ACtion Magazine - May 2016 - (Page 14)
By Steve Schaeber
hey come in all shapes, sizes and manner of materials from
solid pellets to liquids or even fine powders, and most of the
time these products do what their packaging says: stop leaks
by plugging holes. But sometimes they plug holes where we don't
want them to, and that can cause trouble in the form of extra work for
a shop and extra cost for the customer.
Several stop leak products can be found at local parts stores,
which are available for every system on a vehicle from engine cooling and A/C to transmissions and tires. OE manufacturers don't recommend their use and doing so will often void any type of warranty.
Still they're use in the aftermarket is prevalent.
As we've seen over the past several years with A/C condensers, the
passageways inside most radiator and heater core tubes are becoming
ever smaller, while at the same time there are a higher number of channels within them that come into contact with the coolant. This makes
these heat exchangers super efficient, albeit much less tolerant of dirt and
debris that might be floating around in the system. They're much more
susceptible to clogging and require a keen eye to monitor and maintain
proper coolant condition and level, making the use of stop leak products
GM has specifically addressed their concerns through bulletin number 15-06-123-001A: Information on the Use of Stop Leak Additives in
the Coolant System. While it mentions certain 2011-17 Chevrolet Volt
/ Opel Ampera / Cadillac ELR, 2014-16 Chevrolet Spark EV and 2016
ACTION * May 2016
Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid vehicles, it can certainly be applied to
many others. Their cooling systems have very small passageways
in several areas, such as inside the heater core, radiator and thermostat. Hybrid and electric models also have very tiny orifices in the
heater plates of the HV (High Voltage) battery cells and liquid cooled
electronics modules. GM warns that if stop leak products or other
additives are used in these cooling systems they can clog the small
orifices, slowing or stopping the flow of coolant.
There is a flushing procedure described in GM's service information, but it's only designed to be performed during normal maintenance procedures or when parts are replaced. This type of flushing
is not intended to remove stop leak products from the small openings
found throughout vehicle cooling systems.
If these products or additives are found to have been used in
the engine or passenger compartment heater system, GM says
the entire system must be removed to thoroughly flush and clean
out all of the stop leak or additive, while also replacing the heater
core, filter, thermostat and coolant; certainly not a quick and easy
job. GM further says that if it's been used in the battery pack or
electronics cooling system, they too may have to be replaced due
to codes set for clogged orifices, overheating or isolation faults.
If any of the stop leak or additive remains in the system after
service, the problem could resurface after the system is refilled
with coolant. ❆
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ACtion Magazine - May 2016
ACtion Magazine - May 2016
Tooling up for the A/C season
New Products and Services
ACtion Magazine - May 2016