Blow­ing your coolant

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - ASK SMITHY -

MY 1.8-litre 2002 Holden As­tra has been leak­ing about half a litre of coolant a month for more than a year. It is drip­ping down the back of the en­gine, mainly when hot, but not all the time. I can see a T-shaped hose at the back of the al­ter­na­tor/ water pump but it ap­pears to be com­ing from above there. Could it be the head gasket leak­ing or are there more hoses fur­ther up?

Alan John­son I DOUBT very much that it is the head gasket. I reckon you’d have seen the en­gine tem­per­a­ture rise if it was a leak­ing head gasket. You won’t know un­til you ac­tu­ally pull it apart and check it, but I sus­pect the water pump is leak­ing.


LATELY my VS Holden Com­modore V6 has been push­ing out any water or coolant I have topped it up with, even if it is a short dis­tance. I no­ticed to­day when I was com­ing back from the lo­cal mar­ket, a round trip of 10km, that the tem­per­a­ture gauge hit the hot mark. I can’t see any signs of leak­age but I must be los­ing it from some­where for the gauge to hit the hot mark even though the fans cut in au­to­mat­i­cally. Could it be due in part to the grille de­sign? The de­sign doesn’t leave much area for the air to flow, which I think is not help­ing the cool­ing sys­tem. Any ideas please?

Steve, email

THE en­gine is over­heat­ing, that’s what the gauge is telling you. You need to have a me­chanic check it. Any num­ber of things could be caus­ing it, from a blocked ra­di­a­tor to a blown head gasket. It’s noth­ing to do with the grille.


THE wipers on my re­stored 1975 HJ Holden Ute shud­der across the wind­screen on the down­ward stroke, par­tic­u­larly in light or eas­ing rain. The com­plete mech­a­nism was re­stored as best I could to elim­i­nate any wear-in­duced play, plus I’ve fit­ted new blade as­sem­blies and a new screen. I’ve tried RAIN-X, which makes the water bead and run off, but doesn’t stop the shud­der­ing. What can I do to elim­i­nate it?

Reg Buchanan, email THEY shud­dered when new. The prob­lem is that

Cool run­nings: A leak­ing water pump is likely in the As­tra

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