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03 Impala coolant leak


Maebandy
08-07-2004, 01:02 PM
My 03 Impala has been overheating and leaking coolant. We changed the thermostat, the lower radiator hose, the water pump. It is still leaking. Now they are saying it is probably the cast aluminum housing that surrounds the water pump. Can we change this housing ourselves without affecting the timing or is this a job for a Certified Chevy mechanic? Also, it had been starting with difficulty before this problem reared its ugly head. Has anyone else had these problems, and if so, how did you heal them?

bermis519
08-08-2004, 12:23 PM
Well i found out the other day that my car needs a intake manifold gasket on it because it's leaking antifreeze all over the engine. I dont' know if it's mixing with the oil or not but i have been checking to make sure it's not. I was told the oil will turn a milky white when they mix (oil and antifreeze) I have a warranty on mine and it's going to cost about 900 bucks to have it done. It starts very rough, sometimes i have to hold the key for about 5 seconds, i dont' know if thats from the gasket leaking. Its going in tomorrow and i will let you know what the outcome is too...there is also a loss of power too....

mike

db17
09-11-2004, 09:26 PM
The chevy 3.4 is notorios for the intake gasket leaking. There is actually a factory tech bulletin on this problem as they are aware that the problem exists. If you have 3.8 it may also have a leak there but it is more rare on this engine. It will cause a lack of power as well as the engine is no longer fully sealed

richtazz
09-13-2004, 11:35 AM
If it's a 3.4, it's an intake leak, if its a 3.8, it's a cracked upper plenum near where the throttle body mounts. Both are common problems, and both are relatively easy for a decent home mechanic

missie1234
09-14-2004, 02:19 PM
I have a 2000 Impala 3.4 and am having the intake manifold gasket replaced. I called GM because I found a service bulletin for this problem on the internet. I was told that my car does not apply because this letter only went out to people who have a 3.8. I just think this is soooo wrong. If I would have received this letter in 2003 when it was sent out I could have had it replaced under warranty. I don't know how they can just guess at which cars they think might have this problem. They told me there was nothing they could do for me!

bbeaven
09-16-2004, 11:43 AM
i have an 01 and in the neck of the radiator there is a muddy-like brown gunk.
is this normal for these cars, (3.4L) and if not could it possibly be oil?? or any related problem?

bermis519
09-23-2004, 01:31 PM
I had this problem also. I found the nasty brown gunk by the radiator cap on the inside. This is from someone adding the green antifreeze with the pink antifreeze. You need to have your system flushed before it causes problems with your thermostat and your water pump. Make sure you DON'T mix the green and pink antifreeze together...it's either one or the other!!!!! I know chevy recommends the pink fluid in it.

Let me know,
Mike

WGP
09-26-2004, 07:32 AM
I checked the coolant level on my 04 yesterday and I also found the brown gunk on the radiator cap. This car has 11k miles and I'm the only one who has ever touched the engine since I bought it with 14 miles in March 04. I know about the problem with mixing green/red coolants but I would think there would have been no "green" coolant added (??) unless the dealer topped it off when it was new (??). I was planning on flushing the system myself with distilled water and replacing the coolant with fresh Dexcool (which I do annually on all my vehicles) but now Iím wondering if I should show the gunk to the dealer since it still under warranty (??). I added a coolant filter (http://community.webshots.com/album/91409363hjwmod) on my 03 Duramax 2500HD and when I changed it after 16 kmiles it had quite a bit of black scale (http://community.webshots.com/album/91409363hjwmod/1) in it. I wonder if this black stuff we are seeing on the radiator cap is left over clay/casting sand from the block (??). I also had the lower intake gasket go bad on my 01 Malibuís 3.1 (same basic block as the 3.4)) so I have been watching for any telltale signs of intake leaks Ė coolant or oil. Any thoughts on this? Should I just flush the cooling system myself or take it to the dealer (itís still under warranty)?

public
10-07-2004, 04:13 PM
Search around. The Dexcool is horrible. A lot of people have the sludge and there had NEVER been any green anti-freeze in there. GM says it is from running low coolant levels at high temps.??? I flushed out the dexcool on all three cars and replaced it with regular green coolant over a year ago. No more problems. Good Luck.

bigrod118
10-08-2004, 09:32 PM
yeah I must agree, dexcool kicks trhe bucket. good old antifreeze is the way to go.

jdb6075
10-26-2004, 02:45 PM
I have 2002 Chevy Impala. It's experiencing the same problems... I've noticed that the Radiator has brown and white scum on the surface of the water. So, I'm wondering if there is oil mixing with the coolant or vice versa. Alos, when drive I've noticed steam coming from around the engine? But can't locate the source. Does anyone have any ideas?

WGP
10-26-2004, 05:27 PM
jdb6075,
Sounds like it could be that the lower intake manifold gasket is leaking ... common problem with the GM 3.1/3.4 V6's ...

MI2600
10-31-2004, 03:57 PM
If you want a real eye opener do a Google search on Dexcool. Tons of complaints and GM has not been receptive to paying for expensive repairs. Instead they blame the owner for some oversight.
I drained and flushed (twice) my system. There had been evidence of the "brown sludge" in the radiator neck and overflow tank. I went back to the green antifreeze and have not had any problems.

bermis519
11-01-2004, 07:56 PM
Well...after reading all these and haveing my intake gasket replaced about 4,000 miles ago, i have now noticed the sludge crap at the top of the radiator cap, i also noticed that the coolant level is going down and i have no idea why, i have a problem with the temperature gauge going up to like 220-240 in the temp gauge when it's just idleing. Why is it increasing so much, why can't it maintain the same temp as when i'm going down the road. Is the coolant causing this problem. I have mixed feelings about the dexcool now. I still don't know if its safe to put the green stuff in it or not. I would like too but not sure. This car is the biggest piece of shit i have ever owned!!!!!! I just dont' care to take it in anymore, i think in the year that i have owned it, it's been taking in 16 times for problems, CHEVY SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Any advice???

mike

myknsteph
02-21-2005, 07:39 PM
I have a 2003 Impala 3.4L V6 that I just got back from the shop. I took it in to have the coolant flushed due to dark brown fluid in the overflow reservoir and they told me I have an intake manifold leak that is leaking oil into my radiator.

Is this common for the leak to go this way?

Are there any inexpensive fixes for this?

jhuckaby
02-21-2005, 08:02 PM
I've had the temp spikes in my 2003 Impala with 24,000 miles. Radiator has been flushed and filled twice in 4 months. Hard to crank at times... Brown sludge is horrible. Dealer says pressure tests are okay, no leaks, but temp guage spikes when idling, takes forever for guage to go back down, cooling fans don't seem to run oddly. Smell of antifreeze is apparent. I guess the dealership would've charged me out the ass when the motor finally blows, even though it's still under warranty. What a shame GM had to put out such poorly designed engines. I decided to trade for a Honda Accord this weekend. Love the ride and drive of the Impala...too bad GM ruined it with a bad motor.

rtebeau
03-09-2005, 11:08 PM
Search around. The Dexcool is horrible. A lot of people have the sludge and there had NEVER been any green anti-freeze in there. GM says it is from running low coolant levels at high temps.??? I flushed out the dexcool on all three cars and replaced it with regular green coolant over a year ago. No more problems. Good Luck.

Did you have any other follow up problems. I would think Gunk would clog up water pumps etc...?

rtebeau
03-18-2005, 12:50 AM
GM sort of pulled through on my Intake problem. After a few letters, faxes and a couple phone calls. I received a telephone call the other day from the GM customer assistance center and they are willing to reimburse 50% of the repair (or about $400), which is better than nothing and puts some form of renewed faith in me. The rep I talked to was very calm and polite, she explained even though the vehicle was out of warranty (50k) they were going to help out in the interest of providing customer service. I am sure this forgoes my claim for any class action lawsuit but at least GM is doing something for me.

2002 Impala, 3.4L
3/18/05 @ 56k miles
9 registered trips to 4 dealers in Central PA - still looking for a good one!!

1. Intake gasket @ 52k - thanks Dexcool, $800+
2. Brakes @ ~10k, 15k, 25k, 40k, 50k - warping rotors - $250-350/each time. - had problems all the time, finally the rears were done this last time seems to have fixed the shimmy/vibration when braking lightly at high speeds, I am sure it will return. Front rotors have been turned 3 times now, replacement next.
3. Rear Doors hard to open - still an issue, someone suggested lubing the door seals. Seems the handles are hard to grab.
4. Intermediate Steering Shaft (ISS) - $220 (twice)
5. I had to replace some steering boots - had clunking in wheel when turning at low speed (driveways, stop and turns). Felt like loose brake caliper or popping cv joint.
6. Ignition switch @ 11k
7. And other parts I am sure I missed.

I have not had the ďtransmissionĒ issues yet and the car seems to have enough power for me, which will be about the time I start looking for a new car. I donít think it will be a GM.

Pros
- I do like the ride, very comfortable
- Cool styling

Cons
- Repairs, Repairs and more repairs.

public
03-19-2005, 01:10 PM
I have a 2003 Impala 3.4L V6 that I just got back from the shop. I took it in to have the coolant flushed due to dark brown fluid in the overflow reservoir and they told me I have an intake manifold leak that is leaking oil into my radiator.

Is this common for the leak to go this way?

Are there any inexpensive fixes for this?

Yes it is common, and the only cheap way is to do it yourself.

rtebeau
03-19-2005, 04:52 PM
I have a 2003 Impala 3.4L V6 that I just got back from the shop. I took it in to have the coolant flushed due to dark brown fluid in the overflow reservoir and they told me I have an intake manifold leak that is leaking oil into my radiator.

Is this common for the leak to go this way?

Are there any inexpensive fixes for this?


Would be interested in knowing how many miles you have on the car? seems like the trend is about 40-60k miles. It is common for the intake gasket to go out on the 3.4L. Had to replace mine at 50k on my 2002, but was not under warranty. Dealer charged about $800 to replace (labor intensive work?). Repairs came with parts listed on the related TSB bulletin. I did not think a car gasket should go at 50k in todayís vehicles, neither do a lot of folks, many having the same problems. So I opened a case with the GM assistance center (800-222-1020), they agreed to pay for 1/2 of the repair even though it was out of warranty. This is good news for me but I still have yet to see a check and this of course this was after a few letters, documentation and phone calls. Really had they paid for 100% of the repair I probably would not have found this forum. Now I am aware of the other Impala problems others are having.

When I talked to GM, I made it known that I buy new cars regularly (about every 2-3 years) and failure to help me on this problem will impact my next car buying decision and the decisions of everyone I could talk to. GM probably should have recalled the cars but it would cost them $$ on thousands of cars. I am not sure what the payoff was for GM because most people having these issues, probably won't buy a GM again or at least for a while. I personnaly have owned at least 12-14 GM vehicles since 1987, this is the first one that I have had any major mechanical problems.

The gasket problem was covered by a GM TSB #03-06-01-010 March-2003. The TSB (technical service bulletin) covered many GM models with 3.1 and 3.4 engines. Impalaís range was 2000-2003.

GM won't say Dexcool is causing the problems but my bet and guess based on reading, discussions and physical evidence would be the combination of Dexcool and the plastic gaskets. From what I have compiled, Dexcool is composed of organic acid, this acid has a tendency to eat plastic. Plastic gaskets were used in many of the V6 engines. The redesigned gaskets now have fiber/metallic material; this should be resistant to Dexcool properties. Dexcool was designed as a long lasting coolant for aluminum intake manifolds and heads.

I had my vehicle in for itís 55k oil change the other day and I was talking with the mechanic who pointed out my problem earlier, which turned into the replacement. I asked him how many GM vehicles he sees with sludge in the coolant or black film. He told me about 1 in 10 cars coming through the shop. I asked him about replacing the coolant with the standard green stuff, but he told me it was not good for aluminum and can pit it. He told me they make green coolant for aluminum but make sure it states it on the bottle. His recommendation was now that I have the gasket replaced would be to replace the Dexcool every 20-30k miles.

Hunterpage
01-10-2006, 12:56 AM
I have a 2002 Chevy Impala with the same problem. Severe problem with coolant in the oil. I pulled the intake manifold (alot of work) and did not see a clear problem with the gasket. I pulled the heads thinking that maybe it was a head gasket problem. No obvious problems. I thought I was getting oil in the radiator which made it more confusing. It sounds like the radiator problem maybe seperate from the coolant leak. There maybe no way around a big labor bill if someone else is replacing the intake gasket. Alot of time involved. If anyone has any answers, please reply... Thanks

billyo69
01-10-2006, 07:38 AM
Bermis
It sounds like your fans are not working. You better make sure they are BOTH working or you will wreck the motor.

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