1996 Chevy Lumina Overheating

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My grandmother has a 1996 Chevy Lumina. She said that the low coolant light was coming on in the car, but it wasnt overheating. A few days later she said that she noticed it again, but this time the car was getting hotter than normal. She took it in to the service tech and they told her it was the manifold gasket. They also said it was 1000.00 to fix it. I just wanted to see if there are any troubleshooting things I could do to help her, because I think the guy is trying to take advantage of her. If anyone know of what may be going on it would help a lot. Thanks :screwy:

posted by  jeremykc

first fill the coolant up with engine running.when u think u filled it up enough, take it to shop or do it urself , pressure test the system for leaks.. if pressure doesnt hold and u dont see any leaks. then it is internal.

posted by  thongsai

The GM 3400 motors are well known for this problem. My mother has a 1996 Lumina van. Was leaking coolant into and out of the motor. Intake gasket.

posted by  KNTRDR

First check coolant level and capibility. Then check fan operation. Before you jump to gaskets, check the oil, if the oil looks bubbly or white the gasket is the problem. Also is the thermostat working?

posted by  jim in del

Check the PCV valve for water droplets/moisture. Check under the oil cap/filler neck for foamy buildup. Watch for constant coolant level dropping. Make sure the oil isn't coolant-contaminated. These were all signs of this problem in my mother's van. When you see these signs, have it repaired.

It cost approximately $800 Canadian, by the way.

posted by  KNTRDR

does the oil look white or like a white lithium grease type of substance on the dipstick

posted by  chadsdc

Oil contamination can cause the low coolant sensor to fail and iluminate the "low coolant" light on the dash even when there is plenty of coolant. Manifold gasket failure is most likely the cause of oil contamination in the coolant. Manifold gasket replacement is quite involved on this car and a total pain in the ass. $1000 is not unreasonable to save the engine from a complete failure. Once contaminated, the low coolant sensor will also need to be replaced. Have the shop use the new design metal reinforced gaskets and don't use Dexcool antifreeze, use "mixes with any" type. Dexcool has been shown to cause these manifold gaket problems by becoming acidic and degrading the gaskets over time.

98 Lumina LTZ owner   12 Aug 2012 17:13

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