Sludge in cooling system - any suggestions?




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  1. #1
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    Default Sludge in cooling system - any suggestions?

    Hi All,

    My TB (2013 2.8 4x4 Auto) went for a 45,000km service two weeks ago. GM reported a "foreign substance" in the water tank and informed me that they flushed the whole system. At my holiday destination and about 1,200km later I checked my water again and found the following (see picture attached and video at link below):
    http://youtu.be/cVWkQvbqi1Y

    I took the car to GM at my holiday destination and the flushed it again and the sludge is back again after a 200km drive. GM does not seem to have a clue what could cause this. I'm now stuck for an additional three days already at my holiday destination and the TB went back to GM today, not sure how much longer I need to stay here for them to find the problem, but I need to get back to work.

    The car is not overheating at the moment and not using oil (and head-gasket is not the suspect as oil would turn white-grey if that was the case). I don't want to drive the vehicle like this as I don't know if it could overheat and what the long term impact could be if I tackle the road home.

    Any suggestions on what could cause this sludge?

    Thanks.
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    2013 Chevrolet Trailblazer LTZ 2.8 4X4 AT
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  2. #2
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    Your oil cooler is fubar.
    Be careful while the motor runs the oil pressure will be higher than the water pressure. Once the engine is of the water can seep into the oil due to the cracked oil cooler.
    Sometimes you can not even detect it when they pressure test the oil cooler.
    Just replace it as soon as possible. It will just get worst.
    Sakkie van Staden
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  3. #3
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    2013 model ... best they sort it out.

    DONT give them any reason to get out of the warrantee.



    then again, our local Chevy dealer was so useless to repeatedly ignore our pointing out issues with the radiator water and water temp in a Chev Corsa bakkie .... engine popped on 65 000km due to over heating .... just one in many issues we had with the vehicle, and the total lack of interest from the local dealer - this with a small fleet of their vehicles !!

    sold the whole lot and moved our business elsewhere.

  4. #4
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    Check the transmission fluid for contamination - as per Sakkie's post above, it might be the TRANNY COOLER in the radiator that is shot.
    Last edited by ThysleRoux; 2014/12/29 at 09:30 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThysleRoux View Post
    Check the transmission fluid for contamination - as per Sakkie's post above, it might be the TRANNY COOLER in the radiator that is shot.
    Tranny cooler will leave a pinkish tint to the oil in the expansion bottle except if it is really old oil.

    What baffles me is that two different dealerships just flush the system and dont repair an obvious defective part.
    Sakkie van Staden
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    Default Fuel cooler

    I just had a fuel cooler leaking on my Disco - dont know if your vehicle is fitted with a fuel ( diesel ) cooler.

    The diesel didn't colour the oil white - it had a strange colour and smell to it.

    Just a thought..

    AC

    2004 Discovery TD5 ES Auto
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  7. #7
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    Not all auto transmission fluid is pink, Sakkie

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sakkie7 View Post
    Tranny cooler will leave a pinkish tint to the oil in the expansion bottle except if it is really old oil.

    What baffles me is that two different dealerships just flush the system and dont repair an obvious defective part.
    sounds like the "experts" at Reeds.


    our one bakkie went back to Reeds 3 or 4 times for a "sound" on the breaks ... kept on being told "it is fine" ..... back brakes locked solid while my boss was driving !!


    EASY fixes, but just ZERO plak from the lot at Reeds to assist their clients !!


    as said, we sold all their products and moved our business

  9. #9
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    Pity you did not take the oil levels measurements straight after they did the flush.Surely if its oil then somewhere the levels will start showing a drop and you can pinpoint the source?
    Last edited by Mr.G; 2014/12/29 at 09:42 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThysleRoux View Post
    Not all auto transmission fluid is pink, Sakkie
    Hehehehe
    So only some cars drink pink drinks?
    Ok...so you would still smell autobox fluid...
    What does that oil smells like?
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  11. #11
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    Just as matter of interest.You did not maybe fill up and the guy checked your oil and water and maybe told you you might need a pint of oil??
    Owning a garage i have seen worse but i once stopped an attendant from putting a pint of oil in the radiator

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post
    Pity you did not take the oil levels measurements before straight after they did the flush.Surely if its oil then somewhere the levels will start showing a drop and you can pinpoint the source?
    Not always. Sometimes the water that seeps in ofsets the oil levels.

    Like Thys said. Check the gearbox oil levels as well.
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  13. #13
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    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...,d.d24&cad=rja
    See the bottom of the page about Dex-cool..Not sure it pertains to SA
    Last edited by Mr.G; 2014/12/29 at 09:52 AM.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the feedback so far guys. I did check and monitor the oil level and there is no change there. I did not immediately check the transmission oil levels, so I cannot comment on the usage there, although the transmission oil seems to be clean. There is no strong smell from the sludge.

    The first dealership also thought that somebody put oil or something in the cooler and therefore just flushed it (although only GM touched the engine and water up to date, I did not fill up on engine or water up to date as it was not needed). And they wanted me to pay about R700 for it...

    In fairness to the dealer at the holiday destination, they did come out on a public holiday while they were closed to have a look and then arranged for the next day (while still closed) to flush it again and agreed to have a further look today if problem returns. So that rules out a petrol attendant (or me) putting in something they should not have.

    But agree, first dealer should have looked for the root cause instead of blaming me.
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  15. #15
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    I predict that your sump is filled with water.

    That engine won't last long if it's not sorted immediately. Bearings don't like water much.
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    GM at holiday destination now also looking at transmission oil cooler/radiator. Engine oil clean with no water so far.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jelo View Post
    I predict that your sump is filled with water.

    That engine won't last long if it's not sorted immediately. Bearings don't like water much.
    Best will be to drain the sump oil completely and check for water.
    I had the same on my Jeep. Water seeped into the sump through the oil cooler.
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  18. #18
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    Remember to check the ATF when the gearbox is at operating temp.

  19. #19
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    Got confirmation from GM SA that radiator needs to be replaced as the transmission oil cooler is the problem. Parts and oil will be here tomorrow morning. Thanks for all the suggestions and advice.
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  20. #20
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    That picture of the sludge looks familiar. I can confirm that it is indeed the oil cooler. I had similar problem on my Ford Focus TDCi. Radiator and oil cooler replaced after thorough flushing of the system.

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