Bought 1999 Venture Minivan used with 7400 miles on it almost three years ago now. Up until now it has been a pretty good vehicle with only some minor warranty repairs. However it now has almost 60,000 miles and about 2 months ago it started loosing antifreeze out of the reservoir and during this time period added almost 1 gallon. Since we could see nor find no leaks we took it to the shop to see if problem could be located. Alas the coolant has been seeping into the engine,(evidence by white gunk on oil cap, but no sign of water in the oil) suspect through intake or head gasket and it appears the engine may be gone if bearings are wiped. Don't know yet because had it towed to Chevrolet dealer who is going to check it out on Monday. Since the 36,000 mile 36 month warranty is out we are worried we will have to pay for new engine. Anyone else had this problem? Discussion with shop and Chevrolet dealer indicated this engine is known for this. I called the consumer service number but have to have it evaluated by Chevrolet dealer before they will tell me anything.
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having said that, it seems like every carmaker is trying to hide some head gasket or manifold failure problems in at least one of their engines now, and they should all be roasted on a spit for that until they have made good every single bloody bad engine they put out there. purely no excuse for it.
good luck on yours... try for a customer satisfaction payment from the chevy zone office if it turns out you, too, are hosed by a gutless gasket on an insufficiently-cooled engine.
If it is the V-6, then I'd put money on the intake gasket leaking externally down the side of the block. This will only be evident by presure testing the cooling system and checking the rear of the engine where the bell housing meets the engine. It will either leak down onto the starter or the side of the block. Or it will leak down the front of the engine. Also check the weep hole of the water pump.
All of these leaks are barely visible under pressure, let alone with the vehicle sitting.
If the gasket lets loose and leaks internally, the oil in the pan will be milky.
If the manufacturer will not reimburse them for the repair, why should the dealer repair it for free? The answer is, they shouldn't.
Don't get me wrong, I am one of the strongest consumer advocates you witll find for honest automotive repair, but put the blame on this one where it belongs.
I have had the intake manifold replaced on my wife's 99 Lumina 3 times. All 3 under warranty.
The first one under the manufacturer's warranty at 33,000 miles, the second one under manufacturer's warranty at 48,000 miles, as an ongoing problem. The third one a 68,000 miles on the extended warranty I paid for.
it would be the old so-called GM 350 "diesel" all over again, in which two more head bolts on a gas engine supposedly made it possible to burn diesel in the chevy short block. didn't work. couldn't work. but they sure tried to stonewall through.
As for these coolant leaks nowadays, well don't the 3.1/3.4 and 3.8 use a plastic intake manifold? Seems to me that's just asking for trouble, since plastic does all sorts of fun things like warp, crack, get brittle, etc.
Swschrad, I do believe they actually have learned a lot about gaskets and sealing technology since the '50's. The technology has advanced greatly since then, but unfortunately sometimes it gets focused more on finding ways to make things cheaper, instead of better!
I have to add a splash of coolant every 4-5 months. It's not causing any problems that I can see, other than some of the gunk is starting to get into one of the spark plug wells.
I'm thinking of adding some stop leak to the radiator, since it doesn't seem worth the effort or expense to fix it. Is there any downside to this? Can this harm the cooling system, or should I jsut live with it?
Not worth the risk of a sealer, only as a last resort to a major repair.
To my knowledge, Cadillac is the only manufacturer that recommends any sealer and ONLY their sealer.
Ok, here's the deal. You can easily, with little effort, locate the source of the leak.
Once the leak is located, it can then be fixed properly, as the leak will only get worse.
All you need to do is get a UV Leak Detector light, I have one from Tracerline, TP-8600 Blue Max™ Penlight and one from Lisle products, 36000 Flexible UV LED light. These lights are around $40. If you can't find them, e-mail me.
Then go down to your local part store and get a bottle of Coolant Leak Detection Dye and put it in the radiator.
Run the vehicle for a while and then use the IV light to find the location of the leak.
Here is an article on how to use the leak detection light and dye.