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Oil in my Radiator....

This is a discussion on Oil in my Radiator.... within the Internal Engine forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Guys I started having an issue a month ago where my hoses looked shot. I took my car in today ...

  1. #1
    Member jamessr's Avatar
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    Oil in my Radiator....

    Guys I started having an issue a month ago where my hoses looked shot. I took my car in today to get "all" my hoses replaces and some general maintenance.
    The mechanic called me back after about 3 hrs and stated The reason my hoses were bad. He traced engine oil in my radiator and stated the hoses were swollen because they were soaking up engine oil. They look horrible too...
    He didn't know where from or how oil is getting into my raditor and could only suggest getting an entirely new engine. He also mentioned he wouldn't feel right doing an engine rebuild because you can never be sure you fixed the problem. He quoted a price of a brand new factory LS1 engine installed $5200 bucks.

    No question there is oil in my radiator...
    Just shouldn't there be more troubleshooting on how or if there is a simpler fix than just replacing the entire engine?
    Only good news is my wife is for fixing my car and she understands about not taking short cuts.

    So unless I can get some trouble shooting tips...
    I'll need a new engine.

    As long as I've owned the car Since 2006 Its never overheated and I took really great care of it.

  2. #2
    Something Diabolical... chuckie669's Avatar
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    2000 C5 Torch Red

    I have nothing knowledgable to add. All I can say is that sucks and if you gotta replace the engine, I would go with something other than a stock ls1.

  3. #3
    Just a farmboy V8MUSCLE's Avatar
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    usually its a head gasket, but thats water in the oil. not sure about oil in the radiator, but ill ask around.
    how many miles do you have on it?

  4. #4
    Member jamessr's Avatar
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    97,000 miles.
    No other issues. I haven't noticed water in my oil. I change it myself.

  5. #5
    Member joedude02's Avatar
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    you sure it's engine oil or is it possible it could be trans fluid? i don't know if you're an auto or t56? just throwing it out there to consider.

  6. #6
    Member jamessr's Avatar
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    Its an 6 SPD manual.
    Guess I should have mentioned that too.

  7. #7
    Just a farmboy V8MUSCLE's Avatar
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    have you noticed yourself loosing oil? do you trust your mechanic?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Orcus79's Avatar
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    There have been a few postings about the power steering cooler cracking and dumping power steering fluid into the rad.

  9. #9
    Member jamessr's Avatar
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    Wow power steering..Never knew that
    In fact over the past month or so, yes I have either burned or lost oil in the radiator. I was almost 3/4 quart low. I do have a minor power steering leak too btw.
    I will inquire about the power steering but I'm sure its Mobile 1 oil in there.

    Someone mentioned they wouldn't put a stock Ls1 in there, what are my choices. Two Mechanics from work will do the job for me with me helping.
    If an engine change is required

  10. #10
    Senior Member Orcus79's Avatar
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    choices are pretty much endless depending on what you want what the budget is. to buy a new block, then modify it would be in my best guess, nearly as much as tearing down the current block and doing the same work.

    Engine oil can only the enter rad one of two ways, a bad gasket, usually a head gasket, or a crack some where internally. Though most likely you would get water in the oil too.

    If you realy want to get an idea, pull the plugs and look for any that are especially clean or have a white deposit on them. Also pull the drain plug on the oil pan that will tell you real quick if you have water in the oil.

  11. #11
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    A couple of thoughts.

    When running, the oil pressure would always be higher than the pressure in the cooling system. Therefore, if there is a leak between the two it would most likely result in oil infiltrating the cooling system. The only exception to this is when the engine is shut off. There would be no oil pressure at that point, however, the cooling system would remain under pressure for a period of time and possibly push coolant into the oil galleys. I would drop the oil and inspect it for signs of water and would also cut open the oil filter and look for signs of moisture.

    I agree that the power steering cooler is a good place to start as it is an integral part of the radiator hose assembly. Check to see if there is any indication of fluid loss and maybe siphon out some fluid to see if it is milky from coolant contamination. You would probably have to remove the cooler from the car and then pressurize it with air in a bucket of water to see if there are any leaks. Oil can definitely cause hoses to swell so the mechanic is probably correct on that being the problem. The source of the oil is the question.

  12. #12
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    My guess would be the power steering cooler

    & swap an ls6 crate in they cost about the same as an ls1 and you get 405hp right out of the box

    ls2 swap is a little more involved but you get the oh so important cubes
    Last edited by DIRTY JERZY; 02-18-2010 at 05:45 AM. Reason: missed a word

  13. #13
    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    what does your oil look like? I definitely wouldn't trust that guy. Who tells you that you need a whole new engine for at worst a head gasket? I got money that says he doesn't know what he's talking about or he's trying to rip you off. Check your oil and see if it looks like a chocolate milk shake.

  14. #14
    Member jamessr's Avatar
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    Well, before I took my car to the dealership this morning I checked my oil. It was slightly low but.. normal color. It wasn't chocolate milk shake looking or nothing.
    The guy I took it to yesterday didn't even do a compression test. When I asked him how he came to that conclusion he said they opened then radiator cap and saw oil. Yet hasn't done to figure out where.
    I'm hoping its a power steering issue.
    If it is a head gasket, what kinda of price am I looking at to get that fixed?
    My wife wants me to fix it and keep it. She's all for shelling out the money.
    I'm honestly lookin at trading it in for a 2006 vett.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Orcus79's Avatar
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    First off, listen to your wife. then take her for a test drive in a vette. Second off, if the guy you took it to only took of the rad cap, definatly get a second opinion. As far as I can tell, eveythign you say points to power steering, pop off the power steering cap and have a look in side and on the dip stick. If it looks like a milkshake you found the problem and is an easy fix.

  16. #16
    Member jamessr's Avatar
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    Well I just got back from the dealership with bad news.
    Well thre isn't any coolant in my oil, good but they found a leak somewheres on the highpressure side resulting in oil getting in my coolant. Only thing I find odd is this crack/rupture doesn't work both ways. He told me average oil pressure at idle is 30 psi and its still higher than the normal 10-12 psi of the cooling system. He couldn't answer why when I secure the engine the cooling system still has pressure why isn't the coolant flowing into the block. I was told its not a simple head gasket fix because there isn't coolant in my engine.


    My wife has given me full premission to repair it. I haven't gotten premission for any trade in. So my options are
    Repair my car
    or
    Fix my car

    Now.. I need to find an engine. I have $5000 to put into this project. I have great military friends and full use of the base hobby shop to install this. I've also gotten a waver to keep my car there extended time frame untill its done. I just need to find the best motor possible for my money. If I could upgrade a better motor, great.

    Any suggestions on motors, websites, deals, or anything you might have is greatly appriciated.


    I also live in the Tidewater Virginia area.
    Thanks in advance

  17. #17
    Senior Member Orcus79's Avatar
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    hmm well, there are options, 5 grand will get a nice moderatly built motor. My thoughts, 6.0L warmed cam, head work with valve train and full exhaust work.

    Contrary to popular belief the LS6 proper does not get you any more more. It's basicly an updated casting of the LS1 block. The LS6 set up though with matching heads, cam and tuning will net you some additional HP.

  18. #18
    Member jamessr's Avatar
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    Well with some footwork with some friends at work I bought an engine. I'll get it mid next week and the install will take place on the 27th-28th.

    I wish I could of gotten and LS6 but I got basiclly what I have now. An LS1.
    I would like a few suggestions of a few realistic things I can do while I'm in the swap process. As far as heads, we're talking about it. However 1 person at work thats not involved with the change out stated I can't just slap any heads on the block without being sent out for some type of work to be done. Not sure if he thought I wa susing my old heads because I'm thinking he thought I bought a short block.
    How I would like to find a ported throttle body and LS6 intake.

    Any thoughts is greatly appriciated.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Orcus79's Avatar
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    Its generally a good idea to deck the heads and block to make sure that they are perfectly flat, but you can check that with a flat edge and feeler gauge then look up the tolerances.

    if you drop the motor out from the bottom by unbolting the K-member that would be a good time to install headers, replace the front seal on the tranny, replace the rear main on the motor. replace the plugs. Pretty much any work that needs to be done on the engine realy. much easier to things now then after you get it in. Depending on how soon you can get parts.

  20. #20
    Member jamessr's Avatar
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    I have long tube headers already
    New plugs and cables are bought and ready to go.
    I'm really looking for a air intake tbh.
    Not sure whats a good brand or type.
    I see a Typhoon Intake mainfold, but have heard lots of negative things about it.

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