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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have a 2008 Sky Redline 2.0 with about 82k. I came out to the garage this morning to head into work and saw the reddish-hued puddle / trail coming from underneath the car. It was a pretty good amount. From what I can see, it's coming down around the center of the engine and after opening the hood, I could see some of the same liquid puddled a bit underneath the water pump, so I'm pretty certain that's where it's come from. The resevoir is about 1.5-2" below the mold line, too. I've already made an arrangement with my dealership to get it looked at tomorrow by someone who also owns a Sky (in fact, he was one of Saturn's master techs, thank god!). I still have to drive her into the shop, though, which is worrisome. I only have to drive about 21 miles in, so surely I can make that, but to be sure I have enough coolant for the journey, I'm at a loss as to which coolant I should buy at my local O'Reilly or AutoZone.

Since my coolant appears to have a very light reddish hue to it, I'm not sure what I should do if all I see from my stores is yellow and orange. If I buy one of the premixed versions of orange and top off with that, will that blow anything up for 21 miles worth of driving? I figure if they change the water pump, they'll do a drain of what's in the engine anyway, so I'd hate to think it would matter that much for 21 miles. If it gets above 220 degrees, I'll just pull over and make sure it has some in the resevoir, but I really want to avoid having her towed if possible because I have some ground effects that I just know would get screwed up if she ever had to be towed.

This is the coolant I was planning on getting today: Advance Auto Parts - Down for Maintenance
 

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I might even just tow it to the shop and not add anything but if you are driving iot4 to the shop just water will be fine.

For coolant reference, GM uses DEXCOOL coolant in our cars. The orange stuff will probably be DEXCOOL at your local store. Green stuff you dop not want to use AT ALL as it and DEXCOOL don't play well together. The Yellow stuff is meant to work with any coolant, DEXCOOL or the green stuff.
 

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Yep, sounds like it gave up. Red/orange, as noted, is the normal color for Dexcool. Waterpump and thermostat is $100 in parts and $1000+ in labor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I knew this would happen sooner or later... I'm going to try and drive her in to avoid any towing problems because I honestly don't know of anyone around where I live who I know can tow a car with the low clearance this has (it has Norm's front splitter and side skirts, otherwise I'd be more willing to tow it). I just called one to see and the lady I spoke to believed it wouldn't be a problem (their website said they offer car club towing, so that made me suspect that they must have the ability to tow this since it only has maybe about 4-5 inches worth of front clearance).

I'm going to go get some of the orange 50/50 Dexcool at lunch and just have it on me when I take her in just to be as prepared as possible. I could use some in the garage anyway, but I'll put some water in the reservoir before I leave, too.

This couldn't have come at a worse time, but oh well, I guess that's just life, right? I just hope the new pump comes with an improved design to prevent this from happening again because I think I read something on here in another thread (or maybe a different website entirely) about how they've improved the pumps or gaskets to make them less likely to leak.
 

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I knew this would happen sooner or later... I'm going to try and drive her in to avoid any towing problems because I honestly don't know of anyone around where I live who I know can tow a car with the low clearance this has (it has Norm's front splitter and side skirts, otherwise I'd be more willing to tow it). I just called one to see and the lady I spoke to believed it wouldn't be a problem (their website said they offer car club towing, so that made me suspect that they must have the ability to tow this since it only has maybe about 4-5 inches worth of front clearance).

I'm going to go get some of the orange 50/50 Dexcool at lunch and just have it on me when I take her in just to be as prepared as possible. I could use some in the garage anyway, but I'll put some water in the reservoir before I leave, too.

This couldn't have come at a worse time, but oh well, I guess that's just life, right? I just hope the new pump comes with an improved design to prevent this from happening again because I think I read something on here in another thread (or maybe a different website entirely) about how they've improved the pumps or gaskets to make them less likely to leak.
Very few people who have replaced a water pump have had to replace it a second time, so either the design was changed, the initial engine assembly included a batch of sub-standard pumps, or both.

Did the level in the reservoir get below the port that connects it to the engine? If it did you may have ingested some air, and overheating could be a concern. If the port was not exposed you should be safe, but it is still worth watching the temperature.
 

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I have not replaced a water pump myself, so I cannot speak from personal experience, but based on forum discussions it is possible to cause problems when using the holding tool if it is not done correctly. It sounds to me like your guy does not actually know the proper way to do the job.
 

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The issue appears to be allowing the timing sprocket to slip, which then changes the behavior of the chain tensioner. This is a TSB related to the whine:
#PIP3535A: Whine Noise From Timing Chain Area - (Aug 10, 2009)

Subject: Whine Noise From Timing Chain Area

Models: 2002-2005 Chevrolet Cavalier
2004-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt (Including Cobalt SS)
2010 Chevrolet Equinox
2006-2010 Chevrolet HHR (Including HHR SS)
2004-2010 Chevrolet Malibu (Including Hybrid)
2004-2005 Chevrolet Malibu Classic
2010 GMC Terrain
2002-2004 Oldsmobile Alero
2007-2010 Pontiac G5
2006-2010 Pontiac G6
2002-2005 Pontiac Grand Am, Sunfire
2005-2006 Pontiac Pursuit (Canada Only)
2006-2009 Pontiac Solstice (Including GXP)
2007-2010 Saturn Aura (Including Hybrid)
2003-2007 Saturn Ion (Including Redline)
2001-2005 Saturn L Series
2007-2009 Saturn Sky, (Including Redline)
2002-2010 Saturn Vue (Including Hybrid)
2003-2010 Saab 9-3

With any of the following engines:

2.0L Engine (LSJ)
2.0L Engine (LNF)
2.2L Engine (LAP)
2.2L Engine (L61)
2.4L Engine (LE5)
2.2L Engine (LE8)
2.4L Engine (LE9)
2.4L Engine (LAF)
2.4L Engine (LAT)
2.0L Engine (B207)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This PI was superseded to update model years and engines involved. Please discard PIP3535.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The following diagnosis might be helpful if the vehicle exhibits the symptom(s) described in this PI.

Condition/Concern:
A whine noise from the front of the engine may be experienced if the balance shaft tensioner has ratcheted out, causing the balance shaft chain to be too tight. In rare instances the balance shaft tensioner will ratchet out during service of the cylinder head, timing chain or if the water pump is replaced without using the water pump sprocket holding tool (J43651). This will cause the balance shaft chain to be too tight, which can cause a whine noise from the front of the engine.

Recommendation/Instructions:
Before attempting repairs, ensure that the noise is definitely abnormal by comparing the noise to other known good vehicles. If the noise is abnormal and the noise was not present previously, the balance shaft chain tensioner may need to be reset or replaced. Follow eSI repair procedures and reset/replace the balance shaft chain tensioner as needed.
 

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Right, I saw that too, but what does that mean for me? Just let him use the tool approach and once it's making the noise, press them to reset the balance shaft tensioner?
If he is careful and does it correctly it can be done without creating a new problem, because there have been many reports of people doing that very thing. Beyond that i cannot say.

Show him the TSB and warrn him of the potential. Also be sure that you both listen to the lack of a whine before he starts the work.
 

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Something to think about is that the waterpump is not unique to the Sky, it is common to every Ecotech engine out there. You do not need a Sky expert, although having one may avoid peripheral damage.
 

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You do not need a Sky expert
The difficulty of this job doesn't have anything to do with the water pump itself, it's that the water pump is buried in the engine bay of the only platform to deploy the LNF longitudinally.

Having done it once myself, I would definitely want to employ someone very familiar with the platform if I was going to pay to have it done. It is entirely possible to get it done without pulling the turbo and downpipe, without removing the timing chain cover (i.e. with the sprocket tool), and without air in the coolant system afterward. It's just not easy or the standard book procedure.

With the engine out of the car it would take about 20 minutes. It took me the better part of two days on the hottest weekend Seattle has ever experienced. A whole lot of that time was just trying to get wrenches on fasteners and keep them there. I bled and linked a lot of curses in ways I'd never done before.
 
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I've done the WP, t-stat, and timing chain myself. There is some stuff that doesn't add up in his explanation.
1) The thermostat housing has to be removed in order to do the WP replacement period. It honestly shouldn't add much to the project to replace the t-stat, it's 2 bolts. I understand markup, but certainly not $400 difference.
2) The holding tool if used properly is a lot easier and cheaper than opening up the timing chain cover. I'm surprised that he would prefer to tear into the engine the first time, but I guess if it's a higher cost to you that makes sense. The tool is designed to hold the WP sprocket against the front engine cover to keep it from slipping when you remove the WP. If used properly there shouldn't be any issues. I have heard from a few mechanics familiar with the Ecotec engines that they personally give it a 50/50 chance of slipping even if they use the tool right. Personally speaking this was my first Ecotec WP and I didn't experience any slipping.
3)The whine is caused by the WP sprocket slipping just a bit and allowing the balance chain tensioner to ratchet and tighten just a bit. The chain then tightens to max and the whining sound is the chain making noise as it's stretched the tensioner needs to be reset to fix. As a "Sky" mechanic he should know this. This is a RED FLAG. If you don't know why then how do you know the fix?
4)If the balance chain tensioner needs to be reset the timing chain cover needs to be removed, the balance chain tensioner pulled, reset with the pin inserted and then reinstalled. The tech would pull the pin once everything was where it should be. Since their preferred approach is to open up the engine cover anyway for $1,600, I would recommend pushing to have the timing and balance chain and guides replaced. The only additional work is to pull the valve cover at that point and the cost of the chain parts.
 

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I did the WP change using the tool and kept the cover on the front. It was A-OK. You have to make sure you use the tool properly. Mine I had to tighten down a few turns at a time on the holding bolts and then the sprocket bolts, then back and forth multiple times till all bolts were off. It was weird at first as I thought once it was tight on the holding bolts I was all set. But no, there must have been some ... play, or interference? Anyways I did it and no whine and did not mess up the timing.

Now, at 82k miles if you have not had the timing chain or GUIDES replaced maybe you should just have that done anyways, as my guides were broken and made a ticking sound (at 70k). Then taking the front cover off and doing the chains, guides, and WP and Tstat all at once makes sense.
 
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