2003 Bonneville SLE leaking coolant - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


2000-2005 Discuss your 2000-2005 Bonneville SE, SLE, and SSEi Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

Reply
 
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 05-16-2011, 03:52 AM   #1
-- SITE DONATOR --
True Car Nut
Thread Starter
 
ymmot04's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 4,638
Thanked 5 Times in 4 Posts
ymmot04 is a glorious beacon of lightymmot04 is a glorious beacon of lightymmot04 is a glorious beacon of lightymmot04 is a glorious beacon of lightymmot04 is a glorious beacon of lightymmot04 is a glorious beacon of light
Default 2003 Bonneville SLE leaking coolant

I'm about at my whits end with this car and it'* inability to hold in coolant.

I've been struggling to get my coolant elbows to stop leaking, replaced them 4 times now, the last time I lubed them good with Vaseline before putting them in and used rtv around the rings just in case. They still leak.

It also appears as though coolant is seeping out from the LIM, can't guarantee that'* what it is but here is what I see. Immediately after starting the car cold, coolant starts building up on the piece of LIM gasket sticking out directly under the upper coolant elbow like it'* seeping out from the LIM. I know both sides of that elbow also leak often during warm up, but sometimes it appears as though they don't leak and the coolant still seeps out there.

Now it looks like even my thermostat housing is leaking coolant.... pretty sure that is a brand new gasket as of the beginning of winter torqued down as it should be.

A little history: Bought the car at the beginning of winter, had a bad LIM gasket so it was tore down, gasket replaced, new elbows, thermostat, spark plugs, wires, valve cover gaskets, fuel filter, just about everything I could think of that can easily be replaced during a tune up. Car was great for a month after that, no leaks that I noticed or any other issues.

Then I decided to drop it off at Jiffy Lube to have a coolant flush done because the coolant passages had lots of gunk in them when the LIM gaskets were swapped so I figured there must be some left over in the coolant still. This is when the nightmare began. Long story short, they told me they couldn't perform the service because the car was leaking coolant and left me high and dry with a car that had a half empty radiator now even though they supposedly didn't touch it. Again, hadn't leaked for a month. Ever since then I haven't got the elbows to seal up, even have a brand new tensioner on and that connection from the elbow leaks.

So I'm getting desperate, just ordered all the gaskets over again, thinking about going down to the LIM again and investigating. It almost seems like there is excess pressure in the system like something is lodged in it causing extra pressure and thus the leak. Probably going to take Friday off to do the work.

Any other suggestions before I do this?
ymmot04 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2011, 07:40 AM   #2
DINOSAURUS BOOSTUS

Expert Gearhead
 
BillBoost37's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Enfield, CT
Posts: 41,391
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
BillBoost37 is a glorious beacon of lightBillBoost37 is a glorious beacon of lightBillBoost37 is a glorious beacon of lightBillBoost37 is a glorious beacon of lightBillBoost37 is a glorious beacon of lightBillBoost37 is a glorious beacon of light
Default

The LIM gaskets can see coolant up and down, however with new aluminum LIM'*, I have never seen this occur.

In the below pic. The more square areas that have black gasket around them are the coolant ports. It would be very tough for one of these to leak to the end of the head w/o causing a misfire or seeping up by the valve cover or down into the lifter valley.
Name:  IMG_4253.jpg
Views: 55
Size:  88.6 KB

The holes are drilled/tapped into the coolant and oil passages. This is why we use threadlock or sealant on the LIM bolts. Typically though those would slowly seep fluid up onto the LIM. I believe the two at the end by the elbow are likely oil, however I am not positive.
BillBoost37 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2011, 08:03 AM   #3
Retired Senior Admin

Expert Gearhead
 
Danthurs's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Sheboygan Wisconsin
Posts: 29,661
Thanks: 0
Thanked 16 Times in 13 Posts
Danthurs is a name known to allDanthurs is a name known to allDanthurs is a name known to allDanthurs is a name known to allDanthurs is a name known to allDanthurs is a name known to all
Default

If you've replaced the elbow several times, and still leaking, I would be looking at the LIM. You may have a cracked LIM.
Danthurs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2011, 08:07 AM   #4
-- SITE DONATOR --
True Car Nut
Thread Starter
 
ymmot04's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 4,638
Thanked 5 Times in 4 Posts
ymmot04 is a glorious beacon of lightymmot04 is a glorious beacon of lightymmot04 is a glorious beacon of lightymmot04 is a glorious beacon of lightymmot04 is a glorious beacon of lightymmot04 is a glorious beacon of light
Default

I don't recall seeing any mention of threadlock or sealant in our L36 LIM Gasket change writeup, that would be a good thing to add if it isn't there.

I have not noticed coolant in the oil, and gunner can vouch for the fact that the lims I used should be damn near bullet proof, but I'm just calling it like I see it.

Ill check the LIM over real good, but I don't think its cracked. It leaks at both the LIM side and the tensioner side (brand new tensioner, leaked on the old as well).
ymmot04 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2011, 08:12 AM   #5
Retired Senior Admin

Expert Gearhead
 
Danthurs's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Sheboygan Wisconsin
Posts: 29,661
Thanks: 0
Thanked 16 Times in 13 Posts
Danthurs is a name known to allDanthurs is a name known to allDanthurs is a name known to allDanthurs is a name known to allDanthurs is a name known to allDanthurs is a name known to all
Default

Just seems odd that it keep leaking. You need to look at what has not changed. I've done dozens of LIMs and elbows and have yet to have one leak. All it takes is a small hair line crack and it will leak. Might be worth swapping in a different LIM just to be sure.
Danthurs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2011, 09:49 AM   #6
Retired Administrator

True Car Nut
 
GunsOfNavarone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Williamsport, PA
Posts: 2,856
Thanked 167 Times in 129 Posts
GunsOfNavarone has much to be proud ofGunsOfNavarone has much to be proud ofGunsOfNavarone has much to be proud ofGunsOfNavarone has much to be proud ofGunsOfNavarone has much to be proud ofGunsOfNavarone has much to be proud ofGunsOfNavarone has much to be proud ofGunsOfNavarone has much to be proud ofGunsOfNavarone has much to be proud ofGunsOfNavarone has much to be proud of
Default

Have you pressured tested the system? If you need a pressure tester, just let me know.
GunsOfNavarone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2011, 10:12 AM   #7
DINOSAURUS BOOSTUS

Expert Gearhead
 
BillBoost37's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Enfield, CT
Posts: 41,391
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
BillBoost37 is a glorious beacon of lightBillBoost37 is a glorious beacon of lightBillBoost37 is a glorious beacon of lightBillBoost37 is a glorious beacon of lightBillBoost37 is a glorious beacon of lightBillBoost37 is a glorious beacon of light
Default

I too have done tons of elbows and only had one leak. On my car when it had pressure which led to it being a non 90* angle. On the gasjkets, I tossed up the pic so you could see that it'* almost not possible for the LIM gasket to be the cause.

Which leaves you to who knows what...
BillBoost37 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2011, 11:05 AM   #8
-- SITE DONATOR --
True Car Nut
Thread Starter
 
ymmot04's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 4,638
Thanked 5 Times in 4 Posts
ymmot04 is a glorious beacon of lightymmot04 is a glorious beacon of lightymmot04 is a glorious beacon of lightymmot04 is a glorious beacon of lightymmot04 is a glorious beacon of lightymmot04 is a glorious beacon of light
Default

Saw your picture Bill, doesn't make sense to me it would leak from the LIM either. Could have just been leaking from the elbow somewhere I couldn't see and running down to the gasket.

I am slightly afraid and also curious what I'm going to find if I tear into the car, perhaps a piece of jiffy lubes flushing mechanism lodged in the cooling system? Who knows.

I decided to use up my "fun and laughter" day at work, going to take Friday off and try to get some work done on the SSEi as well. I believe I get $150 reimbursement, that should cover Gas to the shop, Oil and Coolant for both cars, a new front motor mount for the SLE, gas for the truck to haul the SSEi around, and I'll think of something if I've got anything left over. Already ordered all the gaskets for the SLE along with a good stock of oil filters and some other crap.

**Edit: I've now got sick images floating through my head of the coolant ports clogged up worse than when I tore it down last time, or some strange contraption lodged in the port. I actually had a nightmare last night that I took the LIM off and it was all scratched and chipped to hell. Thanks Dan.... Or should I thank the random assortment of gummy products I had for supper, maybe those are messing with my head.
ymmot04 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2011, 11:09 AM   #9
-- SITE DONATOR --
True Car Nut
Thread Starter
 
ymmot04's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 4,638
Thanked 5 Times in 4 Posts
ymmot04 is a glorious beacon of lightymmot04 is a glorious beacon of lightymmot04 is a glorious beacon of lightymmot04 is a glorious beacon of lightymmot04 is a glorious beacon of lightymmot04 is a glorious beacon of light
Default

Oh, and I haven't pressure tested it, but I can rent one from Autozone for free. Thanks for the offer though Guns. If I wasn't going to be working on the other car as well I might have taken you up on that other offer. That and I'll be up early Friday morning, you'll probably be working or something.
ymmot04 is offline   Reply With Quote
 
 
Reply

Related Topics
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
2003 bonneville sle coolaint elbow cannonj General GM Chat 8 09-16-2012 03:53 PM
2003 Bonneville coolant leak and interior lights ymmot04 2000-2005 16 11-14-2011 01:32 AM
2003 Bonneville SLE vibration when braking ymmot04 Pontiac 12 08-02-2011 05:15 PM
94 Bonneville leaking coolant at throttle body Andy King 1992-1999 8 01-11-2007 11:56 PM
2003 SLE Exhaust - On A 1999 SLE? toxictelevision Performance, Brainstorming & Tuning 3 02-23-2003 07:41 AM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:26 AM.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.