My wifes has a 99 Alero with a 3.4L engine and about 46K miles. We
bought it used so I have no clue if the dexcool had ever been changed
so today I took it into the dealer thinking 5 years or 150K and this
is its fifth year. I asked if they would put the pellets in and they
said they had never heard of putting pellets in this particular car.
Only the 3800 which had a throttle body problem. He told me they would
do it if I wanted them to but it would be at the customers request. He
then began to explain what the pellets were for and cautioned me that
it could clog my heater core etc... if used excessively. He said since
I bought the car used I probably shouldn't put any pellets in because
the provious owner probably had it done already.
I took him over to the car and showed him the traces where my intake
leaks slightly on both ends (left and right). They are not wet, more
like moist traces that are visible to me and i'm in no way a mechanic.
He said the pellets would do nothing for this and that I needed to
have the intake manifold gasket changed. $850 was the quote.
What do you guys think? Should I have the dexcool flushed and changed
with a couple of pellets added and hope everything turns out ok or
should I save and save until I can afford to have the intake gasket
PS... He also said he could see that the head gasket on the back bank
will need to be replaced eventually. Again, slight moisture but never
anything on the driveway and i've only added more dexcool one or two
times in the 3 years we've had the car.
Wife's 3.4L Impala had a little bit of wetness and I had to add once or
twice. After a while it started to smell like antifreeze so we took it to
replace the intake gasket on the extended warranty, I would say get it
fixed now before it gets worse.
There is no point in using the pellets on this engine line. They
were never really intended for use in these engines. There may
be some added from the factory initially, but I've never used
any on this particular line of engines.
> I took him over to the car and showed him the traces where my intake
He's right. By the time you see the slight leaking on the outside,
it's already leaking internally.
Save for the intake, and instead of changing the dexcool right now,
change your oil instead. That's more important. The 3.4 engines
are also getting a bit of a reputation for rear head gaskets failing.
They split at the outer perimeter and you get an external coolant
leak. They do not seem to leak internally, the intake gasket manages
to do that all by itself.
Let me add to this here. The 2.8/3.1/3.4 engine family in both FWD &
RWD versions is known for external leaking at the cylinder head gaskets.
All have intake gasket sealing issues, regardless of generation.
And thats the frustrating part, how many years will it take for the issue to
be fixed, the 2.8 was introduced around 20 years ago. I mean its still not
as bad an an import with having to replace the timing belt but still it
shouldn't take 20 years to fix a common problem.
Thanks for all the responses. I guess in short I won't be getting the
new wheels for my Buick anytime soon. Might be for the best, I was
nosing around ebay for prices and noticed I can probably get a set of
15" at a great price if i'm patient. However I have a couple of
I'm confused, after reading about the 3.4L intake problem I started
googling and there were several sites reccommending this. I realize
after talking to the guy at the dealership that GM would never use
pellets and call it a fix they could back because 1) changing the head
gasket brings in more revenue and is more of a sure repair and 2) I
agree that the use of a stop leak is a hit or miss, shaddy tree
mechanic, get by type of measure and not a "fix". However, one site
said GM recommended it in bulletin 00-06-02-004. I didn't want to pay
any site to see the actual bulletin but can someone tell me if GM
really said this is the fix or was this bulletin mis-quoted?
This is where i get lost, I maybe added coolant 1 or 2 times in 3
years. That doesn't seem like much with the extreme temp changes we
have in Denver. Do you really think it could be leaking internally?
Can't you usually smell a sweet smell on the oil filler cap when this
I took your advice here and had my oil changed even though it was just
changed about 1.5K miles ago. I ordered one of the test kits from the
site John Horner posted (thanks John). My plan is since it will take 2
or 3 weeks to get the kit, we will mostly dive this car untill the kit
arrives then we will send in a sample. I guess that will tell us if we
need to spend the $850 or not. Does this sound like a good plan?
So if this is the case, it is not as urgent as getting the intake
changed. If I have to get the intake changed do you think it is smart
to go ahead and have the head gasket changed at the same time? That is
what the dealership was alluding to...
Thanks Ian and all...
We don't change components because they "bring in more
revenue".....we change them because we know that it will
fix the problem and fix it right. The GM stop-leak was
never intended to actually fix big coolant leaks that need
repairing, it was intended stop minor seepage that might
occur. Having said that, it won't hurt an engine to install
a couple of pellets, but you can't fill up half the cooling
system with the stuff and not expect bad things to happen.
This bulletin has nothing to do with the pellets, doesn't even
mention them. I guess that site either doesn't know what
they are talking about, or misquoted the bulletin number.
> This is where i get lost, I maybe added coolant 1 or 2 times in 3
Extreme temp changes mean nothing. Coolant is not like oil
where it gets "used up". You should never need to fill up coolant
on a regular basis. And no, these intake gaskets tend to leak
so slowly at first, that you get no creamy scum build-up on the
filler cap. But you will notice a brown scum starting to coat
everything inside the engine.
> I took your advice here and had my oil changed even though it was just
Well, let's put it this way....it's only another couple of hours labour, and
the cost of the head gasket in order to complete the entire job. If you
do the intake (and it really needs the head gasket) and you don't do
the head gasket.....and then the head gasket really fails and needs to
be done....you will be re-doing and re-buying all of the intake gasket
stuff again. But make sure the head gasket is really leaking, not just
showing minor signs of seepage. They will go a long time with that
seepage and cause no harm. Dexcool does that, it likes to kinda
ooze out everywhere.
The big problem with these intake manifold gasket leaks is that often
coolant is also getting into the engine's oil. That is a very bad think.
You can have a sample of your used motor oil checked for $20 to see if it is
happening to your vehicle yet. http://www.blackstone-labs.com/ is one of
several places which will send you a free sample container to do the test.
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