Question about 2003 Chevrolet Malibu

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I have oil in the antifreeze. Checked spark plugs to see if head gasket leak. Doesn't seem to be that. Maybe Intake Manifold gasket? How to check that?

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There is no oil in the intake manifold. Assuming you have overhead cams, oil can leak into a coolant jacket past the head gasket or a crack in the head without getting into the combustion chamber. This is likely what has happened. If you need more help, please reply.

Posted on Sep 15, 2010

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If you have white smoke coming out your exhaust, it has to be a head gasket. The symptoms of an intake manifold leak are either and external leak (leaking on the ground) or water in the crank case (mixing with the oil and making it look like chocolate milk-shake) A leaking intake gasket will not cause the antifreeze to enter the combution chambers.

To diagnose which head is leaking, you can remove the valve covers and remove all the rocker arms then put compressed air into each spark plug hole and watch the radiator for bubbles. Looking at the spark plugs may also tell you without having to do this...The spark plug in the leaking cylinder will be very white on the electrode.

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Is it leaking oil or antifreeze?
If it's oil at this location ,it is most likely the seal on the sealed (not used) distributor hole plug.(an easy fix).
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If you have the V-8 Engine, just totally disregard this post.

If you have the 3.8L V-6 engine, your oil consumption problem is most likely to be caused by the PCV Valve if you cannot find any external leaks. These are also known for the upper intake plenum leaking antifreeze. The ports in the manifold that go to the throttle body are made of very thin plastic. The EGR tube, with its hot exhaust gasses, goes right between them. This causes the plastic to heat up and crack, causing an antifreeze leak that goes directly into the intake and gets burned in the combustion chambers.

DORMAN makes a replacement upper plenum kit to fix this problem. The kit includes the upper plenum with thicker coolant passage walls, an intake manifold gasket set, a smaller-diameter EGR orifice, and a new PCV Valve. This kit will probably fix BOTH of your problems.

The DORMAN part number for your car is 615-180 Shop around...prices vary considerably.

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You have to remove the parts to see where the leak is. Remove the manifold carefully to preserve the evidence. You can check the manifold mating surface with a straightedge. You may find the leak is actually in the head gasket. Make him show you the warpage before letting him sell you new parts. A metal part like the head can be resurfaced at a machine shop.

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