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Coolant Loss, Sludge In Oil Pan


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#1 GPost

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 09:07 AM

I have the 5.3L engine in my 2005 Tahoe. Been having to add coolant (dex-cool) for the last couple of months. I know about the castec heads and pulled one rocker cover and don't have one on that side. (I'm guessing that I don't have one on the other side, but haven't pulled that one yet.)

Changed my oil yesterday and at first, nothing came out of the oil pan. Yeah, it did after I stuck a screwdriver in and moved out some of the sludge, a bunch of sludge. So, I'm assuming I have an internal coolant leak. Since I don't have the castec heads, and can't see any coolant in the top of the heads, it seems that it could only be head gaskets or the intake gasket and I know the intake gasket has caused coolant leaks in these engines.

I think I will pull the intake manifold off, but want to make sure my thinking makes sense and don't want to do all that work if I don't have to. Am I on the right track?

EDIT: I posted a little further down, but I found that my heads are castec - crap and will have to replace them. Thanks for the quick help guys!!

Edited by GPost, 25 March 2010 - 07:30 AM.


#2 NickV

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 09:55 AM

the intake gasket does NOT cause coolant leaks in the in the Gen III engines (which includes your engine) - the coolant never touches the intake manifold. You are thinking of the trucks powered by the 305 and 350 vortec that was famous for that issue.
I don't know what head problem you are referring to, there are no general issues with heads on these trucks.

you either have a blown head gasket or a cracked block if you are getting coolant in your oil. Best bet is to do a compression check on each cylinder to identify where the problem maybe, if that proves inconclusive then pressurize the coolant system and try to id a leak

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#3 Gregorio

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 09:59 AM

I have the 5.3L engine in my 2005 Tahoe. Been having to add coolant (dex-cool) for the last couple of months. I know about the castec heads and pulled one rocker cover and don't have one on that side. (I'm guessing that I don't have one on the other side, but haven't pulled that one yet.)

Changed my oil yesterday and at first, nothing came out of the oil pan. Yeah, it did after I stuck a screwdriver in and moved out some of the sludge, a bunch of sludge. So, I'm assuming I have an internal coolant leak. Since I don't have the castec heads, and can't see any coolant in the top of the heads, it seems that it could only be head gaskets or the intake gasket and I know the intake gasket has caused coolant leaks in these engines.

I think I will pull the intake manifold off, but want to make sure my thinking makes sense and don't want to do all that work if I don't have to. Am I on the right track?



Sludge? Was the oil milky? It turns a cream color when water is mixed in and pumped through the system. Oil level would be a little higher too. Any steam coming out of the exhaust?

Head gasket leak into cylinders would pressurize the cooling system. Run the engine with the radiator cap off and look for bubbles. Intake gasket leak into intake tract will come out exhaust as steam. Check plugs for signs of wetness/rust too. Intake or head gasket leak into engine cavity will show as milky oil.

Good luck!

#4 clemsonblozz

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 10:05 AM

I have the 5.3L engine in my 2005 Tahoe. Been having to add coolant (dex-cool) for the last couple of months. I know about the castec heads and pulled one rocker cover and don't have one on that side. (I'm guessing that I don't have one on the other side, but haven't pulled that one yet.)

Changed my oil yesterday and at first, nothing came out of the oil pan. Yeah, it did after I stuck a screwdriver in and moved out some of the sludge, a bunch of sludge. So, I'm assuming I have an internal coolant leak. Since I don't have the castec heads, and can't see any coolant in the top of the heads, it seems that it could only be head gaskets or the intake gasket and I know the intake gasket has caused coolant leaks in these engines.

I think I will pull the intake manifold off, but want to make sure my thinking makes sense and don't want to do all that work if I don't have to. Am I on the right track?



Sludge? Was the oil milky? It turns a cream color when water is mixed in and pumped through the system. Oil level would be a little higher too. Any steam coming out of the exhaust?

Head gasket leak into cylinders would pressurize the cooling system. Run the engine with the radiator cap off and look for bubbles. Intake gasket leak into intake tract will come out exhaust as steam. Check plugs for signs of wetness/rust too. Intake or head gasket leak into engine cavity will show as milky oil.

Good luck!



deathcool doesn't get milky, it just turns to sludge.. I'd bet a cracked head or head gasket.. castec or not, it's an aluminum head,, and that'd be the weak spot..

also they don't have radiator caps, just the see through coolant tank.. I don't think any compression would be visable, but they do make chemical test kits to check for combustion gases in the coolant..

#5 GPost

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 10:22 AM

Ok, pulled the left side rocker cover and have butterscotch sauce all in the cover. Obviously a coolant leak into that head. Guess I need to pull it off and have it checked and/or replace it.

#6 Gregorio

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 10:49 AM

deathcool doesn't get milky, it just turns to sludge.. I'd bet a cracked head or head gasket.. castec or not, it's an aluminum head,, and that'd be the weak spot..

also they don't have radiator caps, just the see through coolant tank.. I don't think any compression would be visable, but they do make chemical test kits to check for combustion gases in the coolant..


Good to know. I was not aware of the sludge.

The air should still be visible coming up into the coolant expansion tank. It might not be as easy to diagnose but the air has to go someplace!

#7 r1byker

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 03:50 PM

I have the 5.3L engine in my 2005 Tahoe. Been having to add coolant (dex-cool) for the last couple of months. I know about the castec heads and pulled one rocker cover and don't have one on that side. (I'm guessing that I don't have one on the other side, but haven't pulled that one yet.)

Changed my oil yesterday and at first, nothing came out of the oil pan. Yeah, it did after I stuck a screwdriver in and moved out some of the sludge, a bunch of sludge. So, I'm assuming I have an internal coolant leak. Since I don't have the castec heads, and can't see any coolant in the top of the heads, it seems that it could only be head gaskets or the intake gasket and I know the intake gasket has caused coolant leaks in these engines.

I think I will pull the intake manifold off, but want to make sure my thinking makes sense and don't want to do all that work if I don't have to. Am I on the right track?



Sludge? Was the oil milky? It turns a cream color when water is mixed in and pumped through the system. Oil level would be a little higher too. Any steam coming out of the exhaust?

Head gasket leak into cylinders would pressurize the cooling system. Run the engine with the radiator cap off and look for bubbles. Intake gasket leak into intake tract will come out exhaust as steam. Check plugs for signs of wetness/rust too. Intake or head gasket leak into engine cavity will show as milky oil.

Good luck!



deathcool doesn't get milky, it just turns to sludge.. I'd bet a cracked head or head gasket.. castec or not, it's an aluminum head,, and that'd be the weak spot..

also they don't have radiator caps, just the see through coolant tank.. I don't think any compression would be visable, but they do make chemical test kits to check for combustion gases in the coolant..


Just an fyi; my oil did indeed get milky with "deathcool" on my Intrigue. And that was just after the warranty expired. Go figure.

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#8 jro909

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 03:53 PM

lol death cool, that tickles me..its awsome coolant if you maintain the system and change the coolant when its needed...the castec issue is the only coolant loss problem i've heard of besides leaky water pumps, good luck man
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#9 GMC Denali 2006

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 04:12 PM

Funny...I have noticed that my coolant level has been down..and I have been adding alot. I checked my oil and it looks perfect....

The engine is running perfect...I don't drive it that much but I only use it on the weekends.

any ideas?
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#10 GPost

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 05:32 PM

Okay, thanks for all the help. Turns out they are castec heads, so that explains it and I know what to do. Already have them off and looking for replacements.

#11 05silvycrew

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 07:13 PM

had my heads replaced last October, turned out to be the Castech heads. exact same diagnosis, and I'll add lifters ticking and a few white smokey starts. I had 1 month left on my warrenty and it was all covered. My truck is an '05 with just under 90,000 miles on it when they were replaced.

#12 jro909

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 09:09 PM

Funny...I have noticed that my coolant level has been down..and I have been adding alot. I checked my oil and it looks perfect....

The engine is running perfect...I don't drive it that much but I only use it on the weekends.

any ideas?



water pump, theirs a bung hole it drips out of very slowly if the pump is going by by...had an issue on a freinds 4.8 that did that, went through about a quarter of a gallon of coolant every few months
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#13 northern rider

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 09:51 PM

I have the 5.3L engine in my 2005 Tahoe. Been having to add coolant (dex-cool) for the last couple of months. I know about the castec heads and pulled one rocker cover and don't have one on that side. (I'm guessing that I don't have one on the other side, but haven't pulled that one yet.)

Changed my oil yesterday and at first, nothing came out of the oil pan. Yeah, it did after I stuck a screwdriver in and moved out some of the sludge, a bunch of sludge. So, I'm assuming I have an internal coolant leak. Since I don't have the castec heads, and can't see any coolant in the top of the heads, it seems that it could only be head gaskets or the intake gasket and I know the intake gasket has caused coolant leaks in these engines.

I think I will pull the intake manifold off, but want to make sure my thinking makes sense and don't want to do all that work if I don't have to. Am I on the right track?



This may give you a place to look before you tear down further

Last year my 1999 gmc 4.8l 250,000 km had all the issues with the valve noisy lifters, loss of coolant with no visible sign of leaks on outside of engine.
I checked to see if I had the castec heads and did not.
Another thing I found in regards determining if you have antifreeze in you oil is your oil will not always be ' milky' on the oil dipstick to confirm that antifreeze has mixed with the oil, antifreeze does not like to mix with oil. You have to drop your oil and if it comes out kind of chunky or blobs, you have antifreeze in the oil, it will end up on the bottom of your drain pan.
I found the problem when I pulled the intake manifold off, THE TOP ROW OF BOLTS ABOVE PUSHROD GALLERIES, (11mm, not the main head bolts) ON THE LEFT HEAD HAD LOST TORQUE and subseqently antifreeze was able enter the oil pan via the valve pushrod galleries, there was evidence of corrosion, etc on the pushrods, aft lifter area.
At this point I was 90% sure I found the leak but decided to change the head gaskets, when they were pulled I found no evidence of leakage around the head gaskets gaskets.
So what I suggest, pull your intake manifold off, (only way to get at the smaller 11mm? bolts) check torque, if loose retorque, put intake back on (new gasket), if not and no sign of corrosion etc in pushrod galleries continue on with changing out head gaskets. If you do this it should take, 2-3 hrs versus 4-8 hr for a head gasket change depending on your experience.
If you are looking for a complicated explanation for this problem there is not one, that was all it is.
I see have seen quite a few of posts looking for a fix for this issue, this is the fix. Unless you think the auto parts industry needs more of your hard earned dollars, check this this out. Let us know what you find, Good luck.

#14 USMdude

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 10:44 PM

I have the 5.3L engine in my 2005 Tahoe. Been having to add coolant (dex-cool) for the last couple of months. I know about the castec heads and pulled one rocker cover and don't have one on that side. (I'm guessing that I don't have one on the other side, but haven't pulled that one yet.)

Changed my oil yesterday and at first, nothing came out of the oil pan. Yeah, it did after I stuck a screwdriver in and moved out some of the sludge, a bunch of sludge. So, I'm assuming I have an internal coolant leak. Since I don't have the castec heads, and can't see any coolant in the top of the heads, it seems that it could only be head gaskets or the intake gasket and I know the intake gasket has caused coolant leaks in these engines.

I think I will pull the intake manifold off, but want to make sure my thinking makes sense and don't want to do all that work if I don't have to. Am I on the right track?


I doubt its the intake dude...... It does not have water in it.....

Do you have any compression bleed over in the coolant???

What color was the oil that came out? What does the coolant look like? Sludge brown? Was the oil Milky??? Also, any leaks on the ground over night or sitting for a short period?

Jbo

#15 jro909

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 10:48 PM

intake manifolds on the gen 3s don't have the coolant issues the antique vortecs had...your heads probably cracked or your being sabotaged
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