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really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
99,765 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. updated gm parts were installed by dealership (2 reports)
1999 Chevrolet Lumina cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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1999 Chevrolet Lumina Owner Comments

problem #2

Apr 102008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 137,000 miles


3 months ago or so, my low coolant light came on, but I didn't think much of it for some reason as nothing was overheating or running oddly, and it was only coming on intermittently on startup (no "stupid woman" comment needed). I filled up the reservoir and assumed the problem was fixed as the light never came on again; since I hadn't had it serviced in a couple months, I just figured it was overdue.

Everything was uneventful until this past Thursday morning, when I started the car to drive my husband and myself to our respective jobs. The low coolant light came on upon starting the engine, but went off once I reached street speeds. I was thankfully concerned enough about it this time to take it in and have it looked at as soon as I dropped my husband off at his job. (It didn't hurt that my rear brakes also needed replacing, and I was actually more concerned with that at the time than the cooling system, due to the recent rainy/snowy weather.)

I went to Midas, as they had quoted me on the brake repair last week, and asked if they could take a look at the cooling system when they were done with the brakes. I called to check on how things were coming along, and the mechanic informed me that the brakes were done, and they had identified the problem in the cooling system: the intake manifold gaskets had cracked and that was where the coolant was leaking out of the car. I returned to the shop late in the afternoon, at which point the mechanic who was working on my car showed me the busted gaskets and the aftermarket steel parts which he was replacing them with. The plastic ones had cracked on all sides and were thankfully still leaking externally instead of into the engine; somehow, it had managed to stay out of the engine so far, as the oil ran clear when they changed it.

I do have to put in a good word here for the Midas in Ames, Iowa -- they did a very thorough job, and Ben, the mechanic who worked on my car, did a full coolant flush for me after he was finished and did not charge me for that (about $90 value). I suppose considering how much I'd already put down that day between new brake drums and this, it was just a drop in the bucket. Regardless, they do good work and stand behind it. I just wish this hadn't been an issue in the first place!

- , Ames, IA, USA

problem #1

Feb 042008

Lumina LS 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,530 miles

Leak started real small in late summer of 2007. Coolant at this time was just seeping through the lower intake manifold gasket. At the time, it wasn't serious enough to be worthy of repair, since I wasn't loosing much coolant and it seemed to just be a drip every day or so. As time went on and the Minnesota cold winter took it's tool on the Lumina the leak got increasingly worse. By the beginning of December of 2007 the upper and lower intake manifold had began to leak, and on a trip out to Wisconsin one Saturday my low coolant light came on. I pulled over at a gas station waited for the vehicle to cool down and popped the radiator cap, to not much surprise the radiator was bone dry. I went ahead and dumped coolant directly into the radiator and filled up my coolant reservoir tank which was also bone dry. My temperature gauge never really shot up, so for several months I continued to drive like this. Weeks went on and the leak got so bad were I was going thru gallons of gallons of coolant only just to keep the car cool. In late January while driving my temperature gauge started to rise all the way up but when my fans turned on it would subside and coolant would get into the engine and cool it down before it redlined. The leak got so bad that eventually coolant I was dumping into the radiator and reservoir tank that morning was all gone by that afternoon, leaking thru the bottom of the block. I took it into the dealership since the 3.1L is notorious for this leak and I wanted to make sure the parts and work done on it got a warranty. They installed the updated GM parts which I was told was a combination of cork and metal and threw away the stock intake manifold which consisted of plastic and rubber. Over time I was told the intake/dexcool/and weight of the block forces the stock intake to spoon out and crack. The new cork and metal GM updated parts prevent this from happening. The damage done by the intake leak also forced my water pump to work extra hard and that needed to be replaced as well as it was shot and spraying water on my belts. Total cost of the repair was $1,700 for new upper/lower intake manifold, and a water pump. It's a shame GM never recalls this and are more worried about saving pennies then what happens to a customer after their warranty expires on their vehicle. Which is another reason as to why GM sales have dropped over the years and car makers like Honda and Toyota have risen, they simply pay more attention to smaller detail when it comes to building engines, unlike GM does were all they are worried about is saving dough. I would recommend getting this fixed as soon as it occurs, later problems like my water pump going out, or potentially coolant getting into the engine and mixing with oil can happen.

- , Saint Paul, MN, US

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