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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I purchased a used 2013 Cruze LT in February this year from a Nissan dealer (it was a trade-in). About three months later (~April) during a regular oil change the mechanic noticed that it was low on coolant and had some added. Another ~2 months later end of July I had a message "engine hot, A/C off" come on and when I opened the hood I noticed the coolant reservoir was completely empty. I did some research and found that a leaky water pump is a common issue and covered by special coverage 14371. I took my car to my private mechanic with whom I feel comfortable and asked him if he could take a look at the water pump. He noticed it was moist and stained so I had it taken to a Chevy dealer august 1st and they did a pressure test, confirmed it was the water pump and it was replaced under warranty. Now, 1 month later I opened the hood again and noticed the coolant tank is almost completely empty again. As far as I can tell, there are no (obvious) coolant residues near any of the joints in the hoses going to and coming from the coolant reservoir, also such issues should probably have been picked up in the pressure test that was done in the Chevy dealership. Any recommendations what I should do next? It turns out I still have 9 months and 35k miles of powertrain limited warranty on the vehicle but I am unsure what this covers.
 

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Take it back to the dealership, have them recheck and top off.

Could be be as simple as air in the cooling system or something else. Best to have them document it in case it's the latter.
 
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I'd definitely take it in fast while you have power train warranty. I doubt it's a head gasket but you never know. Get them to fix it while it's still free!
 

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I believe there is a thread by @XtremeRevolution that says there is no way to tell if you got all the air out of the system, so you need to periodically check and top off. The dealer should do this for you under warranty.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your suggestions, I will take it back to the dealership to see what's up. Fingers crossed its covered by warranty.
 

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Air in the system shouldn't drain it that much. You either have a bad water pump (yeah, it happens) or you have another leak. The second most common point is the water outlet on the right side (as you look at the engine) of the engine block. This has been redesigned. Unfortunately it's not covered by the power train warranty. Fortunately it's not an expensive repair.
 

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The second most common point is the water outlet on the right side (as you look at the engine) of the engine block. This has been redesigned. Unfortunately it's not covered by the power train warranty. Fortunately it's not an expensive repair.
Actually, it is covered. But the dealer has to enter the part description correctly. IIRC, the redesign requires a different hose and that's not covered.

The other place to check is the coolant tank itself. Some members have reported that theirs has cracked. Most often right where it connects to the hoses.
 

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Sounds like the water outlet isn't tightened on the head correctly. The fluid leaks and burns off while the engine is running because it is a small leak. Have them replace the water outlet and tighten to specs and would lay my bottom dollar your coolant problems end. It is a piece of junk plastic piece that never should of been plastic. Water outlet is covered under the power train warranty.

Breathed coolant fumes off and on for the first five years I had my car and checked coolant constantly and was losing very little but could never see a leak because it was a small leak and was burning off on the head. All my coolant problems stopped when I had my water outlet replaced.

If my headaches stop now that I am not driving my Cruze I will not be happy.
 

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Actually, it is covered. But the dealer has to enter the part description correctly. IIRC, the redesign requires a different hose and that's not covered.

The other place to check is the coolant tank itself. Some members have reported that theirs has cracked. Most often right where it connects to the hoses.
After I read your response I realized the reason mine wasn't covered was because I was at 102,000 miles when it started leaking.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Just took it to the dealer, service writer says he smells coolant under the hood (I don't smell it) and will test further. Let's see what they can find. Thanks all.

UPDATE: dealer called, they said they pressure tested it for 2 hours without finding a leak and topped off the coolant as it may just be a an air bubble following the water pump replacement. Hopefully it is true. Could any of the aforementioned causes lead to a false-negative pressure test? I will be driving it a lot in the coming weeks so that will be a final test.
 

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In my experience in "shadetree" coolant leak fixes, some leaks will happen at specific temps or pressures. What I'd suggest is that when you get your car home (I'm assuming it will have reached full operating temperature), shut it down. pop the hood, and keep a watch for the next 10 minutes or so. That's worked like a charm for me.
 

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Just took it to the dealer, service writer says he smells coolant under the hood (I don't smell it) and will test further. Let's see what they can find. Thanks all.

UPDATE: dealer called, they said they pressure tested it for 2 hours without finding a leak and topped off the coolant as it may just be a an air bubble following the water pump replacement. Hopefully it is true. Could any of the aforementioned causes lead to a false-negative pressure test? I will be driving it a lot in the coming weeks so that will be a final test.
The fact that the service writer could smell coolant under the hood means you have a leak, somewhere. Also, while air in the system can lower the coolant level up to an inch it won't lower it to none, unless they didn't fill the coolant properly in the first place. The proper fill method is to open the hood, fill the coolant to the top of the arrow (top rib/seam) and start the engine. As the engine runs it will pump coolant into the system and force air out. As the air comes out you add more coolant to keep the tank level steady. Turn the engine off after the tank level stops dropping. Let the car cool off and then fill to the "full" line again. You'll still have some air left in the system but not enough to empty the tank.

One other thought, have them put the florescent coolant dye in the system. There is exactly one place in the system dealerships cannot pressure test. This is the cap to tank seal. If this is bad two visible things will happen - first, the coolant will seep out the cap and into the channel on the top of the tank. The dye makes this very obvious. The second thing that will happen is if you pull the cap off while the engine is cool and look between the two O-rings you'll see coolant there. There should be no coolant between the O-rings. Below the bottom one is the tank. Above the top one is the pressure relief valve. Between them means the bottom o-ring isn't holding the required 20 PSI, leading to coolant loss and odor.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Thanks for all the suggestions! So the dealer had it pressure tested (again) for > 2 hours and found nothing. They also inspected water pump and water outlet and found no leaks. They returned the car saying that it was probably an air bubble. We're now two weeks later and the coolant tank is less than 50% full again. I've been monitoring levels every morning and it drops more depending on how much I drive it. Clearly its still losing coolant somewhere. Called the dealer again and they're saying they really don't know what it could still be but they're taking another look tomorrow. Not sure what they will be looking for at this point and how they will approach it? I've noticed the engine is quite sluggish and vibrates briefly when I first start it up after it has cooled off. The temperature gauge does not indicate overheating. What could it still be at this point? They did not add the dye last time because they said the pressure test should have ruled it out. I guess it could still be the cap but that's a lot of coolant to lose in two weeks through the cap without any obvious stains or moistness in that area?
 

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Had similar issues with my 2013 2LT. Pressure tested fine at deal #1 (car purchased from there). Coolant loss wasn't as large as yours, but still noticeable. Took it to another dealer (#2) and they said it was the water pump. "Water pump leaking at lower vent, replace water pump" <- from work order. If your car hasn't had its water pump replaced I think that could be a good place to start. Die is another option as others have posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yeah water pump was found leaking about 4-5 weeks ago, but after replacement problem still persists. They (and I) are at a loss of what is going on.
 

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Yeah water pump was found leaking about 4-5 weeks ago, but after replacement problem still persists. They (and I) are at a loss of what is going on.
My dealership added the GM Florescent cooling system dye to track down my leak. This is the only way I figured it was the lower o-ring (as installed on tank) on the coolant pressure cap.
 

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Thanks for all the suggestions! So the dealer had it pressure tested (again) for > 2 hours and found nothing. They also inspected water pump and water outlet and found no leaks. They returned the car saying that it was probably an air bubble. We're now two weeks later and the coolant tank is less than 50% full again. I've been monitoring levels every morning and it drops more depending on how much I drive it. Clearly its still losing coolant somewhere. Called the dealer again and they're saying they really don't know what it could still be but they're taking another look tomorrow. Not sure what they will be looking for at this point and how they will approach it? I've noticed the engine is quite sluggish and vibrates briefly when I first start it up after it has cooled off. The temperature gauge does not indicate overheating. What could it still be at this point? They did not add the dye last time because they said the pressure test should have ruled it out. I guess it could still be the cap but that's a lot of coolant to lose in two weeks through the cap without any obvious stains or moistness in that area?
All my pressure tests came out negative and they could not take care of my smell or slight coolant loss for four years. My coolant stop going going away permanently until the water pump and water outlet were replaced at pretty much the same time. I went ahead and replaced the coolant cap for kicks but ever since I did those two things I loss zero coolant. I am just telling you my experience and how my coolant loss stopped so your mileage may vary. Water outlet is a piece of junk. If they replace anything in your cooling system go ahead and pay for it to replace it even if they don't want to because it is only a 30 dollar part.
 

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I've noticed the engine is quite sluggish and vibrates briefly when I first start it up after it has cooled off.
If it's not leaking on the outside, then it's leaking internally. You might ask them to test for exhaust gasses in the coolant. Is there any white smoke?

It also might be a case where it leaks only when running - perhaps only when parts line up in the water pump.
 
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Discussion Starter #19
There is some white smoke actually while it rough at startup. It takes a few seconds to half a minute at most and after that it's ok. It's been happening more frequent lately. I'll ask them to check carefully for internal leaks. What are other ways this can be checked?
 

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There is some white smoke actually while it rough at startup.
Make sure you tell them that. That strongly indicates a head gasket.

A compression check may show something as well.
 
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