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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-18-2012, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Low coolant

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Probably stupid question but when you drain and flush the cooling system what do you use to catch the old antifreeze and what do you do with it? You would have to have a pretty big bucket or something to flush it a few times without letting it go on the ground.
I have one of these drain pans, http://www.tooltopia.com/lisle-17952.aspx. You can get them at most parts stores. They hold 4.5 gallons. I have 4 5 gallons pails with lids on them that have a pour spout so I use two for antifreeze and two for oil. So I drain into drian pan and dump drain pan into pails. When done I take it to the city yard where they take oil and coolant for free. I think a lot of parts stores also take antifreeze. I've also read you can dump it down your drain if you are on city sewage but I would check with your city first.

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With the advent of four wheel ABS there is no "incorrect" sequence. All four brake calipers are individually connected to the ABS module. The only shared plumbing is from the master cylinder to the ABS module.

Hook up your MityVac in whatever sequence is most convenient and have at it. FWIW, I also (try to) replace all the brake fluid every two years.

With some GM vehicles you can gain access to the front bleeder valves without removing the wheels.
Do you know what size wrench for the bleeder screws? I was thinking about getting a bleeder wrench if it will help.
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-18-2012, 07:04 PM
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Re: Low coolant

Ok that sounds easy enough. I don't think I'll dump it down the drain although I used to just let it drain on the ground when I was younger and working on my Mustang...


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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-18-2012, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Low coolant

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Ok that sounds easy enough. I don't think I'll dump it down the drain although I used to just let it drain on the ground when I was younger and working on my Mustang...
Ya most cities have a disposal program, just call the recycling or waste part of the city and ask. Or call parts stores and ask. I don't dump down the drain either but have heard some cities allow it and it's fine for the water treatment places. I try not to dump it on the ground either because it's slippery and also it's sweet so pets like to lick it up which is bad for them.
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-18-2012, 09:22 PM
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Re: Low coolant

The company that picks up your trash is often a good source of local recycling & proper disposal info.
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Low coolant

I finally got a chance to hook the stant tester up today and pumped it up to 15 PSI and let it sit for a few minutes. Came back and the needle didn't move at all so there is no leak. Not sure why the coolant was low. I'm going to do a DIY flush and fill with new coolant. I'm also going to pick up a new cap since it's only a couple bucks and want to rule that out as a possible leak. Then will just have to wait and see if the coolant continues to drop.
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post #16 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-01-2013, 06:47 PM
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Re: Low coolant

Interesting...I have 10 Malibu 4cyl. @60K, during my ownership, 3 years, I refilled the expansion tank twice, each refill was around 1/2 quart.

I change my own oil and really didn't see any discoloration on my oil too. The car runs and drives fine except that annoying downshifting issue.

I have an Ford Escape at 130K, I am experiencing the same thing on that car as well. Every summer, I am adding 1/2 quart of coolant
Any idea about coolant loss over 3 years?
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post #17 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 04:24 AM
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Re: Low coolant

Using a dye kit in the coolant is the best way to find a leak. It will show the smallest external leak in the system.
I've used it in several cars, was the first step in a couple of 3.1 motors before the oil analysis's for the famous intake gasket leak.
Found a rear intake leak in my Yukon with it also. Dye light and a mirror will help you examine the entire motor & system.
A/C dye kit works great also.

John
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post #18 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-02-2013, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Low coolant

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Originally Posted by malibu_2010 View Post
Interesting...I have 10 Malibu 4cyl. @60K, during my ownership, 3 years, I refilled the expansion tank twice, each refill was around 1/2 quart.

I change my own oil and really didn't see any discoloration on my oil too. The car runs and drives fine except that annoying downshifting issue.

I have an Ford Escape at 130K, I am experiencing the same thing on that car as well. Every summer, I am adding 1/2 quart of coolant
Any idea about coolant loss over 3 years?
I'm not sure what the deal is. As far as I know the cooling system is a "closed" system that shouldn't have any evaporation loss. So I wouldn't think it would loss any coolant unless there was a leak somewhere. I'm going to hook the pressure tester up and let it sit for a while longer. Stant says for two minutes. I'll leave it for 15 or so and see if it moves at all. I would think that even with a small pinhole leak that the stant would bleed down a PSI or two in a couple minutes.

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Using a dye kit in the coolant is the best way to find a leak. It will show the smallest external leak in the system.
I've used it in several cars, was the first step in a couple of 3.1 motors before the oil analysis's for the famous intake gasket leak.
Found a rear intake leak in my Yukon with it also. Dye light and a mirror will help you examine the entire motor & system.
A/C dye kit works great also.
I have a tracerline dye kit also and might use it. Bought it for an oil leak when I had my 7.3L superduty a couple years ago and bought the full kit with the oil/coolant/ac dyes. Also used the coolant dye on a 3.8L impala for the intake gasket leak. So I might throw some dye in after I flush the system and see if I can see anything. But I would think that a pressure test would show a leak before the dye would. When I do the flush and fill the system up I have a uview airlift that pulls a vacuum to fill it so that will pull a vacuum and should show a leak if there is one. If the pressure tester and vacuum tester don't show a leak I will fill it back up and see what happens.
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post #19 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-05-2013, 07:00 AM
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Re: Low coolant

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I have a tracerline dye kit also and might use it. Bought it for an oil leak when I had my 7.3L superduty a couple years ago and bought the full kit with the oil/coolant/ac dyes. Also used the coolant dye on a 3.8L impala for the intake gasket leak. So I might throw some dye in after I flush the system and see if I can see anything. But I would think that a pressure test would show a leak before the dye would. When I do the flush and fill the system up I have a uview airlift that pulls a vacuum to fill it so that will pull a vacuum and should show a leak if there is one. If the pressure tester and vacuum tester don't show a leak I will fill it back up and see what happens.

Old school shade tree diagnosis was to cold start and watch for leak as it warmed up. Expansion on warm up usually showed a leak. Pressure test may pass but warm up expansion will cause a brief leak causing the small coolant loss over time. Dye is the sure fire way today. I too have a tracerline kit and have used it with great success. Even the smallest seep shows up.

John
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09 Malibu LS
11 Tahoe LTZ
16 Equinox LTZ 3.6
01 FLHR
Ski Doo's & Sea Doo
02 Malibu traded
67 Malibu sold
64 Malibu sold
07 Mustang GT 3 pedals sold

Last edited by DrivenDaily; 01-05-2013 at 10:18 AM. Reason: Fix quote tags
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post #20 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-10-2013, 03:48 PM
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Re: Low coolant

Was poking around under the hood today and noticed the same thing ... low level in the overflow reservoir. Decided to put a dixie cup of coolant in to get it closer to the full line and immediately noticed fluid leaking out of the bottom of the reservoir. But as I investigated further the leak wasn't coming from the underneath hose attachment (at first I thought it might be loose), but instead from a plastic indentation in the bottom of the reservoir. Tested another dixie cup and the same result.

Perhaps this is the design of the reservoir to prevent overflow? A small hole on a raised plateau to reduce high levels? Anyone else care to experiment? Don't want to replace the reservoir if that's the way it is supposed to work.

I have an '08 with the 6 cyl, don't know if the design is different for 4 cyl or changed on subsequent models.
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