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Lee, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Buick
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Experience:  31 years experience ASE Master Technician
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98 buick century: Replaced thermostat..any leaks or that coolant smell

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Have a 98 buick century 3.1 Replaced thermostat becuause it was over heating. It working because temp is normal and getting heat. dont see any leaks or that coolant smell. Low coolant light keeps coming on. Checked the resivior was low added more coolant and was good for the day. the next day the light came on again and was low?

Hi! There


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Check the water pump. The water will not leak all the time. Top your system off. Crank and run motor to operating temp. Turn engine off. watch for a leak as the car cools down. The water pump normally leaks on cool down. You may have to watch it up to 30 min. before it starts leaking. Also while it is cooling down, check for leaks in other places while it is still under pressure. Don't forget to check the A/C drain at the firewall.

If you still can not find the leak. You can put UV dye in the system. Let it leak. Then check for the dye. This will tell you where it is coming from without actually seeing the leak. But you will need a black light to see the dye.



Customer: replied 6 years ago.

If there are any leaks while cooling down, won't I see a puddle on the ground? I have done two intake manifold jobs on the 3.1. I have noticed that there are coolant ports. Could the coolant be leaking and going out the exhaust?

Depending on the amount of coolant you are losing. You my or my not see a puddle on the ground. If water is going out the exhaust, you will have white smoke coming from the exhaust and what ever cyl. is getting coolant in it. The top of that piston will be clean. The 3.1 intake gaskets were a problem, but normally you get water in the oil when they are leaking. Putting newspaper under the car will help to see a leak that you may not see on ground. But if you put dye in the system, It will tell you.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Just went and checked the oil. Does look a little milky. But, I really don't see any white smoke. I have seen white smoke before and it is a blown head gasket.

Are you seeing white smoke now?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

No, But I have not changed the oil in a while. It normally looks black and dirty. But, now it's a creXXXXX XXXXX.

normally when the oil is creamy looking, you have coolant getting in the oil. On this motor. The most likely cause is the intake gasket. Is the oil level over full?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Then you more than likely have a intake gasket leaking.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
That's what I thought. Just wanted to get a second opinion before I tore into the engine. Thanks.

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