I know itís the UIM/LIM problem, but where's the coolant? - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 08-09-2007, 10:12 AM   #1
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Default I know ití* the UIM/LIM problem, but where'* the coolant?

Well, maybe my dear wifey is right. I should have bought a much newer carÖBut I just liked how it drove and it did give me 10 good days of ~ 1400 miles. I do enjoy playing with cars too and our 91 grand am is good, which give me lots of confidence with GM. Man, the 2.3L quad4 is supposed to be bad and the 3.8L should be great. Too bad I didnít google for BC before I bought it. I might have thought twice because of UIM/LIM.

Anyway, here is the story and I think UIM/LIM problem hits me now. Yesterday morning, I noticed that the coolant temp was higher than usual, still far from overheated though. When I arrived at my parking lot, I opened the hood and the surge tank was dry!! Before I left for home, I added ~ 1.2 L to the tank, too bad I didnít open the radiator cap. The car was running even warmer, still far from overheated and of course the tank was dry again when I arrived home. After dinner, I opened the radiator cap and I didnít see any coolant inside. At last I added almost 6 L of coolant to fill the thing (slightly overfilled the tank, actually). Thatí* half of the total capacity! Today, it ran even hotter, from 1/2 to 2/3 on the gauge, still not overheat and of course the tank was dry again.

Now the problem is that I canít see any sign of that coolant. The oil level is healthy. It feels, looks and smells just like oil. No sign of water. The tranny fluid is healthy too. So ití* not a leak inside the radiator to the tranny. The exhaust looks and smells healthy too. No liquid on the ground overnight or for the couple of minutes I was checking it with the engine running. This is basically the reason I decided to drive it still today but where is the missing coolant? With this speed of leaking, I would expect to see it coming out somewhere.

Guys, please help me. I do smell something like coolant sometimes inside the car with heat off. Is this pretty much UIM/LIM for sure or it still could be something else? I do have time this weekend. Oh, well, I have to have a good conversation with my wife tonight too. She wouldn't be too happy.

I donít have any parts now. Will the parts in the normal part stores any good? Please recommend one, thanks! It doesnít appear to be too difficult to me. But is this something a person with limited experience can do in two days? The most difficult job I have done so far was changing a ball joint on our grand am.

Just in case, if somebody has time, lives in the Lansing area in Michigan and wants to save me, please let me know. Thanks! I can of course offer you some types of compensation, but not the amount money I should pay to the garage, I am afraid. In fact, if I have to pay 1000 bucks on this car for repair, I would rather just dump it.
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Old 08-09-2007, 10:17 AM   #2
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If your coolant loss is going into the upper intake then very soon the motor should hydrolock. When it doesn't want to turn over..don't try to crank it anymore. That will only damage parts.

It'* odd that you were able to put in so much coolant. The lower intake can only hold around a gallon aka 3.8L, you've put in over double that. The car seems to run fine except fo running hot?

Have you inspected the area around the car for any signs of external leakage.. under the water pump etc? Also check your passenger side floor for wetness.
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Old 08-09-2007, 10:41 AM   #3
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The car starts normally, very easily. The misfire does come back already. It'* only good for 2.5 days with the plugs and wires!! The car drives fine, even at highway speed. Acceleration may not be too good but that'* because of the misfire again, I guess.

I couldn't find any external leaks. Too bad I didn't look the passenger side very carefully but I would say no leak there.

Maybe it would be a good idea to have AAA tow me back tonight? I hate to do that actually.
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Old 08-09-2007, 10:54 AM   #4
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It'* possible for a side tank on the radiator to be cracked. Those are frequently tougher to find until you have a puddle and are relentless about finding the source. If you smell coolant that is a good sign. That would mean, most likely you have an external leak.

Heater core
Heater hoses
Radiator hoses
Waterneck housing to
Water pump (weep hole on bottom where no one can see it)
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Old 08-09-2007, 10:55 AM   #5
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Sounds like an intake failure at its worst...

I recommend you replace the upper intake and lower gaskets.... Also get the oil out of the car...

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Old 08-09-2007, 11:20 AM   #6
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Thanks, guys!

How about the intake parts in the part stores such as AZ, AAP etc. Are they good? I know the techinfo here recommends something else.

Should I drive it back home still or should I have AAA tow me back? I hate to wait for 2 hours for AAA.

Bill, are you saying that I shouldn't smell coolant if it'* a intake leak?

Thank you very much!
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Old 08-09-2007, 11:25 AM   #7
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Its YOUR engine, make your choice. Who knows what damage might have already been done, so who knows what you're really saving, maybe tons, maybe not. Good thing is, its not hydrolocked yet, thats key. I personally would not recommend driving it, i would get ALL fluids OUT of that engine. Get new oil in there and replace those gaskets and upper intake.

And also, if you SMELL coolant, its one of two things. You're either smelling some burn off on a hot surface under the hood, or you're smelling it coming out of your exhaust. The latter would mean that you DEFINITELY have the upper intake failure, that coolant is entering your combustion chambers and that hydrolock is imminent unless further action is taken immediately.
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Old 08-09-2007, 11:37 AM   #8
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Oh, please, don't be so mad, wjcollier07. But I do apologize for that. I usually like to have a risk/benefit assessment befor making such a decision. So everybody'* opinion based on the problems so far will help. Sorry for that, guys!
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Old 08-09-2007, 11:47 AM   #9
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Let'* relax a second guys..

If you smell it.. there are two distinctly different smells of coolant before and after being burned. If you were burning coolant at 6L over the last couple days..your car should look like one of the blue angels with a big plume of white smoke coming out the tail. (Somehow..I bet you might have noticed the lack of bugs)

If you smell it under the hood..it'* an external leak. If you smell it in the passenger compartment..it'* either external or inside the car (heater core).

It'* possible it'* an UIM. But quite honestly..you've used more coolant and not hydrolocked yet..and that'* plain odd. To use that much coolant in that period of time..you'd be dumping it in with a garden hose..that'* typically a hydrolock situation. Which is the only basis with you saying you smell it... for me thinking of the external leak.
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Old 08-09-2007, 11:55 AM   #10
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You mention a misfire. You said it lasted two point five days with plugs. Are those new plugs? What did the old ones look like?

Antifreeze going into the intake eventually gets slurped into the cylinder with the intake mixture and fouls the plug. That might be another symptom.

What'* the date on the top of the intake if it'* the GM version?
See the techinfo for decoding the dates if you have a GM replacement at 135K miles.

The inakes were good for about 75K miles each.

http://www.bonnevilleclub.com/forum/...e=article&k=38
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