Reply to 'the same mountainbike', 'Mr.Phil', 'Ranck' & 'Reseacher'

Thanks for responding, guys. Now for the full details: It’s a '95 Olds 88 V6, but does it really matter? I may be ignorant, but coolant in the crankcase on ANY vehicle is abnormal, right? And if the hoses or freeze plugs were leaking, wouldn’t that cause overheating(which has not happened)? Here’s the full story: one day the car would not start, but made a ‘ka-lunk’ sound and the belt moved about half an inch; thinking the battery was dead I bought a new one—same symptom. Then I got a new starter—same thing, except one day the motor did crank but wouldn’t fire up; then after a few trys it stopped turning over. Out of curiosity I looked in the radiator and saw that the coolant was very low, though the engine hasn’t run for weeks and I’ve never had to add coolant to it before. After filling the radiator repeatedly, I crawled under the car and saw the coolant dripping slowly but steadily off the oil filter. This led me to believe the block is cracked. If so, I will junk the car because I can’t afford major repairs and I doubt the vehicle is worth it anyway. I may have cracked the block when I jacked the engine up to access the starter, I’m not sure. I live out in the woods many miles from the nearest mechanic. I can’t afford professional help and because of my lack of knowledge on the subject I could easily be taken advantage of. All of this is a desperate attempt to get the car running before I lose my crummy job and give up all hope or my wife shoots me, whichever comes first…Thanks, Will4life(?)

It makes a difference what the make and model is because different engine and cars have different layouts. As I said before, it could be anything from a cracked hose to a cracked block. Some engine layouts put the heater hoses right above the oil filter and a leaky hose might have coolant dripping from the filter. You are unlikely to have cracked the block from jacking the engine up. You might damage the oil pan, but not the block.

Now, where did this “coolant in the crankcase” come from? I don’t remember you mentioning it before. Are you seeing it on the dipstick or what?

As for the coolant dripping off the oil filter, look above and see if you can find where it’s coming from. I really doubt the block is cracked. I much more suspect a leaking hose or possibly water pump or something like that.

This engine falls into the list and years GM was having with their intake manifolds. Since a lot of engines were effected over a LONG period of time MILLIONS of cars were effected.

It’s probably a intake manifold leak problem. AT this point I think your engine may be toast. If you bought this new…check with the dealer to see if they’ll fix this. GM was sued (AND LOST) on this. Do a google search on “GM” “intake manifold” “leak”. You’ll get THOUSANDS of hits.

Much better…thanks for the added detail.

Coolant in the crankcase is always a bad sign, however when this happens it will generally stay within the fully enclosed lubrication (oil) system and not leak out in the manner you describe. However, oil floats and the “pickup tube” for the oil sump pump is toward the bottom of the crankcase, so if you had a massive breech of coolant into the oil pan the coolant would sink to the bottom and the sump pump could draw straight coolant into the filter, so your theory is not entirely interplanetary. If this were the case, the oil filter should be full of coolant.

Drain the oil from the pan, remove the oil filter, and see if (a) there’s coolant in the oil and (b) the oil filter is full of coolant.

Your theory of a cracked block may be correct. Although extremely super rare in a stock engine, that would explain such a massive breech between the oil system and the cooling system.

Coolant in the oil in such quantities would also destroy the main bearings, which could seize to where turning the engine over were impossible or extremely difficult, which may explain some of the other symptoms.

Post back with your results.

The radiator coolant level was much lower than normal and the crankcase dipstick showed way above normal. The oil on the dipstick was lighter in color than it usually is, seemed less viscous and had a faint scent of coolant to it. How can coolant get into the crankcase and what can be done about it? The engine has leaked oil for a long time, but now the drips are more watery.

MikeInNH gave one very likely possibility. A bad intake manifold gasket, which is a very common problem with GM V6s of that vintage. A bad head gasket, or cracked block could cause the same sort of problem, but the intake gasket is much more likely on this engine.

Thanks, Mike. Ive been perusing the websites regarding this issue. My wife inherited the car about 10 years after GM hatched it, so I doubt we have any recourse on recall repairs, unfortunately. From what I’ve learned up to this point (thanks in part to guys like you), I believe the car is not worth further effort or expense. This leaves us in a jam. Guess I need to come up with something which runs on carbon dioxide and emits oxygen, or figure out how to fly at will…