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Old 9th May 2011, 23:06   #1
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Default Chevy Beat dumps coolant and smoke billows!

This evening on our way back from work I suddenly notice smoke bellowing from the right half of the front grill. I immediately pulled up and looked at the coolant chamber first, and it was almost empty, sneaked below and saw that the coolant was dripping. Immediately called the A.S.S. and was advised to fill the coolant chamber with water. As soon as i did so, the dripping slowed down considerably. Assured that it would be safe to drive home(some 25kms), i drove back gently (at the lowest possible revs) stopping intermittently to check the level of water in the coolant chamber. The dripping stopped completely after a few kilometers.

Some other points of relevance :

1) Car is 7 months and 11k kms old(used as our daily commute)
2) Services and checkups have been conducted on schedule, the 3rd free service was done just a week ago.
3) Checked the radiator fan and it was working fine.
4) The engine heat-up indicator never turned on, nor did any other.
5) This happened minutes after we started our journey, in b2b traffic.

Will take the vehicle to the A.S.S. first thing tomorrow, but that's again a good 30kms drive.

Now, i need advice from my fellow bhpians if it is safe to drive on with only water in the coolant chamber? Also what could have caused this sudden drain of coolant? The engine seemingly didn't heat up, A.C. was not running at that time, the smoke was coming from the radiator then? Is there any chance of damage?

Please pour in your suggestions.

Thanks.
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Old 9th May 2011, 23:15   #2
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Default re: Chevy Beat dumps coolant and smoke billows!

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Now, i need advice from my fellow bhpians if it is safe to drive on with only water in the coolant chamber?
Perfectly safe. If the car is overheating on coolant, it will also overheat with water as well - so keep an eye out for that anyway, on your way to the dealer.
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Also what could have caused this sudden drain of coolant?
New car, not running on AC at the time, in bumper-to-bumper traffic - maybe a stuck thermostatic valve or a jammed radiator cap vent. Worst case scenario, a failed water pump.
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The engine seemingly didn't heat up, A.C. was not running at that time, the smoke was coming from the radiator then?
Not smoke, it would be steam.
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Is there any chance of damage?
Difficult to say, but if you switched off promptly on detecting the overheating, there's minimal damage. Depends on the duration the engine ran in the overheated state. I wouldn't worry too much, since the car is under warranty anyway.
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Old 9th May 2011, 23:25   #3
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Default re: Chevy Beat dumps coolant and smoke billows!

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if it is safe to drive on with only water in the coolant chamber?
Yes, its no problem if you drive with water instead of coolant but be sure the water doent leak and if it does you refill it after regular intervals till you reach A$$.

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Also what could have caused this sudden drain of coolant?
Thermostat valve could be an issue.

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the smoke was coming from the radiator then? Is there any chance of damage?
Must be the coolant evaporating in hot engine bay.

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Is there any chance of damage?
I personally dont think so, if you would have driven without coolant for long, there may chances of fried piston rings. But then thats if you drive over long distance on overheated engine.

But its good that you noticed it early and took precausionary measure .

EDIT: just saw SS-Traveller's reply.. I too think similar, just that he thought before me..lolzz

Last edited by gaurav_chopra04 : 9th May 2011 at 23:29.
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Old 10th May 2011, 01:02   #4
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Default re: Chevy Beat dumps coolant and smoke billows!

Looks like you have coolant leak somewhere, maybe a ruptured hose. Have the check compression to verify engine's health.
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Old 10th May 2011, 02:51   #5
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Default re: Chevy Beat dumps coolant and smoke billows!

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Looks like you have coolant leak somewhere, maybe a ruptured hose. Have the check compression to verify engine's health.
Yes, I too think so. And along with that you might also want to check the head gasket.
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Old 10th May 2011, 11:20   #6
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Default re: Chevy Beat dumps coolant and smoke billows!

Thanks a lot for your valuable inputs.
Here's an update on the situation:
This morning, checked the coolant levels, there were no dripping and the level of water did not fall. Drove down to the A.S.S. some 32kms and never felt that the engine is at any unease whatsoever. Didn't need to top up the coolant any further. Will update once i receive the details from the A.S.S. after diagnosis.
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Old 11th May 2011, 15:43   #7
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Default re: Chevy Beat dumps coolant and smoke billows!

Most probably, a coolant leak. Though I must add that the only times I've seen an empty radiator in a modern car is when the radiator fan was malfunctioning. You might want to get that checked up as well.

Strangely though, I'm frequently seeing Beat niggles being reported here on the forum. The occurence levels seem to be higher than for other new launches. And the problems are usually serious in nature (even yours could result in a seized engine) : Suspension failure on the Beat (Front Suspension failure in Chevy Beat!)
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Old 12th May 2011, 10:47   #8
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Default re: Chevy Beat dumps coolant and smoke billows!

Update :

Vehicle was delivered to me yesterday at around 3 P.M. The service manager told they did not find any heating issues nor could they trace the cause of the car dumping the coolant. Also had a telephonic conversation with the technician at the Rampur Workshop of Longia Motors(Chevy A.S.S.) to whom the car was sent from their Rashbehari workshop(where i had left it) for detailed checking. He assured that the car was perfectly healthy and "normal".
The invoice provided to me carried the remarks - " we could not find any heating problems even after long drive and checking all parts manually and with computer. Car is normal."
The vehicle was delivered in pristine cosmetic condition in promised time, the Service Manager as well as the other staff were reasonably professional in looking after and answering to my numerous queries, the customer lounge was pretty comfortable. Most importantly, unlike the other A.S.S. i visited, i was allowed to be present and to overlook while the vehicle was being serviced/checked/repaired. Overall, i left the workshop satisfied and confident.
On my way back home, i noticed that the A.C. was chilling with double effectiveness and the noise from the blower at top speed had almost vanished. Pulled up once in the middle to check the coolant level and it was fine.
Overall, happy with Longia Motors(Chevy A.S.S.)

@ GTO

As mentioned in my opening post, the radiator fan was also working fine. Anyways, hope the issue doesn't recur, it was a nervous moment, more so as the vehicle is quite new and is expected to be free from major troubles for a couple of years atleast.

Thanks again for all your valuable inputs.
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Old 12th May 2011, 14:58   #9
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Default re: Chevy Beat dumps coolant and smoke billows!

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.... sneaked below and saw that the coolant was dripping.....
From where was the coolant dripping?
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Old 13th May 2011, 00:29   #10
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Default re: Chevy Beat dumps coolant and smoke billows!

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" we could not find any heating problems even after long drive and checking all parts manually and with computer. Car is normal."
Without a leak, if the car has dumped coolant temperamentally and refuses to replicate it later on, I would point to a stuck radiator cap on first suspicion - this prevented the expansion & overflow of heated up coolant into the coolant overflow bottle (thus building up surplus pressure inside the radiator), and finally when it did open up under excess pressure, it dumped the superheated coolant all at once - boiling over into the overflow bottle and dripping down.

Can happen again, so do keep a close eye on the temperature gauge. Or change the radiator cap as a preemptive measure.
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Old 13th May 2011, 01:46   #11
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Default re: Chevy Beat dumps coolant and smoke billows!

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Strangely though, I'm frequently seeing Beat niggles being reported here on the forum. The occurence levels seem to be higher than for other new launches. And the problems are usually serious in nature (even yours could result in a seized engine) : Suspension failure on the Beat (Front Suspension failure in Chevy Beat!)
Going by the ownership reviews on this forum, I can see that almost every car launched recently has had niggles.
I haven't come across many instances of Beat owners reporting issues with the car. In fact, I have noticed only the above two instances of problems with the car. Though I must admit that these problems were serious in nature.
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Old 13th May 2011, 02:41   #12
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Default re: Chevy Beat dumps coolant and smoke billows!

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... I would point to a stuck radiator cap on first suspicion ...
Perfect explanation!. 12-15yrs before, we have had heating problems in our OMNI, and after lot of research did the mech come upon with this reason. IIRC, cost us about ~500.

Last edited by dhanushs : 13th May 2011 at 02:46.
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Old 13th May 2011, 10:01   #13
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Default re: Chevy Beat dumps coolant and smoke billows!

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Can happen again, so do keep a close eye on the temperature gauge. Or change the radiator cap as a preemptive measure.
I've been sorely missing the good old temperature gauge in the last few days, any chance of retrofitting one without compromising on the aesthetics?

I have requested for a detailed report of what checks have been conducted and whether any parts have been replaced, I will pester the A.S.S. to replace the radiator valve/cap at the earliest as per your advice, if not already replaced.

Last edited by mi2n : 13th May 2011 at 10:03.
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Old 13th May 2011, 10:23   #14
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Default re: Chevy Beat dumps coolant and smoke billows!

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I've been sorely missing the good old temperature gauge in the last few days, any chance of retrofitting one without compromising on the aesthetics?
Uh-oh - the Beat doesn't come with a temp gauge? I had no idea! Retrofitting one is possible, but as far as the aesthetics go, I wouldn't know where to place the gauge inside the cabin not to spoil the overall look!
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