SaturnFans.com
saturnfans.com - classifieds - forums


Go Back   SaturnFans.com Forums > Models > Saturn S-Series > S-Series Tech

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-03-2008, 05:14 PM   #1
mmelzer2004
Junior Member
mmelzer2004 is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 11
Default Losing coolant

Hey guys, I have had my SL1 for about 3 months now, and I have been needing to put some coolant in the reservoir every few days since I bought it... I didn't think it was that big of a deal since I never felt anything going wrong, no smoke or anything. My step-dad used to be a mechanic and thought it was just evaporating because it might have been too diluted.

In the past couple weeks I have noticed the reservoir getting low every other day, putting in a bottle of 50/50 coolant every week-week and a half . I have also been noticing a sweet smell while driving. I checked the oil and didn't notice a milky consistency, and it only goes down when at temperature, and not when sitting in the parking lot. I don't see anything under my car in the morning before heading to work, after sitting over 12 hours. Could there be a temporary fix to keep it from leaking until I get paid again to take it to a shop for an oil change and for someone to pressure-test it? Also, its been relatively hot lately, so could that also be a factor as to why its draining quicker than it did when I bought the car?

I also have a periodic Service Engine Soon light that goes on for a week, then off for a week. My step-dad is pretty sure its an exhaust leak, but I don't know for sure.

Thanks.
mmelzer2004 is offline   Reply With Quote
SaturnFans.com Sponsored Links
Old 08-03-2008, 05:22 PM   #2
Old95SL2
Member
Old95SL2 is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Michigan
Posts: 182

1995 SL2
1997 SL1
Default Re: Losing coolant

Have you checked the cap on the coolant reservoir when hot to notice if it is letting coolant boil off? Another possibility is the famous crack in the plastic end of the radiator on the driver's side. Since you mention a sweet smell, I would also check the floor board on the passenger side to be sure the heater core is not leaking. Also worth checking for coolant around the water pump, behind the pulley, although I would think if that were it you would see dripping onto the ground.
Old95SL2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2008, 05:23 PM   #3
mmelzer2004
Junior Member
mmelzer2004 is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 11
Default Re: Losing coolant

I haven't driven my car today, but I'll write those down and check when I get to work tomorrow morning. BTW, I've recently replaced the Reservoir cap, so I'm sure that's not the problem.

I forgot to mention it earlier, but my temp gauge never goes over the 1/4 line.

Last edited by mmelzer2004; 08-03-2008 at 05:28 PM.
mmelzer2004 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2008, 05:54 PM   #4
rickystarshine
Member
rickystarshine has a spectacular aura aboutrickystarshine has a spectacular aura about
 
rickystarshine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Michigan!
Posts: 469

2005 ION-2 Sedan
Default Re: Losing coolant

Have the code scanned & report back what it is.
What year & model car?
Have you changed the ECTS? Odds are good you need to.
How many miles on the car?
Good Luck!

Rick
...
2005 ION 2 5 spd 202,155 miles
2001 SL1 Auto 298,252 miles
1997 Sl1 Auto 163,266 miles
rickystarshine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2008, 06:50 PM   #5
mmelzer2004
Junior Member
mmelzer2004 is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 11
Default Re: Losing coolant

Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystarshine View Post
Have the code scanned & report back what it is.
What year & model car?
Have you changed the ECTS? Odds are good you need to.
How many miles on the car?
Good Luck!

Rick
Its a '99 SL1, haven't changed the ECTS, but have found an old thread about it and will be doing it when I get paid, possibly along with the Radiator if there is indeed a leak. I'll also purchase a code reader when I get paid, as the SES light is currently off and goes on a 1-2 week cycle.

I have something like 136,3xx miles, a few hundred shy of an oil change.
mmelzer2004 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2008, 07:00 PM   #6
rickystarshine
Member
rickystarshine has a spectacular aura aboutrickystarshine has a spectacular aura about
 
rickystarshine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Michigan!
Posts: 469

2005 ION-2 Sedan
Default Re: Losing coolant

You can get the code scanned for free @ autozone, or advance auto, if there's one near you & you want to save some $

If you're going to do the ECTS, why not change out the thermostat too?

Just throwing that out there.

Rick
...
2005 ION 2 5 spd 202,155 miles
2001 SL1 Auto 298,252 miles
1997 Sl1 Auto 163,266 miles
rickystarshine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2008, 07:00 PM   #7
Melissa_M
Advanced Member
Melissa_M is a jewel in the roughMelissa_M is a jewel in the roughMelissa_M is a jewel in the rough
 
Melissa_M's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 879
 

1999 SL2
Default Re: Losing coolant

you should be able to get the code read for free at parts stores.

Definitely do the ECTS, too. I paid $20 for the part, but have seen aftermarket ones for much less.

M_M
...
1999 SL2 MANUAL ~79K
Melissa_M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 01:13 AM   #8
eric888
Junior Member
eric888 is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greenville, SC
Posts: 20

1999 SL1
Default Re: Losing coolant

i'm having the same issue with my g/f's '99 SL1 right now. i just changed the water pump and serpentine belt (richpin is the man) and now the coolant seems to be escaping somewhere. no puddles anywhere though. i'll take the above suggestions and post my findings.
eric888 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 11:09 AM   #9
saturnhouse
Advanced Member
saturnhouse will become famous soon enough
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 574
 
Default Re: Losing coolant

Check the radiator on the driver's side, below the large coolant return hose. Its a little hard to see under there, but when they crack, that's usually the location.
saturnhouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 11:36 AM   #10
DonP
Master Member
DonP will become famous soon enoughDonP will become famous soon enough
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: VA
Posts: 3,582
 

1995 SL2
Default Re: Losing coolant

I second checking the driver side radiator end tank for a hairline crack, usually below the upper inlet hose, above the upper transmission cooler line is so equipped, or that location if a standard. This crack is common on OEM radiators that have reached 7-10 years age, and is not obvious because at least in its early stages only leaks coolant when the system is hot under pressure, and whilehot it evaporates fast - you may be able to smell it, but not see it. As the system cools, the pressure goes down and the leak stops. The only likely visible sign is perhaps some dampness on the tank along what may look like a mound mark/seam.

There are some photos of the typical crack in this forum in past posts; e.g.,
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=87041&
DonP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 03:54 PM   #11
ORIG_97SL2
New Member
ORIG_97SL2 is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Oldsmar, FL
Posts: 8

1997 SL2
Default Re: Losing coolant

Quote:
Originally Posted by saturnhouse View Post
Check the radiator on the driver's side, below the large coolant return hose. Its a little hard to see under there, but when they crack, that's usually the location.
Right on! I was having the same symptom-could smell that sweet Glycol odor, but couldn't see it. The plastic housing there has cracked twice in nearly that same spot. Just a weeping amount, but enough to have the coolant light come on every week or so after refilling the reservoir.
ORIG_97SL2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2008, 04:41 PM   #12
eric888
Junior Member
eric888 is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greenville, SC
Posts: 20

1999 SL1
Default Re: Losing coolant

well shoot, i should've checked this thread before replacing the hoses and the ects today. got lots of coolant on me... anyway, i saw one problem immediately. the part that connects to the ects wasn't even connected. just lying there off to the side. we'll see if there are anymore leaks after this. the breather hose wasn't completely secure on the throttle body either. it seems to idle a lot better now.

i've learned a lot about these cars in the past few weeks:

water pump, serpentine belt, reservoir cap, radiator hoses, ects, egr valve, oxygen sensor, spark plugs and wires and air filter have all been replaced. i put a little seafoam in the crank case and gas tank before i got the oil changed too. wasn't brave enough to let it blow some smoke. if this coolant leak deal is fixed, then i'll have to start worrying about the rear wheel cylinders and her reverse slam problem.
eric888 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2008, 12:14 AM   #13
eric888
Junior Member
eric888 is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greenville, SC
Posts: 20

1999 SL1
Default Re: Losing coolant

Quote:
Originally Posted by ORIG_97SL2 View Post
Right on! I was having the same symptom-could smell that sweet Glycol odor, but couldn't see it. The plastic housing there has cracked twice in nearly that same spot. Just a weeping amount, but enough to have the coolant light come on every week or so after refilling the reservoir.
just checked and that is the culprit. can that be easily repaired or are we better off getting a new and better radiator? thanks saturnhouse, by the way.
eric888 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2008, 09:33 AM   #14
Canyon
Advanced Member
Canyon has a spectacular aura aboutCanyon has a spectacular aura about
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 937
 

1995 SC2
1999 SL1
Default Re: Losing coolant

You are looking at a new radiator. I have not heard of them ever being repaired. Pretty easy to replace.

I always change the hoses when I do this job if they haven't been done in a couple of years. If they have been there awhile you may have to cut them to get them off anyway. Check the heater hoses while you are at it as you will have all the coolant out anyway.
Canyon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2008, 09:44 PM   #15
eric888
Junior Member
eric888 is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greenville, SC
Posts: 20

1999 SL1
Default Re: Losing coolant

is there any particular brand of radiator that you guys recommend? i see the three brands on rockauto.com for a '99 SL1. autozone and advance are significantly higher for one model number i searched for.

i replaced the radiator hoses this weekend before i found the leak.
eric888 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2008, 06:27 AM   #16
BarnOwl
Super Member
BarnOwl is just really niceBarnOwl is just really niceBarnOwl is just really niceBarnOwl is just really nice
 
BarnOwl's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Hickory, NC
Posts: 10,031
 

2000 SW2
1998 SL2
Default Re: Losing coolant

Just go with the cheapest one. Use this link and enter the code where it asks how you heard about them to get %5 off. Be sure to use a code that hasn't expired.
...
There is nothing more frightening than ignorance in action.
BarnOwl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2008, 11:16 AM   #17
eric888
Junior Member
eric888 is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Greenville, SC
Posts: 20

1999 SL1
Default Re: Losing coolant

i used the coupon and ordered a new radiator. $93.07 shipped to my door. thank you guys for the suggestions. i'll try tackling it this weekend.
eric888 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2008, 12:46 PM   #18
saturnhouse
Advanced Member
saturnhouse will become famous soon enough
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 574
 
Default Re: Losing coolant

One follow-up detail on this type of crack. Some folks have had a lot of trouble with them, and a theory has evolved...

The cooling system normally cycles between neutral pressure when cool, and positive pressure when hot.
If you check the coolant level when the engine is hot, you release the positive pressure. Then, if you reseal the system while it is still hot, you have 'reset' the system. From then on, it will cycle between neutral pressure when it is hot, and negative pressure when it is cold.
The theory is that the side tanks are not designed to withstand negative pressure, and they crack.

So, try to only check your coolant when the engine is cold, or wait till it has cooled before you replace the cap on the coolant tank.
saturnhouse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2008, 01:35 PM   #19
OldNuc
Super Member
OldNuc has a reputation beyond reputeOldNuc has a reputation beyond reputeOldNuc has a reputation beyond reputeOldNuc has a reputation beyond reputeOldNuc has a reputation beyond reputeOldNuc has a reputation beyond reputeOldNuc has a reputation beyond reputeOldNuc has a reputation beyond reputeOldNuc has a reputation beyond reputeOldNuc has a reputation beyond reputeOldNuc has a reputation beyond repute
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Far Southwestern Iowa
Posts: 66,694
 

1998 SC2
Default Re: Losing coolant

There should be a vacuum relief valve in the top of the cap. It could be stuck and going negative is not good on the plastic tanks. Might be a good idea to check the cap for proper operation.

If you ever have the system relieve, boil over, it will go negative when it cools and if the vacuum valve is stuck it will then be slightly negative when cold until the cap is removed and replaced.
OldNuc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2008, 07:07 PM   #20
mmelzer2004
Junior Member
mmelzer2004 is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 11
Default Re: Losing coolant

I somehow forgot about this thread...

I started noticing some coolant under my car so I popped the hood and looked toward the driver's side of the radiator, and noticed a small crack. It is right above the bracket there, as there is a small puddle of coolant on that bracket. For a temporary fix, I've been informed that gum works to fill it. I'll be going to get a new radiator this weekend and will be replacing it then. Its a big relief that its not the head gasket, I prefer the ~$90 fix, heh.

I'm not exactly car-literate like most people here... what is involved in replacing it? Is it as simple as: Flushing, removing fan, disconnecting coolant hoses, removing radiator, then reversing that? I've been told that I should replace the thermostat and the ECTS at the same time. Where are these located, and I assume I can get them from an automotive store?

Thanks again.
mmelzer2004 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
losing coolant but not on the ground kegosl1 S-Series Tech 14 11-20-2013 05:59 PM
Losing Coolant: Step 1 youngrwaggs S-Series Tech 18 08-05-2009 11:55 AM
Still losing coolant... mmelzer2004 S-Series Tech 10 08-29-2008 09:54 PM
1997 SW2 Losing Coolant Bkaza S-Series General 6 08-25-2008 11:02 AM
Losing Coolant, but WHERE?! TIMSPEED S-Series Tech 13 04-08-2008 01:59 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:21 PM.

Advanced Forum Search | Advanced Photo Search


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
SaturnFans.com. The Saturn Enthusiasts Site.