Question about 1997 Chevrolet Malibu

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Coolant Loss from Overflow Tank

I have a lot of coolant coming out of the overflow tank. Have to add coolant once a week when the low coolant light comes on the dash.

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It may be you have a leak in your head gasket and the coolant is burning up in your engine. Does your oil look milky at all and is your exhaust smoke white at all. It may be a small enough leak that it burns off enough without any symptoms other than you having to fill up the tank..

Now you can test if you have a leak in your head gasket. If your pressure cap is good, start the car cold with radiator cap off, (and radiator full), it will put up steady bubbles, the worse it is leaking the worse the bubbles will "flow"!

An occasional "small bubble" is not a problem, as it will push out air trapped inside engine till it has heated up and thermostat has opened.

Another cause could be if you had the thermostat changed and it was inverted by accident. The "pellet" end (one with the little "wart" around the shaft from top to bottom), goes down in water (from engine)

Posted on Sep 08, 2009

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Check your intake manifold these cars are known for leaking water internally, is there a foamy yukky looking material on your oil fill cap? If yes it is leaking and if not repaired will ruin bottom end of engine...Anti freeze and oil are not best friends and this can cause severe damage.

Posted on Sep 08, 2009

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1 Answer

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If you are saying that it comes on now and then, and goes off, your may just need to add Anti-freeze/boil to the overflow tank. Does it come on when you're coming to a stop or going up or down a hill, if yes, add coolant to the overflow tank to bring it up to the correct level, not the radiator.

A small loss over a long period of time is acceptable, but constant refilling, indicates a leak either internally, with the coolant exiting through the exhaust, or one that you should see under your car occasionally. Sometimes you'll find your coolant leak in the floorboards if the heater core or hose leaks.

If your sensor comes on after driving a while & goes off as a result of adding coolant, then you'll probably need to pressure test the cooling system to identify where the coolant is going. Bad hose, seal, headgasket, head, etc.

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If you are saying that it comes on now and then, and goes off, your may just need to add Anti-freeze/boil to the overflow tank. Does it come on when you're coming to a stop or going up or down a hill, if yes, add coolant to the overflow tank to bring it up to the correct level, not the radiator.

A small loss over a long period of time is acceptable, but constant refilling, indicates a leak either internally, with the coolant exiting through the exhaust, or one that you should see under your car occasionally. Sometimes you'll find your coolant leak in the floorboards if the heater core or hose leaks.

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You still have a lot of air in the cooling system and you have to speed up the water pump to get any coolant to flow through the heater. Let the engine cool off, then open the radiator cap and top off the radiator. Pour the coolant in at a rate slow enough to let the air bubble up without splashing the coolant back out. Once you get the coolant level up to the top overflow hose, the remaining air will be pushed out by expansion through the overflow tank once the engine gets hot, and will be replaced by coolant from the tank on cool-down.

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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).

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Hi..my name is Keith..i have a 1997 Ford Taurus..and i also have a low coolant light on..but i have a small hole in my overflow tank and it wont hold fluid..but my car dont overheat either..just the light is annoying and i'll get around to fixing it oneday..so...the only things i can think of that has turned your light on is....1..that you need to put coolant in the overflow tank...2..you have a hole in your overflow tank(like me) or 3...the quanity sensor in you overflow tank is bad..so i hope this has helped

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