Strange Coolant Problem from my 98 Lumina

I have a 1998 Chevy Lumina 3.1 with about 168000 miles on it. Last night I had the low coolant light come on (the car had been running an hour or so). I immediately stopped and checked my coolant reservoir.
The reservoir was empty but there was a coating of black oily looking residue at the bottom and on the sides, like dirty coolant had just been in there but had gotten sucked up. I could see no evidence of a coolant leak anywhere so I waited until the engine cooled off a bit and went to add coolant. But this time the reservoir was back full to the warm mark. I took off the radiator cap and there was coolant right up to the top. The weird thing was, it used to be pink but now it's real oily looking and oily feeling. Just like in the reservoir. Like some kind of sludge or something. It has been over 2 years since I had the system flushed. There is no coolant in the oil but the car has been using a tiny bit of oil lately. Like maybe half a quart a month. I had the intake (?) manifold gasket go bad about 5 years ago. No water in the oil either. Just diapering coolant that got worse and worse. It was being sucked off into the engine and super-heated into steam causing a major engine sludge problem. But that was years ago and there hasn't been a coolant leak problem since I got that fixed. Even now the level in the reservoir is full (the light came on intermittently all the way home, even though the coolant reservoir was full, BTW). Could the radiator be clogged with all of that sludge? And what is the sludge from? I have never crossed coolant. I use only the pink stuff. Thanks!
Aaron Eel
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Sludge is caused by air mixing with Dexcool, often caused by a faulty rad cap as explained in the following links,
http://www.imcool.com/articles/antifreeze-coolant/dexcool-johnbrunner.php
http://www.imcool.com/articles/antifreeze-coolant/dexcool-macs2001.php
You sound as though you need a lower intake manifold gasket again.
Apparently the first batch of GM replacements were problematic, GM also issued a revised bolt torque sequence and the use of threadlocker on the bolts.
I replaced the bolts with bolts from GM with preapplied locker, followed the revised torque sequence and used a Fel Pro Perma Dry gasket set.
That was 18 months ago at 129,000kms.
The car now has 165,000kms and all is well.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Engine Oil or Coolant Leak (Install New Intake Manifold Gasket) #03-06-01-010B
Engine Oil or Coolant Leak (Install New Intake Manifold Gasket) #03-06-01-010B - (10/24/2003)
Engine Oil or Coolant Leak (Install New Intake Manifold Gasket)
2000-2003 Buick Century
2002-2003 Buick Rendezvous
1996 Chevrolet Lumina APV
1997-2003 Chevrolet Venture
1999-2001 Chevrolet Lumina
1999-2003 Chevrolet Malibu, Monte Carlo
2000-2003 Chevrolet Impala
1996-2003 Oldsmobile Silhouette
1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass
1999-2003 Oldsmobile Alero
1996-1999 Pontiac Trans Sport
1999-2003 Pontiac Grand Am, Montana
2000-2003 Pontiac Grand Prix
2001-2003 Pontiac Aztek
with 3.1L or 3.4L V-6 Engine (VINs J, E - RPOs LG8, LA1)
This bulletin is being revised to change the model Information. Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 03-06-01-010A (Section 06 - Engine). Condition
Some owners may comment on an apparent oil or coolant leak. Additionally, the comments may range from spots on the driveway to having to add fluids. Cause
Intake manifold may be leaking allowing coolant, oil or both to leak from the engine. Correction
Install a new design intake manifold gasket. The material used in the gasket has been changed in order to improve the sealing qualities of the gasket. When replacing the gasket, the intake manifold bolts must also be replaced and torqued to a revised specification. The new bolts will come with a pre-applied threadlocker on them.
Object Number: 190523 Size: SH Click here for detailed picture of above image.
Notice
An oil leak may result if the vertical bolts are not tightened before the diagonal bolts.
Diagonal bolts may require a crows foot to tighten. Tighten
1. Tighten the vertical lower intake manifold bolts (1) to 7Nm (62 lb in). 2. Tighten the diagonal lower intake manifold bolts (2) to 7Nm(62 lb in). 3. Tighten the vertical lower intake manifold bolts (1) to 13Nm(115 lb in). 4. Tighten the diagonal lower intake manifold bolts (2) to 25Nm(18 lb ft).
Parts Information
Part Number
Description
Qty
89017279
Intake manifold Gasket
1
11588915
Intake manifold bolt - short
4
11588914
Intake manifold bolt - long
4
GM
Coolant and/or oil leaks. GM reports that many of its 1999-2003 mid- size cars and minivans with the 3.1 or 3.4L V6 (VINs J, E) are susceptible to springing oil and/or coolant leaks at the lower intake manifold gasket. The complaints you're likely to get irom customers can vary from oily spots on the driveway to continually having to top up the coolant reservoir with antifreeze. The Low Coolant light on the dash could also illuminate. A new-design intake gasket with superior sealing qualities (Part No. 89017279) is now available to eliminate both leakage issues.
GM says you must install upgraded manifold bolts with preapplied threadlocker (Part No. 11588915, short bolts; Part No. 11588914, long bolts) to get the benefits of the new gaskets sealing qualities. New torque specs and a new tightening sequence for the bolts are also on the menu (see illustration).
Here's the info you'll need to do the job: Begin by tightening the four vertical (inner) bolts to 62 in.-lbs. Follow that up by tightening the four diagonal (outer) bolts to the same 62 in.-lbs. Now go back to the vertical bolts and torque them to 115 in.-lbs. Complete the tightening sequence by torquing the diagonal bolts to 18 ft.-lbs. GM cautions that if you don't use the new torque specs in the exact sequence indicated, you could be opening yourself up to a comeback.
So after some thinking and comparing! I ended up buying a set of FelPro, Victor, and OEM gaskets and comparing them all the Victor and GM are exactly the same save for color of the rubber material. FelPro sorry are very cheap looking and don't come with the steel inserts in them. But looking at the OEM set there's this paper in there that see's to use all new bolts. And an updated torque spec 115in/lbs center 4 bolts and 18ft/lbs 4 corner bolts. I went and looked through ALLDATA and no mention of the new bolts or specs that I could see. GM guys anything to add. Parts guy we deal with did a search on the bolts, their dealership had yet to use the new bolts but the EDM wharehouse had sold appros 26,000 of each. MTL had sold 46,000 of each. Oh yeah there about $15 a bolt.
These are the parts used by GM to reseal the Lower Intake: 3.4L (E) & 3.1L (J) Engine Intake Reseal:
89017279 Intake Gasket Set
11588914 Intake Bolts {Qty: 4}
11588915 Intake Bolts {Qty: 4}
10154775 Valve Cover Gaskets {Qty: 2}
24506439 EGR Valve Gasket
10241048 EGR Valve Pipe Gasket
10189205 By-Pass Seal
24504709 Heater Inlet Pipe Seal
10477565 Oil Pump Drive Seal
10108445 Distributor Base Gasket
10953472 RTV Sealant
10953031 Dex-Cool
992878 Engine Shampoo
88901247 Brake Kleen
The Lower Intake gaskets themselves are different. They incorporate rivits into the stress areas where the coolant used to leak at.
--


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The lite should not come on if the rad is full, unrelated to the condition of the coolant the low coolant sensor in the rad may be bad.
Sludge is caused by air mixing with Dexcool, often caused by a faulty rad cap as explained in the following links,
http://www.imcool.com/articles/antifreeze-coolant/dexcool-johnbrunner.php
http://www.imcool.com/articles/antifreeze-coolant/dexcool-macs2001.php
You sound as though you need a lower intake manifold gasket again.
Apparently the first batch of GM replacements were problematic, GM also issued a revised bolt torque sequence and the use of threadlocker on the bolts.
I replaced the bolts with bolts from GM with preapplied locker, followed the revised torque sequence and used a Fel Pro Perma Dry gasket set.
That was 18 months ago at 129,000kms.
The car now has 165,000kms and all is well.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Engine Oil or Coolant Leak (Install New Intake Manifold Gasket) #03-06-01-010B
Engine Oil or Coolant Leak (Install New Intake Manifold Gasket) #03-06-01-010B - (10/24/2003)
Engine Oil or Coolant Leak (Install New Intake Manifold Gasket)
2000-2003 Buick Century
2002-2003 Buick Rendezvous
1996 Chevrolet Lumina APV
1997-2003 Chevrolet Venture
1999-2001 Chevrolet Lumina
1999-2003 Chevrolet Malibu, Monte Carlo
2000-2003 Chevrolet Impala
1996-2003 Oldsmobile Silhouette
1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass
1999-2003 Oldsmobile Alero
1996-1999 Pontiac Trans Sport
1999-2003 Pontiac Grand Am, Montana
2000-2003 Pontiac Grand Prix
2001-2003 Pontiac Aztek
with 3.1L or 3.4L V-6 Engine (VINs J, E - RPOs LG8, LA1)
This bulletin is being revised to change the model Information. Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 03-06-01-010A (Section 06 - Engine). Condition
Some owners may comment on an apparent oil or coolant leak. Additionally, the comments may range from spots on the driveway to having to add fluids. Cause
Intake manifold may be leaking allowing coolant, oil or both to leak from the engine. Correction
Install a new design intake manifold gasket. The material used in the gasket has been changed in order to improve the sealing qualities of the gasket. When replacing the gasket, the intake manifold bolts must also be replaced and torqued to a revised specification. The new bolts will come with a pre-applied threadlocker on them.
Object Number: 190523 Size: SH Click here for detailed picture of above image.
Notice
An oil leak may result if the vertical bolts are not tightened before the diagonal bolts.
Diagonal bolts may require a crows foot to tighten. Tighten
1. Tighten the vertical lower intake manifold bolts (1) to 7Nm (62 lb in). 2. Tighten the diagonal lower intake manifold bolts (2) to 7Nm(62 lb in). 3. Tighten the vertical lower intake manifold bolts (1) to 13Nm(115 lb in). 4. Tighten the diagonal lower intake manifold bolts (2) to 25Nm(18 lb ft).
Parts Information
Part Number
Description
Qty
89017279
Intake manifold Gasket
1
11588915
Intake manifold bolt - short
4
11588914
Intake manifold bolt - long
4
GM
Coolant and/or oil leaks. GM reports that many of its 1999-2003 mid- size cars and minivans with the 3.1 or 3.4L V6 (VINs J, E) are susceptible to springing oil and/or coolant leaks at the lower intake manifold gasket. The complaints you're likely to get irom customers can vary from oily spots on the driveway to continually having to top up the coolant reservoir with antifreeze. The Low Coolant light on the dash could also illuminate. A new-design intake gasket with superior sealing qualities (Part No. 89017279) is now available to eliminate both leakage issues.
GM says you must install upgraded manifold bolts with preapplied threadlocker (Part No. 11588915, short bolts; Part No. 11588914, long bolts) to get the benefits of the new gaskets sealing qualities. New torque specs and a new tightening sequence for the bolts are also on the menu (see illustration).
Here's the info you'll need to do the job: Begin by tightening the four vertical (inner) bolts to 62 in.-lbs. Follow that up by tightening the four diagonal (outer) bolts to the same 62 in.-lbs. Now go back to the vertical bolts and torque them to 115 in.-lbs. Complete the tightening sequence by torquing the diagonal bolts to 18 ft.-lbs. GM cautions that if you don't use the new torque specs in the exact sequence indicated, you could be opening yourself up to a comeback.
So after some thinking and comparing! I ended up buying a set of FelPro, Victor, and OEM gaskets and comparing them all the Victor and GM are exactly the same save for color of the rubber material. FelPro sorry are very cheap looking and don't come with the steel inserts in them. But looking at the OEM set there's this paper in there that see's to use all new bolts. And an updated torque spec 115in/lbs center 4 bolts and 18ft/lbs 4 corner bolts. I went and looked through ALLDATA and no mention of the new bolts or specs that I could see. GM guys anything to add. Parts guy we deal with did a search on the bolts, their dealership had yet to use the new bolts but the EDM wharehouse had sold appros 26,000 of each. MTL had sold 46,000 of each. Oh yeah there about $15 a bolt.
These are the parts used by GM to reseal the Lower Intake: 3.4L (E) & 3.1L (J) Engine Intake Reseal:
89017279 Intake Gasket Set
11588914 Intake Bolts {Qty: 4}
11588915 Intake Bolts {Qty: 4}
10154775 Valve Cover Gaskets {Qty: 2}
24506439 EGR Valve Gasket
10241048 EGR Valve Pipe Gasket
10189205 By-Pass Seal
24504709 Heater Inlet Pipe Seal
10477565 Oil Pump Drive Seal
10108445 Distributor Base Gasket
10953472 RTV Sealant
10953031 Dex-Cool
992878 Engine Shampoo
88901247 Brake Kleen
The Lower Intake gaskets themselves are different. They incorporate rivits into the stress areas where the coolant used to leak at.
--





----== Posted via Pronews.Com - Unlimited-Unrestricted-Secure Usenet News==----
http://www.pronews.com The #1 Newsgroup Service in the World! >100,000 Newsgroups
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

So why would the reservoir be dry and then later be full again? Is this a common occurrence that goes on but I just never had the reason to catch it until now? If I replace that sensor and the light no longer flashes, do you think I might still need the new manifold gasket? The fluid level was full again today and once the engine totally warmed up the light began to flash again. And ther radiator was totally full. It blinked on and off in four or five second intervals, continuously. The fluid level in the reservoir never dropped this time. It is now at the exact level that it has been for almost six months. I haven't had to add a smidgen of coolant (except that I briefly topped it off last night. About a cup in the dark for good measure). I was loosing coolant at the rate of 2-1/2 cups per day when I had that manifold leak five years back, BTW. Should I get the system flushed? Could the radiator be clogged? Please tell me yes to either of these, since I don't want to face the bill for that other job :) Thanks for you guy's replies.
Aaron Eel
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Aaron, the condition of the coolant says it needs a good flush, based on your description, the level in the jar should not disappear and come back when shut down, if that is what you are saying look into that. Try bleeding the sytsem of air before proceeding with the flush, you may also want to test it for hd gasket leaks, there are cheap kits to do this available at Napa and such.
wrote:

So why would the reservoir be dry and then later be full again? Is this a common occurrence that goes on but I just never had the reason to catch it until now? If I replace that sensor and the light no longer flashes, do you think I might still need the new manifold gasket? The fluid level was full again today and once the engine totally warmed up the light began to flash again. And ther radiator was totally full. It blinked on and off in four or five second intervals, continuously. The fluid level in the reservoir never dropped this time. It is now at the exact level that it has been for almost six months. I haven't had to add a smidgen of coolant (except that I briefly topped it off last night. About a cup in the dark for good measure). I was loosing coolant at the rate of 2-1/2 cups per day when I had that manifold leak five years back, BTW. Should I get the system flushed? Could the radiator be clogged? Please tell me yes to either of these, since I don't want to face the bill for that other job :) Thanks for you guy's replies.
Aaron Eel
----== Posted via Pronews.Com - Unlimited-Unrestricted-Secure Usenet News==---- http://www.pronews.com The #1 Newsgroup Service in the World! >100,000 Newsgroups ---= - Total Privacy via Encryption =---
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

ca> wrote in message

Thanks. You were right. It was only a bad low coolant sensor. I took a chance and bought one ($56.00 including tax). Plugged it in and drove around quite a bit. No more low coolant light. Also, the coolant was really only dirty on the top at the filler points. I drained out some when I unplugged the old sensor and its 99 percent orange. The gook was just around the air contact points. This still doesn't explain why the reseviour went dry and then filled back up again, though. I guess only time will tell. It's sure running cool and that's an good indicator as any that everything's okay. Thanks everyone!
Aaron Eel (Ehrin Lloyd)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

ca> wrote in message

Thanks. You were right. It was only a bad low coolant sensor. I took a chance and bought one ($56.00 including tax). Plugged it in and drove around quite a bit. No more low coolant light. Also, the coolant was really only dirty on the top at the filler points. I drained out some when I unplugged the old sensor and its 99 percent orange. The gook was just around the air contact points. This still doesn't explain why the reseviour went dry and then filled back up again, though. I guess only time will tell. It's sure running cool and that's an good indicator as any that everything's okay.
Thanks everyone!
Aaron Eel (Ehrin Lloyd)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.