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Old 06-17-2012, 12:43 AM   #1
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2007 Impala Overheating

Hopefully someone can help me out with this, I'm not much of a gearhead. Anyhow, my car seems to wanna overheat. There's no coolant in the recovery tank and when I remove the radiator cap I see no fluid. However I have no evidence of leakage and I would also expect to receive a message about a low coolant level. Well, since I have no fluid in the recovery tank or the radiator obviously that's my problem so my question is how much coolant do I put in the radiator? The manual says fill it up to "the base of the filler neck." Does this mean I fill it up until I can see the top of the fluid level? Sorry if this is a dumb question, like I said, I'm no mechanic. Thanks.
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Old 06-17-2012, 01:07 AM   #2
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Re: 2007 Impala Overheating

Fill it up like the manual state but have the car running so it circulates through the cooling system. Wait for the thermostat to open so you know it's full. You'll know when it opens because the level will drop, top it off again. Then fill your overflow tank to the proper level. You may want to check the oil in the car to make sure it's not milky colored... that could indicate a blown head gasket. Have your system pressure checked. You could also check the water pump. There is a weep hole usually on the bottom where coolant like to leak out of indicating you'll need to have that replaced.
Good luck!!
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Old 06-17-2012, 01:26 AM   #3
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Re: 2007 Impala Overheating

How do you know when the thermostat opens?
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Old 06-17-2012, 01:33 AM   #4
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Re: 2007 Impala Overheating

The coolant level will drop. You can also touch each radiator hose to feel for an equal temperature. You'll see the hoses, 1 on top & 1 on the bottom, usually opposite corners. But watch out for the fan spinning!! you dont want to have to change your user name to nubs!
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Old 06-17-2012, 07:41 AM   #5
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Re: 2007 Impala Overheating

With all due respect to MN Ranger, I think he gave you gearhead information. Hopefully you will heed the warning on the cap "never remove hot", you can get seriously burned fooling around with cooling systems if you don't know what you are doing.

With the car cool, simply fill the radiator to the base of the filler neck as instructed. Then put the cap on properly, and fill the overflow tank to at least the full cold line, and probably somewhere between the full cold and full hot line. As you drive the car (through some heating up and cooling off cycles) air will be expelled from the cooling system into the overflow tank, and be replaced by the fluid in the overflow tank when the car cools off. The overflow tank may need to be refilled.

Now that will solve the symptom (no coolant), but not the problem, which is you have a leak somewhere. You need to find someone (friend, repair shop) with a pressure tester, and find the leak. It could be internal to the engine as MN Ranger stated, or it could be a hose, radiator, heater core, etc. The leak may not be evident because if it's in a hot place (at the engine) it will evaporate pretty quickly.

Also, not too many cars have "low coolant" sensors, your usual indication is the temp light, at which point it's too late as the engine is overheated and possibly damaged.
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:24 AM   #6
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Re: 2007 Impala Overheating

Could be the upper/lower intake manifold gaskets leaking. The 3.8l / 3800 was notorious for those going bad. Didnt look like a bad job when I saw them done at my local buick dealership.

Poke around with a flashlight and look for coolant near the intake manifold valleys.
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:26 AM   #7
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Re: 2007 Impala Overheating

Being that I have no evidence of a leak I'll bet it is happening in a hot place like you said and it's just getting burned up. As luck would have it, I'm taking the car to the shop for something else tomorrow, guess I'll be throwing my coolant issue on top of the pile tomorrow. Thanks guys.
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