Upon returning to Cleveland from Florida in July 2022, I noticed that the "coolant aroma" that I slightly noticed when I purchased the van had become more apparent. Also I began to notice a small wet spot originating from the flywheel inspection hole in the cover. Initially I thought that there was a transmission or oil leak, but the fact that the spot would eventually disappear negated that theory. Determined that it was coolant so I removed the engine cover in the driver compartment, began to investigate and found that the lower intake manifold was leaking on the driver side. Apparently it was a very small leak when I bought the van and the drive from Florida to Cleveland made it a bit bigger. Also note that the engine never ran hot and the coolant level in the reservoir started dropping slowly.
Also, let it be known that there are two manifold gaskets on the Chevy 5.7 engine. There is an upper one for the plastic upper manifold, and the lower one for the aluminum manifold that sits on the block. I am a do it yourself kind of guy, but this was a job that was more than I wanted to attempt so I took it to a local garage to have the repair done. My total bill out the door was just shy of $2000.00. This included the lower intake manifold gasket, valve cover gaskets, brake fluid flush, oil change, lube job, ignition coil, and EGR valve.
Granted that is a hefty bill, but the work is now completed and I would not have had the know how to perform that repair myself so that is how it goes. I do have a 3 year/36000 mile warranty on all of the work and this needed to be completed prior to our trip from Cleveland to Idaho scheduled for August 19 2022.
Finally, please note that it appears that along with the peeling paint issue, this was a common weakness in the 5.7 Chevy vans with most owners stating that they had to replace their intake manifold gaskets every 100000 miles or so. Do not know if that is true, but I can believe it.
So if you smell coolant when the van is running but see no apparent leaking, check your intake manifold gaskets!
A listing of thoughts, ideas, repairs, projects, and experiences.
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