universally compatible unlike Dexcool. And they really do last 5+ years, not like Dexcool.

Also, coolant doesn't just disappear. You are losing it somewhere. Sometimes you get these small leaks that don't leak consistently. Which is what I'm guessing you have since it sounds like a very slow leak. For example, it's very common for a t-stat gasket to not work properly, then you get slight evaporative losses slowly over time. The only sign is crusty deposits around the seam. So snoop around and look for possible signs of slow coolant leaks.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Carbon - agreed. I know it has to have gone somewhere so I intend on staying vigilant until I find it.
 

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Oh, and if your coolant level dropped enough to set the low coolant level, I'm almost certain you probably may have some air in the coolant system.

Do you have the check valves installed already?

Getting air out of the system is a pain in the ass compared to most cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
No check valves installed, but I turned this into a colossal eff up.

My local Autozone can eat me. They're always pushing their store brands and trying to sell me sh!t I don't need and didn't ask for. I end up coming out the door with their brand of dex-cool. I also had them order an air filter for the Sol. They call before the end of my work day to say the filter is in. Cool, I think, I'm going to exchange the store brand for the name brand dex-cool.

Since the dex-cool was kept in a corner, away from all the standard Prestone, etc. I'm thinking that's probably a good strategy to keep people from getting confused. I grab the Peak brand right next to their store brand. Bought the 50/50 because, after all, I'm just topping off the reservoir.

Get home, let the car cool, pop the cap off and start to pour the coolant in and IT'S GREEN! Fawk. They have one column on their shelf that is store brand dex cool, the adjacent column is Peak "extended life" (non-dex-cool) and to the right of THAT is the Prestone dex cool! What kind of jag-wad would stock their shelves like that? (And what kind of jag-wad wouldn't carefully read the label on the coolant he bought before just starting to dump it into his car? Well, THIS jag-wad apparently!)

So I drained and flushed last night, refilling following ddworks instructional video tips. Seems to be just fine, though I haven't driven the car yet, just let it idle up to 190 degrees, ran the heater, etc.

The good thing is that I spent a lot of time under the hood with a flash light. Found only one trace of a leak - a small amount of the pink coolant on a motor mount, passenger side, toward the front of the engine.

That's water pump territory, isn't it?

I read several pages of threads about the water pump and it's replacement. If I had more time on my weekends I'd do it myself. I'm preparing to crop some of the feedback from those threads and have a chat with the service manager at my local GM dealership before I proceed. I just wanted confirmation that the water pump is located there before I assume that's where the leak is.

Thanks - you guys are a great resource!
 

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Found only one trace of a leak - a small amount of the pink coolant on a motor mount, passenger side, toward the front of the engine.
If that was REALLY coolant, and not from the coolant swap, and genuinely from a leak, that's a bad sign, and likely water pump. And that would explain how your fluid level dropped, and why you have air in the coolant system.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If that was REALLY coolant, and not from the coolant swap, and genuinely from a leak, that's a bad sign, and likely water pump. And that would explain how your fluid level dropped, and why you have air in the coolant system.
I'm 99% certain it was coolant and it was there before the drain and flush. Based upon the historical (and sometime rightfully hysterical) posts/threads here made me suspect the water pump. Confirming it was indeed at the front of the passenger side of the engine pretty much confirms it in my mind.

Thankfully I can benefit from the pains of those who have gone before and hopefully get this taken care correctly and with only one attempt.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Had a chance to run the car a couple times this weekend. Coolant went "low" on the first drive which didn't surprise me after the flush and fill. Second run saw the temps nut-steady between 187 and 192. I'm thinking DDM's video on youtube on filling to keep air pockets out was "felinus rectumus".

No signs of leaks but I can smell hot coolant when I popped the hood after the second run. Level was fine and the smell might have been splash from the flush and fill, but will keep my eyes open.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Visited the local Chevy dealer Monday morning. Fun conversation. I explain my suspicion and tell him "Hopefully this will be an occasion where the internet isn't a complete pain in your ass." He tactfully smiles and says quietly "It usually is. There really haven't been a lot of complaints about the water pump, but then again we don't work on a lot of these."

"You're right, the internet is going to be a pain in your ass. There are a lot of issues with the water pump, and the thing is driven by the timing chain."

Guy behind him lets out a chuckle of despair.

I proceed to explain how there is a special tool required for the tensioner during the change and if things aren't done right many other problems that can occur and the thing ends up sounding like a meat grinder. While I'm explaining the details I've gleaned from this forum he's punching the keyboard and reading the screen. It almost appears as if he's ignoring me but then I see his forehead furrowing, then his eyes opening wide, then back to the forehead. Finally he speaks.

"There's just all kinds of fun going on with this, isn't there?"

"Yes there is. That's why THIS guy isn't rolling around under the hood doing it himself."

Set up an apointment to have it checked this morning. 45 minutes after dropping it off he calls to confirm it is the water pump. I reminded him of our conversation Monday and tell him that we're not going to have the discussion again.

Of course no matter where you are, you probably heard my a$$ slam shut as soon as I told him to proceed.
 

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I would recommend sticking to Dexcool, its the best out there. You know that GM purchased rights from Honda to use technology in their coolant right? GM then relabled it and called it Dexcool. See for yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Indeed 40. No plans to change from it now. I know there were gasketing issues with it in the early days, but it appears to have been resolved. (Maybe GM bought Honda's research on what materials to use for gaskets with it?) lol
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yep. Called to check the status of the repair. Guy tells me "there is some slight balance shaft buzz in it. Parking lot maneuvers you can hear it but at 45 going down the road you don't notice it."

It absolutely sounds like sh!t. Exactly what I told him would happen (thanks to the excellent info on this forum) and exactly what I told him to avoid. He tells me "GM knows it's a problem and they have a procedure to fix it."

That tells me that numbnuts didn't listen to me, didn't investigate the "procedure to prevent it" but did check into it after he realized they effed it up.

And if you think I was pissed, I'll just say it's a good thing my wife didn't pick the car up. She was spitting bullets almost the entire evening last night!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Dropped car off this morning. Service guy is running all around. Service guy appears to be ignoring me. His counterpart finally asks "Are you trying to find something for Tom to drive?" "I don't have anything." He finally asks where I work and upon learning it's just down the road he asks if we can drive there and he'll bring the car back.

Getting into the Sol I say to him, "Just to make sure we're clear here, this one is your nickel, right? 'Cause I'm not paying a dime to fix this." He assures me it is. About 2 and a half hours later he calls to tell me they replaced the tensioner and that all is well.

And it is.

Balance is restored in wire's world. More importantly, my wife is content!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Dude would have been walking funny this past weekend if the wife picked up the car Friday!
 
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