More Alero fun

Besides brake pulsation my daughter's 2000 Alero coupe with 3.4L engine exhibited peculiar cooling system behavior yesterday following a long trip
from North Carolina. I noticed a small puddle of coolant under the machine which she had not seen.
She mentioned that the low coolant level light had flashed on briefly just a few miles from her destination, but the temperature gauge was normal and there was no recurrence of the low level indication for the remainder of the trip.
There was a steady drip of coolant on the ground, but it was impossible to figure out where it had exited the system. Ran to Advance and got some DexCool to fill it up. Took about half a gallon. Gave the daughter my Aurora and drove the Alero home to investigate further today.
Lo and behold. There is no trace of a leak anywhere now. There is evidence that the belt had been slinging coolant far and wide because the hood liner is damp above the belt path and the fire wall pad in line with the belt is also damp.
Ran the machine at idle for a while. No leaks apparent. Used air pressure to apply about 20 psig to the system. No leaks apparent, and the pressure cap relieved at about 18-19 psig. Should have been 15 psig but gauge accuracy is unknown. System held air pressure. Nothing dripping anywhere.
After the aforementioned brake investigation is complete my plans are to take the machine out for a hard run in hopes of making the "leak" show itself again.
Do you have any ideas on what might have temporarily opened up on this thing?
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Don't spend a lot of time looking around for this leak. Look right where the lower intake manifold meets the cylinder head. You'll see stains there from leakage. Look on the other end of the motor and you'll likely see the same thing. Well known, very well documented, and very frustrating problem with all of the GM V-6 engines. The fix is to replace the upper and lower intake gaskets. If you're quite handy under the hood, anticipate about 5 hours for the first time at this repair. Consider FelPro gaskets instead of OEM. The pushrods route through the gasket so you'll have to remove the valve covers and the pushrods for the repair. Keep them in the exact order.
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You are correct. The stains are there on each end of the engine right where you said they would be. The gasket failure there goes a long way toward explaining the symptoms observed.
I can do this job myself, but probably not in five hours time. However, duration is unimportant compared to quality of workmanship.
Checked with my trusted NAPA counterman. He says to beware of FelPro these days. He thinks they are selling a sub-par product on the mass market based on his experience. NAPA sells Victor gaskets. Are they any good? I can get the FelPro gaskets at Advance if you think they are best.

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The Victor gaskets will be virtually identical to the ones that are leaking now. The stock Fel-Pro replacement gasket will look identical to the leakers you have now.
The Fel-Pro gasket that you want is part number: MS98003T
Ya gotta ask for 'em...
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OK. I see that part number on the Fel-Pro Web site, but the description confuses me. Does this set have all the gaskets need to do the job? Upper manifold, lower manifold, valve covers, push rod grommets, sealant?
wrote:

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Upper and lower intake gaskets, 1 valve cover gasket, 1 small tube of RTV. (never seen any push rod grommets on this engine)
I'd forgo their RTV and use Permatex "The Right Stuff." You'll also need either blue or white loc-tite for the manifold bolts or you can buy new ones at the dealer with sealant already applied.
Keep the push rods in order, they are different lengths intake vs. exhaust.
Do NOT over torque the intake manifold bolts, you -will- distort the engine block.
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wrote:

OK - I have to ask... I've seen this list of components before and for the life of me I cannot figure out why the kit would contain 1 valve cover gasket. Both valve covers have to be removed. Perhaps it means 1 valve cover set?
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Sorry - I don't know the difference between FelPro and Victor. NAPA is going to push what they sell, so I'd take his comments with a grain of salt. Although Mr. Goodwrench is saying they now have yet another gasket set available for these engines, my only point is not to buy OEM. They haven't proven to hold up yet and I wouldn't put another set in until time really tells if GM has finally provided a reliable gasket set.
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You and Mr. aarcuda69062 have pretty much convinced me to go with the premium Fel-Pro gasket set. Thanks to both of you for sharing your thoughts.

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