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My coolant dipstick

This is a discussion on My coolant dipstick within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Looks like this.... This is about 1K miles after my cam swap. New coolant, oil, and gaskets. My oil level ...

  1. #1
    rice,its what's fo dinner LeadFarmer's Avatar
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    My coolant dipstick

    Looks like this....

    This is about 1K miles after my cam swap. New coolant, oil, and gaskets. My oil level is fine and is caramel, no milky-ness at all. Therefore I have no idea where this mudiness is coming from, I'm gonna flush it all out in a couple days and see what happens. No oil burning scent, no oil pressure problems, no temperature problems, or any thing else that's notable. Just this milkiness in the coolant. I believe the coolant I used was the dexcool poop for GM.

    Ideas?

    Edit: oil cap is clean, no milky crud, as is the dipstick......I really hope I don't have a blown headgasket.......I might have to go cry in the corner lol
    Last edited by LeadFarmer; 11-13-2012 at 10:37 PM.
    M6, MS3 Cam, FAST 92/92, LS7 Clutch, Hurst Comp/Plus Shifter, Lid, K&N, OBX LT's, 3in ORX True Duals, KYB AGX shocks, BMR 3-Point SFCs, BMR springs, BMR Adj. PHR, LCA Relos, STB, 315 NT555Rs, DeepDish C5Z06s.

  2. #2
    ʢ ൧ ൨ ൩ ൪ ൫ ൬ ൭ ൮Ր Ց Ւ Փ Smittro's Avatar
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    Old dexcool will gum up after sitting in the bottom of your rez and it's hard to remove without chemicals.
    But the Dex-sludge is usually a "goop" rather than milky. Drain and check your motor oil.
    That will give you a good idea if any coolant is seeping into the oil, coolant will sit on top of your oil in the pan.
    You may have caught it early and it may not be showing up on your dipstick.. Yet.

  3. #3
    rice,its what's fo dinner LeadFarmer's Avatar
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    well that's not very comforting lol. I'll do so and report back in a couple days.
    Do we have to use this dexcool shit? I had to same problem with my Z28, I could never tell if it was oil or just old coolant.

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    ʢ ൧ ൨ ൩ ൪ ൫ ൬ ൭ ൮Ր Ց Ւ Փ Smittro's Avatar
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    I'm not a big fan of it. However if you stay on top of it's age and flush it periodicly it works fine.
    You don't have to use it, if you do deside to change to the green stuff you'll need to make sure all the dexcool is
    flushed out your entire cooling system as gerenally standard green coolant and dex does'nt mix.
    They make green that they say will mix with dexcool but I've never tried it so I can't comment good or bad.

    About your issue, I figure an oil drain is the least pricey and labor intensive place to start.
    It could simply be some old stuff in your rez if you're not seeing it in your radiator.
    Usually if you have a head gasket leak your engine will start to run rough, or strange such as a high idle, dead cylinder, erratic temp readings, and so forth. Which will also usually trigger a service engine light.

    If you don't find anything in your oil change I would remove the rez, dump and flush that stuff out. Pure water won't always get dex goop/sludge out alone. You can mix about half and half kerosene and water in a gallon jug plug the openings of the rez fill it with the solution and shake the shit out of it. This will effectively remove a dex-goop. After which simply wash it out with some hot soapy water then rinse once more with clean water, reinstall and refill. Then keep an eye on it for a week of driving to see if the condition returns.

    Keep us posted if you like, and good luck.

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    I have had zero issues with Dexcool. When you flushed the system last time, did you remove the overflow bottle and clean it out?

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    Senior Member Too Fast's Avatar
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    I'd suggest just like Lord Vader wrote. First do an oil change to see what comes out. Hopefully only oil.
    You say the coolant you see in the radiator looks ok? That's a good sign. Did you always check the coolant dipstick before? Maybe it always looked like this and you just noticed?

    You say you ''believe'' you used Dexcool, was it something else? Usually the only thing to make coolant milky is a mix with some type of oil. You're car have the famously reliable P/S cooler?

    Personally I've never had any Dexcool issues either.

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    Do you have a power steering cooler? They are known to leak into the coolant.

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    rice,its what's fo dinner LeadFarmer's Avatar
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    It is a ws6 so I believe it has the power steering cooler. I say I believe dexcool was used because that's what the shop said they used when they replaced my cam. I checked the radiator and there's sludge in there as well, but only at the top...which is odd. emptied the oil and it looked fine, no water. I spoke to the shop owner about it and he said not to worry, he said he's seen that consistency of dex-goop in a ton of lsx cars, he thinks something might have gotten mixed in with the coolant somehow, possibly during install or whatnot. I'm gonna flush everything tomorrow and see what happens. Although I'm still worred......

    half of me kinda hopes it is the head gaskets though, so that way I can go ahead and order a set of stage 2.5 LS6 heads, with some ls7 lifters and some hefty ass gaskets and call it a day lol.........I shouldn't think like that though lol

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    ʢ ൧ ൨ ൩ ൪ ൫ ൬ ൭ ൮Ր Ց Ւ Փ Smittro's Avatar
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    I think Jeremy is on to something here..

    Some food for thought, coolant is lighter than motor oil, and hydraulic fluid is lighter than coolant such as PS fluid and ATF fluid. Since you're a manual with no cooler lines that only leaves your PS cooler that can introduce hydraulic fluid to your coolant. This would be consistant with you only finding that odd material on top of your coolant in the rad. It would get swirled together while the engine is running and while coolant gets exchanged between the rad and your over flow rez. Then once you shut the engine down and the coolant stops, the PS fluid would rise to the top of your coolant. With that all said, I'd have a good look at your PS cooler.. If coolant makes it's way into your PS pump it can/will kill the PS pump.
    Last edited by Smittro; 11-15-2012 at 04:12 AM. Reason: hate the way the site makes the lines of text look

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    If in fact the P/S cooler has taken a dump into your cooling system, you will need to flush everything really well. The service manual recommends against a chemical flush, but those are geared more towards scale and rust then oily residue anyway. You can buy a small tube and fin cooler and mount it on the front of your K-member quite easily. The P/S hoses from the pump will reach and no modification to them is required. Then, simply install an upper hose for a Camaro in place of the two-piece hose assembly that you currently have.

    Cooler install looks like this when completed (w/ stock K-member):

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    ʢ ൧ ൨ ൩ ൪ ൫ ൬ ൭ ൮Ր Ց Ւ Փ Smittro's Avatar
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    Oh yeah almost forgot, coolant is'nt so good for your rack and pinion unit either.
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    Power steering coolers aren't really necessary...just buy a one-piece upper rad hose and run the power steering lines from the pump directly to the rack.

    I got so tired of power steering fluid all over my engine bay that I went to a manual rack and love it.
    Smittro likes this.

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    ʢ ൧ ൨ ൩ ൪ ൫ ൬ ൭ ൮Ր Ց Ւ Փ Smittro's Avatar
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    I agree. A PS cooler is useless. Did'nt have one on my 01 camaro (or any of my other cars) and never had any issues.
    Just a piece of useless junk to have problems with.

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    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    There is a universal coolant available now. It's yellow in color. I've used it on cars I've worked on as different automotive manufacturers use various colored fluids.

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    rice,its what's fo dinner LeadFarmer's Avatar
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    thanks for the info guys, I'm gonna empty the rad and resovoir, flush everything out fill it back up and see what happens. If it the muck comes back i'm going to assume it's P/S fluid and start looking for a leak

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    I've had the sludge in the bottom of my reservoir before on my 1996 I owned. Had to remove it and clean it out every few years. A good flush helped as well. Any additive being introduced to your coolant isn't a good thing. I can't believe a shop owner told you not to worry about it. I mean, after all, coolant only aids in keeping your engine from overheating.

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    Member blackcar's Avatar
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    Look in your power steering pump resivor for water.

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    rice,its what's fo dinner LeadFarmer's Avatar
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    I've looked everywhere and there isn't water in anything it shouldn't be in. I flushed the system multiple times, both with the car on and off, while keeping an eye on the temp to make sure everything was ok. I'm pretty sure I got everything out. I'm gonna run around town with nothing but soapy water in the system for a day. The plan is if oil or P/S liquid is leaking into the coolant it will bind with the soap, atleast some will, that way when the car cools and I flush it some of the foreign fluid will be completely seperated from the water, so I can have a better guess as to its identity.

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    Senior Member Too Fast's Avatar
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    Also, if your PS cooler is leaking into your coolant, you would be low on PS fluid, as we've said in posts 6 and 7. How is your PS level?

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    i can say that the new green antifreeze will mix well with the dex. my 99 chevy still has the dex in it when i got it in 2000. i have never changed the fluid, nor have i added any. it is always full and has never gave me any problems. i do mix the green with the dex in my gto tho. and i seldom use the kenworth truck blue antifreeze in it also. never had a problem. one of the bowls has a leak. just to lazy to put in another rediator. work all the time.

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