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vonVeezelsnider

Coolant Light?

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So this is getting a little worrisome...

It all started back in late October, I had the Cavalier in to the dealer to have it inspected before the snow flew and about 2 days after I got it back, I was driving home and the coolant light came on. When the engine was nice and cold, the coolant was just about an inch below the "Full Cold" line. I took it back to the dealer and talked to the service manager, he decided to fill it for me himself because it should have been checked... so he filled it up for me en gratis and it seemed fine, but now, on my way home, again the coolant light came on, so when I got home and the engine cooled off, sure enough, coolant is almost an inch below the "Full Cold" line. There's no noticeable stain on the pavement under my car so could this be an internal coolant leak? or worse, could it be the Head Gasket? What should I do from here? Coolant Pressure Test?

Anyway I appreciate any advice you might have.

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It's the old 2.2, right? (97, I believe)

How's she running?

Unless your oil is getting milky, I don't think I'd panic yet.

If there is no puddles underneath the car, and your oil is fine, then chances are good that it is leaking, my guess would be from one of the hoses...

I've noticed that the Cavs from those years (93-98) the hoses don't seen to last as long as they should.

Let us know how she running...that should give us a better idea...

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It's the old 2.2, right? (97, I believe)

How's she running?

Unless your oil is getting milky, I don't think I'd panic yet.

If there is no puddles underneath the car, and your oil is fine, then chances are good that it is leaking, my guess would be from one of the hoses...

I've noticed that the Cavs from those years (93-98) the hoses don't seen to last as long as they should.

Let us know how she running...that should give us a better idea...

Well the first thing I checked was the hoses... They aren't leaking at the connector to the coolant tank or anywhere along the reachable part of the hoses, but that really isn't saying anything. It's a 2.2L L4, and it's running about normal except for a few things that have just been happening in the two weeks. First of all, the last 2 tanks of gas I have had have burned off quite noticeably faster than usual. In 90/10 City/Hwy driving I usually get about 22-23MPG on every tank and every tank lasts me about 280-290 miles (450-470km). Since I filled the tank Sunday afternoon I've only driven 35 miles (28km) and the gas gauge is registering at 3/4 Tank, which is odd, because it usually takes like 90 miles before it registers at 3/4 Tank. It was like that on the tank before that too, which is odd, but that could just be a coincidence. The second thing I noticed is that it seems a little sluggish all of a sudden within the last week. The third thing is that the Temperature Gauge is registering near the 3/4 mark rather than the 1/2 like it usually does, I know all Cavaliers run a little hot but it's unusual that alot of this is happening at once. I haven't checked the oil lately, but what should I be looking for?

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I haven't checked the oil lately, but what should I be looking for?

The level may be high and it maybe milky. You could look at the the oil-fill cap and see if there is moisture or goo condensing on it. Good luck!

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You really would want to check the oil level with the engine warm that way the coolant will have circulated through the engine, so if there is any kind of way for the engine oil and coolant to mix it will have started. The oil will be kind of a chocolate milk color and a sludgy kinda consistency (sp?). If you've got oil and water mixing, then you could have a blown head gasket, easy way to check would be to compression test the engine and look for the cylinder(s) that are leaking down.

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Doesn't sound good - I hope you don't find "petroleum milkshake" when you check the oil.

I hope not but if it is the Head Gasket I'll have caught it (hopefully) soon enough to prevent what happened to my friend's Olds 88 This summer. It's gonna hurt me square in the pocketbook to have a head gasket done, but the car's only got 65000 miles so it's probably worth it.

Now, Discounting the Head Gasket, where else could this sucker be leaking?

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If not the Head than perhaps more likely the Heater Core or Water Pump. Whatever it is, it HAS to be doing something to my fuel consumption.

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Well in part, it is doing something with your fuel consumption. With the coolant level running low and with the temp running higher, the engine is going to run a little richer (since fuel is used as a coolant as it runs throug the fuel rail and until it goes through the intake valve and into the combustion chamber), which means you're not going to get the best mileage in the world.

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So, how did the oil look?

Oil level was a little high but not milky at all.

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Hmm, I'd still do a compression test on the engine, just to make sure you're not loosing coolant out of the exhaust side of things.

Agreed.

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Well, just a little update.

I've been driving the car all weekend and it's been running shaking alot on startup lately and not cranking over as nice as it usually does. Coolant is still well down and the light is still coming on. I've got an appt. at my dealer for this week, and they are under explicit orders to pressure test the coolant system and to do a compression test on the engine. I had a discussion with my bosses (parents) yesterday and agreed to a ~750$ Pain Threshold... So to speak, if it costs more that, they'd just as soon see me in a possibly newer, lower mileage car. I'll update after I hear from the mechanic.

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Good luck!

Hopefully it won't be too much..she seems to be a good running car for you....

Thinking about it though-it was a Headgasket issue (again) and the Neon the put the wife into a new Cavalier (2003).... :scratchchin:

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I too would rather not let it go, but at the end of the day, if that's what has to happen, then I guess there's nothing stopping it. I need a car with cruise control (mine was special ordered from the factory), which would be hard to find in a J-Bod.

My parents are also reluctant to invest into the same car that just burned them in the wallet. If it does go for the big one, expect me to get a N-Body Malibu/Alero, or a W-Body Century. There's also a 1998 LeSabre for sale with 30K miles, and a 1998 Eighty Eight for sale for 50K miles. So there are some decisions to be made.

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Hmmm..

as far as cruise-you just need a higher end model (though it could be ordered on any cav)

and all those cars would be a good choice!

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Hmmm..

as far as cruise-you just need a higher end model (though it could be ordered on any cav)

and all those cars would be a good choice!

Yeah I know... but there aren't many high end models in Calgary, so cruise is extremely rare as an option where I live. Mine only has it because it was special ordered from the factory (most weren't here) with only five options. Three Speed Auto, A/C, ABS, Tape Deck, Criuse.

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Yeah I know... but there aren't many high end models in Calgary, so cruise is extremely rare as an option where I live. Mine only has it because it was special ordered from the factory (most weren't here) with only five options. Three Speed Auto, A/C, ABS, Tape Deck, Criuse.

Guess we'll have to sneak you one from the US, then. :AH-HA_wink:

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Well... What an Ordeal...

500$ Later my car is back on the road. The car was losing coolant at the water pump... the whole thing was faulty and had to be replaced... Now the car runs better than I ever remember it running so I'm happy.

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