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Author Topic: GM Coolant Tabs??  (Read 11492 times)
1Boner
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« on: December 28, 2010, 10:08:13 AM »

I had the coolant changed/flushed on my "other" 99 cadillac deville years ago.

I asked the guy at the spiffy lube if he had put the GM coolant tabs in when he did the job.

He said yes, but the look on his face told me that he had no idea what I was talking about.

Within several months I started developing a coolant leak which I believe also led to a very leaky water pump.

Sooooo anyway, aprox. 2 months ago I had the coolant flushed in my "new" 99 deville.

I asked this guy about the coolant tabs, he said I didn't need them.

Guess what, I now have a slow coolant leak. Coincidence? Or is this what happens when you don't put the tabs in??

Thanks guys, Bobby G.
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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2010, 10:49:43 AM »

Courtesy of Eric & AJxtcman.

From GM Techlink March 2004:



Cooling System Seal Tabs What’s made of ground-up ginger root, almond shells and binder? And causes confusion in auto service departments?

Some people call them coolant pellets, but the proper name is Cooling System Seal Tabs. And we hope to clear up some misunderstandings about them

How They Work
Seal tabs are dissolved in the engine coolant and the resulting fibres circulate through the cooling system. At a microscopic level, the tabs break down into irregular, long, thin fibres. When a small leak or seepage occurs, the coolant carries the fibres into the opening, where they cluster up and jam together. (Think of logs and branches in a beaver dam.) This mechanism is very effective at stopping leaks. Any fibres that make it to the surface will crust over and enhance the seal.

This sealing method is useful only for small-scale leaks and seepage, and tends to work best in conditions where the surrounding parts aren’t moving. The seals tend to break down in areas between metals that are expanding and contracting with temperature changes, for instance.

A Secondary Benefit
The traditional green-colored coolant, used until DEXCOOL® was introduced in 1996, contained silicates, which deposit on cooling system surfaces. The tiny fibres from the seal tabs acted as scouring pads, removing silicate deposits from the water pump seal faces, which contributed to longer water pump seal life.

Side Effects of Seal Tabs
In addition to the benefits of sealing small leaks and scrubbing silicates from water pump seals, seal tabs also have some side effects.

After awhile, a brown, dirty-looking stain may form on translucent coolant bottles. Residue may form on the backside of the radiator cap. And deposits that resemble rust may be found in the cooling system.

These are not problems, in the sense that they cause no physical harm. But their appearance can be alarming, especially on a new vehicle. Both customers and well-intentioned technicians can be misled by these deposits.

Another side effect comes from overuse. When seal tabs are used in the prescribed amounts, they will not cause restrictions or plugging in an otherwise properly operating cooling system.

But, if a little is good, a lot must be better. Wrong!! Overuse can lead to plugging, especially in the relatively small tubes used in heater cores.

Some History
There was a time when seal tabs were installed in every new vehicle, at the factory, to account for the inevitable small leaks that occur in castings, joints, and so on. By the mid ‘90s, manufacturing and machining techniques had improved to the point where the seal tabs were no longer needed on a universal basis.

With the introduction of long-life coolant, silicate deposits were no longer a concern, so the scrubbing action from the seal tab fibres was no longer needed.

TIP: GM plants, as well as other manufacturers, still occasionally use seal tabs to address specific concerns.

Today’s Recommendations
In short, GM no longer endorses universal use of seal tabs. Procedures in SI have been specifically written to discourage their use in most cases.

When a condition appears in which seal tabs may be beneficial, a specific bulletin is released, describing their proper use. One such bulletin is Customer Satisfaction Program 03034, dated 7/7/03. This applies to specific 3.8L engines only, and is in effect until July 31, 2005.

TIP: After performing the procedure in the bulletin, be sure to install a recall identification label to the vehicle to indicate that the seal tabs have been installed.

TIP: If seal tabs were installed in a vehicle at the factory, it’s OK that the proper amount of tabs be installed if the coolant must be drained and replaced.

What’s a Recommended Dose?
TIP: Use this information only when instructed to do so by bulletin or SI procedure.

The proper number of Cooling System Seal Tabs depends on the capacity of the vehicle’s cooling system. Use between 1 and 1 1/2 grams of tabs per liter of cooling system capacity.

TIP: Cooling System Seal Tabs are packaged in two sizes.12378254 Small tabs (4 grams each) 5 tabs per package
3634621 Large tabs (10 grams each) 6 tabs per package
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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2010, 10:50:43 AM »

Re: Everything You ever Wanted To Know About Cooling System Sealant Tabs
 Originally Posted by AJxtcman 
This is a little information on coolant. I am still testing the coolant when I service it, but I have not found any that has been acidic.

TSB #00-06-02-006D: Engine Coolant Recycling and Warranty Information (Aug 15, 2006)
Portion of the bulletin that talks about Sealing Tabs and Dex-Cool

Sealing Tablets
Cooling System Sealing Tablets (Seal Tabs) should not be used as a regular maintenance item after servicing an engine cooling system. Discoloration of coolant can occur if too many seal tabs have been inserted into the cooling system. This can occur if seal tabs are repeatedly used over the service life of a vehicle. Where appropriate, seal tabs may be used if diagnostics fail to repair a small leak in the cooling system. When a condition appears in which seal tabs may be recommended, a specific bulletin will be released describing their proper usage.

Water Quality
The integrity of the coolant is dependent upon the quality of DEX-COOL® and water. DEX-COOL® is a product that has enhanced protection capability as well as an extended service interval. These enhanced properties may be jeopardized by combining DEX-COOL® with poor quality water. If you suspect the water in your area of being poor quality, it is recommended you use distilled or de-ionized water with DEX-COOL®.

"Pink" DEX-COOL®
DEX-COOL® is orange in color to distinguish it from other coolants. Due to inconsistencies in the mixing of the dyes used with DEX-COOL®, some batches may appear pink after time. The color shift from orange to pink does not affect the integrity of the coolant, and still maintains the 5 yr/150,000 mile (240,000 km) service interval.

Back Service
Only use DEX-COOL® if the vehicle was originally equipped with DEX-COOL®.

Contamination
Mixing conventional green coolant with DEX-COOL® will degrade the service interval from 5 yrs./150,000 miles (240,000 km) to 2 yrs./30,000 miles (50,000 km) if left in the contaminated condition. If contamination occurs, the cooling system must be flushed twice immediately and re-filled with a 50/50 mixture of DEX-COOL® and clean water in order to preserve the enhanced properties and extended service interval of DEX-COOL®.

After 5 years/150,000 miles (240,000 km)
After 5 yrs/150,000 miles (240,000 km), the coolant should be changed, preferably using a coolant exchanger. If the vehicle was originally equipped with DEX-COOL® and has not had problems with contamination from non-DEX-COOL® coolants, then the service interval remains the same, and the coolant does not need to be changed for another 5 yrs/150,000 miles (240,000 km).


Think about the head gaskets
TSB #05-06-02-001: Information on Aluminum Heater Core and/or Radiator Replacement

The following information should be utilized when servicing aluminum heater core and/or radiators on repeat visits. A replacement may be necessary because erosion, corrosion, or insufficient inhibitor levels may cause damage to the heater core, radiator or water pump. A coolant check should be preformed whenever a heater core, radiator, or water pump is replaced. The following procedures/ inspections should be done to verify proper coolant effectiveness.

Technician Diagnosis
•Verify coolant concentration. A 50% coolant/water solution ensures proper freeze and corrosion protection. Inhibitor levels cannot be easily measured in the field, but can be indirectly done by the measurement of coolant concentration. This must be done by using a Refractometer J 23688 (Fahrenheit scale) or J 26568 (centigrade scale), or equivalent, coolant tester. The Refractometer uses a minimal amount of coolant that can be taken from the coolant recovery reservoir, radiator or the engine block. Inexpensive gravity float testers (floating balls) will not completely analyze the coolant concentration fully and should not be used. The concentration levels should be between 50% and 65% coolant concentrate. This mixture will have a freeze point protection of -34 degrees Fahrenheit (-37 degrees Celsius). If the concentration is below 50%, the cooling system must be flushed.

•Inspect the coolant flow restrictor if the vehicle is equipped with one. Refer to Service Information (SI) and/or the appropriate Service Manual for component location and condition for operation.

•Verify that no electrolysis is present in the cooling system. This electrolysis test can be performed before or after the system has been repaired. Use a digital voltmeter set to 12 volts. Attach one test lead to the negative battery post and insert the other test lead into the radiator coolant, making sure the lead does not touch the filler neck or core. Any voltage reading over 0.3 volts indicates that stray current is finding its way into the coolant. Electrolysis is often an intermittent condition that occurs when a device or accessory that is mounted to the radiator is energized. This type of current could be caused from a poorly grounded cooling fan or some other accessory and can be verified by watching the volt meter and turning on and off various accessories or engage the starter motor. Before using one of the following flush procedures, the coolant recovery reservoir must be removed, drained, cleaned and reinstalled before refilling the system.

Flushing Procedures using DEX-COOL®

Important: The following procedure recommends refilling the system with DEX-COOL®, P/N 12346290 (in Canada, use P/N 10953464), GM specification 6277M. This coolant is orange in color and has a service interval of 5 years or 240,000 km (150,000 mi). However, when used on vehicles built prior to the introduction of DEX-COOL®, maintenance intervals will remain the same as specified in the Owner's Manual.

•If available, use the approved cooling system flush and fill machine (available through the GM Dealer Equipment Program) following the manufacturer's operating instructions.

•If approved cooling system flush and fill machine is not available, drain the coolant and dispose of properly following the draining procedures in the appropriate Service Manual. Refill the system using clear, drinkable water and run the vehicle until the thermostat opens. Repeat and run the vehicle three (3) times to totally remove the old coolant or until the drained coolant is almost clear. Once the system is completely flushed, refill the cooling system to a 50%-60% concentration with DEX-COOL®, P/N 12346290 (in Canada, use P/N 10953464), GM specification 6277M, following the refill procedures in the appropriate Service Manual.

•If a Service Manual is not available, fill half the capacity of the system with 100% DEX-COOL®, P/N 12346290 (in Canada, use P/N 10953464), GM specification 6277M. Then slowly add clear, drinkable water (preferably distilled) to the system until the level of the coolant mixture has reached the base of the radiator neck. Wait two (2) minutes and reverify the coolant level. If necessary, add clean water to restore the coolant to the appropriate level.

Once the system is refilled, reverify the coolant concentration using a Refractometer J 23688 (Fahrenheit scale) or J 26568 (centigrade scale) coolant tester, or equivalent. The concentration levels should be between 50% and 65%.

(Aug 15, 2006)
This is newer info than 2004.

Sealing Tablets
Cooling System Sealing Tablets (Seal Tabs) should not be used as a regular maintenance item after servicing an engine cooling system. Discoloration of coolant can occur if too many seal tabs have been inserted into the cooling system. This can occur if seal tabs are repeatedly used over the service life of a vehicle. Where appropriate, seal tabs may be used if diagnostics fail to repair a small leak in the cooling system. When a condition appears in which seal tabs may be recommended, a specific bulletin will be released describing their proper usage.
Read more at http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/northstar-performance-technical-discussion/139361-everything-you-ever-wanted-know-about.html?ktrack=kcplinkRead more at http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/northstar-performance-technical-discussion/139361-everything-you-ever-wanted-know-about.html?ktrack=kcplink
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68ZooM
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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2010, 12:32:02 PM »

Best stuff ever on the market is Bar's stop leak powder, been using it ever sense 1976 it's good stuff  Thumbs UP!
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Tigger29
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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2010, 12:43:53 PM »

I had the coolant changed/flushed on my "other" 99 cadillac deville years ago.

I asked the guy at the spiffy lube if he had put the GM coolant tabs in when he did the job.

He said yes, but the look on his face told me that he had no idea what I was talking about.

Within several months I started developing a coolant leak which I believe also led to a very leaky water pump.

Sooooo anyway, aprox. 2 months ago I had the coolant flushed in my "new" 99 deville.

I asked this guy about the coolant tabs, he said I didn't need them.

Guess what, I now have a slow coolant leak. Coincidence? Or is this what happens when you don't put the tabs in??

Thanks guys, Bobby G.

The coolant tabs (or Cadillac Pellets) have almost nothing to do with preventing the water pump from leaking, as the water pump's design doesn't need help in that regard.  The tablets are designed to help with the sealing of the head to the block.  Since aluminum expands and contracts more than cast iron, they had to use something to help the to parts seal to each other.  While they may have 'helped' keep the water pump from leaking up to this point, the act of the system flush probably had more to do with its leaking than the lack of the tablets.  Simply put, the water pump was already in a 'borderline' condition and was about to start leaking regardless what was done.  The flush may have sped up this process, but it certainly did not cause the water pump to go bad.

Another option aside from adding the tablets would be to completely flush the system, using the orange DEXCOOL antifreeze instead of the traditional green stuff.  The DEXCOOL has self-sealing qualities just like the tablets do.  It also works more efficiently and lasts longer (although I wouldn't trust it for more than a couple years at a time after installing it in an older system).

Yes I know about the "Death-Cool" syndrome that some GM trucks suffered as a result of Dexcool being used.  I firmly believe that was due to a batch of defective radiator caps.  I'm also full aware of the intake problems on the 3.1, 3.4, 3.8, and 5.3 engines... and again I blame that on the gasket design.  Both issues while amplified because of the Dexcool being used were not CAUSED by the Dexcool antifreeze itself.

I even had a Nissan once that every few weeks the heat would stop getting hot due to air getting trapped in the heater core.  Bleeding it out would fix it for a short while but it would always happen again.  Using the process of elimination, I decided that the head may be leaking exhaust gases into the cooling system (very slowly) so after talking with the owner, we decided it was 'worth a shot' to flush the cooling system again, using Dexcool this time.  It worked!  No more air was getting trapped into the heater core and they drove it problem free for over a year.

The the wife took it to the dealer for a recall, and they sold her a coolant flush, claiming it was all "rusty and orange" looking.  Shortly after they flushed it back to the green stuff, the heat quit working again.  She took it back to them and ended up paying several thousand dollars for a replacement head.  Apparently she did all of this while the husband was out of town for a couple of weeks for work.  He was pretty livid after he returned, but when he called me to tell me/ask me about it all we both had a good laugh over it.
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1Boner
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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2010, 01:31:30 PM »

Thanks for the help guys!

I've found several articles talking about the "confusion" about the need to use the tabs (made by barsleak).

Most that I've read says that GM stopped recomending the tabs for northstars in 2000, but that recomendation was not retroactive.

The articles included a shop manual "warning" on NOT using the tabs, and among others one technical service bulletin from Amsoil about compatabilty testing results between the tabs and their product.

I also just found a service sticker in the engine compartment that states that the tabs are required.

As far as the pump is concerned, I've read that the tabs help maintain the integrety of seals therefore extending the life of the pump.

It seems that after some investigation, there is alot of conflicting information on this subject.

Thanks again.
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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2010, 01:52:28 PM »

i call em "cadillac asperin". you do need them if it's the 4.1, 4.5, or 4.9L engines. these engines have always needed them. alum. blocks, with cast iron sleeves. without them, you're almost guaranteed a coolant leak.

 the problem is that they will also clog up a heater core. i've seen this a few times.

almost forgot....do not mix "dexcool" with regular antifreeze. dexcool is dyed orange, normal antifreeze is dyed green.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2010, 01:54:07 PM by CAP1 » Logged

ingame 1LTCAP
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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2010, 01:59:39 PM »

As the post above says, if the car in question has the 4.1, the 4.5 or the 4.9 engine, you need the tablets.

Further, I do not recommend that DexCool be used in anything other than a GM vehicle that requires it for warranty reasons. As soon as the warranty expires, flush the system and put the old green antifreeze in it. DexCool creates 5 times as many leaks as it prevents. I've solved a ton of leaks by flushing that orange garbage out, and replacing it with old reliable green anti-freeze.

Water pumps have a pair of carbon seals that the shaft rides on. They are for the most part unaffected by anti-freeze, although plain water can cause them to wear faster and leak sooner.
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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2010, 04:42:43 PM »

The way to permanently solve the problem is buy a Ford.
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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2010, 06:27:16 PM »

The way to permanently solve the problem is buy a Ford.

Yes, an excellent way to get yourself on foot. At that point, coolant leaks will no longer be a problem.
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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2010, 06:40:12 PM »

Yes, an excellent way to get yourself on foot. At that point, coolant leaks will no longer be a problem.

sort of right.

85 e-350 5.8L 240k or so.
95 taurus 153k
 both on the original engines. the van's had a transmission about 9 years ago.

 that van, while it's doing the normal "ford" thing, and rotting to hell, it ALWAYS starts. i let it sit there 6 or 7 months at a time sometimes.....and she never fails to fire up for me.  Thumbs UP!
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2010, 06:49:47 PM »

Yes, an excellent way to get yourself on foot. At that point, coolant leaks will no longer be a problem.

 ROFL! ROFL! ROFL! ROFL!

I'm a Ford guy but that was classic
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« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2010, 07:43:03 PM »

ROFL! ROFL! ROFL! ROFL!

I'm a Ford guy but that was classic

i drive a little of many different things..........

ford van, ford car(s), ford pickup, chevy pickup(s), dodge pickup, toyota car, chevy car, dodge car(s)

i've never owned a cadi.....for good reason too.  devil
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