Low Coolant - where is it going?

11-28-2006, 08:08 PM
Just got a 96 Sunfire GT for my sister in law with only 89,000 original kms.

Car is mint except the low coolant light came on and it was low on coolant. I flushed the system and added new coolant. It only took about 4 litres so I figured there was some air stuck somehwere. Sure enough about 200 kms later it was down 3 liters (they take 7.5) so I topped it up again.

I went out there today and after about 20 kms it was down about half to 1 litre. I topped it up one more time.

My questions is it appears there is more going on here?

No puddles under the car.

Coolant hoses are all good - no leaks

I though of a head gasket but I changed the oil and it was fine, no noticeable "rainbowing" from oil in the coolant when I slushed it and NO steam coming from the exhaust.

Any thoughts?

11-29-2006, 09:49 AM
anyone :banghead:

11-29-2006, 10:01 AM
It could still be the head gasket. The coolant could be leaking into the combustion chamber. Check the exhaust for the smell of antifreeze. You could also check the park plugs.

12-08-2006, 02:05 PM
Its the water pump.

Water dripping out of the little hole.

Can anyone send me the scans of the waterpump replacement out of a GM service manual for a 96 Sunfire GT (2.4 engine).


Or...whats all involved in changing it?

12-08-2006, 02:07 PM
oops you can send it to me at



12-08-2006, 02:50 PM
Unless you are VERY mechanically inclined, DO NOT attempt this job yourself ( I assume being a GT, you have the 2.4 engine). The timing chain drives the water pump and it is a HUGE PITA job. One wrong step, and you could grenade your engine by hitting a valve with a piston.

12-08-2006, 03:31 PM
I'll be doing it myself :smokin:

12-13-2006, 11:34 PM
anyone have any scans of the maint. manual for changing the water pump ?


12-26-2006, 10:26 AM
I had the same problem. It was my water pump which is under the exhaust manifold on the z24. The dealer wanted $1000 to do it so I said I would do it myself. I now know why. It took about 20 hours to do. On the z24, I had to pull the exhaust manifold, the right motor mount and the timing cover. You can't just pull the water pump out because it has a gear that is part of the timing chain. It isn't a hard job just a long time to do. You have to raise the motor on the right side to get the motor mount off so you can take the timing chain off. I have some pics that I will try to post later.

I purchased the Haynes General Motors Cavalier & Sunfire book. It has all the steps for replacing the water pump and while you are at it (if you do it yourself) replace the t-stat and hoses since you will have to drain the coolant anyway.

12-26-2006, 10:47 AM
anyone have any scans of the maint. manual for changing the water pump ?


Here is the best info out there on it.
Good luck and let us know how it goes.

12-28-2006, 02:42 PM
almost done. Just waiting for a new tensioner to be on the safe side.

Does anyone know how to reset one of these tensioners?


- Kurt

12-29-2006, 01:02 AM
got it done today.

Went with a new tensioner to be safe.

A few test drives later and about 20 kms and so far so good.

What a job though - 15 hours.

12-29-2006, 09:35 PM
Congratulations... and the $$$ savings must be a good feeling. What did you feel was the hardest part, getting the timing cover off? The tensioner was a little tricky to get back in but not as much of a problem as all the work to get the timing cover off.

12-30-2006, 11:03 AM
The hardest...probably dropping the exhaust mani and seperating it from the exhaust pipe.

The timing chain part of the job was noty too bad...it was the waterpump part that seemed to make the job harder.

The savings were good, don't get me wrong, but spending the money for labour does not seem like such a bad idea after the 2 days spent on the job.

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