I have a 1994 Pontiac Grand Am with the V6 3.1 engine.
About a month or so ago I noticed a temperature spike on the guage. It shot
up from about 1/4 to over 1/2 and cold air was coming out of the vent. I
topped up the coolant, and everything was fine. Well about 2 weeks later the
same thing happens, so once again I did the same thing. I have checked the
dipstick, and it looks kinda greyish brown, and it goes way up the stick. I
just had an oil change a couple of weeks ago too. So I am pretty sure that
it is leaking coolant into the engine. Luckily enough for me I got a
warranty that covers power train including head and head gaskets as well as
seals and gaskets for all fluids, so I am pretty sure it is covered.
My question is this. How long can I go before it causes serious or
irreversible damage to the engine. The car runs fine, good power, pretty
smooth, so I don't notice anything wrong with it. Like I said I have had
this problem for maybe a month or a bit more, and I haven't driven alot in
that time, perhaps 1000-2000 KM tops. I am planning on taking the car in
this week to get it fixed. Do you think I have waited too long ? What is the
procedure for something like this ? My warranty covers up to $1500 Candian,
I'm pretty sure that should cover the intake gasket if thats where the leak
is. I suppose it could also be the head or head gasket too, but I'm not
Any info or advice would be greatly appreciated.
It may have already caused irreparable damage. Do a google search on the
lower intake manifold gasket problems with the GM 3.1 and 3.4 engines. Dex
Cool erodes the bearings and a lot of people have had the cam bearings
freeze up and break the cams. Get it fixed immediately and make sure they
flush the engine good to remove all the crud. Around here they want $770 to
$1000 to replace the gasket.
Go to the repair shop, go directly to the repair shop, do not pass go and
fork out the deductable from your warranty.
Water in the oil (brown sludge) is not conducive to good lubrication, and
you run the risk of spinning a bearing the very next time you start it.
Thanks everyone for the replies. I am taking the car in in the next 2-3
days, and I don't plan on using it much before I take it in. If something
was seriously wrong, would I not notice something in the way the car
runs/feels ? I am not using Dexcool, just the green stuff that comes
premixed. Not sure if that helps much. It hasn't overheated yet, it has
gotten up over 1/2 on the temp guage, but nowhere near the red. There is
alos no visible signs of coolant leaking so it must be an internal leak. I
can also smell coolant when the temp rises, not sure if that helps to
detrmine if it's a manifold leak or head gasket leak. Thanks again to any
and all who responded, any further feedback is welcome.
OK I took it in this morning, and the tech said it definitely looks like
it's the manifold. The dipstick looks like it has been dipped in a double
double coffee. He said it looks like I brought it in in time, and doesn't
think there will be any damage. He also said they will flush the whole thing
out real good, and the good news is that it is all covered under warranty.
Not sure how its covered under warranty after you contaminated the
system. Havent you been reading the groups Kdawg? You post in here all
the time. How have you missed all the dexcool and conventional coolant
In article <uEMVb.17652$R6H.15092
Sorry I don't follow the group unless I am having a particular problem. I
thought that it was dexcool that was the bad stuff ? My warranty covers
seals and gaskets, and as far as I know at this point, the intake manifold
gasket became defective, which allowed coolant to leak into the oil. I had
just had an oil change 2 weeks ago, and no noticeable signs of coolant were
visible in the oil, but now it is visible. I don't see how this is not
covered, and the tech read over my warranty, and said it would be covered
too. I'm just wondering why you think this would not be covered. ?
I would say driving for 2000 miles would kill your warranty right off the
bat, myself. Hopefully you didn't tell the mechanic that's you had driven
the car the distance of Florida to Canada and then some.
Also, if you've driven that far, you've put excessive wear on components
internally. Water contaminated oil DOES NOT LUBRICATE, and because of this,
the engine has been exposed to unnecessary wear. A good guess as to one of
the main reasons your temperature gauge was reading higher, is that even if
the cooling system is full, but the oil is contaminated, the additional
friction of the improperly lubricated systems within the engine created
In short, start thinking about a rebuild very soon, 'cause that motor is
going to be poooooched before long.
Well I just got off the phone with the tech, and he got the go ahead to
repair it under warranty. In the meantime they gave me a new Honda Civic to
use, and my 94 Grand Am runs alot smoother than this thing they gave me. I
really don't think it caused much damage. The coolant leak may have been
small before, because even as recent as 2 weeks ago there were no signs of
coolant in the oil. But within the past 3 days it has shown up, and I have
maybe driven 20-30 km in the past 2-3 days. The engine is not the original,
it is a used engine that has about 120,000 KM or 80,000 miles on it. I hope
it will last another year or 2.
I never mixed, in fact I have never used Dex cool, I have only ever used the
premixed green stuff. That is what they told me when to use when I got the
car from the same garage that is fixing it for me. I just got off the
phone once again with them, and they have the engine apart, and they said
the intake gasket was bad. They are fixing it now, and it is covered under
warranty, so I am pretty pleased about that.
Oh you didnt buy new from a dealer I take it. There was a poster that
did just that and lost their warranty on their cooling system because of
that. The rumors that dexcool is bad is just that rumors. Bad news
travels fast and it always comes from people to ignorant to understand
what really went wrong with their cooling systems. I didnt catch the
year your car was but since it no longer has dexcool dont bother
switching back unless you plan on changing dexcool every 2 years instead
In article <DSUVb.56873$3YE1.37777
I bought the car (94 GrandAm 3.1) used from a garage. They had finished
putting a used engine in with about 120,000 KM (80,000 Miles) and I opted to
get a warranty which covered powertrain, and also included seals and
gaskets. I am getting near the end of my warranty period (about 1500km left)
and I plan on renewing it. When I got the car from this garage I asked them
what was being used for coolant and they said it has been using the generic
green stuff, so that is what I stayed with.
You should try to get the dealer to give you some additional warranty on
this engine. I had a 97 Venture with essentially the same engine. The cam
shaft broke even though I did not notice any water in the oil. So beware.
My engine had only 37,000 mi when it broke. It may still happen to you.
Running an engine with even a small amount of water in the oil can cause
permanent damage to the cam and crank shaft bearings. The cam shaft
happened to break first because it is the weaker of the two. Good luck.
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