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Old 03-23-2013, 04:42 PM   #1
Bobcat124_23456
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2001 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Oil Leak, Coolant Leak, Alternator, Compressor

Ok, today is the day I work on my car. I know I need to replace the compressor and related parts, and I'm 99% sure that a new alternator will make that horrible howling sound go away. Those are on my schedule for this weekend. But I have the need for some additional advice.

The car is a 2001 L300 w. a 3.0l V6, about 200K miles. Timing belt, tensioner and water pump replaced at the 140K mile mark. Heater core and lines replaced about 5 years ago.

I have an oil leak and I'm always adding oil when I get gas. My alternator is drenched in oil and I have oil burning on the exhaust pipe near the alternator. I'm almost positive that I need new valve cover gaskets.

Also, I have a coolant leak somewhere. I know, because I have to keep putting coolant in. There is no oil in the reservoir so I don't necessarily think I have an oil cooler problem. I do have a strange burning smell in addition to the smell of burning oil.

My main concern is this coolant leak. I can't exactly tell where it is. If I replace my valve cover gaskets, is there anything to look for, any tell-tale signs, any further digging I should do to check for coolant leaks or issues while I'm in there? I really want to replace the valve cover gaskets this weekend too, but I just want to make sure that I have covered all my bases with possible coolant leak issues in there before I close everything back up.
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Old 03-23-2013, 05:44 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: Oil Leak, Coolant Leak, Alternator, Compressor

Last coolant leak I had (on a Volvo T5) I actually bit the bullet and bought some UV dye. Dump the dye in with the coolant, wait a while and then go over the car at night with a UV torch.

I did this because I could never find any sign of a leak, no dried in crystal looking anti-freeze and no clean spots on the pipework or block anywhere!

Turned out it was leaking from a hairline crack on the thermostat housing and instantly evaporating so that you couldn't see the leak at all. The dye was about 6 and the torch 10 (so about 20 bucks) but the time and hassle it saved was so very worth it.

Chris...
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Old 03-23-2013, 09:57 PM   #3
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2001 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Oil Leak, Coolant Leak, Alternator, Compressor

Well it turned out that the horrible howling noise was coming from my serpentine belt tensioner pulley. I found that out when I removed the tensioner to replace the alternator. I gave the pulley a quick spin with my finger and found that it was making a little noise - about the same noise, but quieter, as when the engine is running at normal speed. I didn't even suspect the tensioner because a) I had replaced it about the same time as the water pump and b) when I disconnected the belt and started the car, the noise went away. With the belt connected and the engine running, the noise was loud and clear in the area where the alternator (and the tensioner) were. I could have made that noise go away with a $17 part and 15 minutes instead of a $120 part and several hours of work. Well, I got a brand new remanufactured alternator out of the deal.

After replacing the parts, with the car still all torn apart, I started her up. My noise was gone but I let it run for a bit. When it got up to temperature, I was looking to see where my oil leak was coming from, and possibly, my coolant leak. I couldn't see it while running, but after I shut the car off, I had a rather steady drip from the area around the drain valve on the radiator. It was dark by now, so I was using a flashlight and it made the wet shiny passenger side of the radiator more noticeable. I think I have a leaky radiator. I'll probably pull the radiator and take it in the get it tested. Question: Do these radiators repair well, or should I look into getting a new one?

Tomorrow I tackle the compressor and receiver/dryer. I have a big question about that. I am having a hard time finding out how much oil I'm supposed to put in the brand new remanufactured compressor. The last time I replaced the compressor, it stated that it already came with all the oil it was supposed to need. This one however, is bone dry. Can someone point me in the right direction where I can find out how much I'm supposed to put in?

One question more - when I replace the valve cover gaskets, will I need to remove the intake manifold and replace gaskets there too?
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Old 03-24-2013, 07:09 AM   #4
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Oil Leak, Coolant Leak, Alternator, Compressor

1-There is a lack of any history on repaired radiators. Examine the drain fitting; if its leaking and the valve won't seal then a permanent repair to do without this drain valve may be the best cost savings made compared to a new radiator. The lower hose always worked as the alternate drain.................... Your choice.

2-When you remove the intake manifold you'll find special O-rings used where they're reusable. Not so much O-rings but flexible sealant fitting into grooves running around the periphery along with inserts to each port. The elastomer is resilient enough for reuse. You'll determine this when removing intake manifold and runners. I reused mine when replacing the t-stat at 50k miles for a P0128 error code. Search past threads of members posting pictures for show and tell.

3-A/c compressor replacement requires the service manual or searching carefully for system capacity. When major parts are replaced (compressor, condenser/evap coils, and receiver/drier) the phrase 'oil balance' is used. Oil circulates freely throughout the entire system so replacing a compressor along with new oil requires draining the old compressor to measure the amount to pour new oil into the empty replacement. Amounts shouldn't deviate more than 1/2 ounce - too much oil simply leaves less room for R134a. R134a systems are less tolerant of capacities that are most likely due to maximizing design to minimize waste to create the most efficient vehicle a/c system possible using less refrigerant.
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:13 PM   #5
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2001 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Oil Leak, Coolant Leak, Alternator, Compressor

Ok, tonight when I got home from driving, I looked at the radiator in the area of the drain valve and about 2 inches above the drain valve is a small hole with a stream of coolant shooting out. Eureka! I have found my coolant leak. There's something good to be said about looking at your engine at night with a flashlight. My radiator either needs to be repaired or replaced. Now, if I can just find some information on the success/failure rate of radiator repairs on this car. Maybe I'll set the precedent here.

The howling sound is gone but my new alternator is getting wet from oil. I'm pretty sure all I need are valve cover gaskets. Twenty years ago, that was an easy fix. We're about to see how easy that is on a car on which you can barely even see the valve covers.

From all the research I've done, it looks like I'll be adding 4 oz. of PAG-100 to my compressor when I replace it. I'd do the drain/measure/replace trick, but I don't have a warm and fuzzy that that measurement is going to be 100% accurate. I think I need to err on the side of 'more' when I add oil based on the history that the car has had with compressors. Maybe I'll do 5 oz. since one website suggested no less than 3 oz. and no more then 5. Another .37 oz. into the receiver/dryer and it should be good to go. Sounds like a good project to do when the radiator is out of the car - this weekend if the weather is good.
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