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Coolant Leak Cold Engine?

10-09-2010, 01:08 PM
97 Transport with 3400, 137,000 miles, already had all gaskets replaced 2 years ago and only 30,000 miles because of blown head gasket typical problem. I now have a coolant leak that is dripping down the block of the engine, between engine and transmission but only when I start it up until it gets hot, and then when I return home at some point it leaks again, guessing after cool down. Doesn't seem to leak while driving. I definitely layed under car at startup and watched it leak until it stopped about 8-10 minutes after starting. Fearing a gasket problem because of head heating up and sealing, could I be wrong? Any ideals? I can not see where exactly the leak is coming from. I see most of the heater hoses and see no leaks. My next step is to take apart hoses to the throttle body for a better look. Just looking for any suggestions. The leak seems to be in the worst possible area, up high between engine and far as getting a visual on it.

10-10-2010, 12:06 PM
When this was done, did they use the updated metal frame intake gaskets? I believe that they have been out for a couple of years now... FelPro makes Metal replacements for the Chevy 4.3, 3100-3400 and Buick 3800 II/III V6's..

Did you do the head gaskets or was this done at a shop?

10-10-2010, 01:46 PM
Had it done at a shop. Good questions. I hope they did the head gaskets, but not sure. I had the problem with air being pushed into the cooling system because of gasket failure. I was going to respond that yes becasue it was the head gasket that was leaking but now come to think of it maybe it was the intake gasket, what do you think? Head or intake?. I would have to call and ask about the metal frame gasket, but I made it very clear I did not want the gasket job done with just any old gasket, wanted gaskets that would last a lfetime (yeah right). I can see the new black intake gasket extending out from the intake, but I think evan the metal frame type would do this?

I have not gotten into the van yet, hopefully in a couple hrs. I am hoping there is a hose clamp, or leaking sensor somewhere on the hidden side of the motor, and not a leaking gasket.

* I am thinking that IF it is a leaking gasket, I should immediatly re- torque all head bolts, or all top end motor bolts, but not sure if that is possible without romoving the intake?

10-10-2010, 09:01 PM
On 8/18/08 had head gaskets, valve seals, head bolts and valve cover gaskets, $1883. 106,000 miles have about 135,000 miles now.

Not for sure yet because it was literally too warm today for whatever is leaking to leak. The cold mornings we have been having must be when the coolant is leaking. If this ends up being the head gasket leaking I am going to have to consider doing something different, because this van/motor/transmission is sucking the cash right out of me. This Pontiac Transport has been the worst POS I have ever owned. Never in my life have I had so many F'ing problems and such highly costly problems with one vehichle. Bla Bla Bla I could go on and on.............FFF

I am now wondering if there is a motor out there that is a proven winner that I could just replace entire motor?

10-11-2010, 07:58 AM
Just as I thought, cold morning and leaking again. It seems to be below the thermostat. I can not find exactly where it is coming from yet, but I did take the hose out that connects the air cleaner to the trhotle body. I was hoping at first it may be the thermostat housing leaking, but leaning away from that. Definitely see moisture build up in that pocket area below thermostat.

10-11-2010, 03:00 PM
Its either the intake gasket or the head gasket. Also just found condensation in the engine so it is now in the engine too, that just happened because I have been keeping a close eye on the motor. The shop tells me it could still be the intake so taking it in for them to look at. If it is the head gasket, not sure I want to drop another 2K$ on this POS. Only alternative I see now is a completely different motor.


10-12-2010, 10:29 AM
It was the intake gasket, and it finally broke to the inside to, so first time having antifreeze in motor. I drained the oil and put 4 new Q's in before I drove it to the shop, hopefully saved the motor. Another $750 into this money pit of a POS. I love the van itself, it rides like a dream, plus it is my camper, but damn, what a trainwreck of a motor.

10-19-2010, 11:38 AM
This is one of the reasons I hate the 3400 V6...

I have a 95 Transport, last year the 3800 V6 was used in it... The engine was nearing 200k with next to nothing for problems( I ran it hard and so did the previous owner )... Down the road it developed a slight rod knock.. I replaced that with the newest version 3800 I could get, 3800 Series III... And I just keep motoring along with it..

If I ever get a Montana one of the things that will happen to it will be a 3800

Glad you got it fixed, not so glad it cost you as much as it did...

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