Perhaps you think kool-aid is the same as Dex-cool, but auto parts
stores have a Dex-Cool equivalent that is licensed by GM. Read the bottle
and be informed, dude.
GM is not the only supplier of Dex-Cool. I know,.... I'm a GM tech.
Yes, I picked up some Prestone equivalent that says it is compatible with GM
Dex-Cool. Of course, $8.99 per gallon seems like a bit of a rip-off. As long as
I have the engine cooled off, I may do an inspection around the intake
manifold, just to make sure that there isn't anything suspicious going on.
Sure. If I thought I was going to be needing a bunch, then that is a good idea.
But if I am only needing a little bit, then I don't intend to burn up gas
driving all over the county looking for sales.
Prevailing wisdom says to keep Dex-Cool in the car until it is out of warranty.
Then completely flush it clean and replace it with the good old-fashioned green
stuff. I don't have any problem with that.
Better than dealer prices. I couldn't find a place around here that
stocked DEX, so i had to go to the dealer. $16.00 a gallon, and they
mentioned that prices are going up.
Fortunately, a few NAPAs have popped up nearby, and they stock DEX-COOL
I am not an expert, but I can tell you what I think. I think there have been
some suits, but I don't know which of the engines (3.1, 3.4, 3.8) were
involved. I've got the 3.8, so that is all I am interested in. Apparently, when
they switched over to the Series II engine in the mid-1990's, they changed the
intake manifold to be composite instead of metal, but the gasket had a problem.
So, at least in the first year or two, there were lots of failures, and some of
those caused major internal engine damage. Some users felt like the problem was
purely a gasket problem. Some others felt like the problem was made worse by
Dex-Cool. Apparently if you let the reservoir level get too low, and if air
gets into the cooling system, then the air and Dex-Cool mixture goes bad and
the stuff starts to gum up. At this point, it becomes harder to distinguish
between a gasket problem and a coolant maintenance problem. Anyway, after
several years, apparently GM used some better gasket material, so most of the
intake problem went away. Apparently it did not go completely away. Just a
month or two ago I got a GM recall notice that they want to inspect and replace
the intake manifold fasteners. Well, I'll bet you a quarter that they want to
inspect for coolant leaks in the same area, so that they can head off any major
engine damage. So, if I had to bet on it, I would think that there is some
lawsuit somewhere in this matter. Gaskets, coolant, etc. I prefer to follow
I just checked mine, and the coolant was still a clear pink color, and there
are no visible leaks on the rear of the engine (the side closest to the air
I've got the 3.8, so that is all I am interested in. Apparently, when
You haven't been reading carefully, it's been posted many times that the
problem is not with the gasket, or even really with the composite upper
plenum. The problem stems from the EGR tube that protrudes from the
lower aluminum manifold up through the plastic upper plenum. The
tube is heated by the exhaust gases going through it and it in turn
either melts a hole in the upper plenum or simply warps the plastic
bad enough that coolant starts to leak both internally or externally.
This is more of a problem with the 4.3 v-6 in the S-trucks. You
see a bit of it on the 3800, but not as much.
No, it has nothing to do with a "better gasket material". They redesigned
the lower intake manifold with a smaller diameter EGR tube sticking
up through the upper plenum. Here is a comparison of the two:
> month or two ago I got a GM recall notice that they want to inspect and
You would lose your bet. I do these recalls all the time, and there
is no interest in inspecting for coolant leaks. They simply want
the throttle body retaining nuts replaced with an updated nut that
won't lose it's torque over time. And they have us install GM's
form of Bar's leak.....which by the way....they have been installing
in their engines for years right from the factory.
So, you are suggesting that the material of the intake is deforming?
Are you saying that GM did not change the gasket material?
For that reason alone, I think I will skip the recall procedure. I think Bar's
Leak is a good product, if you need a temporary fix to a coolant leak. I would
never dream of putting it into an otherwise-good cooling system.
No, I'm not "suggesting" anything, I'm telling you that the plastic
upper plenum either distorts from the heat of the EGR tube, or it
actually will melt a hole right through the plenum adjacent to the
Not on the 3800 engine. You may be confusing this intake
problem with the 3100/3400 engine intake gasket problem.
On those engines, yes, the intake gasket has been re-designed.
I don't think that you need to skip the recall procedure. Simply ask
that they don't install the two pellets of sealer that are called for
in the recall. The re-designed nuts are probably better at maintaining
the torque at the throttle body.
There isn't anything wrong with these cooling system sealers. Contrary
to popular usenet belief, they don't "clog" anything up. Obviously, they
were never designed to fix something drastic like a head gasket leak, and
I wouldn't recommend using this type of sealer to fix any leaks other then
minor seepage...that's all it was really intended for. GM specifies that
it must be used on their all aluminum Northstar engines, though I have
noticed that lately they have dropped that requirement. I suspect they
are doing a "field" test on whether its really necessary anymore with
Yes, that sounds right. I knew that they had re-done some gasket, but I did not
remember whether it was on all of the engines. A friend of mine just had his
Century done (1999, 3.1L) and he had to pay for it all. $$$
That's not the way that the GM shop here works. If they have a procedure, then
they follow the procedure despite whatever special instruction the customer
gives. In fact, that is exactly why I quit taking my car to that GM shop some
years ago. On an unrelated matter, they insist upon applying fuel injector
cleaner to the tank, even when there is no engine performance issue.
Yes, I just kind of hate to have my car being the field test subject. Of
course, if they do use sealer against my wishes, then I will just flush the
system and put in fresh Dex-Cool, but that costs me money.
Ian, we do value your experience!
And there is good reason to follow the procedures to the "t". Gm
can get nasty if they discover you haven't followed their
procedures...(you...meaning the dealership folk). I had a customer
in the other day (one that insists on looking over your shoulder
for every part of the repair) and he was a little leery of the
sealer, so I offered to simply not put it in. Then all of a sudden
he was worried about coolant leaks, so in they went.
He is a bit of nutcase though. Unfortunately, my service manager
has saddled me with the responsibility of working on his vehicle
whenever he comes in. We shall see....as I'm not really that
excited about customers standing over my shoulder while I'm
working on their vehicle. This customer has bought something
like 40 new vehicles from our dealership, so they somehow
believe that he is exempt from the normal rules within the
Try another dealership maybe? It's only three nuts, its hard to imagine
how anyone could screw up installing them.
Absolutely. I've had responsibility for writing procedures for another
industry, and once the procedure is cast in concrete, trying to alter the
procedure can get very odd results.
I am surprised that a customer would be allowed in the shop area. Around here
in California, a customer would never be permitted into the shop area except by
special dispensation from the Pope.
He probably thinks it is part of his job.
That is because you are such a diplomat.
Yes, that is a good idea. I've had a bit of a grudge against the GM shop
closest to me, but I could drive ten miles more and find another one.
I had written a business letter to the Service Manager at the GM dealership,
and they did not even respond in any way, not even a phone call. My followup
letter was ignored similarly. That is why they lost my service business.
Right, then you understand completely. I'm more willing
to be flexible about such things...but our lead shop foreman
is one of the most anal people I've ever met when it comes
to GM and warranty issues. This is actually good, as we
never have any problems with GM and our warranty
practices. I have worked at dealerships where great
liberties where taken in regards to warranty and there
were some severe repercussions when GM found out.
Like very nasty audits that involved hundreds of thousand
of warranty repair dollars being denied to the dealership.
Well, we are in Canada, a much kinder and gentler nation and
all that (grin). I don't think there are any hard and fast rules
about it in Alberta, but we will often use the old "insurance
regulations don't permit customers in the shop" line when
faced with a customer that insists on watching everything.
I don't really mind a customer watching me work, but what
usually happens is that (because I'm a bit of a pushover) I
end up spending way too much time talking to them, and showing
them this, that or the other thing on their vehicle. Many of them
don't appear to realize that I'm paid on a flat rate basis and by
spending time with them, I lose money.
Case in point: the customer who was over my shoulder.....I
spent 45 minutes doing what should have been a 15 minute
job. So instead of making.... let's say.....35 dollars an hour, I
was reduced to 15 dollars an hour for that particular period
of time. On the one hand, it's a great boost to the ego to
have your service manager have great faith in your ability
to perform the job right and be (as you say) diplomatic with
the customer. On the other hand, it costs me money, and I
learned long ago that food on the table for my family is far
more important the a boost for the old ego.
I did jokingly mention to my boss after the ordeal was
over that I would require 'straight time plus 50%' to
work on that customers vehicle again. He might not
think I'm serious, but I am. That ought to bring me back
up to my normal productivity level.
We have customers that seem to jump from dealership to dealership
around here. Often what one customer dislikes in a dealership just
wont bother another one. And when ever one comes in bitching about
another dealership....I take it with a grain of salt, as I'm sure there are
an equal amount of other folks driving in to other dealerships making
sure that everyone knows what a bunch of crooks we are over at
our dealership. It's always that way.
> I had written a business letter to the Service Manager at the GM
Was this a dealership that you had spent a lot of time at? Did you
do both warranty and off-warranty work at this dealership? Had
you established any kind of relationship with any of the advisors
or even the service manager? What was the concern about?
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