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 Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...

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Xcalak
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Location : New Berlin, WI
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PostSubject: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:34 pm

The low coolant light first comes on once the car is warm and it cycles on and off every few minutes. Radiator is full and has been replaced within the past 3-4 years. I do remember having some weird fitting replaced, something the radiator place had never seen before, I think at the bottom of the radiator.

When I first turn the car on and drive, in the first minute or two I hear a loud slaushing sound as if in the dash and then that sound goes away.

No drips under the car.

Noticed my hood was open once I got to work today, latched but ajar, I know my husband took a peak under the hood last night, but is he trying to kill me?

P.S. I love this car and if I had room, I'd buy a whole herd to keep me in Rivs for the rest of my life.
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Rickw
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:41 pm

First, the weird fitting was an adapter installed by the factory in the lower radiator hose. Unique to these cars and not needed when replacing hoses.
Nothing to do with current problem and nothing to be concerned about.
It sounds like you have air trapped in the cooling system that needs to bleed out.
There is a bleeder screw in the thermostat housing for this purpose.
Bleed air out and add anti-freeze to top off system. Sloshing noise should go away.
If light continues to flicker change / replace the coolant level sensor.
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deekster_caddy
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:40 pm

I agree with Rick here - sounds like air in the system and you need to bleed it out with the thermostat housing air bleeder.

With the engine cool, you might want to open the bleeder and rad cap at the same time and top off the radiator slowly, so some air has a chance to bleed out of the tstat housing at the same time. Sounds like there is a good amount of air trapped in there.
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Xcalak
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:55 pm

deekster_caddy wrote:
I agree with Rick here - sounds like air in the system and you need to bleed it out with the thermostat housing air bleeder.

With the engine cool, you might want to open the bleeder and rad cap at the same time and top off the radiator slowly, so some air has a chance to bleed out of the tstat housing at the same time. Sounds like there is a good amount of air trapped in there.

Would I find the location of the bleeder screw in my manual or could you help me locate it?
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Rickw
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:10 pm

Follow the upper radiator hose on the drivers side of radiator to the engine. It will connect to the thermostat housing. On top of that housing you will see a brass screw sticking straight up, that the bleeder screw.
Turn counterclockwise to loosen and purge air out. When done, tighten but don't over tighten as it is only brass and you can damage it.
To purge air make sure radiator is full when cold, then warm engine and open bleeder screw to release air. When a steady stream of anti-freeze comes out close screw.
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Mr.Riviera
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:46 pm

i agree with what has been stated so far, but i'll add that you should run the heat on high when you do this to ensure the coolant is running through the heater core and rear hoses.
i'm sure you would have the heat on anyways seeing you are in WI, but it's 80* here.

_________________
1996 with 244k miles, L32 4" FWI -> ported N* -> Ported Gen V w/3.2" Pulley, Stage 3 Phenolic I/C, 1.84 RR, Headers and 3" pipe to mufflers, F-body brakes, and lowered on Eibachs.
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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:50 pm

If you also have a musty smell from the AC vents, most likely your AC drain tube is clogged. It's on the passenger side firewall, pretty low. A long pipe cleaner stuck up in it will probably work to get it open, don't tear it though.

There is a write up about this problem elsewhere on this Editboard.

Albertj


Last edited by albertj on Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Xcalak
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:28 pm

Thanks to all for the advice. We did bleed a lot of air out. The low coolant light comes on less frequent and I think we'll try to elevate the front end and bleed some more.

Besides tightening up the hose clamps, just wondering what might have caused excess air in the coolant system. I'd rather head off any issues sooner than later.

Thanks again.
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deekster_caddy
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:33 am

How long ago was that piece replaced at the bottom of the radiator? Did they drain the whole system? These engines are supposed to have the air bled out when filling, if it wasn't filled properly could cause the air pockets.
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'96reese
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Fri Jan 30, 2009 1:29 pm

check out your low coolant sensor. i know mine has been trying to go out on me a for while now. it kept cycling on and off. i was never low on coolant either. i have yet to replace mine because of the price of the sensor(about $150 dealer only, '96 riv sucks)
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Mr.Riviera
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:23 pm

few things are dealer only.
$54 at rockauto
http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/x,carcode,1022038,parttype,2184

$61 at the local auto store
http://www.autozone.com/N,16301719/shopping/partTypeResultSet.htm

but if the sensor is broken, the light will not be on. if you unplug the sensor the light will not come on saying low coolant.
therefore you may just have an air bubble on the sensor or in the system.

_________________
1996 with 244k miles, L32 4" FWI -> ported N* -> Ported Gen V w/3.2" Pulley, Stage 3 Phenolic I/C, 1.84 RR, Headers and 3" pipe to mufflers, F-body brakes, and lowered on Eibachs.
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Rickw
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:37 pm

The sensors get dirty and an intermittent light problem can sometimes be resolved by removing the sensor and cleaning it.
Providing you have purged all air from the cooling system.
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Xcalak
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:00 pm

The light still cycles on and off. I'm down a gallon of antifreeze since I first started this topic. I see no signs of a leak, but I can occasionally smell antifreeze. No liquid comes out anymore when the system is bled. Sloshing noise continues. Temperature gauge continues to read a steady 200 as it always has. Could I have a hose leak and the antifreeze just burns off?
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Rickw
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:08 pm

You need to pressurize the system and look for leaks. If you don't have a pressure tester, then have a shop do it and pray that your not burning it internally.
But first you need to find the leak. Hopefully its a hose or something simple, maybe behind the engine where you can't see it. That's where the pressure tester comes in handy.
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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:19 pm

Hey RIck is it still the case that you get white residue inside the tailpipe if you're burning antifreeze (even with a catalytic converter)?

Albertj
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deekster_caddy
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:19 pm

Most likely you are leaking coolant at the lower intake manifold gaskets. They are prone to deteriorate as they age (thanks DexCool). There is no additive that will cure this kind of leak (don't put anything in there, please). Get it pressure tested. My hunch is the LIM gaskets, but with no other information it could easily be a hose or water pump or something similar...

Any drips of coolant below the car at all? Check thoroughly around the water pump and intake manifold areas with a strong flashlight/drop light...
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Xcalak
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:00 pm

Thanks to all, hopefully we can get her into the shop on Saturday.

Today I started the car after work and had her idling while I scraped the icy windows. Got back in and the low coolant light came on for the first time while the car was still cold, usually it was coming on after the car was warm. After driving 10 miles the light went off for less than a minute and then it remained on until I got home.

I'll post with any updates.
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Xcalak
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Fri Feb 20, 2009 9:06 pm

Water pump it was. $420 later I'm hoping it's fixed, although I still hear a little sloshing when I picked the car up. My gosh, don't they bleed the system. Even I know how to do that now , thanks to all of you.

I know that $420 sounded a little high to me too, but it includes both serpentine belts if that adds value?.
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deekster_caddy
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:00 am

That's not so bad if they did the belts too. The belts are a PITA job on this car.
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KillaKeninaRiv
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:52 am

i have the same problem with the sensor being stuck on and i had the same issue in my 95 Series II, i went to the dealer and paid about $50 for the sensor, unfortunately, and the sensor went off
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95RiviSC
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PostSubject: Low Coolant Light   Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:52 pm

I didn't know where exactly to post this, so if it's in the wrong section feel free to move it.

For the last couple days my "Low Coolant" light has been coming on and off. The car is running at about 190-200 degrees and the coolant is full.

Any ideas?
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ewolfe0050
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:01 pm

Bad or clogged sensor. You can take it out and clean it up with a hard bristle brush, get one from a yard, or buy a new one for $145. I have the same problem but I am lazy and my money has been going in my truck so I just put black tape over the light...
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woggy
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:17 pm

I assume when you say the coolant is full you checked the level in the radiator itself? NEVER remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot!
I'm sure we all know this. (but just a reminder)
if the radiator is in fact full have you added coolant recently?
either way you probably have air trapped in the system or the sensor in the radiator is bad or may have a bad connection. you can try bleeding the coolant system by loosening the bleed screw on top of the thermostat housing when the car is hot and idling in park, loosen it just enough so you get a spray of air and then coolant coming out .
if this doesn't help then i would look in the direction of the coolant sensor or the wiring to it.
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Rickw
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:19 pm

95RiviSC wrote:
I didn't know where exactly to post this, so if it's in the wrong section feel free to move it.

For the last couple days my "Low Coolant" light has been coming on and off. The car is running at about 190-200 degrees and the coolant is full.

Any ideas?
Try bleeding as woggy as has suggested first.
Temps are correct. That is right where it should be.
As ewoolfe said: if you have to remove the sensor, it is located in the radiator about halfway down on the passenger side. Drain some coolant first from the petcock. Petcock is under radiator on drivers side. Requires removal of lower spoiler. About 10 plastic fasteners.
If you haven't changed your coolant in a while now would be a good time to drain it all out, flush the radiator at least with fresh water. Then remove the coolant level sensor from radiator and clean off all residue. They get gunked up over time and re-install it. Or you can replace with new from the Auto Parts store.
Also drain the external overflow tank while you have everything empty and apart, clean inside the tank by flushing with a garden hose and reconnect.
Reinstall the petcock and put in a fresh mix of 50% distilled water and 50% coolant.You will need one gallon of each. It is easiest to premix this solution then pour it in radiator. After running and heating car up bleed air out of the system (there is a "Write Up" for how to do all this) and add some of your premix to the expansion tank and your ready for the winter.
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95RiviSC
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Thu Sep 17, 2009 3:13 pm

^^Thank you!

I did that this morning and it appears to be fine now. Thanks again for the help guys!
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