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Author Topic: Coolant leak...Looks like the radiator  (Read 477 times, 9 Replies)
ae7456t
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« on: February 15, 2017, 02:20:00 PM »

Since I had my coolant pump replaced, last year, I have been keeping a close eye on my coolant level ('11 CXL with 94,000 miles).  Recently I noticed that it has been dropping, but didn't find the source, until recently.

I will try to post a picture, when I get home, but I can see a trail of orange residue down the seam of the aluminum/plastic section on the passenger's side of the radiator (below the radiator cap) on the engine side (not bumper side).  It, then, appears to be pooling a bit on the support that is at the bottom of that section of radiator.

It is a fairly slow leak, so I was hopeful that it might just be a bad radiator cap, but I replaced it, and the leak keeps coming.

So, looks like I am in line for a new radiator...I bough a replacement, and now just working up to doing the swap...Removing the front bumper fascia looks like a pain, but not the end of the world.

Just a a little surprised to have to do this replacement at less than 100,000 miles, especially without seeing many other forum folks with such a problem, but I guess I am just lucky.

Will post more details, as I progress.
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rbarrios
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« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2017, 02:43:10 PM »

sounds like a rare one.

usually folks post about the radiator getting a leak- from the bottom after being struck by a rock..

though the condenser is in front of it too.
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2010 FWD LT1-Gold Mist Metallic- seats 8.
Build Date- July 31, 2009-2nd day of Spring Hill 2010 production.
2013 Equinox 3.6L -    55,000
2010 Traverse 3.6L-  123,000
2003 Trailblazer 4.2L-180,000
dzs3fz
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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2017, 03:32:20 PM »

Since I had my coolant pump replaced, last year, I have been keeping a close eye on my coolant level ('11 CXL with 94,000 miles).  Recently I noticed that it has been dropping, but didn't find the source, until recently.

I will try to post a picture, when I get home, but I can see a trail of orange residue down the seam of the aluminum/plastic section on the passenger's side of the radiator (below the radiator cap) on the engine side (not bumper side).  It, then, appears to be pooling a bit on the support that is at the bottom of that section of radiator.

It is a fairly slow leak, so I was hopeful that it might just be a bad radiator cap, but I replaced it, and the leak keeps coming.

So, looks like I am in line for a new radiator...I bough a replacement, and now just working up to doing the swap...Removing the front bumper fascia looks like a pain, but not the end of the world.

Just a a little surprised to have to do this replacement at less than 100,000 miles, especially without seeing many other forum folks with such a problem, but I guess I am just lucky.

Will post more details, as I progress.
Mine leaked and replaced at 135k miles
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ae7456t
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« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2017, 08:37:09 PM »

OK...This is a tough spot to get pictures, but I will see how this goes.

You can see in the picture looking down the passenger side of the radiator, from above, the "crusty" orange residue coming from my leak...This is at the very top of the radiator, so it just leaves a trail, all the way down to my garage floor.

In the more profile picture, you can see just below the filler neck, the radiator coils join the vertical metal housing which encloses the plastic end tank...It looks like there is a small leak, coming from some where in that junction...It looked wet, and would be in line with where the crusty trail starts.

Either way, it needs to come out...On the plus side, I think I might have found a way to swap the radiator without taking off the front fascia, but we shall see.
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galapagos
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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2017, 12:22:23 PM »

how much did radiator part cost you?
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rbarrios
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« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2017, 06:55:55 PM »

you know, youre already going to remove the radiator.... and disconnect hoses and drain...

may as well replace the upper and lower radiator hoses and the thermostat.
While youre at it-- replace the serpentine belt too.

how to's......


http://www.enclaveforum.net/index.php?topic=36961.0

http://www.enclaveforum.net/index.php?topic=21882.0
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2010 FWD LT1-Gold Mist Metallic- seats 8.
Build Date- July 31, 2009-2nd day of Spring Hill 2010 production.
2013 Equinox 3.6L -    55,000
2010 Traverse 3.6L-  123,000
2003 Trailblazer 4.2L-180,000
whipster
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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2017, 06:56:12 PM »

On the plus side, I think I might have found a way to swap the radiator without taking off the front fascia, but we shall see.

Let us know how it goes for you and if it comes out without taking off the fascia, thanks.
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ae7456t
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2017, 07:47:50 AM »

Ok...So here is how it went...

First, I went with Spectra Premium CU13007 radiator ($147 from Amazon)...There are cheaper alternatives, but it looked pretty robust. The other tools that I highly recommend are a 10mm socket, 7mm socket, T20 hex, and the special tool that helps to detach the transmission cooler lines from the radiator...I went with the Lisle 22930 ($16 from Amazon), and it made that part of the job much easier!

I am kicking myself, because I did not take @rbarrios suggestion to do the hoses and the thermostat at the same time...I had even read your awesome write ups before I started, but the "boss" was only willing to allocate so much time to my little project with her car, so had to expedite things, a bit.

With respect to the swap without removing the front fascia...I felt like I was close to getting it out, but it just wasn't going to happen.  The toughest parts to access are the rubber "air dams" that are on either side of the radiator and are secured with tabs that need to be pulled off with pliers. As a result, I compromised, and was able to fully remove the fasteners on the driver's side of the fascia, and that was enough to swing it out to remove many of the key interference parts. 

Similarly, I did not fully remove the wheel shielding on the driver's side...I was able to angle the wheels to the right, and gain access to the parts I needed by bending back the front wheel liner.

Overall, I would say it was a 4-4.5 hour job with some stops for dinner, and other of life's little interruptions...Not terribly difficult, but the whole front fascia complication makes things a little more interesting.

Now to go check for leaks...
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rbarrios
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« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2017, 10:18:30 AM »

curious of you went with the standard or HD radiator? (if you dont have the tow package)
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2010 FWD LT1-Gold Mist Metallic- seats 8.
Build Date- July 31, 2009-2nd day of Spring Hill 2010 production.
2013 Equinox 3.6L -    55,000
2010 Traverse 3.6L-  123,000
2003 Trailblazer 4.2L-180,000
ae7456t
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« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2017, 10:35:47 AM »

Ah...The other great debate that I went through.

After just replacing the transmission in my other car, I was keenly aware of the need to be good to your transmission (particularly for heat), and looked at a number of the HD radiator options...but, in the end, I went with the standard replacement...Again, hindsight is always 20/20, so there is a nice list of "I told you so's" bouncing around in my mind, that I am sure will be brought back at a later date (hopefully much later!).
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