Question about 1998 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

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Head gasket or timing cover coolant leak. front of my 3.1 leeaking coolant by the altinator

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I'm guessing that your car has approx 130k or more miles on it. these engines are cousin of the old 2.8L V-6, and have a tendency that if you don't constantly monitor you coolant level, or the engine is abused, (hot rodded), that it will crack a block, take it from me, after approx 130k i got a cracked outer water jacket, but it ran perfectly fine and i drove it for another 20k, but got tired of having to add water to the radiator everyday, so i purchased a new engine, put another 150k on it, and now have a blown head gasket..i'm not one to try any type of block sealers as most of them contain solids, (sodium silcates or liquid glass), and it"ll clog up your radiator, and possibly your hearter core,..but my car has 297000miles on it, so what the heck, what do i got to i purchased a bottle of "Blue Devil" $65 ( supposedly doesnt contain any solids), at Kragen autostore, they didnt stock it on the shelf, they had to go into the back room to find it. Well they told me that you have to follow instructions to the letter, and i thought how hard can it be, but you are supposed to shake it before pouring it in which i had over looked and when i took out the thermostat, i didnt have the rubber seal in properly and lost most of this when i saw it leaking out onto the ground, so i shut it off and just reinstalled the stat real quick and started it back up...i let it idle the full 50 minutes like it said and the vapor stopped coming out and the low coolant light stopped coming on..but when it came time to test drive it i only got 10 miles before the low coolant light came i kept losing about a half pint of coolant and had a slight misfire until the plug burnt of the water. So i still had half a bottle left, and did it again, this time with the heater on full blast like the instructions say to do.. and now im not topping off the radiator anymore and the engine oil is finally starting to go i just got to change the oil out before i spin a bearing...because water isn't a good lubricant!
Check your oil cap or dip stick, if it doesnt look milkly, then you probably only have an external leak. the verdict on Blue Devil is still out, only 150 miles so far without having to add water! and i totally screwed up and didnt follow instuctions. i myself wanted to purchae another "crate" engine like i did back in 97 but they dont stock the 2.8L anymore. if you are going to spend big bucks to get this problem repaired and its a high mileage vehilce, i would ask if they carry replacement engines, not a rebuilt, but a brand new long block crate engine...back in 97 it cost me $1500 for the engine and $800 labor. ran good as new! and i squeezed another 13 years out of sure beats new car payments. be careful of shady mechs when you go into repair timming cover coolant leaks because i pulled a little tab off the gasket so i would have proof that they did the work and not try and pour in any type of block sealer and the guy got real upset when i did that, well i didnt want him working on the car so i just took it to a dealer.

Posted on May 03, 2010

  • steve t May 05, 2010

    360 miles on the Blue Devil now and had to add a half cup of water to radiator after only one week to top it off. has a slight mis when it sits for about 15 minutes or more. hot or cold, but after you drive it for one or two miles it goes away... and i drove 40 miles with no low coolant light or temp problems and no more vapor from exhaust.. I still have the blue devil in there because after monitoring it for two weeks, i"ve noticed it was getting better every couple of days. so im still going to leave it in for awhile longer.
    i just wish now that i had followed the instructions and im sure it would be absolutely perfect now. Heater works fine, and the coolant reservour levels remain the same.. i check it periodically for bubbles in the tank and only once in a great while now i'll see maybe one or two small bubbles pop up, but nothing even close to the constant bubbles that were causing the coolant level to rise in the overflow tank, Im going to do another block check on it to see if the dye still turns green. if it stays blue then i"ll know that the mis is probably caused by a bad spark plug. the thing is now i cant get the plug out...and this might present a big problem because i've been told that they will break off. this is caused by driving the car with a blown head gasket and the spark plug threads get gunked up. now i"ve learned something as soon as you find out you blew a head gasket change out the plugs if you can and find out which cylinder has the leak and monitor that plug for buildup you might even want to put some anti seize compound on it!

  • steve t May 07, 2010

    420 miles on the blue devil, only have to add a half cup of water to top it off every couple of days. drove around and warmed up engine saw no bubbles coming up into coolant tank. changed out all the plugs (except the one that's seized up, #2 cylinder.. just cant get it out, but the plug only has 10k on it, so i"ll probably just leave it in), and they all looked very strange.. the insulators were a bright reddish pink, i have never seen this color before on a pulg, maybe caused by the blue devil or the Sea Foam i put in the gas, so that was pretty informative, i"ll have to check that next time i use those products. Yesterday it had a real bad rough idle so cleaned the IAC (idle air control) sensor, it was so filthy, so i said i'd better clean the throttle body and boy that took fifteen minutes and 1/2 can of gummout to clean all the varnish out of was embarrassing.. it was pouring out like a copper river nonstop, well after this and servicing the tranny fluid, i started it up today and it did excellant.. no problems. The car doesnt lope on idle anymore either, idles at around 750rpm, used to almost stall out and it would drop to 600rpm at a stop.
    But verdict is still out on blue devil.. i took it on the freeway only for about five miles and got up to 70 and then backed off, no problems, but im not going to push it any faster till im sure the problem is fixed.
    right now i'd say its 90% fixed. When i start it cold in the mornings you can here a dead cylinder misfire, until its blown out by the exhaust and the plug gets cleaned. After a warm up of one minute, its good to go.


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Probably lower intake gasket, use the felpro improved design gaskets they are well worth the few extra bucks.

Posted on May 03, 2010


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