Car Problem Reports

Buick LeSabre Hydro-Lock Due to Internal Coolant Leak From Intake Manifold

Buick LeSabre Problem
32 Reports
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Model Years Affected: 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001

Average Mileage: 131,461 mi (47,000 mi - 325,000 mi)


The upper intake manifold may develop an internal coolant leak causing one or more cylinders to fill with coolant. This can cause the engine to "hydro-lock" and not turn over. Removing the spark plugs will allow the engine to turn over pushing the coolant out of the spark plug holes. Replacing the upper intake plenum and gasket is commonly required to correct this condition.

The engine can be very difficult to start after this problem has been repaired, it can be helpful to clear as much of the coolant from the intake manifold and cylinders as possible before reassembling the intake manifold.

  • , , 69,500 mi

    coolant leak at upper intake. common problem with the 3800 engine. had repaired along with new hoses. total cost $785. Ouch) i dont know how gm avoided not recalling this problem. there are ten's of thousands of people that had this happen to them too.

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  • , , 185,000 mi

    my car is using coolant its going through intake and out into the cylinders and being pushed out exhaust my buick under a load going uphill starts missing because of the coolant leaking into the intake manifold gas chambers causing multiple miss fires

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  • , , 125,000 mi

    I have a 1997 model and just had the plenum which is the intake replaced. It wouldn't start and i told the mechanic there was antifreeze in the black tube going to the air filter and he said it was the intake. Its made of plastic and there is a metal pipe that exhaust heat goes through and melts a hole in the intake that allows coolant to enter the top of the engine. The part is around $130.00 or so but the total repair totalled $530.00. There was no knocking from the hydro-lock so we decided to fix it. Hope this was helpful..

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  • , , 103,000 mi

    tech was doing a major tune up felt water and said the intake was leaking and needed to be replaced before coolant got in to cylinders he fixed it and no more coolant loss.

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  • , , 47,000 mi

    Coolant in all 6 cylinders

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  • , , 205,345 mi

    While my coolant system starting with the waterpump and then the radiator and then I was driving it and it ran hot and shut off and then. I got it towed. To my shop and next it like the coolant was flowing and then the coolant mixed with oil

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  • , , 158,000 mi

    starter tried to turn over but it was not ,changed starter same thing , cable , nothing put breaker bar on harmonic and turned till it got real tight pulled one plug and pulled harder and it turned over , turned key and it cranked ok,sounds like it is out of time now no start, sugest not changing the starter try every thing else first

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  • My gasket was deteriorated, replaced it & plenum - problem solved!

    Indications were adding a quart of oil between changes, adding coolant at every 1500 miles, missing/rough engine on cold start, missing noted under load, intermittant service engine light, milky gunk on dip stick. Cost was $465.00 at trusted private garage/mechanic.

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  • , , 325,000 mi

    it wont start due too the problem of 1 or more of the cylinders filling with water. after putting a new radiator in. this problem came up. so guess to the scrap yard. t

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  • , , 112,000 mi

    Intermittent service engine light, need to top off coolant and oil between regular oil changes, check gas cap notice, rough start when cold , missing under load (slight incline with 4 persons in car. These symptoms are all intermittent but regularly occurring & makes the thought of taking a long trip worrisome & risky, being caught at mercy of mechanic that one does not know with downtime.

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