Need help with radiator please!

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My radiator reservoir was completely empty earlier this week. I filled it and drove a short distance. I then filled it up again. I have had no problems until today when I checked to see that it was again empty. I then refilled it 2 more times. I checked under the car when the engine was both hot and cold and can see no evidence of a leak. Does anyone have any ideas what the problem could be? I would really appreciate any help.

posted by  maryjane

http://www.car-forums.com/talk/showthread.php?t=2200

posted by  vwhobo

It is a 1997 Pontiac Bonneville. It is an automatic transmission and a V6 engine.

posted by  maryjane

If you can condense six paragraphs of examples and explanations into "It is a 1997 Pontiac Bonaville" you fall under the heading of people who don't want to help us to help themselves.

Now, I can assure you that you'll have numerous individuals come on here and throw wildass guesses as to why and eventually one will get it right, but... Wouldn't it just be easier to provide us with all the facts to begin with.

Probably not. :banghead:

posted by  vwhobo

If you don't want to help then just don't answer. Obviously I am somewhat limited in my knowledge of cars and am trying to get a little help here. If I knew everything I wouldn't need to ask for other people's help. There is no need to be rude.

posted by  maryjane

Absolutely correct, there is no need to be rude... There is also no need to be stupid or lazy. Did you read the post and answer the questions that were raised therein? What are your driving habits, how many miles have you driven, has it been worked on for this previously, has it been worked on recently at all, etc. Telling us it's a V6 and an automatic is pointless for two reasons. First, because ALL '97 Bonnies are V6/autos which is fair enough because you probably didn't know that. Second and most important, you didn't give us ANY other pertinent information.

Bottom line is if you only give a little info you're only going to get a little help. Try harder and so will we.

posted by  vwhobo

The coolant might have leaked and evaporated on the running hot engine before it hit the ground. When the engine is cool, with your hand check the Upper hose especially around the clamp area and the underside of the hose to feel if there are any cracks.

posted by  janeenaj

I rest my case.

posted by  vwhobo

get the cooling system pressure tested..$30 bucks.. and they will find the leak for u..

posted by  thongsai

Another fine combination of good intentions, a little knowledge and not enough information. Next!

posted by  vwhobo

a little more detail?? hmm my info help more than u ever can..

get in car, drive to local mechanic, tell em u think u have a leak in coolant system, they test it, u pay for service.. need more info than that?

posted by  thongsai

Okay Zippy, I'll play your stupid little game.

1. $30? Are you sure? Do you set all diagnostic fees for shops across the country?

2. Are you sure they'll find a leak? Do you have any idea how hard it is to find an internal leak sometimes?

3. Are you even sure there is a leak? Is there enough info provided so you can make that judgement? Maybe your crystal ball is just better than mine. You are a perfect example.

posted by  vwhobo

1. $30 +/- that actually got ur panthose all wrangled up because i estimated a price for service?

2. the techs can find a leak better than we can since we dont get to touch the car.

3. leak.. could be, could not be. thats y i said to tell tech.. "might have a leak". im just pointing people in the right direction intead of asking some disgruntled guy on a forum that got tired of seeing the same posts over and over.

hell could be a defective radiator cap and letting steam out instead of pressurizing the coolant system.

oh and 1 more thing, how people are actually happy to see u post on their problems??

posted by  thongsai

The only way I can reply to that is to say, HUH???

posted by  vwhobo

just because she did not give some make and model so you can see if it is a common problem? who cares.
all cars work on the same principle unless it is air cooled. just see if you can help without being such a pompous goof.go get your own website and you can play god with your groupies.FACT,LOOK THROUGH THE POSTS I HAVE REPLIED TO AND HOW MANY PROBLEMS WERE WHAT I SAID TO LOOK FOR.AND I HAVE 20 TIMES LESS POSTS THAT YOU AT LEAST.

posted by  the lobster

THERE ARE ALOT OF COMMON THINGS THAT CAN CAUSE COOLANT LOSS.
FOR EACH DIFFERENT THING THERE IS A DIFFERENT DIAGNOSTIC PROCEDURE.
BEFORE YOU PAY FOR SOMEONE TO LEARN ON YOUR CAR,I WOULD CALL A COUPLE OF GM DEALERS AND SEE IF THEY WILL LET YOU KNOW OF ANY COMMON FAULTS.RECALLS,TECHNICAL SERVICE BULLETINS.HERE IS SOME GENERAL INFORMATION FOR YOU.STEAM CAN ESCAPE ,IF IT IS MINOR AND YOU CAN NOT SEE IT LOWER THE WATER LEVEL.IF YOU SEE GREEN COLOR FLUID ,THAT IS A SIGN OF A LEAK,HOWEVER,SOMETIMES PEOPLE ADD SO MUCH WATER THAT IT LOOKS LIKE WATER.,AND IT ISNT GREEN ANYMORE.
THIS ONLY AGGRAVATES THE PROBLEM AS WATER BOILS AT 100C,COOLANT IS UNDER PRESSURE AND IS MUCH HIGHER.HERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT I CAN SUGGEST.coolant reservoir tank could be cracked,rad could be leaking,hoses,heater core in the car,radiator cap,if it a 3.8 litre,the head gaskets are common.did you ever see the temperature gauge go all the way up for say 30 sec,then come back down?head gaskets can do that.
get a pressure test done.if the pressure dissipates,there is a problem.

good luck

posted by  the lobster

Dumbass. :banghead:

1. That car comes from the factory with Dex-Cool and that is the required anti-freeze. The last time I checked Dex-Cool is ORANGE, so where is she going to find the green colored liquid.

2. Known for blown head gaskets? Ludicrous. If you had any clue you'd know they're known for leaking intake manifolds, usualyy in the 100k to 125k mile range. They crack around to EGR port.

How do you type with one arm patting yourself on the back all the time? You are the most dangerous of online diagnostic idiots because you truly THINK you know what you're talking about.

posted by  vwhobo

I would not rule out a blown head gasket on a GM 3800. My parents had one replaced on a 1996 Park Avenue they used to own (@ GM's expense) and according to their local Buick dealer, head gasket problems on 3800s for a couple or three year period in the mid 1990s were almost as common place as cracked intakes.

If it were my car, I would be asking some common sense type of questions then look for answere.

Question 1: Any ORANGE (similar in color to the Orange cleaners many people use to clean kitchens and bathrooms with) puddles on the floor near the radiator, under the engine. Most GMs built since the mid 1990s used an extended life antifreeze. If yes, then look to see where the water/antifreeze mix is coming from.

Question 2 - With the engine warming up, do you see evidence of leaks around radiator hoses and heater hoses? Sometimes, there will be a white colored crusty substance on the radiator near seams and hose connections which give evidence of a leak.

Question 3 - Is there orange fluid dripping from around the water pump. If so, the water pump shaft seals are worn and the pump is needing to be replaced.

If none of the obvious can be found, have the system pressure tested.

If the system does not hold pressure and no obvious problems can be found, then a compression test is in order to hunt for headgasket problems, and other more serious issues.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

DEX COOL IS ORANGE,AND LOOKS LIKE ORANGE JUICE.ITS GOOD FOR 240000 KM OR 5 YEARS.THE 3.8 ALSO BLOWS HEAD GASKETS ALTHOUGH THE INTAKE IS MORE COMMON.SOME PEOPLE HAVE HAD PROBLEMS WITH DEX COOL,WHAT EVER COLOR IT IS,WHEN IT LEAKS IT IS NOT WATER.SOME PEOPLE HAVE ACTUALLY PUT GREEN COOLANT BACK IN ONCE THE WARRANTY IS EXPIRED..EVEN THOUGH THE ORANGE JUICE IS FROM THE FACTORY,YOU CAN RUN THE GREEN,IT JUST HAS TO BE CHANGED EVERY 2 YEARS.AND AS FAR AS THE GASKETS GO,I DO NOT KNOW WHERE YOU GET YOUR INFO FROM,BUT MY NEIGHBOR IS A SERVICE MANAGER AT A GM DEALER,AND THE HEAD GASKETS DO GO,OFTEN.EVEN THE 240 HP SERIES 2 IS ONLY 240 HP. KEEP IN MIND THAT 400+ HORSEPOWER ENGINES RAN GREEN COOLANT FOR YEARS.HMMMM

posted by  the lobster

Can't see for all the flames...Check for water or coolant in the oil, it will look white or milky, if this is the case you probably have a bad head gasket. I appologize for the rantings of the stressed out individuals here, they have problems. :screwy:

posted by  srober32

everything i say is counterindicated by "his royal highness".but lets be realistic here,if the person checks their coolant reservoir,and there is orange fluid in there,then look for orange.if its green,look for green.BUT HEY DID ANYONE THINK THAT MAYBE THE COOLANT RESERVOIR HAS A HAIRLINE CRACK IN IT ?

posted by  the lobster

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