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Cooling System Discussions regarding radiators, water pumps, T-stats, hoses, etc...

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Old 02-22-2012, 12:36 PM
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Replacing Coolant Elbows?

Can someone tell me what is involved to replace both coolant elbows on my L67 engine? TIA!
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Old 02-22-2012, 03:12 PM
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Good write ups to reference.
Main Drive Belt Tensioner Removal Procedure and Bypass Elbows '99-'03 - Automotive Forums .com Car Chat

Cooling Elbow Pictures remove / install walkthrough - Grand Prix Net
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:26 PM
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If you get the Dorman Coolant Elbow Kit be sure to take the o rings off of it and get the AC Delco ones, or Fel-PRO ones, the Dorman ones are known to leak, and I've heard that Dorman has started looking into the problem, but no recalls have been issued.
They will however replace them for you if they have failed.

ACDELCO Part # 1534066 should fit all 3 but the bigger part on one of the elbows, I just went with the Dorman purple one for that o ring, and so far no leaks.
Of course my purple on is on an aluminum nipple that is part of the belt tensioner assembly because my car is not supercharged.
Should still work fine though.

There is supposed to be an "improved" version of the elbow/o rings, it has production code number of 11300 or higher stamped on the elbow, this info comes from rkpatt on another forum..
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Old 02-23-2012, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamE View Post
If you get the Dorman Coolant Elbow Kit be sure to take the o rings off of it and get the AC Delco ones, or Fel-PRO ones, the Dorman ones are known to leak, and I've heard that Dorman has started looking into the problem, but no recalls have been issued.
They will however replace them for you if they have failed.

ACDELCO Part # 1534066 should fit all 3 but the bigger part on one of the elbows, I just went with the Dorman purple one for that o ring, and so far no leaks.
Of course my purple on is on an aluminum nipple that is part of the belt tensioner assembly because my car is not supercharged.
Should still work fine though.

There is supposed to be an "improved" version of the elbow/o rings, it has production code number of 11300 or higher stamped on the elbow, this info comes from rkpatt on another forum..
I went to NAPA and got the "upgraded" ones. We will see how it all goes. Thanks for the information.
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Old 02-23-2012, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcrusan View Post
I went to NAPA and got the "upgraded" ones. We will see how it all goes. Thanks for the information.
Sweet, hope it works well, I have a feeling it will since I bet they changed the o-rings that were made for them.
And you're very welcome, I'm always happy to help another if I am able to.
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"If one things breaks, rebuild the entire car." W.E.
Port Matched LIM 1.9" x .9" with smoothed runners.
Backside of air-box gutted, front side left to keep flow directed properly.
OE 195F SuperStant Stat with 5/32" hole drilled in it.
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Old 02-24-2012, 01:04 PM
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RTV the O-rings or the will leak damn near everytime
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imp0ster View Post
RTV the O-rings or the will leak damn near everytime
Does that fix the known problematic Dorman O Rings?
I just replaced the o-rings and used no RTV, and I have seen no leaks since.
Using RTV on the newer ones as a fail safe would be ok, but I personally would replace those o rings rather than to rely on the RTV to keep the poorly made o-rings from leaking.
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"If one things breaks, rebuild the entire car." W.E.
Port Matched LIM 1.9" x .9" with smoothed runners.
Backside of air-box gutted, front side left to keep flow directed properly.
OE 195F SuperStant Stat with 5/32" hole drilled in it.
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Old 02-25-2012, 01:32 AM
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Guys,

I changed my elbows in 45 minutes, but there's a good story and lesson for anyone doing this, so read on:

Had just completed replacing my UIM and LIM gaskets along with installing a new water pump, tensioner pulley and coolant elbows on our '04 Grand Prix GT with 104K miles. Replaced the plug wires and plugs too!

The coolant elbows were replaced by my GM dealer two years ago when they started to leak and were OK, but as I was replacing everything anyway and had to remove the belt tensioner (and the elbows) I went ahead and purchased the new GM elbows anyway, so everything would be new. Upon disassembly was disappointed to find the mechanic used red RTV on them when he put them together.

I'm a stickler for detail and doing a good job so I carefully cleaned out all the old RTV and smoothed the bores with #600 wet sandpaper followed by a good wipedown with brake parts cleaner to remove any traces of residue. The bores looked like new!
I used silicone grease to lube the new o-rings and each bore prior to assembly. Everything went together fine and I topped off the cooing system with distilled water just in case there were any leaks. Initially all was fine.

After starting the engine and letting it warm up, was VERY disappointed to see water trickling out of the Upper elbow where it enters the intake manifold. OMG... you've got to be kidding!

The more pressure built up, the worse it leaked. I guess I now understand why the dealer mechanic used RTV. This was very disappointing, but it seems that any wear or left over pitting from the old, leaky o-rings is all it takes for the new o-rings not seal. OK... so I now know why the pro's use RTV. It's very frustrating to do this once... you definitely don't want to do it twice!

Having just done the UIM/LIM, changing the freash, clean elbows was easy and took 45 minutes. I also had all the tools out already so that helped too!

1) Remove serpentine belt;
2) Drain coolant;
3) Diconnect battery (-) terminal & Remove Alternator;
4) Remove the 3 bolts holding the belt tensioner to the engine.
5) Remove the tensioner/o-ring assembly;
6) Removed and cleaned elbows and bores with brake parts cleaner;
7) Apply an even film of blue, sensor safe RTV around circumference of each end of the elbow and the o-rings. I also added a thin coat to the inside of each bore on the engine;
8) Install elbows onto tensioner and carefully install assembly back onto engine;
9) Re-Install and tighten the 3 tensioner bolts;
10) Re-install alternator & reconnect battery (-) terminal;
11) Re-attach Drive belt;
12) Refill cooling system;
13) Start engine and top off coolant as engine warms up.

I did this and it now holds pressure and hasn't leaked a drop in the first week of service.

My recommendation is to always use RTV when doing this service to your 3800! You don't want to do this twice.

Kevin
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Old 02-25-2012, 04:48 PM
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I forget what forum it was on, but it was discovered that the Dorman elbows almost always leak but the GM elbows do not. The poster then used a micrometer to measure the outside diameter of each elbow with the o-rings and found that the Dorman was slightly different.

I can't say anything from personal experience except that the Dorman elbows with black RTV seem to be holding just fine. I used a skim coat of RTV and rolled around the o-ring. So far it's holding. Is it possible that the bore got scratched by a tool when the original work was done? I had a scratch on the valley surface. I had to fill the scratch with a little JBweld before reinstalling the gaskets.
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