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2002 Chevrolet Impala coolant leak

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New User

Sep 17, 2022, 5:16 PM

Post #1 of 4 (802 views)
2002 Chevrolet Impala coolant leak Sign In


Here is my vehicle information:
- 2002 Chevrolet Impala, 3.4L, ~190km

Some history:
- About a month ago I ran into a coolant leak significant enough that the engine wasn't holding any, and therefore overheating. Some googling along with a mechanically-inclined friend suggested that the head gaskets may need replaced. Using LINK DELETED, I basically tore the engine apart and replaced all of the gaskets I could find. There were no signs of the heads being warped (checked w/ straightedge). For a car newb like myself, it was a significant job but a good learning experience - admittedly not one I'd like to repeat anytime soon.
- Upon putting the engine/car back together and starting it, there were no longer signs of a leak. Thinking the problem was fixed, I took it for a drive (~30 minutes) and still no obvious leak. Today, I took it out again, but this time there were obvious signs of a coolant leak. I jacked the car up, turned it on, crawled underneath and sure enough I could see a pretty constant stream of coolant coming off of a bolt (couldn't see the actual source). The leak is somewhere beneath the alternator towards the back-end of the hood. I don't think it is the gaskets in the engine. So I'm just not sure what it could be and am currently lacking the fortitude to tear everything down again not having any idea. I've seen a couple other YouTube videos suggesting that it could be "heater hose fittings".

Here is an image of the area of the leak from the underside of the car.

I'll probably take a stab at the heater hose fittings in the coming days but wanted to put this out there in case anyone had other suggestions. Other than this, the car had been running well and likely has several more years on it if I can resolve the leak.

Thank you!

(This post was edited by Hammer Time on Sep 17, 2022, 7:09 PM)

Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Sep 17, 2022, 7:12 PM

Post #2 of 4 (786 views)
Re: 2002 Chevrolet Impala coolant leak Sign In

This is something you are going to have to get to the bottom of yourself. We can't pinpoint the leak from here.

Use a pressure tester and a mirror if necessary but you are going to have the track the leak back to it's source.

PS, I deleted your youtube link. Links are not allowed here.


We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.

(This post was edited by Hammer Time on Sep 17, 2022, 7:13 PM)

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Sep 17, 2022, 7:14 PM

Post #3 of 4 (782 views)
Re: 2002 Chevrolet Impala coolant leak Sign In

Arg - YouTube mechanic certified. Careful with them. BTW your pics didn't show to me just an error code.

So the job at hand is finding source of this leak. Put the system under pressure with pressure tester then go look for it.

Tearing down this engine again if you see now a bolt leaking IDK which one some you use sealers some if touched you replace each time and almost all engine bolts are torques to spec or can make the warpage, crack or lose seal may not have been there at first?

The real and worst issue is an active leak means you don't have a pressurized system now can overheat, air pockets inside it if not fatal to this engine before it's at high risk now to keep using it!

Straight edge is a good idea isn't enough there could still be a crack or a new one made??

Note: 21 years old or so, lower miles for age is still that old now with an active leak no pressure the coolant will boil at about the 212F mark easily operates above that + the vapor doesn't cool that area nor necessarily read hot on your temp gauge vapor is slow to show or plain wrong there's vapor inside.

NOW what do you want to do? I suggest a real certified tech diagnose this with your info on sequence of events and decide if doing this all over again is right or another engine the choice if the car overall is still in great shape it would be worth it IMO,


New User

Sep 19, 2022, 3:33 PM

Post #4 of 4 (743 views)
Re: 2002 Chevrolet Impala coolant leak Sign In

Thank you. I decided to take your advice and take it in somewhere.

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