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Old 03-08-2007, 01:40 PM   #1
marshman
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Default coolant leak saturn LS1

Last month I noticed my coolant going down . So I came to this forum for help . I read that many people have been having water pump problems so I ASSUMED I was in that same group . I have had 115000 trouble free miles , So this was not too unexpected . I bought a pump at autozone because the closest saturn dealer is over an hour away . I then got my haynes book out and seen this was not a job for the backyard mechanic . I called 10 auto shops in the area , asked them if they had the special tool, and not 1 would even attempt this job . So I called Saturn and made an appointment . I told them I had a pump and they agreed to use my new pump . So I get up there a week later and I notice that the floor is wet on the passenger side . (I did not notice this in the previous weeks I was adding coolant ). The dealer tells me that it isn't the water pump , But he thinks it is the Heater core . I remember this site talking about O-rings leaking on the intake side of the core. Seeing I had the pump already , I had them put the new one in . They did it for $225 labor . I then told them I'd keep an eye on the heater core . Sure as heck I'd go for a drive and the Upper core pipe would have Dexcool on it . then it runs down the pipe onto the floor . Called the dealor "240 for the core , 175 labor " Geeesh .. $400 bucks for a heater core .So I went to Ace hardware ..got the 1 x 3/4 x 1/8 O- ring for $0.59 .. took it apart in less than 30 minute . Fits like the original . Thanks to you guys on the forum . I am $400 to the good ,plus a water pump I didn't need , but replaced anyways as I plan on keeping the car. I mentioned it to the dealer it was an O-ring , and he told me they just sell the whole heater core . Keep up the good work on this forum guys .
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Old 03-10-2007, 05:38 PM   #2
RVachon
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Default Re: coolant leak saturn LS1

Do you need to access from inside the car or just under the hood to change that o-ring?
...
Ray

2000 LS2 3.0L - 200,000 kms (125,000 miles) as of July 2009
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Old 03-10-2007, 07:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: coolant leak saturn LS1

Quote:
Originally Posted by marshman View Post
........ Sure as heck I'd go for a drive and the Upper core pipe would have Dexcool on it......... then it runs down the pipe onto the floor . Called the dealer, "$240 for the core , $175 labor " Geeesh .. $400 bucks for a heater core .So I went to Ace hardware ..got the 1 x 3/4 x 1/8 O- ring for $0.59 .. took it apart in less than 30 minute . Fits like the original . Thanks to you guys on the forum . I am $400 to the good ,plus a water pump I didn't need , but replaced anyways as I plan on keeping the car. I mentioned it to the dealer it was an O-ring , and he told me they just sell the whole heater core . Keep up the good work on this forum guys .
Score one for the DIY'er!!

Just a cautionary note; keep your eye on the O-ring/heater/cooant level just in case its a little undersized and/or it decides to let go some day, like in the middle of next winter's snowstorm.
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Old 03-11-2007, 06:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: coolant leak saturn LS1


for those that inquired about the O-ring fix .. The size that seems to be correct is 1 X 3/4 X 1/8 available at any hardware store in the faucet repair section . The core is not leaking at the pipe anymore but I am still getting some coolant on the floor . I am beginning to think that the core does have a leak . Must be a pinhole ..But it is not leaking at the o-ring anymore . Either way I intend to replace the core .. For the guy asking how to change it .. Here are my steps ...Note it is usually the upper heater core pipe( Intake) that leaks.

1:Remove the passenger side trim panel ..Place a sheet of aluminum foil under the pipes and a small cake pan ( I used a paint roller liner ) on the floor ... You will lose some coolant and it will roll down the foil into the pan .

2:After engine is cool ... I opened the radiator cap.. To make sure there was no pressure left in the system ...Then put an oil pan on the ground under the quick connects .Then those goofy quick connects on the firewall must be removed .(This can be tricky) There is a TAB on the bottom (6 oclock position ) that must be pressed . Then slide the connector toward the engine about a quarter inch . Then TWIST the connection off . Mine came off turning counterclockwise. A little coolant will run out . Rather than drain the whole system , I wired these hoses up higher than the coolant tank . why drain the coolant when I had been adding it for the last month?

3:Next open the side panel .. The tubes have a little black clip on them .Use a small flat screwdriver to take these off . Then get ready to pull the tube out of the heater core . This takes a little strength and twisting , Once you get then started they will slide right out . Take off the old O-ring , Clean the pipe as best you can , and place the new ring on .

4: The new ring is tight . I used a channel lock on the lip of the heater core to press it in. Place the plastic clips back on . ( If you were replacing the heater core , you would take the holder off , slide it out , and put the new core back in . )

5:Put the firewall quick connects back on .. Slide them all the way up and pull the locking section toward the firewall ... Replace the radiator cap .. Take oil pan out from under the car .. and cake pan out from passenger floor ...

6: Monitor your coolant level for a while to add the small amount of coolant lost while doing this .. And check your heater core pipes for leaking coolant .. If your lucky this fix costs less than a buck ... Good Luck
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Old 03-11-2007, 08:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: coolant leak saturn LS1

I justed double checked again and it is not leaking as I had posted an hour ago.. the floorboard is drying from the firewall to the seat .. It is dry under the core .. Only 1 spot left to dry up near the seat .. It takes a long time to dry this out in the wintertime . I've vacuumed it up a few times but it doesn't like to come out of the carpet . No more coolant leak .. No new heater core .. 1 - 59 cent O-ring ... my post is complete ...Good luck with this common sense fix .. And BTW Saturn doesn't make o-rings or sell them, so this O-ring is as close as you will probably come to the original ..
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Old 03-13-2007, 04:34 PM   #6
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Default Re: coolant leak saturn LS1

I am sorta kicking myself for taking it to the dealer for this. I knew it was O-rings, and in fact, new more than the service supervisor. They insisted that the "book" required them to replace the aluminum pipes as well as the O-ring.

$180 later, at least it works.
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Old 03-13-2007, 08:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: coolant leak saturn LS1

Aw,shucks!!! Well, at least I got a new heater core, minus my $$$
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