99 Malibu leaking, not sure what - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 07-19-2011, 04:53 PM   #1
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Default 99 Malibu leaking, not sure what

I have a 1999 Chevy Malibu with a 2.4 liter engine. Car has started to leak what I thought was anti freeze but I'm not sure as it smells very very weak if it is. The leak has no real rhyme or reason to it as one day it doesn't seem to leak until the engine'* been running for a few minutes and then continues until the engine is off and it sits for a few minutes and then it stops. Another day it seemed to leak soon after I started the car but then seemed to stop with the engine running and as soon as I turned it off it started leaking again. It almost seems to be like water or something but it does have a very clight smell of anti-freeze to it and my coolant level doesn't seem to be low at all. I should also point out that I've not been using the a/c so that I would know the leak still exists and it'* not condensation from the a/c. My seemed to think today there was evidence of the leak when she left work but when she got home and parked I saw nothing leaking at all. When you see it leaking it'* a constent drip until it slows down and stops. I'm out of work right now and funds are very limited but I'm really concerned. I have heard horror stories about this engine if a water pump is needed and that changing the thermo-stat can be a nightmare although I heard this might be able to be done from the top side only but it also takes time because of the tight space where stat is located. Any help or suggestions with this problem is greatly appreciated. I should point out it'* been extremely hot here with temps of 90 and above. Not sure that would have any bearing as it'* been hot before. I do alot of my own work but I don't even know where to start here. Thanks in advance to anyone who offers help as it'* greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-19-2011, 05:02 PM   #2
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have never worked on one of those but ill give you a couple things, park it on some cardboard and let it run so you can narrow it down, look over the engine see if you can see any pooling or drops coming from rubber connections to metal things like that. some pumps also have a weap hole that starts dripping when the pump starts wearing out. how many miles on the car?
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Old 07-19-2011, 05:14 PM   #3
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I agree with parking on cardboard. That way you will see where its leaking, front, back, center, left or right. Also be sure to note the color, red, pink, brown, clear. Is it watery, or oily? But judging from the info you have provided, is could be power steering fluid.
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Old 07-19-2011, 07:22 PM   #4
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It'* at the front of the car as I can see it coming down and hitting the transmission pan and dripping off. I just can see where it'* actually coming from. It'* very clear looking on concrete but has a slightly darker color when it dries on cardboard. Any thoughts on my there'* no set pattern on when it leaks? I'll check my power steering fluid but when it'* dripping out I would think my power steering fluid would be very low and I'm not sure it is but I'll check and let you know.
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Old 07-19-2011, 07:25 PM   #5
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The power steering lines travel around the engine bay. You may need to jack it up and use jack stands, then wipe everything down and see what you can see.
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Old 07-19-2011, 07:29 PM   #6
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Put white paper towels or napkins under the car where you put the cardboard, this will give you a better judgement on the color if youre still not sure.
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Old 07-19-2011, 07:47 PM   #7
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Power steering fluid is fine. The way this drips and runs it comes down the back side of the engine which is dirty so color on cardboard may be from collecting tha dirt when dripping. It has a very watery type feel with just a touch of some kind of residue in it.
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:55 AM   #8
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power steering fluid is the only thing i can think of thats clearish. there should be lines going from the pump to the rack thats probably between the engine and the firewall on that car take a look at those good. some times they run a loop in wherever they have a spot to cool the fluid
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Old 07-20-2011, 11:36 AM   #9
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Lesabre p/* lines run from the pump (passenger/belt side on the rear of the engine) down by the passenger side subframe where they meet the rack/firewall, then they follow the rack over to the drivers side of the subframe where they enter the rack.
Generally you will either have a leak on the passenger side (leaking pump or pressure hose), or it will be leaking closer to the drivers side where it enters the rack (usually ends up being rack seals in this case).
I would say more than half the time its going to be the pressure hose where they crimped it to the metal lines.
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Old 07-20-2011, 11:39 AM   #10
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Oops just realised hes talking about a malibu, was thinking of another thread. What i said should still be pretty close to a malibu.
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