Hello and thank you for trusting us with your question. I'm Dj.
I'm sorry about your job. I've worked for 5 companies in the last 10 years that went out of business so I know where you are coming from.
What mechanical skills do you have? Any tools? How about a good flashlight and a mirror?
If you take into a dealership, and it's not the water pump, you will probably get a diagnostic fee of around $100, even though the mechanic will spend 15 minutes checking it out.
Most independent shops don't charge a diagnostic fee. But if it's a Suzuki powertrain warranty, an independent shop can't do the work?
I recommend that you call a couple of independent shops that specialize in Suzuki and make certain that don't charge for diagnosis. Just lay it out like it is. Tell them you are on a really tight budget and see if they can help you.Independent shops usually will treat you like a customer rather than just a number like happens in most dealerships.
If it turns out to be a water pump, and the warranty is from some company other than Suzuki, then the independent shop can do the work. This will save you the most money. If it's a hose or some other leak, you will still save the most money.
It's really important that you DO NOT let the engine get hot. It will blow the head gasket and it won't be covered by the warranty if the cause was overheating. If that happens you will be out two grand.
Please let me know if you have any questions on this or if there is anything more I can do to help you.
BTW, what kind of work do you do?
I do accounting work, I had my car at the dealership for another engine light and power issue. I bought the vehicle from CarMax. Apparently no maintenance was done but the head gasket was warped, I was without my vehicle for three weeks. This was covered but I had a tune up and the timing belt replaced while they had it appart. That one cost me over $700.. Unfortunately there is only one authorized Suzuki repair shop for warranty work and they charge 202.50 just for diagnostics.
One other thought, I don't recall seeing the electric fans go on next to the radiator, how would I test that?
The advisor did not tell me anything I didn;t know. I was hoping to find a diagram of the possible leak locations, water pump, etc.. Sorry.
The easiest way to check the fans is to turn on the air conditioner. At least one fan should come on. If not, then there is problem with the fan.
It's best to look at this format as a conversation. Let me know what information you want and I will try to provide it.
Take a look at this picture. There is a black dot just below the black serrated pulley, on the right side of center. This is a weep hole. It's normal for a tiny amount of coolant to come out of the hole but when a water pump goes bad, a lot of coolant will come out of the hole. You may be able to see it with a mirror.
The normal process to check for a coolant leak is to pressurize the system (with the engine off) and see where the trail of coolant is coming from. This is hard to do if you don't have a hoist, because you have to follow the leak from the bottom up.
Can you tell me more about the service contract or extended warranty? Does it only pay for work done at a Suzuki store?
Something is really wrong with this system today. I just went back and looked at what I typed and everything is out of order.
What city are you in?