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Still new to working on cars so I'm just trying to double check on a few things. I'm working on a 97 Chevy Lumina 3.1l v6. Initial problems were intermittent starting problems(removed starter checked it and the flywheel) and it would act like it was running out of gas then shut off randomly. Also it would occasionally have issues accelerating. I figured I'd do an oil change (it needed it horribly) the oil pan is leaking, while I'm doing the oil change my friend told me shed also been having issues with it running hot so I told her I'd check her radiator etc. The reservoir was dang near empty, pulled the cap off the radiator and it has brown sludge everywhere, I'm guessing oil please correct me if I'm wrong. Removed radiator hoses to drain it and the water looks like a murky rust water. Told me today she has a leak somewhere in it... Also I'm not sure but does the sludge mean its a blown head gasket? Any and help is welcome and greatly appreciated please don't tell me to just take it to a shop, if I can't fix it uts going to het crushed anyway but its a learning opportunity thanks in advance!

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I can not remember when they started putting extended life anti-freeze in, but the orange color anti-freeze will turn brown and sludge after awhile. The first thing is the coolant leak, 3.1l engines had a intake gasket problem, they were made of plastic with a seal in the middle. The plastic would become brittle and crack causing the coolant to leak externally and also internally. One way to check this is to look in the front and rear area of the intake were it meets the head and you should see some dried coolant. The other is for internal leak and you will need a coolant pressure tester with coolant system full. Install pressure tester on to radiator fill and leave it on at the pressure the cap says (any wheres from 10-16 psi.) for a while and watch gauge for any pressure loss, check for any hoses for leaks, if you do loss pressure with no hose leaks check around intake area for new wet spots, if none here is the problem. The car will have to sit for a day or two to give the coolant time to settle to the bottom of the oil. When you remove the oil drain plug the coolant will come out first then the oil. This also can be done with no engine oil in the pan and plug out, just remember not to start the engine. If coolant has been getting into engine for a long while it will ruin the engine bearings, including the cam bearings, which will cause running problems. Now as for head gasket blown, use the pressure tester to check this. Install pressure tester onto radiator fill ( do not pump pressure into radiator) have someone start engine and watch pressure gauge it will jump up the pressure very quickly. I hope this helps for now

Posted on May 08, 2014

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The sludge is probably just rust, bearing in mind the age of the car. The easy way is to stick a hose in the radiator and flush it through. Do the same with the engine. If you want to be more thorough and if you can't find the leak you can take the radiator off, turn it over and flush it through from the bottom. Clean and dry the outside and plug the bottom so you can fill it to find the leak. The proper way to mend it is with solder, but I've found epoxy glue works. You need to clean the area around the leak, rub it up with wet and dry paper, clean again with alcohol and put a big blob of glue on it. You can afford to lose one of the thin cooling tubes if it is easier to crimp it with pliers or something.

The sign of a leaking head gasket is the oil emulsifying. If there is a whitish goo inside the top of the engine it is a good indication that water is getting into the oil. It does not sound like you have that problem.

The engine running too hot because of a leaky, empty radiator will cause it to run roughly and to cut out.

Posted on May 08, 2014


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SOURCE: '97 subaru overheating

head gasket most likely.

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SOURCE: 1987 chevy sprint 1.0 3 cylinder carb

have the head taken off and rechecked for warpage also the top of the block might be warped as well so check that. The head is aluminum so it is easy to warp it. When the car blew the head gasket that is when it could have been warped, i own an 87 chevy sprint as well but dont have that problem.

Posted on Jan 01, 2009

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SOURCE: 2004 Chevy Cavalier Oil leak

Replacing an oil pan gasket on a car shouldn't be too difficult for you, say, about an hour or two. As long as you follow some simple guidelines, the leak should be eliminated. Improper tightening or seating of the gasket material can defeat the purpose of your work. Grab a Haynes manual, or a tech guide for your vehicle, and have it handy.

I would suggest tracking the oil leak to ensure that it's not your front seal on your crankshaft. The amount of oil that you describe sounds like a bit much for an undisturbed oil pan gasket.

Posted on Feb 05, 2009

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SOURCE: car is running hot when i stop, but then cools off

For the most part it sounds half way accurate. First of all telling you that it needs to be fixed within 5 to 6 months, in my opinion was a scare tactic used to try to get you to approve the work. Because no one can say it will last this long or that long, there just no way of knowing. I have personally never seen oil leaking into the coolant, in my experience it is always the coolant leaking into the oil. However this is a concern because if coolant is or starts leaking into the oil, it will mix and the oil will lose its ability to lubricate and the engine could seize up eventually (not "blow"). Now then on some model vehicles coolant does run through the intake manifold but I have never seen oil run through the intake. This is were they are indicating they are leaking together. My guess is you have a coolant leak in the intake manifold and the engine is burning the coolant when it runs. Now then my suggestion would be to take it into a different shop and get a second opinion. Tell them the other shop said it will cost 750.00 and that's to high. In these economic times 99% of shops will beat that price to do the work. Also this isn't work that a dealership needs to do, any half way decent shop can make the repairs. I wouldn't take it into a dealership because I feel there labor rates are too high. Any way good luck and I hoped this helped.

Posted on Apr 02, 2009

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SOURCE: Water not staying in Radiator

yes, not having an overflow reservoir for your radiator will cause you to lose water. As your engine warms up the water expands and creates pressure in the cooling system. When the pressure reaches a certain point(usually about 15 psi.) the radiator releives the pressure by releasing water into the overflow tank. When the engine cools back down the water shrinks pulling water back into the radiator from the overflow. If there is no overflow, the everytime the engine warms up on a drive water will be lost and not recovered on cooldown.

Posted on Jun 04, 2009

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