Mtf1980

Overflow tank issues

57 posts in this topic

Just checked, it is not covered under the powertrain warranty. Great to have a defective part in the car that's going to keep failing when it shouldn't be. :)

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As my son pointed out, I've had several coolant overflow bottle issues. The point of failure has been the return coolant hose nipple. It's plastic with a metal inner sheave. It failed on the original bottle around 45k miles. I bought a new one for $25 and it arrived with the nipple already cracked!

Reduced the nipple on the original bottle to about 50% length and repaired with JB Weld brand plastic epoxy. It was a temporary fix, it works but still weeps a small amount of coolant. Bought a second overflow bottle and it arrived intact. Cut off about 2" of the return coolant hose to remove the elbow and rerouted the hose just underneath the intake manifold. It's more of a straight shot and does not have tension from the weight of the hose pulling on the nipple at 90 degrees like the stock hose routing that runs back down along the firewall.

It's held up for about 30k miles so far, maybe with a little luck the overstressed and cracked return coolant hose nipple issue is fixed by rerouting the hose.

I keep the original bottle as a back up, and after multiple replacement/removal it takes me about 5 minutes to swap it out.

Other than some extreme aggravation and a little coolant and water, the issue never caused any significant down time for driving the car.

Getting close to 75k miles and other than the overflow bottle the car has been absolutely bulletproof. The car has never seen the dealer and hopefully won't have to. Took care of the recalls myself. My air conditioning has always worked fine, I replaced the PCV valve also cleaning the throttle body and checking/cleaning/regapping the spark plugs. Keep a light coating of marine grease on the hood latch assembly.

I feel confident the Daewoo built car will remain problem free (knock on wood) until it's paid for, which should be around 130-140k miles. Averaging around 42 mpg and paying $59 a month for full coverage insurance, the car will pretty much pay for itself with extremely low operating costs.

Edited by gitsum

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I just noticed my 2014 is doing the same thing. My Chevy dealership wanted $70 for a new tank and said they would have to order it. I ordered one on Ebay from a Chevy dealership for $30 with free shipping. It should be here in a few days. I may try to reinforce that area with epoxy putty to see if I can get longer life out of it.

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Mine bit the dust on my 13 Spark  a few weeks ago . Wasn't covered under powertrain warranty so I ordered from Chevy parts online . I paid extra for quicker shipping . It was shipped out crazy fast , like less than an hour . The new one is a little different . It's the most ridiculous defect I have seen.

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Mine also went 'drippy' at the same spot as others..return hose connect nipple extension. My mechanic reinforced/sealed the weak area with some plastic tubing and a blowtorch...total cost $56 and won't fail again.

 

Also does all except warranty work on my Rover..Two brothers from Cuba run this shop and they still know how to fix things rather than just replace parts and have kept many cars going with the only limiting factor being rust.

Edited by Retired old Gearhead
mikes09srt8 likes this

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The replacement tank has redesign where the nipple is . I think the metal piece on the original is expanding at different rate and cracking the plastic . There should have been a recall on these or at least a TSB and free repair for those with early failure . The part is only $29 and 10 minutes to install so not a big deal but I don't expect that type of failure .  . The hoses it uses also look suspect for long term  , I should have ordered those also . Funny the parts that failed on my Spark both cost $29 , the Coolant tank and a pedal position sensor . I'm interested in high mileage sparks and how things like starters , fuel pumps ect hold up .

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Seems like all cars have that one part that has an early failure. At least on this car its an easy fix and relatively cheap.

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My coolant reservoir tank started with the top left intake getting brittle and breaking. So I fixed that. Now I am having it overheat/surge out due to what I imagine is high temperatures. But why? Then as I'm inspecting the tank it appears that now the bottom of the tank is changing color and becoming brittle. This seems to be a defect and I shouldn't have to pay for anything. I hope it doesn't cause damage to the a/c compressor, engine or anything else. I can change the tank myself but at $60-80 for the part and another $120 to have the dealer do it just seems ridiculous. 

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Order it online. i got mine off of Ebay. It was a dealer out of Utah. $30 with free shiiping. I got it in two days. Takes less then 10 minutes to change out. Parts go bad. Thats just the way it is.

mikes09srt8 likes this

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On 8/22/2016 at 6:56 PM, njresler said:

My coolant reservoir tank started with the top left intake getting brittle and breaking. So I fixed that. Now I am having it overheat/surge out due to what I imagine is high temperatures. But why? Then as I'm inspecting the tank it appears that now the bottom of the tank is changing color and becoming brittle.

Here's the scoop on the overheat....The tank is pressurized to a small extent like 8-15psi and fixing the coolant leak spot may still allow some air leakage since liquid is more dense than air and without that pressure, the engine will, to some degree, overheat. If your tank is brittle at the bottom (dried out from heat) you have only one choice...replace the tank. I don't think there is any harm done by some spillage on metal, rubber or aluminum alloy...so your components should be fine. In days gone by the rad came with a pressure cap..not on the Spark, that function is partially taken over by the tank cap. Many have had this issue and it seems the tank material is not correct for the high heat/pressurized application, dries out and cracks. I have plastic components on my boat and in the engine compartment and spray coat them with a special conditioner to prevent the drying out due to heat etc...so you may want to do that with the new tank...here is what I use:

http://www.prestaproducts.com/Marine_Vinyl___Plastic_Conditioner-details.aspx

 

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Thank you. I know it's super easy to do and I've found the part online for about $40 with shipping. While that is probably the course of action I'll have to take and the pretreatment with yours or some other conditioner will happen. I feel like this is a defect on GM's part and shouldn't be something I have to do or worry about. The All I'm going to do is worry and wait for the next part to fail in a couple years.  I don't think the coolant tank should be something I change more frequently than my headlights. 

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FYI. While waiting on GM to reply or fix and for the part to arrive I think I've found a nice work around. Maybe even (I hope) a permanent or better fix for the top intake nipple. I've replaced it with a brass barbed 5/16" to 3/8" threaded adapter (these specs maybe backward or reversed now) . I used some guesstimating to find the right part and got lucky. I was able to remove the cracked/broken nipple and drill out the now flat Union to the tank and thread the brass barbed nipple into it. I used some high heat epoxy around the union to insure good seal and strength. I'm hoping it works. Plan is to replace and keep the fixed old tank in the trunk for a quick fix should it happen again. Basically used the brass nipple to replace the plastic one. Used brass because that is the insert material used in the plastic nipple. There is enough material to allow for this replacement but margin of error is small. Basically the nipple is the the smallest thread make end I could find at store and the barb is the same as the internal diameter of the hose that already goes there. 

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20sadxf.jpg

i just cut off flush here and threaded in a brass barbed fitting.  Reinforced with high heat epoxy. 

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I just had to replace my tank on 2013 with 72,000 miles due to leakage. Luckily I was close to home. Quick , easy fix but should not have to replace this type of part. Pretty sad.....

njresler likes this

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Did you replace the tank? Or fix it some other way?

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And now going on overflow tank number 2....  Same issue with first tank, bad Manufacturing on bonded seem of tank.  Definite design flaw with these tanks

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I agree on this completely..should have been a recall. If not caught in time could very well lead to badly overheated engine, seized pistons, warped head or bent valves and other expensive issues normally covered by drivetrain warranty but dealer can say that it is the owners responsibility to check levels. Fastest way to check while driving is to check to see if you have a functioning heater..hot air after warm up...level OK..no hot air..level empty. I had that issue and had the new tank sprayed with a plastic 'dryout' protection product..don't recall the name but it's supposed to prevent dryout and cracking. This has now been an issue on the 2013-2015 Sparks..2016 onward have a different tank but same material..so lets see how well they hold up.. Some, but fewer Cruze and Sonics have had the same issue. I was told by my mechanic to keep the level no higher than mid seam so the coolant can splash around a bit while driving thus cooling it a bit.

Annmjensen likes this

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I really miss a temperature gauge on this car, that gauge comes in handy as cars start to get some years on them.

Edited by sparkjay

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On 9/7/2016 at 1:22 PM, THRASHER27 said:

I just had to replace my tank on 2013 with 72,000 miles due to leakage. Luckily I was close to home. Quick , easy fix but should not have to replace this type of part. Pretty sad.....

In the old days, I have replaced a few radiator caps. Now there are no radiator caps, so the overflow reservoir goes bust. On a positive note, it is a cheap repair compared to some part failing inside the engine or transmission or such. 

 

Without doing a lot of structural analysis, the hose is attached to the engine, while the overflow tank is attached to the car body. Thus every bump will cause some bending stress on the plastic tank through  the hose. Plastic material has very low fatigue levels subjected to variable stress. Obviously the tank design is flawed. 

 

 

Edited by Bobby MSME
additions

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My spark is doing the same thing. Turns out it's the return line to the tank, it's the little plastic piece that connects the hose. Dealership said it'll cost $100 With  platinum warranty. I don't have the money to repair and it shouldn't cost that much with the best warranty. I'll just use JB weld.

Edited by SkudaLaRoo

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2 hours ago, SkudaLaRoo said:

My spark is doing the same thing. Turns out it's the return line to the tank, it's the little plastic piece that connects the hose. Dealership said it'll cost $100 With  platinum warranty. I don't have the money to repair and it shouldn't cost that much with the best warranty. I'll just use JB weld.

The $100 is probably the deductible on your warranty contract, so no matter if it costs $101 or $10001 you will come out only $100 out of pocket.

It is cheaper to do it yourself. 

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i just replaced my whole tank for 35 bucks, i got a brand new gm one from ebay. It must be a common problem.

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So- I have the 2015 Spark and just had to replace the overflow tank for the exact same problem. At a little over 43k miles.  So - Chevy has not addressed this issue - just FYI. Thanks to all at this forum for making this problem have a quick resolution!!!

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On 8/27/2015 at 1:14 AM, Mtf1980 said:

Dealership replaced coolant tank. Problem seems to be fixed. I'm Gonna check coolant tank over next few days. Just to make sure problem is fixed. I myself am baffled on why a overflow tank failed so soon. Low quality and Cheap parts I guess. I own a 20 plus year old car with over 180k on it and it has its original overflow tank.

Me too. Within my family have Owned 12+ different new cars and 6+ used cars,  but never had a coolant tank leaking or cracking. Can't believe the designers do not learn from history or try to cheapen the design to save a few pennies.

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Spark runs a little higher operating temp than most and I believe the material used for the tank is not up to the higher temps of the coolant return area. Also don't think the structural design at the coolant return area is up to constant vibration and movement between connected areas..bad material and design. Should be a recall on this as it not only affects the Spark, but also a few other units that run hot like the Sonic and some Cruze units mostly the ones with a turbo.

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