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Old 09-11-2020, 08:10 PM   #1
neurotopia
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2005 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
2002 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default coolant leak

Are there any common places for a slow coolant leak in a 2002 2.2 L? I'm not seeing anything obvious.
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Old 09-11-2020, 08:27 PM   #2
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
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Default Re: coolant leak

I have found the water pump to be the most common leak. It is difficult to see without a lift.
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Old 09-12-2020, 07:00 AM   #3
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Default Re: coolant leak

The orings on the heater core leak sometimes. Take the kick panel off on the front passenger side that is near the hump in the floor to see if carpet is wet.
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Old 09-12-2020, 09:35 AM   #4
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Default Re: coolant leak

Put a finger underneath the heater hoses quick disconnect connectors that feed through the firewall. These plastic connectors decay over time and develop small leaks which drain the coolant slowly and rarely show a wet spot on the ground.
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Old 09-12-2020, 10:01 AM   #5
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Default Re: coolant leak - avoid shyster dealers on this one- youll get soaked and not byleak

hi sages - have experienced both these leak causes on my L 100. the o rings leaking on the heater core soaked the hell out of the carpet. fixed it . hardest part was getting the right o rings. finally a good contact on this forum sent me a few. need 2. be sure to lightly them with silicon lube. dont break the plastic clamps. they cost millions. later a mysterious leak which took a while to find was the odd connectors of the heater hoses at the firewall. they do degrade and leak. they wouldnt slide off like the manual says . had to break them. cut and fitted new stock hoses and used the old ring gear screw clamps from 1964. leak ended. still holding. good luck. only heinous words i used were for the harvard engineer who designed the "easy" oe slide off clamps. no apologies for my bad attitude. good luck bob f
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Old 09-12-2020, 07:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: coolant leak

I'm in complete agreement with previous posts suggesting likely points for a coolant leak. I'll add a fourth: the joint between the radiator and the side tank. Leaks here can also be difficult to spot as the trail of the leak will often dry up near that joint (or seem) while the car is being driven. Even so, careful examination with a flashlight should reveal a leak trail.

With regard to a water pump leak, that can be a little easier to find if the air vent is directed up and away from the engine as it was with my original water pump (and is now with the present replacement). If a leak exists from the water pump it's typically exiting through that location up and over on to the pump itself or its rear cover. Additionally, the vent hole itself will show an oily residue or some presence of coolant as well. If the vent points towards the engine then the leak will appear somewhat low on the block since the coolant is being sprayed on to it once the engine has been started. Once the engine gets hot it dries the coolant sprayed on to it, but a trail is still left behind.
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Old 09-15-2020, 11:50 AM   #7
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Default Re: coolant leak

My LW200 has had a few - the first was the heater core at only 75K miles. (Replaced under extended warranty)

Then it was around 200K miles when there was a leak under the hood, at the firewall - so I assume this was one of the heater core hoses. I had my mechanic replace all the hoses at that point.

Then most recently (now at 272K) was the water pump - and because of the pandemic, the car isn't being driven much, but I'm still losing a little coolant from somewhere.
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Old 09-15-2020, 10:03 PM   #8
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Default Re: coolant leak

I'll have to wait to see again when my daughter has it back here since she doesn't live with us. I guess there was some coolant leaking out more to the left half of the engine bay, on the ground. That's what I have to go on so far. No overheating.
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Old 09-16-2020, 03:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: coolant leak

The following may be unnecessary questions, but I'm left wondering: has someone actually added coolant to the system on a somewhat regular basis recently? Could it have been condensation that was seen (the drain for a/c condensation is at the firewall [rear], center-left of the engine compartment)? Did someone see what the color of the fluid was or touch it to gauge the fluid's consistency?
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Old 09-16-2020, 04:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: coolant leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by pierrot View Post
The following may be unnecessary questions, but I'm left wondering: has someone actually added coolant to the system on a somewhat regular basis recently? Could it have been condensation that was seen (the drain for a/c condensation is at the firewall [rear], center-left of the engine compartment)? Did someone see what the color of the fluid was or touch it to gauge the fluid's consistency?
Good catch Pierrot. It is surprising the number of drivers who think they have a coolant leak when in reality it's the run off from the AC. As the poster said, it is his daughters car, so I'm making a big guess that she saw "coolant" and though "a leak", when it's the ac run off. She wouldn't be the first to do that and unlikely to be the last!
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:48 PM   #11
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Default Re: coolant leak

My Lw200 has a low coolant sensor (a float) - and it's triggered at a pretty high tank level - I assume that's so that you have early warning to any coolant loss. So it's also possible that this little warning light is why they're assuming it's a coolant leak.
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Old 09-19-2020, 01:19 PM   #12
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Default Re: coolant leak

They should check that the drain from the A/C isn't plugged that can also happen as it did for my parents L300 and my L300 so make sure you clean that drain port to insure it's not water instead actual coolant.
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Old 09-24-2020, 11:47 PM   #13
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Default Re: coolant leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by pierrot View Post
The following may be unnecessary questions, but I'm left wondering: has someone actually added coolant to the system on a somewhat regular basis recently? Could it have been condensation that was seen (the drain for a/c condensation is at the firewall [rear], center-left of the engine compartment)? Did someone see what the color of the fluid was or touch it to gauge the fluid's consistency?
Hi all,

Sorry been busy. So I replaced her leaking radiator last year and it has all new coolant. Haven't got a chance to get under the car again, but her level was low last time I saw her and the light was on (down almost an inch from the line). I also stuck my finger in the small puddle and it tasted sweet, not AC runoff.
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Old 09-25-2020, 09:14 AM   #14
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Default Re: coolant leak

Firewall quick disconnect connectors will leak at that rate. Easy fix!

Let's hope it is one of those causing the leak vs a leaky intake/thermostat housing etc...

And, don't rule out the water pump. When they start to leak... it won't be long before they really dump the coolant.
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Old 09-28-2020, 07:14 PM   #15
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Default Re: coolant leak

In addition to suggestions of most likely places for 2.2L coolant leaks, one suggestion may or may not help - using a pressure tester for the cooling system. A hand held air pump like a bicycle pump, hose, gauge and adapters to fit most coolant containers and radiators as a kit borrowed from AutoZone or Advance Auto. A cold engine is easier to pressurize to coolant cap rated pressure to find leaks without burning or scalding hands, fingers and other human parts not rated for hot coolant. The trick to these kits is having the exact adapter to fit your Saturn coolant container. The adapter replaces the cap so the pressure hose from the air pump fits to allow pumping up to system pressure and looking for the elusive leak. If you try the two auto stores, take your coolant cap with you to compare to adapters to be sure one is an exact fit before assuming the kit will work on your car. Warning: be very careful opening the coolant cap on a hot engine. I've slowly opened my coolant container cap on a hot engine with a heavy rag or glove in case of scalding coolant rushing out but it never comes to that as pressure is released slowly in a few seconds. Mine releases pressure quickly. Every vehicle is different. If necessary, park and walk into the store and shop to kill some time like 15 minutes, enough time to let the engine cool a little before going out removing the coolant cap. Just unscrewing the cap slowly until pressurized air releases should work since the upper portion of coolant containers holds air for coolant to expand and contract. Another way, if an adapter isn't available is to make one from scratch from a spare cap and tire valve. This does require some imagination to make and the adapters from a kit can help make a custom one. Using a pressure tester will force the cooling system to operating pressures and any weakness in plumbing should become visible leaks without worrying about hot engine parts. And the pressure gauge serves double duty - pressurizing to cap rated pressure and if a leak is occurring, the pressure will drop. Every cooling system is sealed to operate up to around 20 psi in hot and humid weather where the cooling system is strained to the max. All cooling systems operate under pressure without leaking or boiling over. If you see pressure dropping on this pressure tester, you have a leak somewhere or loose hose clamp. Just don't over pressurize the system - bursting a radiator or heater core can be an expensive way to learn how not to exceed advice.

The one problem with water pump leaks may be that its well hidden and not easy to detect visible leaking of coolant. It's also driven by a separate chain, not drive belt, making it more difficult to determine if the pump bearing is worn and the major cause of leaking. In theory, coolant leaking from the pump should let coolant into the oil system. A check for coolant droplets on the oil dipstick would be a tell tale sign of pump leaking coolant into the oil.
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Old 09-28-2020, 07:46 PM   #16
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
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Default Re: coolant leak

2.2L water pumps are driven by the balance shaft chain. There is a physical separation that will not allow coolant to enter the engine. The weep hole is between the coolant part of the pump and the bearing and the drive end. Coolant in the oil does not come from a failed pump seal. Most likely an external leak on these engines.
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Old 09-29-2020, 01:15 AM   #17
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Default Re: coolant leak

^^Admittedly, I've not replaced water pumps as I once did working for my father at his service station. However, in all of my aftermarket automotive experience I cannot recall seeing nor being told of coolant entering the crankcase due to a water pump leak. This is not to suggest that it has never happened, but this is a surprise to me. So if anyone knows of such an incident please share it with us.
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Old 09-29-2020, 08:40 PM   #18
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Default Re: coolant leak

As others have noted, check the inlet and outlet hoses going to the heater core. I had both inlet and outlet hoses leak on separate occasions about a year from each other. They commonly go bad, it's either the O ring or the plastic connector that wears and starts leaking over time. Those hoses are easy to replace, and somewhat easily found through GM new old stock websites/sellers. Even if just one is bad, replace them both. It's not a question of if, it is a question of when
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