How can you be sure of coolant in your oil? [Archive] - Forum


View Full Version : How can you be sure of coolant in your oil?

10-03-2005, 04:59 PM
As the title says... Is it really that obvious when coolant mixes with the oil? My LIM gaskets are definitely leaking, on both sides of the "front" cylinder head... It looks to be both oil and coolant leaking there to me.

I realise the gaskets need changing but I'd honestly rather buy a 3400 and change the gaskets on it, out of the car, and then swap the engines. However I won't be planning on doing that until *next* summer.

Coolant level does indeed drop, though slowly; I keep checking the oil as well. Oil does not appear milky at all, but I swear the oil is actually getting lighter in appearance (not darker as should happen normally with oil). So is coolant leaking into my oil or would it be much more obvious? Smelled the oil and that didn't help--just smells like used engine oil, lol. Put some on my fingers and it just feels oily... Is there any other detection method?

So is there coolant in the oil or not? If there isn't any how long do you think I can keep the engine going like this before coolant does get into the oil? Really I can't afford to get it fixed and can't even really afford to buy the gaskets and do it myself right now; plus within a few weeks it will be cold enough that I won't be able to do the repair myself even if I wanted to. Engine has to last through the winter though. What should I do?

Damn GM and their defective gaskets and the retarded cost of repair :mad:

10-03-2005, 05:39 PM
i had a problem with that on my old chevy lumina, i actually didn't even know about it untill it refused to warm up in the winter, it also started to overheat occasionally on short trips, i put new antifreeze in it, and it would last a couple days but it was only a temporary fix

10-03-2005, 06:25 PM
I had this exact same problem, When I had mine done, he said I could have lasted another month if i was really easy on it, however I went a good 3 or 4 months with it sucking a bit of water. When i looked at the gasket, it was only a hole thin enough to slide a dime though, if that. I would say get it done asap, however I totally understand the money thing *i used scholarship money* However think how much it could cost if you dont get it fixed. My oil looked like cholcate milk too. Damn GM!

10-03-2005, 07:02 PM
To answer your original question, have a lighter handy, pull the dipstick and light the oil on the end. If you see it sputtering, there is water in the oil.

Mike Jung
10-03-2005, 07:03 PM
...Is there any other detection method?...
Do a 'Used Oil Analysis' & check for Glycol (the alcohol in engine coolant/anti-freeze).

They have a location in Mississauga, ON
WearCheck Canada (

10-03-2005, 07:24 PM
Thanks for the tips, guys! :) Mike, I always wante dto know where to get an oil analysis done, now I know!

nascarnate, as for the repair getting any more expensive, I'm not worried about that as I'll likely be replacing the engine anyhow. It really can't get anymore expensive since it seems paying for a repair is about the same as buying a used 3400! Though I guess the kicker is that I'll have to replace the gaskets on the other engine just to be sure anyway... But yeah it really can't get any more expensive. The stupid LIM repair will cost like half what the car is worth, lol! No way I'm paying someone to fix it--either going to be replace them myself or swap in a 3400 (also with replaced gaskets).