Cooling system leaking in Buick '98

Some of you might be familiar with my post from a couple weeks back about possibly replacing my water pump. Well today I popped the hood and was intending to replace my Radiator hose (per the suggestion of a friend who’s owned no less then 4 of the same car I have).

My car was totally cold, I took off the pressure cap, opened the two bleed valves and began searching for the radiator drain. Immediately I noticed my car was leaking coolant onto the driveway; something that hadn’t happened before and I’m pretty sure it had just happened since I relieved all the pressure. From looking around I think I figured out where it’s leaking from, but I don’t have any idea what the component is. I’m hoping someone can give me some info and possibly some advice at this point.

The culprit appears to be part of the assembly that the serpentine belt runs on. It’s located above the water pump and it’s actually connected to where the radiator hose connects from the radiator, right by one of the bleed valves. It’s on the passenger side near the front of the engine. I checked out a repair manual from the library but looking through it is like a treasure hunt and I don’t know what the treasure is I’m after. Nothing feels loose and I can’t actually see from where on the component the leak is coming from. Squeezing the radiator hose seems to hasten the leak only slightly and it drips freely if I do nothing. I’m not sure yet if it’s still leaking now that I sealed the valves and cap back up (which I did before writing this post).

The car is a Buick Century Custom 1998 - with a 3.1 engine (or 3.1 something???) :slight_smile:

Thanks for any ideas everyone! :slight_smile:


Ack! I forgot to mention that the reason I’m doing anything with the cooling system is because my car leaks coolant like crazy! After about 100 miles of driving, the radiator and the reservoir will be completely empty. I just checked the car again to see if it was leaking while the cap and valves were closed (mentioned above), and it appears that the car is not leaking while sitting idle and engine off.

This link here will also give a few more details about how the car normally leaks and why I made my way here in the first place. :slight_smile: Thanks!

Which hose? If it is the upper hose, then it would be the thermostat housing. The thermostat housing is easily replaceable, and not too expensivie. If the lower hose, then you may need to have some brazing done on it. But there should be some way of replacing it. By the way, Jiffy lube does not have mechanics, unless they have an actual garage associated with it.

I’m not sure which hose it is, my guess is that it’s the “Lower” radiator hose because the hose attaches to the lower part of the radiator and then snakes upward where it connects to the other part of the engine. Whereas the other hose (the one that appears not to be associated with the leak) is on the driver side of the car and originates at the upper portion of the radiator. This sounds logical, but I’m not sure. :wink:

If that’s the case that “brazing” may be needed, what am I looking at cost wise? Are we talking labor more like 1 hour or more like 8 hours? And/or “parts” costing more like $15 or more like $500?

This is a tough one. I’m looking at the water pump pictures on my ALLDATA and it appears that the water pump bolts into a housing. That housing could be part of the timing cover.The picture I have isn’t clear enough to tell.

This might be a case where you need to have an experienced tech look at it to determine where the leak is. That or you have to start disassembling things to locate the leak.

I’d still like to know what the component is if anyone knows :slight_smile: . But baring that, would a pressure test at a “regular” mechanic tell me this stuff too? If/when possible I like to go in to a shop knowing as much as I can about what might need to be done. This is definitely seeming less and less like a DIY repair for me. :slight_smile: