2002 Saturn Vue Engine Gasket Enquiry

Tiny
X2006NZL
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 SATURN VUE
  • 3.0L
  • V6
  • AWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 150,000 MILES
Hello and happy holidays all,
I have a 3.0L Saturn Vie AWD V6
Now I was on a trip a few hours away from home, my alternator went and I had to get a shop to install a new alternator they did it, but after they were done I noticed the belt squeaked they said it was oil and it would wear off.
So I went to drive home, I noticed after about a hour of driving the temperature heated up quickly to the max, so I pulled over and checked the engine everything looked fine let it cool down, then took off it did it again and then I lost my temperature gauge it was running fine I drove it like this for 30 minutes, and then noticed my battery light came on and pulled over and shut it down as my battery was toast.
I heard a gurgling sound and the next morning all the antifreeze was gone from the reservoir.
I got towed home I guess what happened was they never cleaned the pulleys off and there was undercoating causing the belt to slip,
now I cleaned the pulleys off and put a new belt on and refulled the antifreeze I can't see any leak, but I noticed on startup if it sets over night theres a small amount of white smoke for a few seconds and then it disappears im assumong this is a head gasket?
it doesnt appears theres antifreeze mixing with the loild and it must be a minimal leak.
So is this a head gasket and is it safe to drive it like this for a bit?
thanks
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Wednesday, December 25th, 2013 AT 10:24 AM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
White smoke from the exhaust can be a sign of coolant burning in the combustion chamber, but you might be looking at something that has been there all along and just went unnoticed until you started checking.

There's two things you can do to verify a leaking head gasket. One is to use a "sniffer" tool at the radiator or reservoir. With the engine running, you draw air from the radiator through a glass cylinder with two chambers partially-filled with a special dark blue liquid. If combustion gases are present, the liquid will turn bright yellow. Many auto parts stores that rent or borrow tools will have this one but they will usually make you buy the fluid. That's because it will be contaminated and won't work if you get antifreeze in it.

The second method is to add a small bottle of dark purple dye to the coolant, then you check later with a black light. The dye will show up as a bright yellow stain that you follow back to the source. If coolant is leaking through a head gasket, you'll see the dye inside the tail pipe. Auto parts stores have the dye and many will have the black light.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, December 25th, 2013 AT 10:38 AM
Tiny
X2006NZL
  • MEMBER
Alright thanks, i'm assuming its okay to drive it like this for a bit? I can't even notice the antifreeze going down so it must be a minor leak?
And it can't be a cracked head or it would be leaking alot more?
Thanks and merry christmas
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, December 25th, 2013 AT 10:46 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Thank you, and Merry Christmas to you.

Cracked cylinder heads are actually pretty rare. If you're not losing coolant, you are probably seeing normal smoke from the exhaust. The byproducts of a properly-working catalytic converter are carbon dioxide and water vapor.

Forgot to mention that the mechanic's comment about oil on the belt that has to work off was a lame excuse to not recheck his work. There are no oils to wear off unless the engine is leaking oil. In fact, it is important that no belt dressings of any kind be used on the flat serpentine belts. Road dirt will stick to that and make a squealing problem a lot worse. The only fix for using belt dressings is to remove the belt, scrub all the pulleys with engine degreaser or soap and water, then install a new belt.

That new belt should not have been squealing. It was the mechanic's responsibility to check if a spring-loaded tensioner pulley was rusted tight or if any pulley was tipped or turned due to worn bearings in that item. That will cause the belt to slide across it as it goes around it. That, or being loose is what sets up the squeal.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, December 25th, 2013 AT 12:36 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Recommended Guides