1997 Buick LeSabre coolant leak - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 09-02-2012, 07:03 AM   #1
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Default 1997 Buick LeSabre coolant leak

Spent 8 hour last week doing the LIM and Valve cover gaskets (and a quick vacuum canister fix) on the girlfriends 1997 LeSabre. I know, Im a bit slow, but I was trying to show her what'* going on in there (and its got brackets up the ying yang, do they think the alternator is going to escape if its not held in by 3 bolts and 3 brackets?).

Anyways, didn't think we needed another LIM thread, but now she woke me up this morning to let me know there'* a puddle of coolant under the car. The coolant elbow from the LIM is dry, and the hoses in the back of the tensioner as well. Can't see the lower coolant elbow but it'* solid metal on this car and probably not prone to leaking. (I didn't replace the oring on it but it looked fine). Rad hose/cap isn't leaking. The drips are right below the front of the water pump. Sounds like the water pump gasket is a commom issue? Going to take a better look this afternoon most likely to see if I can spot the leak.
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:02 AM   #2
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Likely it'* the water pump that failed.
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:09 AM   #3
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I doubt its the waterpump. Im thinking its the lower coolant pipe connection where the o-ring wasnt replaced.
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Old 09-02-2012, 09:02 PM   #4
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You say its likely the water pump failed, are you talking about the gasket, or the whole pump?

I can't rule out the lower metal elbow until I get it over here and look at it, but if that was leaking Id think the leak would be in a different spot.
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:04 PM   #5
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Fluid behaves in weird ways. Keep us posted Tom.
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:35 PM   #6
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Sounds like the water pump to me, if the seal that keeps the coolant from getting to the bearing gets ready to fail, the built in weep hole should allow coolant to start dripping out to try to keep it away from the bearings (usually that is underneath towards the center where the impeller is), it is possible the gasket has started to leak also, on my 96' PA the gasket looked pretty bad when I removed it, it looked like a small gasket leak started, as well as my weep hole started leaking.
I discovered this myself also right after finishing up the LIM Gasket job, it would have been nice to know it needed replacing while I already had all the coolant drained!

I went with the more expensive AC Delco water pump, the one with an aluminum framed gasket, and the stamped steel impeller.
Amazon.com: ACDelco 251-718 Water Pump Kit: Automotive Amazon.com: ACDelco 251-718 Water Pump Kit: Automotive

Of course I'd fill it back up with coolant, start it up and let it up to operating temperature, and goose the throttle a few times while watching that lower coolant elbow to be sure that is not the culprit.
If you find it is not the elbow, and only the water pump gasket has failed, then being a 97' and probably having a bit over 100+k, I'd go ahead and just replace the whole thing rather then just the gasket, I believe AC Delco made the aluminum framed water pump gaskets because of how well that same design worked to withstand heat, and prevent leaking with the aluminum framed LIM Gaskets, that helped push me to spend more and get the more expensive water pump/gasket.
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Old 09-03-2012, 04:40 AM   #7
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It was definitly the water pump, after I got the alternator off I could see the lower elbow was dry, and idk if its just me, but that was sure a pita. I did end up throwing a new pump on to be safe, I went with the masterpro with lifetime warranty. Looks like the gasket was leaking a bit on the right side, although if the pump was weeping that could have thrown it all over, so who knows. $40 is a small price to pay for peace of mind. Now lets hope she doesn't spring any more leaks.
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Old 09-03-2012, 05:19 AM   #8
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That'* probably the first time I ever heard one leak from that area. Unless it was molested prior to that.
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Old 09-03-2012, 12:04 PM   #9
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Like I said, it was definitely the pump, wish I could say specifically gasket or weep hole but I can't unless I can do a post mortem on the pump.
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:23 PM   #10
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It was most likely the gasket alone, I forgot to mention mine did spray a bit, it sprayed a little all over actually, but not all of the time, which is why I never caught it till I was done with my LIM job, I brought the car up to a normal operating temp, and I was goosing the throttle a little while watching the coolant elbows, and then I was like ahhh haaaaaaaa!
If you only seen it under the car, and not on the alternator, or all over the power steering pump area, then the water-pump itself was probably fine, it'* good that you replaced it though considering it was probably the original pump from the factory.
+1 on the water-pump with the lifetime warranty!
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