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Old 08-07-2010, 06:10 PM   #1
LarryBean
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Default Astra using coolant

Hello forum; about 6 weeks ago the belt broke on my 08 Astra. I didn't initially realize and drove until the temperature light came on. I stopped and had the car towed. The Chevy dealer replaced the belt and a coolant bypass they said had been fried by the overheating.

Since that time the Astra is a) using about 2 inches of coolant a week (not leaking) b) has the check engine light on most of the time c) when starting especially after overnight it chugs for 15-20 seconds then seems to "clear it's throat" and runs well and d) there is not white smoke from the exhaust but I frequently get a whiff of coolant

I suspect a head gasket but had it back to the dealer and they could not find a head problem; they pressure tested etc. Any thoughts? Could there be something pushing a small amount of coolant into the engine instead of a failing head gasket.

I am puzzled. Thanks for any input!

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Old 08-07-2010, 10:46 PM   #2
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Default Re: Astra using coolant

I'd suspect head gasket as well, since that is the most likely junction where coolant can enter the combustion chamber (short of a cracked head or cracked block), and rough running on initial start-up sounds like fouled plugs. If you're adding coolant, you're losing coolant -- plain and simple. The coolant system is either leaking externally or the engine is burning it (ie: leaking internally). A proper pressure test should determine either/both, but depending on how much driving you do per week, that leak might be so small that only the most patient technician would be able to spot it.

Did they say what code(s) were responsible for the SES light being on? Do you park indoors where you could possibly monitor any coolant leaks on the ground?

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Old 08-10-2010, 12:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: Astra using coolant

I would keep following up with the dealer. No matter what the problem is, they should not be giving you a car back with the Check Engine light still on.

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Old 08-23-2010, 08:50 AM   #4
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Default Re: Astra using coolant

I am currently replacing the head gasket on my Astra. I ordered the gasket and bolts which won't be here till Sept 1st. When I suspected a problem, I did a compression test and plug reading, neither of which confirmed a leak. I did however have excess pressure on the coolant side, which for some reason made the vehicle hard to start until the reservoir cap was loosened. Coolant was also entering the crankcase. I have since removed the head(one of the more difficult head removals) and read the head gasket- still nothing obvious. Placing a straight edge on the head I came up .004-.005 distortion- I'm hoping this is the culprit. The head is now milled and I am waiting for the gasket to arrive. I will put a temp gauge (which the factory should have done) on this vehicle before it goes back on the road. I think the problem started with a front end accident which took out the radiator. That was before I owned the car.

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Old 12-03-2010, 03:39 PM   #5
adammsu
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Default Re: Astra using coolant

I recently got the "coolant level" idiot message as well, just ticked 36k miles. It was indeed below the line when cold. I added, maybe a couple ounces, of the red stuff and it filled to the line when cold.

do you think its reasonable in 36k miles for the coolant level to drop a little? i recognize its possible that it is a new "feature" but after i topped it off, i did a 200 mile drive, and seems topped off still. No floor marks that i have noticed, but its a garage spot, so the area where the spot would be is always covered..... with the car, lol.

i also had an alero with a gasket leak in the past, so i am pretty sensitive to the smell..... i havent noticed the tell tale smell of coolant burning....

glad the powertrain warranty is 100k/5 years... i might try and take it in, we'll see if it drops again.

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Old 12-08-2010, 03:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Astra using coolant

I just rolled over 38k and I've been getting the creck coolant message too.

Granted, we just hit the below-freezing part of winter, so that is a factor too.

Is there a special type of coolant to use, or is plain antifreeze safe?

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Old 12-09-2010, 08:25 AM   #7
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Default Re: Astra using coolant

if the collant is red, then it is dexcool.
Your engine must have gotten very hot. if u are losing coolant after the engine overheated, then the head has warped and will need milling. there could also be a crack in the head. and if coolant entered the crankcase, u could have furthur problems with main bearings.
wouldn't it be great to have both an analog temperature & an oil pressure gauge!!

...
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:32 PM   #8
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Default Re: Astra using coolant

Quote:
Originally Posted by 72gssaturn View Post
if the coolant is red, then it is dexcool.
Your engine must have gotten very hot. if u are losing coolant after the engine overheated, then the head has warped and will need milling. there could also be a crack in the head. and if coolant entered the crankcase, u could have further problems with main bearings.
wouldn't it be great to have both an analog temperature & an oil pressure gauge!!
my question too that is why we don't have those gauges in the first place? Ive been thinking about getting that ODB plug thing from eBay and a Netbook and using the software from Linux to show live gauges at all time via the Netbook.

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Old 12-10-2010, 08:17 AM   #9
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Default Re: Astra using coolant

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunchbox1984 View Post
my question too that is why we don't have those gauges in the first place? Ive been thinking about getting that ODB plug thing from eBay and a Netbook and using the software from Linux to show live gauges at all time via the Netbook.
it is cheaper to install and use idiot lights, easier to design a dash. too bad they didn't have an option programmed into the "dic" centre that u could select to display the oil pressure, temp, voltage all the time.

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Old 12-10-2010, 09:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: Astra using coolant

Quote:
Originally Posted by 72gssaturn View Post
wouldn't it be great to have both an analog temperature & an oil pressure gauge!!
Cobalts and Pursuit/G5s lack coolant temperature gauges as well. If all they were going to give us was an idiot light, it would have been nice if they followed Toyota's and/or Subaru's lead and integrated an idiot light that lit up red when it was too hot, and lit up blue when it was still cold. Would have been cheaper than a gauge, and only a few pennies more than what we have now.

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Old 12-10-2010, 10:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunchbox1984 View Post
my question too that is why we don't have those gauges in the first place? Ive been thinking about getting that ODB plug thing from eBay and a Netbook and using the software from Linux to show live gauges at all time via the Netbook.
What is this software you speak of, and what disto is it compiled for?

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