I have a 1998 Olds eighty eight and recently noticed an external leak from
the rear corners of the lower intake....I know this is a common problem with
GM and I want to sell this car rather than pay for an expensive lower
intake. The leak is not real bad.
What I was wondering is if I add bars leak to the radiator how long will
this last. I have heard good and bad things about bars leak.....the bad
things I have heard is that it clogs up your radiator, heater core and water
pump....but on the bottle it says factory installed and they have been
selling this stuff since 1947....is it really that bad??
| Often those leaks also allow coolant into the motor oil, which is very bad
| for the engine.
| I would not count on leak plugging goop to be a fix.
Why not? Apparently (so it seems, anyway) GM considers the pellets a "fix".
Yes that stuff is really that bad. Only use the pellets in applications
that require them, never in a car that does not.
If I could show you the 60+ engines I have replaced due to that stuff
you would be convinced. Hell right now a customer has a 1994 Buick
Skylark with a 3.1 V6. It had a lower intake gasket leak. They bought it
dead. When I took the oil filter off I found all the bar's leak. That is
the stuff that didn't go thru the bypass and eat the barring out of the
he's referring to the 3.1L series engine where the coolant leak is
internal and the coolant gets in the oil.
From Ian's post, however, I gather that engine is not the engine in
question in this case.
The engine in question by the OP (orginal poster) is a buick 3.8
Series II V6. The engine I posted about is a Chevy 3.1/3100 Gen III V6.
Both leak differently, yet both have lower intake seal issues.
My point was adding stop leak to either is not recommended.
The intake gasket on the 3.1/3100 will leak coolant in to the oil.
Where these gaskets fail is at the head to intake seal. When they leak,
coolant goes straight to the return gallies under the valve covers.
The pervious owner of the car in question had kept adding coolant, and
stop leak to the cooling system. They must never have pulled the oil dip
stick and seen it was white.
My customer purchased the car at a police impound auction. I was with
him. I pulled the dip stick and saw the white oil, figured intake leak, and
advised him not to go higher then $100. He got the car for $75.
Since you can not start the cars there, not to mention the steering
column was in such shape it would not start, we had to wait a few days
until I could get a column. Once the car could be steered, and I had a
workable ignition switch, I could proceed. The next step was to drain the
oil. Spray out the pan with cleaner. let a quart of used drain thru, then
put the plug in. After that it was filled with good oil and a new filter
and ran. Not only does it have a sever knock, when it get's warm it shuts
Either the car will go on eBay with a salvage title, or I will
install a engine, get it inspected and sell it. Since the purpose of
purchase was to buy for resale.
Most likely not:
It took the point of least resistance, and went into the lifter valley, then
the oil pan, the pump and finally the oil filter!
Stop leaks are a gamble to use, and if they do work are a back yard Band-Aid
fix at best. One good high speed run on the highway can undo the seal, put
the coolant in the crank case and ruin an otherwise good engine.
I'm not a gambler, are you?
Read between the lines guys - all he wants to know is if the $10 he spends
Barrs will stop the leak long enough so that the guy he sells the car to
notice it during the inspection. The only thing he cares about is losing
for the stop leak if it doesen't work.
If you use the GM stuff, as David mentioned, you won't go
wrong. I believe they even installed those seal tabs in that
engine in that year right from the factory. I doubt that it
will fix your leak, but you can give it a try. If all else fails,
there are some cheaper routes to go then replacing the
lower intake. There are some kits that you can use to
install a new pipe in the lower manifold and install a
sleeve in the plastic plenum. I wouldn't recommend this
route myself to a customer that came into our shop, but
then I have to stand behind the repair.
As I meantioned earlier....Bars leak is used by the big 3 right from the
factory as I am told by the company themselves....There was no coolent in
the oil and it was a very small leak from the rear corners of the rear of
the intake. I already put it in and ran the car for an hour...the leak
seemed to have stopped and the oil is fine....I am getting differing
opinions on this stuff...I used the c-16 bars leak that comes in the silver
bottle, not the pellets...GM get's the pellest from bars leak company
themselves from what I understand....I have the 3800 series 2 motor as
The company claims it will prevent and stop internal leaks as well....
Check out their FAQ site .... http://www.barsproducts.com/coolf1.html
Also here is an e-mail I sent and their reply: (note my message is last and
their reply is first)
((No, we have been in business since 1947 and will not harm your system in
anyway. We are a factory installed product in the big three car
also. I cant speak for other stop leaks, but ours is safe and effective.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
BAR'S LEAKS SPLATT Stiction BAR'S XTREME
Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 2004 9:54 PM
Subject: Re: bars leak and dexcool
I have been doing some research and was told that bars leak will clog up the
radiator and gum up the water pump and heater core among other things...is
Also called GM and they finally admitted they put the pellets in their 3800
V-6's as a "preventative" BRAND NEW, RIGHT FROM THE FACTORY, when I
questioned what cars, they told me all 3800 V-6's from 2000 to 2003......I
had to LITTERALLY P-R-Y this out of them and they finally admitted they get
this stuff from a company in Michigan. How ironic that Bars Leak Corporation
is located in Holly Michigan which is located near Detroit of all places.
THE BIG 3 ARE A PACK OF LIARS!
I also spoke with a master mechanic that has been in busines for 35 years
and has an excellent reputation for being good, fair and honest and he told
me that one bottle will not harm in any way. In fact it will help, but
anything beyond that can do damage to the heater core but he said I would
have to constantly be adding it all the time to do this.
Just thought I would pass on the info i have accumulated since my origanial
I am selling this car anyway and refuse to spend the 500 or so it takes to
fix the problem only to have it go again in another 30,000 miles like they
usually do.....the thing I can't figure out is why the hell GM redesigned
the gasket for the 3.1 and the 3.4 but not the 3800.......when i questioned
them on this they played dumb, as usual.......
OH, AND THEIR TRUCKS ARE PLAGUED BY PISTON SLAP WHICH OF COURSE THEY DENY
BEING A PROBLEM ALSO.
Then the big 3 crybabies wonder why the U.S public is going for the foreign
cars......they had years and years to build a quality product, which I used
to swear by in the past, but did they ?.......well maybe back in the sixties
and seventies but all they put out now is junk........
I am done with GM, Ford and chrysler....I have had enough expensive
headaches.......Toyota, Honda or Nissan here I come!
Wait till you get Toyotaitis:
Gum and sludge in the crank case, brake problems, with numerous TSB's to
Nissan: So problem plagued, that they were near bankruptcy and the french
bought a major interest in them. We all know what happens when the french
get mixed up with a car company?
Look at AMC, the old American Big fourth car company?
Honda: another joke, Cylinder heads cracking like every other manufacturer.
Cams seizing in the heads, transmission problems, alignment problems and
uneven and even cupped tire wear.
You think that shit is any better, move the fuck to Japan, learn to say:
GM may get the "recipe" from the Bars Leak, but it certainly
isn't in the same form. Again, if you are worried, just go to
a dealership and grab a card of GM sealing tabs. You get
6 big pellets which is more then enough for one application.
I'd only use two. With all due respect to the other posters
on this newsgroup....do not listen to people that say this
product will ruin your engine, or it will clog up your heater
core..etc. It has been installed from the factory for years,
is still being installed from the factory, and as we speak,
is being added to your type of engine in the latest recall
for the 2000 and up 3800 engines. GM would not be
using this stuff if it did all the nasty things that people say
It was never intended to repair a leak that is
already in the later stages. It was intended to stop
minor seepage that "might" happen with newer engines.
In other words, it's a really poor idea to attempt to
repair a leak with this product, but a good product to
use once everything is in good working order. So in
your case, you might be taking a chance.
I did a little research, because I was a dedicated Bars Leak user for close
to 30 years. It seems that the stop leaks that cause radiator and heater
blockage are: Aluminum flakes and the copper recipe.
The copper recipe from Advanced and a lot of other stores, guaranteed to fix
cracked heads and bad head gaskets, I've changed radiators and heater cores
damaged. by customers using more than one can, so that stuff works, but
unfortunately. In the wrong place.
Yeah...that stuff is nasty....there is a Caddy engineer over on one
of the Cadillac forums that recommends "not" using that style of
Bars Leak. Of course, I'm sure you know that the GM stuff is
simply an organic product.. you can read the ingredients on the
back of the package.
Ian: I have done over 60 engines that were killed do to stop leak. I
have yet to have a customer admit to using the GM pellets. They have all
used the standard powdered or liquid stop leak formula's by aftermarket
Most of these engines died from over heating. Clogged radiators,
clogged coolant passages, thermostats clogged to the point of not working.
I have never asked them how much of a product they have used.
People for the most part are Idiots, and Auto Parts stores (not parts
houses) have idiots behind the counter whose job it is to sell as much
snake-oil as auto parts. Stuff like "Motor Hunny" which is straight 50
weight motor oil to cure bad valve stem seals, Stop Leak products for
every type of leak, Gasket Sealer for gaskets that are supposed to be
No matter if GM uses pellets to "seal" engines or not, If I did that my
customers would not tolerate it. I put an engine together, and it weeps.
I'm pulling it back out, finding the cause and fixing it out of my
pocket. Band-aide fixes are not an option outside of dealerships.
Charles, it really doesn't matter to me what you do when
you put together engines. You do whatever you want to.
My only point is that "if" you use the GM sealing tabs, no
harm will come to your engine. I've been working in GM
dealerships for close to 25 years now, and have yet to
see one engine that was blown up due to "stop leak"
products of any sort. This is probably due more to
the fact that Canadian car owners, in general, just
fix their cars properly, and don't just resort to
stop leak. It must be different in your neck of the
woods. I've personally used stop leak products on
my own beaters, and so far, the sky hasn't fallen
yet. I don't use them at work, as we replace parts,
not install stop leak, in order to fix a coolant leak.
GM's stop leak is designed more as some sort of
preventative maintenance, not as a fix for leaks.
How many Northstars have you built lately? I don't
care how good you are, if you put one of those
together with the gaskets that GM uses on them,
they will seep eventually. We see the problems
with them on high milers that haven't had the coolant
changed or the pellets added during a coolant change.
It's just the way it works with them.
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