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Generation III Internal Engine
1997-2006 LS1 | LS6
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Old 02-27-2007, 05:23 PM   #1
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Default losing coolant. head gasket?...long

about 5 months ago I finished up with a cam swap. during the process I had to remove the passenger head to get a rocker stud extracted. (hey, it helped me do 8 springs outside of the car). I used new GM MLS gaskets and headbolts. I made sure to clean all the bolt holes out.

now fast forward to a week ago... I was stuck in traffic and my low coolant light came on. My coolant was low. I added and made sure the overflow reservoir was at the appropriate mark. A couple days later, the MIL comes on again. Coolant is low, and this time it's about a cup and a half low. Being I had a problem such as this before, I tried a new radiator cap. FIll the radiator one more time and the light again....
What I've noticed:
1. there are no visible leaks
2. coolant reservoir is still to the full mark, coolant is low in the radiator.
3. radiator is not leaking.
4. no coolant smell whatsoever
5. no white smoke out the exhaust.
6. oil looks fine.

I havent yet to check the plugs. There's a chance that maybe I didnt stretch some of the GM headbolts enough back when I did my cam and now they finally decided to leak.

Steps of Action:? check the plugs first, retorque the headbolts., and see how the level does?.... or go straight to the gasket and try it.

thanks for the read and your ideas.
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Old 02-27-2007, 06:10 PM   #2
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retorquing head bolts, should I be worried that if I continue stretching the bolts and go too far that they could break off in the block?

edit:I used a 6.0L head gasket. It's what I've used before. should be fine, correct?
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Old 02-27-2007, 08:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregWS6&z28
retorquing head bolts, should I be worried that if I continue stretching the bolts and go too far that they could break off in the block?
I wouldn't reccomend retorquing GM head bolts. If you don't know if you torqued them down enough.....how would you know where to start? It's a lot cheaper/easier to get a new set of bolts than to break off a bolt in the block.

I'd pull the plugs first. See if you can confirm a head gasket leak. It would suck to pull head and go through all that work if that isn't the cause.
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Old 02-27-2007, 08:04 PM   #4
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You're probably losing coolant only while the engine is in operating temp. I have the same problem where it goes low over a period of time. I keep filling it 'cos I haven't got the time to redo the head gaskets. I've noticed on some of my vids of 1/4mile runs that I kinda push out a puff of white smoke at the top end so that's what got me thinking.
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Old 02-27-2007, 09:37 PM   #5
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so are you just adding coolant and living with it? it's not something I wanna do. it does seem to happen sometime after the car has gotten up to operating range, about 100 miles after I've added about 10 ounces of coolant... it doesnt happen every time after i refill it. It seems like I'm losing it very slowly. its really hard to tell if I have any white smoke out the exhaust since it's cold when I start the car, just steam mainly. the oil level has been fine and oil is not milky on the dipstick or any buildup on the fill cap..

im planning on doing a coolant pressure test and going from there. have never done one. the radiator could be going to the reservior overflow. not too sure need to check that.
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Old 02-28-2007, 03:03 PM   #6
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I have the same problems and symptoms as you. What I have done, was a cooling system pressure check cold, hot & running with no loss in pressure. I even had compressed air applied to each cylinder through the spark plug hole and no leaks. So, for now, I'm just living with the problem. What I find that does reduce coolant loss is, to loosen the coolant cap when you start the car. When the coolant gets to operating temperature,194*, I go ahead and tighten the cap. When I get home, I'll leave the engine running, get out of the car, and SLOWLY loosen the cap and releive the pressure , then turn the motor off. This method, I now only need to add about a half a cup of coolant per tank of gas. Before it was a little more than a cup. I guess I'll continue to do this until I can swap in a forged short block.
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Old 02-28-2007, 09:08 PM   #7
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i have a severe coolant leak rolling down the side of the block from the head gasket, courtesy of a machine shop not being gentle with the head (aka DROPPING THE DAMN THING). they also punctured my water jacket and i have to put sealant in the last header bolt to keep it from leakin. they are denying they dropped it but i could see clearly where it landed, i know it wasnt a long distance drop but i believe they warped it when they welded up the hole for the header bolt, i broke off the bolt when i was putting my headers on and broke and extractor in the bolt so the welded up the hole and puctured the water jacket, then drilled a new hole. parked the car, savin up for heads and cam. oh yeah is it true that if you let a leak like that go on long enough it will wear away the metal on the mating surfaces? kinda like an errosion effect? someone told me that and i think its a load of crap
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Old 02-28-2007, 09:08 PM
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