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1997 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have coolant leaking from a spot I just can't quite understand. I have coolant dripping onto the power steering pump from what seems to be a bolt that goes into the tensioner. Using a boroscope I could see coolant dripping off the bolt and right onto the power steering pump. I already did the timing cover, it's not the heater hoses, or the coolant elbows on the tensioner. I just don't get it, is that bolt a coolant passage by chance? It seems to go into the tensioner and I've never had coolant come out of it. What's the deal?
 

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Coolant sources there are the elbows, heater hoses, and lower intake.

You have discounted all of them, but those are your sources at/above that area.

For a mostly free/cheap approach, I would try unbolting the bracket...
  • resealing all 4 elbow o-ring's with RTV (let set for 12-24hrs after install)
  • do the same with the o-ring's for the heater line adapters
  • re-set the placement and clamping of the heater lines with worm clamps
 

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1997 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Coolant sources there are the elbows, heater hoses, and lower intake.

You have discounted all of them, but those are your sources at/above that area.

For a mostly free/cheap approach, I would try unbolting the bracket...
  • resealing all 4 elbow o-ring's with RTV (let set for 12-24hrs after install)
  • do the same with the o-ring's for the heater line adapters
  • re-set the placement and clamping of the heater lines with worm clamps
Yeah, I'll have to go through and do that. It's probably the lower elbow but it's just such a weird spot to drip from.
 

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Sure, the plastics are prone to cracking over time. Even if some aluminum o-rings require sealant assistance for some, it's a good $10 item to swap in.
 

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Given that the power steering pump is almost directly under the coolant elbows going through your belt tensioner housing, I'd look at those. It's also directly underneath your heater core hoses. (Engine side - not firewall side.) I'd check the hoses first, just because they're the easiest to replace if they're bad. If that isn't your problem, I'd look at either O-rings or the heater elbows themselves, If you're still rocking the plastic elbows, I'd replace them with genuine AC Delco replacement aluminum elbows. Definitely don't use the Dorman after-market aluminum elbows because the O-rings on them are junk. I installed Dorman branded aluminum elbows on my 3800 Series II twice - and BOTH times, the damned O-rings leaked after a few thousand miles. The Delco O-rings seem to be made thicker and don't leak.
 

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Coolant sources there are the elbows, heater hoses, and lower intake.

You have discounted all of them, but those are your sources at/above that area.

For a mostly free/cheap approach, I would try unbolting the bracket...
  • resealing all 4 elbow o-ring's with RTV (let set for 12-24hrs after install)
  • do the same with the o-ring's for the heater line adapters
  • re-set the placement and clamping of the heater lines with worm clamps
That crazy tensioner design is simply problems waiting to happen. After much research I used RTV black as suggested above on the elbows and let it set for a couple of days. No leaks.

Somewhere (probably here) I read that Dorman had been made aware that their o-rings were not sealing properly and they said they would look into it. Use some RTV and don't wait for a response.
 

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Ya, thankfully there's only this one external coolant passage issue besides the main radiator hoses (with a couple internal issues at the lower intake gaskets and passages to the TB that are easily remedied permanently in an afternoon for $40-50).

Most small block V8's have a variety of external pathways that have all sorts of silliness involved. Can't wait to dig into my LS4 for some much needed clean-up. :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I redid the elbows (used RTV) and replaced the heater hose orings and even still I got on it a little coming home from work this night and found it leaking yet again. But it stopped pretty quick and I wasn't able to get it to leak again. Seems to only spring under load? Just running and light driving it wont do it but it seems if you get on it, it will leak for a little bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have to really get on it for it to even leak for a little bit. Once I shut the engine off it stops in around a minute. I suspect the hoses are still leaking but they're pretty much dry. The amount that does leak down onto the ground doesn't match what I see up top. It all LOOKS dry aside from a little bit of coolant on the power steering pump but that elbow looks dry on the boroscope and I have yet to catch the hoses or anything else dripping.
 

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I might take some measurements of the elbows & o-ring's so I can seek out the exact parts to swap in for a few buck and solve this for anybody. (I actually converted to NPT connections on my Holden setup, but if I go back to my L26 intake, I'd want to avoid the same headache.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I might take some measurements of the elbows & o-ring's so I can seek out the exact parts to swap in for a few buck and solve this for anybody. (I actually converted to NPT connections on my Holden setup, but if I go back to my L26 intake, I'd want to avoid the same headache.)
Yeah I've actually been wondering what the measurements for the elbow orings and heater hose connector orings.

I think the leak is my water pump but I'm not sure why it's so pressure dependent.
 

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Dave - Do you recommend switching to metal elbows if they are coming out?
I think using metal elbows are good. You should clean the area where the elbows go and be sure to use some GOOD RTV SEALEANT to ensure no leaks. I personally use ZEP SEALER.....best stuff to use.
 
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