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Old 07-24-2013, 05:49 PM   #1
Bill76
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Default 98 sl2 coolant loss

Hi everyone,I need some help with an invisable coolant leak 98 twin cam 5speed
Here's the run down on every thing done on a craigs list special my son bought.
1---Rebuilt head (pressure test,new guilds &valve job,surfaced,new head bolts
2--Felpro gaskets
3---new rings,ball hone clyinders
4---new water pump& radiator cap,radiator,hoses,temp sensor,thermostat.
Engine runs like a champ BUT it losses coolant ,not a lot but still have to add a little every 3 days or so.
There is none in the oil , none on the ground , none under the hood ,no coolant smell inside the car, no white smoke coming from exauste pipe.
This thing is blowing my mind--Have to get it right because like many young people I know he will drive it until its shot and then say Dad it don't run.
Been turning bolts for 45 years but this has me stumped:

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Old 07-24-2013, 06:46 PM   #2
LabRat
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Default Re: 98 sl2 coolant loss

A fine mystery...my money would still be on the coolant tank cap although you say you replaced it. Our 98 was doing that for several months years ago and it turned out to be the cap. Can you get it pressure tested? My impression of the caps commonly sold is they are a long way from OEM quality.

Try doing a pressure test on the system, or have it done, too.

If you still can't find the leak, look into the the leakstop material made of ground ginger root, think it's "Barsleak Gold Seal" or something like that. It seems it actually works, GM used or uses it. Use it only as directed of course.

-LR

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Old 07-24-2013, 07:27 PM   #3
Bill76
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Default Re: 98 sl2 coolant loss

Thanks labrat----I have not pressure tested the system I know I should have but some sob never returned all the adapters for my tester(lesson learned)
I'll stop the tool truck tomorrow.
Yeah I did put bars leak in when i did the engine (we do this on every engine we build)
Thank you much for the input---Will pressure test next.

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Old 07-25-2013, 09:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: 98 sl2 coolant loss

There may be an issue with part of the cooling system aging from plastic parts. Either by the engine block return or output to the heater core. The plastic feed cracks and leaks by the intake manifold and may be hidden from view. There are a number of posts and solutions given for permanent repairs, including pictures.

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Old 07-25-2013, 10:20 AM   #5
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Default Re: 98 sl2 coolant loss

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill76 View Post
4---new ... radiator cap
Just wanted to confirm - you mean the black plastic cap on the reservoir that hangs off the passenger fender?

I would double check the hose to the thermostat housiing (reach down and feel around the bottom). With a small leak there from a slightly loose clamp or hose not being pushed on enough (to the triangle mark on the housing), it might leak only when the system is pressurized from running, at which point the wind is blowing it back and off the car, or it might be puddling on the plastic splash shields below and you would not see it on the ground (ask me how I know )

Did you use new pistons, or drill holes in the oil return lands? If not, would recommend synthetic oil, especially since it will be in the hands of a young one. The OEM pistons did not have adequate returns and the cars started burning oil after a while, leading to early deaths for a lot of the engines.

I add 3~6 oz of oil every week, don't really want to rebuild the engine on an $800 car (has worked fine for the last 4 years/50k miles). If your son keeps the oil at the full mark, these cars can run forever when owned by someone who can turn a wrench

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Old 07-25-2013, 07:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: 98 sl2 coolant loss

yep i replaced the expanstion tank cap and also drilled the oil ring lands--
Does not use a drop of oil between oil changes (i'am shocked)
Was going to do pressure test but I don't have the right adapter,went to the parts house to get one but changed my mind when told it was $50 plus.
Looked thru this forum and found gran pa joe made one out of an old cap
and valve stem,will make one tonight and use my leak down tester to get about 10 to 15 psi.
But even with new cap this thing has never had any pressure in the tank-
I can it drive it 20 miles and open the cap ---no pressure ever.
will check what you talked about see if there are any leaks there.
Thanks much

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Old 07-26-2013, 11:42 AM   #7
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Default Re: 98 sl2 coolant loss

If no pressure ever there's definitely a leak somewhere.
-LR

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Old 07-26-2013, 11:49 AM   #8
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Default Re: 98 sl2 coolant loss

Going with the pressure cap here as well. I was driving my '95 SL1 along the interstate many years ago when she started smoking and my buddy and I smelled coolant. Got her home and saw that coolant was seeping out from under the coolant cap. The smoke was obviously caused by the coolant hitting a nice hot engine. So, replaced the cap and cleared that right up. Can't remember how much it cost me back then, but I probably have the old one laying around for souvenir purposes. Lol.

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Old 07-26-2013, 02:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: 98 sl2 coolant loss

Quote:
Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
If no pressure ever there's definitely a leak somewhere.
-LR
Yeah, I get a healthy hiss when I crack it open

Burning no oil, nice work! I'm jealous (not enough to put the time, work and money into it, yet)

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Old 07-29-2013, 04:45 PM   #10
Bill76
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Default Re: 98 sl2 coolant loss

Made up a pressure test adapter and did the test
Pumped it to 15# and saw slight bubbles by the hose on the reservoir that goes from reservoir to intake manifold(don,t know what hose does-maybe heat intake for winter?)
Took off crummy bent up screw clamp,cut an inch off the hose,put it back on with spring type clamp and pumped it up to 18#--after about 20 min it dropped about 1/2 lb which seems just fine to me since that 1/2 lb could be my tester or adapter.
Second test I relessed presure and ran engine until cooling fan kicked in and shut off engine when pressure got to 15#---pressure held and slowly dropped as engine cooled.
I also took my old cap apart and the o ring was twisted up--- SHOT

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Old 07-29-2013, 04:54 PM   #11
Bill76
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Default Re: 98 sl2 coolant loss

Made up a pressure test adapter and did the test
Pumped it to 15# and saw slight bubbles by the hose on the reservoir that goes from reservoir to intake manifold(don,t know what hose does-maybe heat intake for winter?)
Took off crummy bent up screw clamp,cut an inch off the hose,put it back on with spring type clamp and pumped it up to 18#--after about 20 min it dropped about 1/2 lb which seems just fine to me since that 1/2 lb could be my tester or adapter.
Second test I relessed presure and ran engine until cooling fan kicked in and shut off engine when pressure got to 15#---pressure held and slowly dropped as engine cooled.
I also took my old cap apart and the o ring was twisted up--- SHOT
Got another new cap today and I heard a hiss when I opened it when warm---will send my other new cap back to china via the dumpster
Any how I think the hose leak and cap were my problems --will keep you informed.
Thanks for the help

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