ACtion Magazine - May 2016 - (Page 14)

Stop! Leak! 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 extra risky. 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 T 14 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
Service Port
Leonard's law
Virtual View
Last Watch
Member Profile
Cooling Corner
Industry News
Association News
New Products and Services

ACtion Magazine - May 2016