Hello and thank you for your post. I am a master certified GM tech, with 15 years Saturn experience,and can help you to resolve your issue.
curious to know why you want to replace the intake gasket? they rarely leak.
are you seeing a coolant leak?
these engines are a bit difficult to work on, I won't lie to you.
But if you want I will send some text info on how to remove the intake.
Yeah the car has a coolant leak. Originally I took it to the dealership and they said I had a bad water pump. So I had the water pump changed but it didn't fix the leak.
OK. The coolant leak looks like it is coming from the intake area?
So the dealership said, my bad its the plenum. But I didn't think the plenum would cause a coolant leak so I did some research and same to the conclusion that it is the intake gasket.
Your issue is actually the oil cooler plate.
Under the plenum and the lower intake manifold there is a hole in the block
My wife drives the car and she said she sees steam rising from the car sometimes.
in that hole is a small radiator looking cooler.
The cooler is held to the block with a cover, some orings, some sealant, and a bunch of bolts.
The parts to replace the cooler the right way are going to run you somewhere in the range of $1200.00 because the cooler may strip out when you unscrew the nuts.
If it does then it needs to be replaced and is about $600-$800 for that part by itself.
So $1200 at the dealership or $1200 for me to fix.
it's not going to cost $1200 at the dealership.
You are going to get a phone call telling you the bad news once it is apart
they will realize their mistake (or may not realize) once it is apart and then someone is going to lose a bunch of money
I have a LOT of experience fixing these and can tell you that the intake itself doesn't even have coolant running through it so it can not be your leak
The way this engine is stacked, the cooler under the lower intake, under the plenum, it is impossible to see where the leak is coming from until it is apart
and it is ALWAYS the cooler cover.
So what is the ballpark figure to fix it and does it need to be fixed?
It needs to be fixed if the leak is bad enough to drip on the ground. If it is just seeping it is probably OK to ignore for a while.
One down side to waiting is that the coolant will eventually get on the crank position sensor and it may get shorted out (maybe not).
If it does, your car will stall out and not restart.
Happens once in a blue moon due to this leak.
o pay to have this leak fixed the labor charge will probably be in the range of about 8-10 hours at the prevailing labor rate where you live. (usually $80-$120 in NJ)
on top of the parts price
this is absolutely NOT a job for a novice. I do not know your skill level but the first time someone does one of these it takes a day or 2 to complete li and that is with a lot of automotive experience. I have done literally 50 or more of these so i can do the whole job in like 3-4 hours.
Alright, thanks. This car has been nothing but trouble with so few miles on it. So can I tell them this is the problem or are they going to want to check it out? Why would they think it was the water pump, and then the plenum?
well the water pump was probably leaking. Just not your only leak.
also when the water pump leaks, the coolant drips out the bottom of the engine. The intake may be leaking in the same area so thay may have just assumed.
The water pumps do leak on these as well.
These engines are very strong and reliable but they leak coolant like a sieve until these repairs are made, then they are usually OK for 100K miles
if repaired properly
I hope this helps you.
You can share with them what I told you if you want
here is a list of what you should replace when doing this job...
the cooler itself(if the threads are stripped coming apart), the cooler cover, the 2 orings under the cover, the bolts that hold the cover down, the 2 large nuts that hold the cover to the cooler, the sealant that seals the cover to the block, (right stuff made by permatex) the thermostat housing with the thermostat, the 2 bolts that hold the thermostat in, the 2 orings in the thermostat pipe, the coolant bridge itself, the 4 rubber and metal washers for the coolant bridge, the 4 metal washers for the oil cooler pipes, the coolant inlet oring on the back of the block, and the 2 banjo bolts for the coolant bridge.
replace every one of these parts to ensure that this doesn't come back with another issue down the road.
The coolant bridge and thermostat housing were both redesigned to prevent leaking so you must replace them with new ones and the bolts as well.
good luck with this.