Impala Forums banner
1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife's 2003 3.4L is pissing coolant all over the driveway - but only when it's running. I tried to find where the leak is coming from, it's running along some brackets under the engine and dripping off the back. I jacked it up and started it and I can see a drip that looks like it's coming from behind the idler pulley, or right in that area. Is there something there that could be leaking? Or is it coming from the water pump weep hole and just running along something else and looks like it's coming from there?

It looks like the water pump is kind of an easy job but I don't want to change it if it's not gonna fix this problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
OK when I said idler pulley I mean belt tensioner. Anyway I changed the water pump - took all of about 30 minutes - but I think its still leaking. There was coolant everywhere so I'm not sure if its the same leak or just the coolant that was all over everything dripping off. I'm letting it sit overnight and will check it again in the morning.

I've been poking around and see that the 3.8l has plastic elbows that can go bad, does the 3.4l have the same thing?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
The 3.4 does not have the elbows. Have you checked the short twisted hose right by the water pump? Mine was leaking but only when the car was running. The hose was decayed on the underside. If it's not that it could well be the intake manifold gaskets need replacing. The valleys between the cylinder banks are one of the most common areas to leak. Does your radiator cap and oil cap look clean? If they have a milky goo the gaskets are letting the oil and antifreeze mix and that can cause serious damage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The 3.4 does not have the elbows. Have you checked the short twisted hose right by the water pump? Mine was leaking but only when the car was running. The hose was decayed on the underside. If it's not that it could well be the intake manifold gaskets need replacing. The valleys between the cylinder banks are one of the most common areas to leak. Does your radiator cap and oil cap look clean? If they have a milky goo the gaskets are letting the oil and antifreeze mix and that can cause serious damage.
Both the coolant and the oil are nice and clean, I actually had the LIM gaskets, radiator, upper and lower hoses and a few other miscellaneous hoses changed a couple of months ago.

I did not check the hose by the water pump, which one are you talking about? The one to the right of it (goes to the rad I think) is new and in good shape.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
The hose coming off the bleeder valve and out of the housing the water pump connects to is the one that was leaking on me. Did you have a shop do the intake gaskets? If so, I would check with them and see if they are willing to take a look (warranty?). I had a shop replace mine the first time and the repair didn't even last for 10,000 miles but went past their 12 month guarantee. It looked like they slid the manifold messing up the RTV bead and it was also over torqued so I just redid it myself the second time. I'm just still wondering about the gaskets since it seems you have been pretty thorough checking things out. From what I have heard and read the failed gaskets usually have some oil/antifreeze mixing but sometimes it may just be an external leak.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The hose coming off the bleeder valve and out of the housing the water pump connects to is the one that was leaking on me. Did you have a shop do the intake gaskets? If so, I would check with them and see if they are willing to take a look (warranty?). I had a shop replace mine the first time and the repair didn't even last for 10,000 miles but went past their 12 month guarantee. It looked like they slid the manifold messing up the RTV bead and it was also over torqued so I just redid it myself the second time. I'm just still wondering about the gaskets since it seems you have been pretty thorough checking things out. From what I have heard and read the failed gaskets usually have some oil/antifreeze mixing but sometimes it may just be an external leak.
The guy who did the LIM is a GM mechanic, he did the work on his own time... but he's a friend of a friend so if I tell him that the LIM is no good he would probably fix it. But I'd like to be sure that's it before going back to him.

The hose you're talking about is on the right side of the water pump, right? This looks like it's leaking from the left side, kind of in the middle of the block, where the tensioner is.

Tomorrow I'm gonna poke around some more and maybe pull it apart some and see if I can figure out where it's coming from.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
That could well be it then, I couldn't find my replacement at any place other than the Chevy dealer but I think it was only 10 to 12 dollars. You may want to also pick up the o ring (smaller red circle) for that tube. I can usually find one in my assortment kit but this was a little thicker than usual. Good luck, hope it's that simple.
 

Attachments

·
I eat brains... gimme brains!
Joined
·
658 Posts
That's a coolant bypass hose.. Advance has them for $4 an change.. I still have not had the time to delve in but I have the same leak you are experiencing... It looks like its the water pump housing but it looks like that's a cover that's connected to much more... Hopefully within the next few days I will dig back there to find the leak
 

·
Mr. Handy
Joined
·
6,289 Posts
The 3.4 had a hose unlike the 3.8 that has elbows that go through the belt tensioner. Likely a bad seal on the hose or a cracked hose.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I went out this morning, started the car and let it run for a few minutes. Before it even got warmed up it started leaking again.

Looking straight down, there's a puddle on the ground right under where the tensioner is, right next to the passenger side tire.



I poked around some but don't see any hoses or anything there that could be leaking. Is there something behind the power steering pump or tensioner, close to the block?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
I went out this morning, started the car and let it run for a few minutes. Before it even got warmed up it started leaking again.

Looking straight down, there's a puddle on the ground right under where the tensioner is, right next to the passenger side tire.



I poked around some but don't see any hoses or anything there that could be leaking. Is there something behind the power steering pump or tensioner, close to the block?
After this, I'm still thinking the intake gasket or it's RTV bead in between, sure sounds like it could be coming from the valley area. The hose is out in the open so that should be easy to see or rule out. The 3.5's have a coolant crossover in that area that has two gaskets (had to replace mine recently) but the 3.4 doesn't have that. Do you have a small inspection mirror or maybe just unbolt the power steering pump to get a better look behind there?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
After this, I'm still thinking the intake gasket or it's RTV bead in between, sure sounds like it could be coming from the valley area. The hose is out in the open so that should be easy to see or rule out. The 3.5's have a coolant crossover in that area that has two gaskets (had to replace mine recently) but the 3.4 doesn't have that. Do you have a small inspection mirror or maybe just unbolt the power steering pump to get a better look behind there?
I spoke with my neighbor before (he's a mechanic), he has a pressure testing kit so later this week we're gonna pull some parts out, pressurize the cooling system and see if we can see where its coming from. He said he thought the coolant went through the timing chain cover (he wasn't sure he was going to check the shop manual) and said it might be coming from there or maybe the intake or head gasket. We'll know for sure one we look at it closer.

I was hoping this was gonna be something simple but it doesn't look like its gonna be. Anybody wanna buy a broken '03 Impala? Lol...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
It's leaking from the timing chain cover gasket. How big of a job is it to replace that?
Haynes manual says the oil pan has to be removed as part of the repair. I have to replace my oil pan gasket, hopefully doing tomorrow, and you will need an engine hoist or engine support bar since the motor needs to be raised. The starter motor has to come out, A/C unbolted but not disconnected, disconnect one ball joint and tie rod for removing a control arm, some exhaust unbolting and some other steps as well but this should give you an idea of what to expect.

It 'looks' like removing the oil pan would be a large portion of the work before being replacing the timing chain gasket. Hopefully someone will correct me if I'm wrong. This will be my first oil pan in a front wheel drive so if I can get to it this weekend I'll have a much better idea of the pain level.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Haynes manual says the oil pan has to be removed as part of the repair. I have to replace my oil pan gasket, hopefully doing tomorrow, and you will need an engine hoist or engine support bar since the motor needs to be raised. The starter motor has to come out, A/C unbolted but not disconnected, disconnect one ball joint and tie rod for removing a control arm, some exhaust unbolting and some other steps as well but this should give you an idea of what to expect.

It 'looks' like removing the oil pan would be a large portion of the work before being replacing the timing chain gasket. Hopefully someone will correct me if I'm wrong. This will be my first oil pan in a front wheel drive so if I can get to it this weekend I'll have a much better idea of the pain level.
Let me know how it goes!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
Let me know how it goes!
Hey Mikelbeck, sorry I don't have an update on the oil pan removal. I had the car running while on jack stands to try and see if my oil leak might be coming from the rear main instead of the oil pan. I found it was actually coming from the oil pressure sensor switch which is above the oil pan and hidden by the starter and wiring harness. Replaced the switch and no more leaks at all so no oil pan gasket replacement. :yahoo:

Long story short, I think I would rely on your friend if he's a mechanic. I looked at the Haynes manual for the oil pan removal and I don't think everything they listed had to be removed so I also have my doubt's about the instructions for the timing chain cover gasket. Also received a reply to one of my posts for the oil pan and the link from richardgriese seemed much more accurate. Keep your posting updated on what you eventually find out. Good luck with it!

http://www.impalaforums.com/chevy-i...on/511425-3-4-oil-pan-gasket-replacement.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Dropping pan unnecessary

I did this job - coolant was leaking from behind tensioner. Was indeed the timing cover gaskey leaking hear the coolant inlet for bank 2. I looked on youtube and this guy did the job without dfropping the pan so I gave it a try. Dropped the plastic splash guards in front of the right front wheel, pulled the harmonic balancer, etc and removed the timing cover carefully. The runner seal between the top of the oil pan and bottom of the timing cover remained in the top of the pan and was not damaged. I cleaned it and applied black rtv when reassembling and it didnt leak at all. Made the job way easier.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I did this job - coolant was leaking from behind tensioner. Was indeed the timing cover gaskey leaking hear the coolant inlet for bank 2. I looked on youtube and this guy did the job without dfropping the pan so I gave it a try. Dropped the plastic splash guards in front of the right front wheel, pulled the harmonic balancer, etc and removed the timing cover carefully. The runner seal between the top of the oil pan and bottom of the timing cover remained in the top of the pan and was not damaged. I cleaned it and applied black rtv when reassembling and it didnt leak at all. Made the job way easier.
That's what the mechanic wound up doing with my car. Also the oil pressure sender was leaking so that got replaced too. And figured since the timing chain cover was off why not replace the timing chain too.

However... When he went to put the power steering pump back in he found that one of the ears around the lower bolt hole was cracked, so I picked up a new one at Auto Zone. That one had a broken hose fitting. Back to Auto Zone, got one that didn't look broken. But it's groaning and nearly impossible to turn the car when making a tight turn - like into a parking spot. And yes, we bled the hell out of it. So I picked up a 3rd power steering pump this morning, that'll go in tomorrow. Good thing there's a lifetime warranty on their parts I guess...

But on the up side, the coolant in staying right where it should and nothing is leaking from anywhere.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
However... When he went to put the power steering pump back in he found that one of the ears around the lower bolt hole was cracked, so I picked up a new one at Auto Zone. That one had a broken hose fitting. Back to Auto Zone, got one that didn't look broken. But it's groaning and nearly impossible to turn the car when making a tight turn - like into a parking spot. And yes, we bled the hell out of it. So I picked up a 3rd power steering pump this morning, that'll go in tomorrow. Good thing there's a lifetime warranty on their parts I guess...

***********

What kind of power steering fluid did you use? I flushed mine with STP and had the same issue. Flushed a second time with Valvoline fluid and then it steered like new.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
However... When he went to put the power steering pump back in he found that one of the ears around the lower bolt hole was cracked, so I picked up a new one at Auto Zone. That one had a broken hose fitting. Back to Auto Zone, got one that didn't look broken. But it's groaning and nearly impossible to turn the car when making a tight turn - like into a parking spot. And yes, we bled the hell out of it. So I picked up a 3rd power steering pump this morning, that'll go in tomorrow. Good thing there's a lifetime warranty on their parts I guess...

***********

What kind of power steering fluid did you use? I flushed mine with STP and had the same issue. Flushed a second time with Valvoline fluid and then it steered like new.
I was using whatever was on sale at Auto Zone, I think it's Valuecraft.

Before I changed the pump again I tried bleeding the one that was in there once more. I jacked up the front of the car, popped off the cap and had my son turn the steering wheel back and forth until there were no more bubbles. That never happened... he went lock to lock probably 50 times and there were still bubbles coming up. I gave up and took it out for a drive, it was much better but every once in a while I could feel the power assist stop so I knew there was still a problem.

I picked up a new pump, brought it by my mechanic's place last night and we swapped it out, this one is working. No problems turning, no noise, no nothing. It's nice when everything works like it should.

One thing I learned - no more AutoZone parts for me. They're convenient and have a lifetime warranty on most stuff but their parts suck.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top