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'92 Suburban Coolant Leak Help

Discussion in 'General Chevy & GM Tech Questions' started by natenkiki2004, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. natenkiki2004

    natenkiki2004 New Member

    Hey everyone. First off, I'm new to this forum. Just to get this out there, I'm not mechanically inclined. I can read a manual, look at parts and follow instructions but not much more than that.

    Off to the problem! Our burby has several problems but, due to money issues, we're waiting until the end of next month to have repairs done. Unfortunately, one of the problems got a little worse the other day. After a trip into town, we noticed a dark puddle under the burby so I put a container under it and sure enough our coolant leak got worse. It had been leaking for a while, having to add a pinch to the reservoir maybe once a month or two. Now, with the bucket under the leak spot, there's about a half-gallon in about a day of sitting. I crawled and looked around and it looks like it's coming from the end of the lower hose. A few days ago I looked and the hoses are bulging where they connect so I added it to the list of repairs to be done.

    Being about a month away from repairs, we need to use our vehicle in the mean time for about 3 trips into town (~20 miles one way). We have a Chiltons repair/maintainence guide and I looked it up and doing a radiator flush and hose replace doesn't seem too hard. I do have a few issues and questions though, but first pictures:

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/464376/burby/DSC04822.JPG
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/464376/burby/DSC04824.JPG
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/464376/burby/DSC04829.JPG

    The last picture is from the top, the first two were taken from underneath the vehicle. Now, remember that I'm not mechanically inclined so the following questions may seem inexperienced...

    Is that for sure a leak in the hose at the connector?
    If I were to tighten down the screw-clamp would that slow/stop the leak or would it damage the hose more and perhaps make it leak more?
    Napa is a little over a mile away, I would have to drive there to get the replacement hoses so would tightening the screw-clamp help limp it there and back home?

    If I do the repairs, I may as well flush the system, would the following steps be appropriate?
    Drain the fluid
    Cut all ends of upper and lower hoses (just in case NAPA doesn't have the parts, this way my repair may last until next month)
    Re-attach hoses and clamp down tight
    Fill with previously drained fluid
    Run to Napa
    Purchase hoses, clamps and can of chemical flush
    Add can of system flush
    Run home
    Let engine cool
    Drain
    Replace hoses
    Fill
    Test & check for leaks
    Bleed heater core
    Fill reservoir/Top off

    Am I missing something?

    Lastly, how do I deal with the flushed fluid? Is there a place that takes it? Our local recycling center takes oil but not antifreeze.

    Any help is appreciated and I can provide more information/pictures if necessary. Thanks!
  2. RWK

    RWK Rockstar

    You might be able to slow the leak down just by tightening the clamp.

    I don't see replacing the Thermostat on your list.

    Check the little weep hole on the water pump to see if it is leaking there. Might be your water pump going bad.
  3. natenkiki2004

    natenkiki2004 New Member

    Hmmm, the Chilton book never mentioned that. I have no idea how to do that or check the water pump weep hole. I will research and hope that it is just the hose. The hoses are bulging and that seems to be where the coolant is coming from, is there any reason to suspect the water pump or is it a "check-up" kinda thing? Thanks for the suggestions :)
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2009
  4. RWK

    RWK Rockstar

    Since the cooling system will be drained, might as well replace the Thermostat. Especially if you don't know how long it was been in there.

    It is probably the hoses leaking. But if that lower hose is wet around the water pump, need to check those little weep holes to see if the coolant is leaking from there. I've never seen a big puddle from the weep hole though.
  5. natenkiki2004

    natenkiki2004 New Member

    Ok, the thermostat, from what I can tell, is inside a housing at the end of the upper hose going into the engine? Un-bolt the housing and it should be inside there? Simple pop-out, pop-in?

    I will check out the water pump. One odd thing though, when I noticed it was leaking, there was no fluid in the reservior so I filled it up past hot with distilled water to see what it would do and now it's empty again but it doesn't seem to keep leaking. When I filled it up, I put a bucket under the leak and if I were to guess, the amount that I put in is the amount that has come out...

    Anyway, I really appreciate your fast and kind help :)
  6. dsfloyd

    dsfloyd Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner Gold Member 1000 Posts

    you may be able to tighten the clamp some but probably not going to fix the problem. if the hoses are bulging or if yous squeeze them and they are very soft and your leaking that much its probably not long until one blows. At that point much more damage can happen if it overheats not too mention you wont have any coolant. I would replace them as soon as possible. If money is a little tight, as of now you could probably just drain the radiator, replace the hoses, and refil mixing 50% coolant with 50% water. wouldn't necessarily worry about a flush, or thermostat at this point. if napa is that close just get the hoses, and coolant and then replace the parts.
  7. natenkiki2004

    natenkiki2004 New Member

    I don't think I would mind doing the thermostat as long as it's not $100 or something, I'm thinking $5-$10 which could be done. We might have had the thermostat replaced about 3 years ago but I can't be sure. Would that be long enough to warrant replacing it?

    As for the hose, I was thinking of tightening it a bit, maybe a squeeze and idling the engine a little bit to see if it leaks more or blows instead of having it do that on the road. If tightening the hose clamp slows the leak long enough to drive about 3 miles total to get the parts on Monday, that would be good enough for me.
  8. natenkiki2004

    natenkiki2004 New Member

    Just wanted to say thanks to everyone that provided information. Got the hoses replaced and it's running like a dream :)

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