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> 2000 Chevy Impala with oil in the coolant!
Frederf
post Mar 19 2008, 11:09 AM
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GF has a 2000 Impala with a V6 and for the past 2-3 months I've been aware of an odd discoloration or sludge in the coolant reservoir. I thought someone might have accidentally poured some oil in the coolant or that there was a bacterial growth or something in there. I've suggested right off the bat that that needs some attention but wasn't too doomsday about it. She's been aware of low coolant light issues and some oil level issues for over a year but ya know most car owners and maintanance... ignored.

Just recently I was told that it is likely that the intake manifold gasket has failed (apparently they do on those engines) and is allowing oil into the coolant and vice versa. It's pretty obvious that the coolant system has suffered, the hoses are all trash, but I wonder how salvageable the rest is. Radiator, reservoir might possibly be cleaned? I can't imagine how one would clean the engine block coolant ports. If the intake manifold is getting removed for a fix then it's possible to access those ports at that time.

On another scary front oil in the coolant means a possibility of water in the oil. It could be that we avoided bearing destruction or something else and all we have to do is put in some fresh oil. I'm considering sending in some oil sample to a lab to see its water %.

I guess this is why you don't ignore low coolant or otherwise odd behaviors in cars X.gif The coolant sensor is totally gunked from the oil/water emulsion which explains why it's been on for 12 months.
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UserDrew
post Mar 19 2008, 02:05 PM
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Can you get a picture for us? I believe the same deal is happening to my mom's car.
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skr
post Mar 19 2008, 02:37 PM
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I would drain the oil from the engine block and check for coolant. If there's coolant in the oil, chances are it might be a blown head gasket.

I've had similar problems where there's been corrosion in the cooling system somewhere causing the water pump blades to wear out, thus no water/coolant flowing through the cooling system.

You can also try flushing the system yourself by running a hose through the upper radiator inlet on the engine, block off the upper radiator hose, undo the cap on the radiator, and then let the oil float out of the top of the radiator.
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Frederf
post Mar 19 2008, 03:48 PM
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It is most likely a failure of a gasket requiring at least that to be fixed.

I would love to "drain the oil and check for coolant." But I don't know how to do that exactly.

I really don't know what is going to be successful in terms of cleaning the coolant system. The emulsion is really stubborn and caked on.
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clarkma5
post Mar 19 2008, 04:39 PM
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Well sounds like she's in for a new head gasket, radiator hoses, and a coolant system flush at the very least. May need a new thermostat too (if it's gotten gunked up and is sticking) or even a new radiator core. There's nothing you can really do about the coolant lines in the block, short of pulling the engine from the car.

BTW what engine does her car have? Is it the 3.1, the 3.4, or the 3.8?

EDIT: Guess there was no 3.1 in those cars. Base models had 3.4s and LS models had 3.8s and I can't remember if hers is an LS or not.
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Frederf
post Mar 19 2008, 07:03 PM
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It's going to at least need the first step of getting the problem looked at by the dealer. There is a chance that part or all of the repairs could be compensated for by Chevy due to this being a preexisting problem. Changing the head gasket (perhaps the head is tweaked?) is something beyond me both in mechanical ability and in finding a place to work on it for that long undisturbed. After that a flush and change of oil, even hose replacement and change of sensor is something I think I can do.
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