Leaking Coolant on '02 Impala 140,000 miles

02impala2402impala24 Member Posts: 5
There seems to be a leak in my coolant, but only when the car is turned on, any suggestions on what the problem could be?

I've came up with either a leak in one of the lines or the head gasket.


  • jntjnt Member Posts: 316
    It could be your water pump. At 140K miles, the water pump seal could be worn out and started to leak.

    My 3.4L van just had the water pump replaced couple weeks ago. The coolant sprayed out on the side near water pump.

    If you hear squealing sound (coolant on the belt) when first started the car, then it is indicative of water pump leaking. Water pump fix is cheaper than the gasket replacement (intake gasket for the notorious 3.4L V6, especially on GM minivan: virtually every van has this gasket problem).

  • 02impala2402impala24 Member Posts: 5
    So you're saying that the head gasket isn't the problem? I havent heard any squealing though, I'll definetly look for that next time I start it. Thank you.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Member Posts: 872
    FWIW There was also a recall (though it may not have been called that) on some of the early 3.8l Impalas... I know my 2000 was involved, but I don't remember how far forward the problem stretched. This was due to a composite intake manifold that was used, which tended to warp and allow coolant to leak out. I'd never see coolant on the ground or anything, but I could smell coolant and took it in and they found the leak. Several months to a year later GM issued a notice and I got reimbursed for the repair (which was @ $900).
  • 02impala2402impala24 Member Posts: 5
    The only thing is, is that i do see the coolant that has leaked out. I've read about the water pump sealants are a common problem?
  • wheresmyvettewheresmyvette Member Posts: 4
    call your dealer and see if your part of the coolant leak recall for the implalas. i cannot remember the year model for the recall but i think that it was the 02's.
  • 02impala2402impala24 Member Posts: 5
    Do you think that hooking up the on-board diagnostics thing (OBDII) would tell me whats wrong?
  • jntjnt Member Posts: 316
    Any service station should be able to pin down the leak if it is obvious like you mentioned. They could do the pressure check, visual inspection of all hoses and lastly putting dye in the coolant and let you drive around a while. That thing will help pin down the problem as far as where the leak is.

    On high mileage vehicle, water pump seal would break down and cause the coolant leak out from weep hole (purposely design to show this problem). If that is the case, the auto shop would be able to determine that by looking at the weep hole for any water residue (small leak)

    Before you sink $200 for the water pump replacement, at least check the following things on your own:

    1. The cap on the coolant recovering plastic reservoir : is this close?
    2. The radiator cap: Is this locked properly. It has marking on it telling user the locking position.

    The coolant leak could be caused by :

    1. Hose crack (low cost)
    2. Radiator leak (moderate cost)
    3. Water pump leak (moderate cost)
    4. Intake manifold leak (most costly)
    5. Radiator cap leak (low cost)
    6. Other?

  • 02impala2402impala24 Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for the reply I'll definetly look into that.
  • ike12ike12 Member Posts: 2
    with the impalas that have the 3.4L V6 they almost NEVER blow a head gasket. they ALWAYS blow intake gaskets. i have replaced about 4 doz in the last year. I work for an auto garage. If you under the throtle body where the trany and motor bolt together ill bet you will see a puddle of coolant. i have a 01 impala with 176k and my intake gaskets were replaced.
  • bena8837bena8837 Member Posts: 26
    I have mentioned this before. The engine design on the 3.4 has the oil filter right over a wire harness and everytime the oil filter is removed, the wire harness get saturated with oil. My fear is that those wires will become brittle and the insulation will break off. Does anyone know of an adapter or a way of moving the oil filter locationor any other solution to this problem? Someone recommended putting a hose over the wires but the wires go in different locations? Any help will be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks, O. M.
  • impala0169impala0169 Member Posts: 6
    Here is the site for info on possible refunds of leaks.

  • bobbyv23bobbyv23 Member Posts: 1
    One other possibility is the o-rings that are on the plastic elbows that go from the belt tensioner assembly (yep coolant runs through that!) and the engine. If it's a slow leak you might not notice it because it will either run off or evaporate before you can see the problem. You might try taking it to a shop to have it pressure leak tested. Mine had 105K on it when it went bad. Every mechanic thought it was the manifold (I'm waiting for that to go bad too!) ;)
  • rickosauverickosauve Member Posts: 3
    I have an '02 Impala LS 3.8L and at 90,000 miles I had a similar problem. It turned out to be two plastic elbows between the Intake and the Plenum. I ran me about $360 to have them replaced.
  • gpaul1gpaul1 Member Posts: 2
    take off you alternator and under that will be too plastic elbow peices they cost $4 and is an easy fix about 1 hr at the max i fix it by my self without any knowlage of those moters.... and they told me it would cost $1200 be careful do not mix coolant use orange .....
  • chevy3400chevy3400 Member Posts: 6
    edited March 2012
    Hello everyone, new on here, so bare with me. Had a head gasket fail at 90,000 miles by number 1 cylinder in Jan, 2012. Purchased the car new with 7 miles in 04.Know its whole life history. It's had its share of check engine lights on under its warranty life, but had not been in the shop since 2007. It wasn't that bad of a job to replace both head, exchaust, lower and upper intake manifold gaskets. Had the heads plained, and pressure tested. Went with new head bolts. Also give me a chance to replace spark plugs. I was really surprised that the intake manifolds were sealed well with no leaks. Really had no reason for the failure, never overheated, but did find what looked like shipping material in block coolant port by number 1 cylinder. I'm posting this for informational purposes only and maybe can help someone down the road.
  • northernnormnorthernnorm Member Posts: 1
    My 01 Impala - 3.4 had the well-know Head Gasket leak - repaired @ 80,000 miles (take a look at the gasket coming out ..... and the one going to replace it ! Quite a difference. ) This is a well publicized problem that can easily be confirmed by a mechanic checkup. I would recommend getting a number of quotes to replace/repair this......cost may be lower at your local mechanic vs. at the GM dealer --- shop rate in Canada is $110 per hour. Should be a 3-4 hour job.
    My properly serviced Impala is at 160,000 miles and running strong......resisting trading for an 08 LTZ.
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