1998 Pontiac Grand Am Coolant leaks

Tiny
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  • 1998 PONTIAC GRAND AM
1998 Pontiac Grand Am 6 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic

I've been having problems with coolant leaks for the last year.

First I was told I had to have the coolant manifold replaced and I did.

Next, my heater core went and my mechanic disabled it for me so I could avoid the $600 to repair it.

Now, a month after that, it's leaking again and I'm told by the same mechanic from both previous repairs that I have a coolant leak from the engine and I will need a new resistor and a belt.

Is he taking me for a ride with my ride or do all these repairs sound legit?
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Friday, July 11th, 2008 AT 9:29 AM

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Tiny
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Resistor and belt for a coolant leak? I think something was lost in communication. Check again on that one.

The intake manifolds are known to be problem childs and entirely possible on the heatercore. Waterpumps are also quite possible. This should have had 2 coolant flushes by this time. High acidity can add to the causes of this.

If you think the heater core was not a problem hook it back up and see to if it is indeed true.
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Friday, July 11th, 2008 AT 9:40 AM
Tiny
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Thanks for your reply!

He said he has to replace the resistor because it's "locked up" or "frozen" and to get to the leak he has to take it off which will probably damage it.

I know very little about mechanics and am just going on blind faith because his place was recommended to me but this seems like a lot of repairs.

Update:

He just called back and said it's a leak by the timing belt chain and to make the necessary repairs it would be about $700.

He said he replaced the "tensioner" which will help the leak and charged me $275 for that and labor.
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Friday, July 11th, 2008 AT 9:48 AM
Tiny
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One of the black eyes that auto repair gets is from the "public paranoia"- Not saying you have that, just sayin. The media promotes a dark side that is not as bad as it really is. There was a show on goodyear ripping off someone. It was the 63rd goodyear shop the reporter went to, and turns out it was an error in communication.

Coomunication can really be a huge hurddle to get over to gain trust between a shop and a consumer. I need to be better, as I can not always give a good understanding of what is going on with a car, but the customer will still respond that they understand.

It doesn't surprise me in the least that you have run into a collection of recent problems. I have seen cars that were barely ever looked after, and then a string of repairs anre needed. Often from lack of maintenance. But the shop gets the bad rap. No idea what is your situation, but I am glad you posted.

-HAve you ever replace the intake manifold gasket before this most recent time?

The car has a chain. No belt regarding timing. However the serpentine belt is present on that car, but it works the accessories such as the waterpump, alternator, a/c and power steering. This tensioner has no bearing on the leak. You need to call the guy and ask him to explain it better. Any decent shop will be glad to do this. I really think this shop is a decent one in that they are calling you and keeping you up to speed. IMHO.

Is this a timng cover leak maybe?

What is exactly the repair they recommend?

Still not sure on the resistor. What is it's proper name? Ask them.

Have them explain how the tensioner is going to help a leak.
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Friday, July 11th, 2008 AT 3:27 PM
Tiny
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Okay, here's the invoice:

Belt 43.00

Tensioner 98.00

Stop Leak 6.00

Labor on Drag leak (Looks like "drag leak", kinda' scribbly.) And Tensioner 125.00

Timing Cover leaking.

As for maintenance, I'm not sure about the person before me but I keep up on it. I've read up that Grand Ams have horrible coolant problems so I'm sure he's being legit, it just always seems like when I take it there, I end up having to purchase more than I bargained for.
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Friday, July 11th, 2008 AT 8:46 PM
Tiny
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Stop leak?

Stop leak activates on oxygen presence. If you get an air pocket it will activate and can plug up radiators, heater cores, thermostats.

To use it properly, and it is written on the label of the container, the system should be completly flushed, filled with water, the product added run then drained again. It is foolish to just add it to a system.

IMHO, that is more a backyard mechanic straegy than anything as the potential for problems and lack of proper use does not make this a good procedure.

I'd get that stuff flushed out if it were mine.

I think the drag leak is diag leak. Abbreviated for diagnose leak.
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Saturday, July 12th, 2008 AT 6:02 AM

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