"smells" hot and exterior feels hot, but gauge stays middle


Asked by Jan 16, 2017 at 03:10 PM about the 2002 Buick LeSabre Custom Sedan FWD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Hi Gurus! I have a 02 Lesabre custom. it has 91,000 miles. It FEELS hot to the touch especially at the wheel wells in front after running, and with the vent on, I smell something HOT akin to the oil on the engine-smell. BUT it never "overheats", the gauge works and stays at mid point between blue and red, and although it prob has nada to do with it, the brakes make a MOO-ing sound after the car has been running a bit...had them checked out, softer pads installed but still same SOUND. My concern, really, is whether the car is running hot although the gauge says NO. So, do I replace the coolant? It is the old-type nonpressurized, and coolant still has an orage appearance, overflow tank holds about 1/3. What to do?

4 Answers


Perhaps an oil leak in the engine bay is drawing your attention , the temp. gauge should creep up to the half way point and stay there so it sounds like thats working , you may need a coolant flush but to me it sounds like you need a different mech.

1 people found this helpful.

Remove the plastic engine top beauty cover and look for oil puddles on top of the engine. Especially behind the (black plastic) upper intake manifold. At 91,000 you're right at the point where the intake manifold gaskets fail. If you see the oil puddles, the gaskets have failed. Have both the upper and lower intake manifold gaskets replaced. Along with the upper intake manifold. Don't reuse the upper intake manifold. They crack. HTH. -Jim

1 people found this helpful.

Yes, thank YOU I have read that "At 91,000 you're right at the point where the intake manifold gaskets fail"--and I DO wonder what the going $ rate oughta be for that?! Does that require opening up the engine and extensive labor$$? Since it's gaskets, ie rubber lining to stop leaking, and they ARE failing, will they eventually just--ugh-totally fail and what then, ?, all the oil sprays all over the engine and...I just had the lower control arms in front replaced (freakin speed bumps!) for $600 and had the first-ever synthetic oil--I 'feel' like my Sabretooth maybe doesn't like synthetic? and I would LIKE to get about another 10 thousand miles out of this Buick. I got in in 2005 for 10G with extended warranty 3yrs/36000miles and it has worked out well. In 2018, will have $ to put another 10G into a Buick with 45G miles on it, Glad for any and all replies--this is way more interesting and intelligent conversation than the dating website pof dot com. ha ha But I need for the car to be reliable, as I am a Special Needs attendant and it is transportation and even with Allstate towing I don't wanna be at the side of the road. Thanks!!

1 people found this helpful.

My Nephew paid around $600 for the intake manifold gasket job back in 2010 on his 2000 Grand Prix (same engine). I believe it's about a 6 hour job. You may also see antifreeze puddling on top of the motor. But since you're smelling oil yours is probably leaking oil. Which is actually the better scenario. If the gaskets fail all together you'll get antifreeze in the crankcase which will eventually cause a spun bearing. The spun bearing is major engine work and on a 15 year old vehicle probably wouldn't be worth fixing. HTH. -Jim

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