coolant elbows

Lesabre1

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These aluminum coolant elbows that we have all used to replace the original plastic ones on these 3800 motors. Ok... the problem is the O-rings break down, melt or something and then leak after 1.5 -2 years. I have had the is happen 2 other times. I have 3 cars with 3800's in them, 2 Lesabres and one Park Avenue, and all are leaking due to the O-rings failing on these aluminum elbows. Every 1.5 years or so is crazy to replace them just because the O-ring fails.
I called the company that makes of these aluminum elbows and the guy sounded surprised by this, almost like it was totally new. Searching the web today I read several times of many others having the same problem. This is not a new problem! So I ask for help here, what is the master plan to fix this so its once and done? Thank you.
 

fullmonte44

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I had the same problem with a leaking o-ring on my '92 LeSabre until I used a delco o-ring.
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Lesabre1

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I got some AC Delco O-rings and have removed the leaky O-rings on the aluminum elbows and replaced them with the AC Delco O-rings on our 2001 Park Avenue, 2005 Lesabre, my moms 2004 Lesabre. Checked my Aunts Park Avenue O-rings last night, and they are leaking too. So I will be changing them soon as well. I hope these new O-rings last. Funny thing is, the auto parts store in the this area says he's not seen failing O-rings on these aluminum elbows.?? They offered me a new set at no cost because they are guaranteed. I told him I did not want them, they will just fail again 1.5- 2 years later.
 

Homer Jay

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My experience with the metal elbows has been positive, I've installed them in four vehicles without any leaks for 4+ years. Not sure if it makes a difference but I use plumbers grease (silicone) on the o rings. This allows them to slide in and maneuver with no worries of damaging the o ring.
 

HotZ28

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My experience with the metal elbows has been positive, I've installed them in four vehicles without any leaks for 4+ years. Not sure if it makes a difference but I use plumbers grease (silicone) on the o rings. This allows them to slide in and maneuver with no worries of damaging the o ring.

Same procedure used here with 5-yrs and no leaks!
 

Lesabre1

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I guess I'm wondering since you haven't had any problems as I have and others, did you install the same brand? There's more than one company that makes these elbows for this application. I considered buying the other brand, but figured why spend the money on new elbows when the elbows are fine. The O rings are the problem. And when I install them, I take a bit of anti freeze on my finger and put it on the O rings as a lube to aid installation of the elbows. This shouldn't cause the O ring to melt, and break down as they are doing. It is supposed to be able to handle that....it is what it is going to be exposed to. If it is a good quality O ring, shouldn't be any issue. Will know much more about these new O rings in 1.5-2 yrs.
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Lubener

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The plastic elbows will get brittle over time,break or crack and you will have a bigger leak than just seepage that the o rings will cause. There's no way I would go through the time to remove an inferior plastic elbow and replace just the o ring. Makes no sense to me.
 
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Lesabre1

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Just to clarify, I am referring to aluminum replacement elbows in different brands.
 

Homer Jay

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I've only installed the Dorman metal replacement, was not aware there are multiple brands available. Additionally, I am careful not to scratch/score the bore the elbows fit into. Maybe that is why there are some cases they leak and thicker o rings compensate for irregular surfaces.
 

gnhbodyguy

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I had good luck with Delco replacement elbows.
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Lubener

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Just to clarify, I am referring to aluminum replacement elbows in different brands.
I think the idea is to use aluminum ones, I wouldn't worry about brands. Plastic has no place in a cooling system(IMO). That goes for radiators, fittings, pipes and elbows.My goal would be to get the plastic ones out of there. I would still use the GM o rings
 

Merkava_4

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2000 Buick LeSabre
GM 24502846
GM 25537068

Those are the part numbers for the O-rings. One of the elbows has two different sized ends which is why there's two part numbers. The O-ring going into the water pump is the big O-ring. They have them both on eBay.

I recommend Dow Corning 111 silicone grease be applied to the O-rings and to the bore surface that the elbows go into.
 
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Burndog

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Wow, this good to know, I am starting to loose coolant and am hoping the intake gaskets will last until spring and I was going to replace the plastic elbows with the metal at the same time while it’s all apart. I think I may be picking up the gm o-rings and some silicone grease.

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GM 24502846
GM 25537068

Those are the part numbers for the O-rings. One of the elbows has two different sized ends which is why there's two part numbers. The O-ring going into the water pump is the big O-ring. They have them both on eBay.

I recommend Dow Corning 111 silicone grease be applied to the O-rings and to the bore surface that the elbows go into.

Would I need to order two of each part no.?
 

HotZ28

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If you look at the diagram in the link below, you will see that the UIM o-ring to the idler is the same part number. However, the two (lower) from the lower water pump to the idler are different. To do the job, you need three of part #25537068 and one of Part #24502846. You may have to order more than one, but a complete set is cheap. If I were you, I would order the complete Gates or ACDelco replacement aluminum elbows from RockAuto! Cheaper than O-rings from the dealer!

https://www.wholesalegmpartsonline....2002&ukey_category=19398&ukey_trimLevel=15001

http://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/...&+air+conditioning,heater+hose+connector,6876
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jerreich

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2001 Buick Lesabre custom money pit
I had a lot of nitrile o rings left from other projects. I used aluminum elbows, but deepened the shallow grooves in them and put in thicker nitrile o rings six years ago. No problem since.
 

keith siem

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I had a lot of nitrile o rings left from other projects. I used aluminum elbows, but deepened the shallow grooves in them and put in thicker nitrile o rings six years ago. No problem since.
If you put permatex blue gasket maker over the o rings of any size, you willhave no more leaks.
 

Tbbury

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2006 Lacrosse
The plastic elbows will get brittle over time,break or crack and you will have a bigger leak than just seepage that the o rings will cause. There's no way I would go through the time to remove an inferior plastic elbow and replace just the o ring. Makes no sense to me.
I don't believe I read anyone suggesting replacing only the O-rings on the plastic elbows. They are talking about o-rings breaking down on new aluminum elbows. I have the same problem after less than a year.
 

BuickGirlFromMars

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1999 Buick Park Avenue Ultra (Supercharged) , 1977 Buick Electra Limited (350 SBB)
I don't believe I read anyone suggesting replacing only the O-rings on the plastic elbows. They are talking about o-rings breaking down on new aluminum elbows. I have the same problem after less than a year.
Correct. Gm Elbows with orings(aluminum) Or dorman elbows with GM orings (orings, elbows in either material for source) are considered the most time tried and true fix.
 
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