03 Malibu leaking coolant, intake manifold?

Reply

  #1  
Old 12-30-08, 06:27 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: MARYLAND
Posts: 167
03 Malibu leaking coolant, intake manifold?

I have a 2003 Chevy Malibu, 3.1 V6. It has a coolant leak - I can see some on the outside of the engine around the heads. The car runs fine and does not over-heat. Knowing about all the problems about GM's intake manifold gaskets and the damage that can be done with an internal leak, how do I tell if my coolant is leaking internally? I can live for a little while with an external leak (until I get the $ or courage to fix it), but I hear the internal leak can ruin your engine. At last oil change I did not see any coolant in the oil and when I pull the dipstick again I see no coolant in the oil. How can I tell if it is also leaking internally? Also, since I've missed the class-action, does anyone have any info about GM still fixing this if I complain loudly enough? Thanks.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 12-30-08, 12:17 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 759
Some rad shops & some autoshops have a dye that they can put in your cooling system, then with a blacklight, they shine it all around including exhaust pipe, to look for traces of the dye glowing anywhere, thus indicating leak.
 
  #3  
Old 12-30-08, 05:56 PM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 579
Usually when the head gasket leaks, it leaks externally. Most commonly, it's the rear head gasket. This can be verified by pressure testing the cooling system and looking at the rear head gasket near the front cover, under the alternator area. A hoist would be your best bet at seeing this. I say you should take it to the dealer and see if they will warranty it. Our dealer is warrantying the 3.1 and 3.4L intake and head gaskets due to the class action lawsuit involving Dexcool. The customer does have to pay a deductable, but it beats paying for the whole deal or having to do it yourself.
We warranty them on cars/vans with anywhere from 30,000 miles to over 200,000 miles in a few cases.
 
  #4  
Old 12-30-08, 06:03 PM
HotxxxxxxxOKC's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 8,044
Sounds like the issues Ford had with their 3.8L back in the mid 90's.
 
  #5  
Old 12-30-08, 08:22 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Jersey
Posts: 526
I did this repair to my '01 Malibu it took a weekend but I did it myself.
Dealer wanted $1,000 to do it.
The gasket kit cost me $300 bucks.

I put up with the leak and smell for as long as I could luckily mine did not leak internally and it was the intake gasket not the head gasket.

The car now has 207,000 miles and still going good.
The gasket failed at about $90,000 miles.

I do have a thread on this from a couple years ago.
I can help you with the pit falls of this repair.
Let me know if you're doing it yourself.
 
  #6  
Old 12-31-08, 08:21 AM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Floriduhhhhh Us of A
Posts: 611
Originally Posted by shinrich View Post
I have a 2003 Chevy Malibu, 3.1 V6. It has a coolant leak - I can see some on the outside of the engine around the heads. The car runs fine and does not over-heat. Knowing about all the problems about GM's intake manifold gaskets and the damage that can be done with an internal leak, how do I tell if my coolant is leaking internally? I can live for a little while with an external leak (until I get the $ or courage to fix it), but I hear the internal leak can ruin your engine. At last oil change I did not see any coolant in the oil and when I pull the dipstick again I see no coolant in the oil. How can I tell if it is also leaking internally? Also, since I've missed the class-action, does anyone have any info about GM still fixing this if I complain loudly enough? Thanks.
MOST of the time..........The intake gaskets will leak outward.....HOWEVER, they CAN leak and pass coolant into your oil. You will see this as a "chocolate milkshake" when yo pull the tick or check the PCV.
Head gasket leaks, again, can leak into the oil OR into the combustion chamber........leaking into the cyl will give you lots of white smoke (sweet smelling) if the leak is profuse .
You can also use what's called a block checker. Fluid in a tube with a bulb on the end. The bulb is used to draw vapors from your coolant system through the fluid. If the fluid color changes from blue to green/yellow, there's traces of exhaust gas in your coolant which indicates head gasket/cracked head/or a problem with the block.........any of the three requires disassembly and further inspection
 
  #7  
Old 12-31-08, 04:24 PM
mobile_man's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 80
@shinrich

I have the exact same year and model Malibu with around 87k miles on it. Back at 58k miles, I had a shop drain all the dexcool out of there (they used their machine) and put in the green anti-freeze. From time to time, I do see some "sludge" for lack of a better word under the coolant reservoir cap. Knock on wood - so far so good. I don't wish to hijack the thread. I am curious to see what others think.
 
  #8  
Old 01-09-09, 07:32 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: MARYLAND
Posts: 167
Question for Mr. Dummas

I read your reply about the intake manifold gasket for a Malibu and you said that yor dealer was covering the repair (less deductable). When I called GM and then my local dealer, neither said that they had even heard about any program to help cover the cost of the repair (or even the class action law suit). The dealer wanted $870 for the job. Do you have any specifics about GM helping pay for this repair or do you have the number of the dealer you referenced that was doing the repair? Thanks!
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes