Have a 98 Grand Am that the coolant level light keeps coming on. When I fill the surge tank it will go off for a few seconds after I start the car. but then come right back on. The only place I can see any coolant coming out is from what I think is the overflow, but dont really know. It looks like a little rubber elbow coming out of the firewall pointed down. When I turn the car off the fluid coming out of the elbow is very evident. I dont see any other place that is really leaking any fluid. I would think its the intake manifold except for whats coming out of the rubber elbow. I have seen the fix as "reclamp" the hose, but it doesn't say reclamp to what ........there is nothing to reclamp it to........and, why would there be an overflow? shouldn't the system have pressure?
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Re: water leak overflow hose......
The hose you are referring to is the drain from the heater box...gets rid of condensation from the a.c. don't connect it to anything. But, If any antifreeze (not plain water) is coming out of there, then you likely have a heater core leak. That said, if the engine is not running hot and you aren't loosing antifreeze, the level sensor in the tank is bad.
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You have a coolant leak. The engine gets hot and pushes coolant out under pressure into the overflow tank.When it cools, the volume of coolant decreases, the pressure drops to the point that it becomes a vacuum. The vacuum pulls in air more easily than coolant. It's thinner. So, you keep losing coolant from the radiator which makes the engine run hotter, each time until it eventually overheats and does damage. You need to have the cooling system pressure tested. The leak will show up. Usually, it's a loose hose clamp or cracked radiator tank high up, which makes it had to see the coolant because it doesn't leak much and it boils off leaving little or no evidence. Fill the system completely before pressure testing. Remember, checking the overflow tank means nothing when checking coolant level. There's no short-cut to checking the coolant level, take the radiator cap off when cold to accurately check level. Read the safety precautions on the car but always check when the engine is cold. NEVER HOT.
SOUND LIKE ENGINE COOLANT LEVEL LOW.CHECK COOLANT SURGE TANK.IF LOW MORE LIKELY RADIATOR COOLANT LEVEL LOW.ADD COOLANT TO COOLANT SURGE TANK UNTIL COOLANT LEVEL STAY AT FULL COLD MARK DONT OVERFILL OVERFLOW JUG.
DID YOU BLEED AIR OUT THE COOLANT SYSTEM.TO BLEED COOLANT SYSTEM, FILL THE COOLANT SYSTEM THROUGH THE RESERVOIR TANK OR THE RADIATOR UNTIL THE FULL COLD MARK IS REACHED.BESURE TO USE 50/50 HALF WATER AND ANTIFREEZE.YOU CAN BUY ANTIFREEZE THAT IS ALREADY PREMIX 50/50.AFTER ADDING ANTIFREEZE TO RESERVOIR OR RADIATOR FILL RADIATOR TO FULL MARK OR IF YOU DONT HAVE RADIATOR CAP ON RADIATOR POUR ANTIFREEZE IN THE OVERFLOW JUG UNTIL COOLANT LEVEL STAY THE FULL COLD MARK.WAIT AWHILE UNTIL COOLANT LEVEL STOP DROPPING.NOW INSTALL THE RADIATOR OR OVER FLOW JUG CAP.START THE ENGINE AND ALLOW IT TO RUN UNTIL NORMAL OPERATING TEMPERATURE IS REACHED AND THE UPPER RADIATOR HOSE BECOME HOT.STOP THE ENGINE AND OBSERVE THE COOLANT LEVEL IN THE OVERFLOW JUG. THE COOLANT LEVEL SHOULD BE AT THE FULL HOT LINE.ALLOW THE ENGINE TO COOL UNTIL THE AMBIENT TEMPERATURE IS REACHED THEN CHECK THE COOLANT LEVEL IT SHOULD BE AT OR ABOVE THE FULL COLD LINE.ADD MORE COOLANT IF NECESSARY. WARNING BECAREFUL WHEN OPEN THE RADIATOR CAP OR JUG OVER FLOW CAP.USE A LARGE RAG OVER THE RADIATOR CAP TO KEEP FROM GETTING SCALDED.OPEN RADIATOR CAP A LITTLE AT A TIME TO KEEP FROM GETTING SCALDED.WAIT UNTIL ENGINE COOL DOWN BEFORE OPENING RADIATOR CAP OR OVERFLOW JUG CAP.WEAR SAFETY GLASSES.
4.0 'shortstars' do not have a bleeder screw, they are filled at the surge tank which is higher than the coolant anywhere in the engine compartment-fill it to the full level when COLD, and check for pressure in the system when the engine is hot (squeeze the top hose, it should be solid, not easy to callopse). Your surge tank also holds pressure so your cap has to seal tightly with no leak through the overflow tube.
IF THERE IS NO RADIATOR CAP ON TOP OF THE RADIATOR, YOU SHOULD SEE A SMALL HOSE TO THE TOP OF THE RADIATOR FOLLOW THAT TO ONE SIDE OR THE OTHER, THERE WILL BE A WHITE OR YELLOWISH CONTAINER ON THE WHEEL WELL, WITH A CAP ON TOP! IT USUALLY HAS COOLANT PRINTED ON IT! THAT IS WHERE YOU CAN PUT THE COOLANT!
Depending on your system (either sealled radiator without a cap and a pressurized surge tank or standard radiator with cap and an overflow tank) either the radiator/surge tank cap is not holding pressure and the coolant is unable to pressurized and boils at a lower temp, boiling off until you coolant level is so low the engine overheats. More than likely it is either the thermostat or water pump. Commonly it is the thermostat
Sounds like your sensor unit in your coolant overflow tank. Like nearly everything man made that floats, they will eventually leak (become water logged). This is a relatively cheap fix, as long as the light is coming on and the coolant level in the overflow tank is between the MIN and MAX lines in the overflow tank. This means that the float in there is dropping below the actual fluid level (watter logged) and you need to get a replacement sensor unit (aka sending unit) for the overflow tank.
Otherwise, if the coolant level in the overflow tank IS BELOW the MIN level line on the tank, then you are losing coolant somewhere and that is when things start to get expensive (might be a radiator problem, head gasket, cylinder head, heater core, etc).
A rubber elbow coming out of the firewall is probably the a/c evaporator drain. However, the heater core could be leaking and entering the evaporator case and coming out of that drain. Are you sure coolant is coming out of that elbow and not plain water?
there can be a yellow light in the cluster that looks like a small radiator or box with waves inside of it to indicate water. This light means that the coolant level sensor has detected a low coolant level. Typically the expansion tanks inside of these cars will crack from heat and age. A simple diagnosis is to check your coolant level and top it off. Do not forget to bleed it by unscrewing the bleeder screw found on the upper radiator hose while filling up the reservoir found on the right hand side of the radiator. once the coolant has been filled, tighten the bleeder screw back down but be careful not to over tighten. and finally screw on the expansion tank cap. run the vehicle to operating temperature and use a flashlight to inspect the engine bay for leaks. If there is a leak, it will need to be repaired. possible leaks are a cracked expansion tank, leaking radiator hoses, or a leaking water pump or thermostat.