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Old 05-13-2019, 06:56 PM   #1
changeling616
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Default light that indicates low coolant is coming on lately

Hello,

The light on the dashboard that indicates low coolant level has been coming on lately. on my 2001 SC2.

I looked under the hood. I see what I call the overflow tank - and when the engine is cold, the level in that tank is very but still visible. When warm, the level is a bit below the line that is labeled something saying that should be the level when cold.

No overheating is occurring - the temperature gauge shows temps well within the safe limit.

The only way I see of putting new coolant in is through the overflow container. Is that where you add new solution?

I know that when replacing coolant, you have not supposed to add straight water or straight anti-freeze.

I am not in a rush, considering the temp is not showing dangerous or even near-dangerous temperatures.

Any insight or advice?

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Old 05-13-2019, 07:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: light that indicates low coolant is coming on lately

I'd fill it to the cold line, when cold. The overflow is where you fill it. These days we call it the reservoir.

If the light goes out but then comes on again, you probably have a leak. That is what happened to me when my water pump failed.

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Old 05-14-2019, 07:44 AM   #3
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Default Re: light that indicates low coolant is coming on lately

You can buy premixed antifreeze which doesn't require adding water. Saturns came with Dex-Cool which is orange. Replace with the same if your existing coolant is orange. If it is green then someone changed the coolant to a different type; orange and green are not compatible when mixed. If green then top up with green.

The coolant reservoir has a sensor within it and it detects when the coolant is low. This sensor is prone to failing over time (float sticks) and you can refurbish it by removing the reservoir and cleaning it with soapy water. You can also replace the tank if desired. Otherwise the sensor is not serviceable.

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Old 05-14-2019, 08:26 AM   #4
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Default Re: light that indicates low coolant is coming on lately

^^^^^^
What he said.


Simply check the coolant level when cold. Fill with 50/50 til the divider is just submerged but visible. Run engine to operating temp - let cool fully. If the level is unchanged - change the tank.

If level is lower - you have a leak.

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Old 05-14-2019, 10:59 AM   #5
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Default Re: light that indicates low coolant is coming on lately

It's a sealed system that should not need to be refilled, so I would check for leaks (though there is a chance that it was underfilled last time this was done)

Common spots
  • water pump as mentioned (look for wet spots in front of front passenger wheel)
  • driver side radiator, back of the black plastic end tank. Tends to split, may start as a crack that only seeps when system is hot
  • reservoir cap - tape a piece of paper towel under the cap and inspect for wetness from escaping steam after a drive

you can see the Cold and Hot lines (I outlined by a Sharpie) here - level should be between the two and I prefer to keep it at the max Cold level

[/QUOTE]

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Old 05-14-2019, 05:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: light that indicates low coolant is coming on lately

Like alordofchaos mentioned, you might check the reservoir cap. That was my problem a few weeks ago. Problem solved with new cap and being reminded by my mechanic it must be tightened til you hear it click.

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Old 05-15-2019, 07:14 AM   #7
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Default Re: light that indicates low coolant is coming on lately

Get it back to full, and see what it does. The faster it leaks, the better the chance of finding the leak quickly and without much pain. Don't put it off, as small leaks sometimes become big leaks quickly.

Most of the common areas have been covered. Get the engine leak areas clean and dry and bring the car up to temp while stationary. Look for any signs of liquid or steam. Sometimes it will only leak while up near fan on temperature. I recently replaced a reservoir tank that only leaked via steam up near full operating temp.

Thankfully, most of the common leak areas are not difficult or expensive to repair.

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Old 05-15-2019, 08:58 PM   #8
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Default Re: light that indicates low coolant is coming on lately

The light had been coming on for weeks. During those weeks, the level did not seem to go down significantly at all.

Before driving the car today, while cold, I filled it with coolant that I bought that was premixed 50/50.

While driving today, the light never came on.

Considering that while the light was on for weeks it went down very little, I am thinking any leak there is is probably fairly insignificant.

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Old 05-18-2019, 07:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: light that indicates low coolant is coming on lately

I bought my SW2 new in March 1996 and it came with the green coolant. So saying all Saturns that use the green formula have had owners who've changed from thre DexCool isn't totally correct. The reservoir cap on mine even has a green badge, if I remember correctly.

Seems as if I read that a change was made, from one type of coolant to the other, sometime during the '96 model year.

Someone on here, who knows the production details and dates, will be able to correct me if that's not right.

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Old 05-18-2019, 07:38 PM   #10
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Default Re: light that indicates low coolant is coming on lately

If the coolant has not been renewed {And the block flushed out during procedure} recently -- like within 5 years or 100kMi -- you need flush out the block. Must drain the block from bolt near the thermostat hsg.

I bought a 2000 car which had a newish radiator (recently replaced) last year.

I assumed the coolant had been drained, engine flushed, etc. Not So !!

The block had never been drained, and the coolant was stratified, with green atop dexcool/pink.

When i drained & flushed, some of the crud that drained out left a stain on the roadway which remains, one year later.

OLD Dexcool becomes acidic, and dissolves the head gasket!!

Maintain your coolant... the engine's life depends upon it.

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Old 05-20-2019, 01:00 PM   #11
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Default Re: light that indicates low coolant is coming on lately

You may have not had a leak at all.

Whoever filled it last time may have done the same thing I did when first got a Saturn - assume that you just fill the tank about half way, and call it a day

After that, it was fine for months. Then the weather dropped and I started getting intermittent Low Coolant lights. Turns out, I had filled it just enough to keep the light from going on, but with the colder weather and contraction, it was enough to set the light off occasionally (till the coolant heated up again)

Halfway is roughly the Min Cold line

That's one of the reasons I keep it at the Max Cold line

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Old 06-12-2019, 10:26 PM   #12
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Default Re: light that indicates low coolant is coming on lately

Right about the time of Tom's post, May 18, I added more premixed coolant in the reservoir. No problems for weeks, but yesterday, June 11, the light again appeared. It seems I may have a very slow leak. I added more again today.

Any suggestions other than going to a service center and paying a lot for them to look at the overall cooling system?

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Old 06-12-2019, 10:57 PM   #13
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Default Re: light that indicates low coolant is coming on lately

As Signmaster said, get everything clean and dry so you can find the source. If that is not enough chuck some UV dye in the system and buy a blacklight.

https://www.amazon.com/Interdynamics...-1-spons&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07D1...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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Old 06-13-2019, 12:29 AM   #14
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Default Re: light that indicates low coolant is coming on lately

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiex191 View Post
As Signmaster said, get everything clean and dry so you can find the source. If that is not enough chuck some UV dye in the system and buy a blacklight.

https://www.amazon.com/Interdynamics...-1-spons&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07D1...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Thanks.

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Old 06-13-2019, 09:44 AM   #15
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Default Re: light that indicates low coolant is coming on lately

may want to read over this recent thread - covers similar issue

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=237389

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Old 06-13-2019, 02:06 PM   #16
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Default Re: light that indicates low coolant is coming on lately

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
may want to read over this recent thread - covers similar issue

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=237389
Thanks.

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Old 07-11-2019, 08:12 PM   #17
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Default Re: light that indicates low coolant is coming on lately

I decided to do the oil change on my 2001 Saturn SC2. It was the first time for this car.

I would not have gotten into doing it myself if I did not have the internet... I would have been far more likely to make a mistake. Ended up looking for some info on this site to complete the task.

But in doing so, I saw that the green antifreeze/coolant was leaking on the driver's side. I looked from above saw some wet spots but am not 100% sure where the leak is.... I will include a photo.

There seems to be a leak with the small metal hose/pipe where it connects to what I think is the radiator coil. (The connection is just below and just right of center.)

What do you guys think?

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Old 07-12-2019, 06:10 AM   #18
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Default Re: light that indicates low coolant is coming on lately

Looks like it could be the infamous failing crimp on the plastic end tanks (solution is to replace the radiator). It could also be the trans cooling line connection pulling away from the end tank (same solution). Hard to tell from that photo.

Best,

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Old 07-12-2019, 07:39 AM   #19
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Default Re: light that indicates low coolant is coming on lately

This is likely your issue. It took me a while to figure your photo was looking up from the bottom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by trottida View Post
Check on the drivers side end cap of the radiator (engine side) for cracking; a common failure area as per the photo below. The opposite side may also share the same fate. More photos here >> What did you do to your S-Series today... POST 5123


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Old 07-12-2019, 06:53 PM   #20
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Default Re: light that indicates low coolant is coming on lately

Quote:
Originally Posted by trottida View Post
This is likely your issue. It took me a while to figure your photo was looking up from the bottom.
Actually, I was looking from above, on the driver's side. Top of photo is closer to the windshield, and bottom is towards headlights.

Is there any other solution than replacing the radiator?

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