Coolant is disappearing, but not on ground or in oil - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


1992-1999 Series I L27 (1992-1994 SE,SLE, SSE) & Series II L36 (1995-1999 SE, SSE, SLE) and common problems for the Series I and II L67 (all supercharged models 92-99) Including Olds 88's, Olds LSS's and Buick Lesabres Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 10-15-2006, 11:04 AM   #1
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Default Coolant is disappearing, but not on ground or in oil

I am new to this forum, but looks to be a great resource to keep my 'ole 98 Bonny running for another 150k miles.

I need to continually top off my coolant. I am the 2nd owner and I believe the manifold was changed at 80k, probably for the infamous leaking issue, which I know very little about.

Sometimes when the weather is cold I can see a little steam cloud come out my grill. When I pop the hood I can't see it. I have changed the upper and lower hoses just as a preventative measure.

The car also is reporting a miss-fire on cylinder 6. I have new Bosch plug cables, plugs, and swapped the coils to see if the problem would move to another cylinder, which it didn't. But this is a new problem, the coolant problem has been going on for a couple of years.

Your expert wisdom will be much appreciated!!!
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Old 10-15-2006, 12:25 PM   #2
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Hey, welcome to BC!

You may have another manifold problem. Could be it wasn't installed correctly. Check your oil, does it look milky? Smell your exhaust, does it smell like its burning coolant? If you have coolant in your oil, GET IT DRAINED ASAP!

Steam coming out in cool weather? That happens to me early in the morning after I stop. Condensation builds up on the hood, when I stop, it rolls off the hood, goes into the radiator area and hits the hot radiator.

Misfire? Try moving your #6 wire away from the O2 sensor wire. Seen one member do that and it stoppped.

Report back to us on that coolant please.
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Old 10-15-2006, 12:27 PM   #3
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I'd be keeping a VERY sharp eye on my coolant and oil for any mixing. You could very well be suffering another manifold failure with those miles.

Keep in mind if that'* the problem, it doesn't take long to destroy the bottom end of the motor with rusty bearings.
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Old 10-15-2006, 12:33 PM   #4
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I have been watching the oil condition, but it is clear, not milky.
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Old 10-15-2006, 12:38 PM   #5
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An 'invisible' leak is usually at the point where the leak isn't big enough to cause damage, and just small enough that you're combusting everything that leaks, effectively removing the evidence.

A LIM gasket and UIM swap may be in your future.
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Old 10-15-2006, 12:42 PM   #6
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I ordered the factory service manual the other day expecting that I would have to dig into the manifolds.

Are there any special tricks that I should employ to prevent this from reoccuring?

Good thought on the #6 spark plug wire. I'll check it out.
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Old 10-15-2006, 12:43 PM   #7
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Do a compression test on all your cylinders. I do believe Autozone lends them out.
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Old 10-15-2006, 12:48 PM   #8
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What pressure should I expect on a compression test? Does cold vs hot matter much (hate sticking my hand near those exhaust manifolds)?
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Old 10-15-2006, 12:53 PM   #9
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I don't blame ya. You can do it cold. But you need to do 2 tests. A dry test. and a wet test.

Dry test
1. Remove all spark plugs.
2. Do compression test on all cylinders

Wet test
1. Spray motor oil into each cylinder. Just enough to get the cylinder walls wet.

The dry test gives you a base reading before the wet test. When you do the wet test, it will narrow down what cylinder is giving you trouble. Good for determing leaks, low power etc.
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Old 10-15-2006, 01:09 PM   #10
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I'll try to do a test later today (after my son brings my car back).

The plugs all look excellent, last time I checked that is.

Are there any special assembly tricks with with UIM and LIM installation?

Can you get an aluminum UIM?

Where'* the best place to buy an UIM?

Thx, folks.
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