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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,

Recently I bought a 2007, Suzuki Forenza, 115k miles which is my first car. The car looked pretty well maintained and firestone report indicated just a radiator hose replacement and some spark plug change.

About two days after I bought, the CEL was lit up. The person I bought it from is a firestone manager and I took it back to him and the codes pulled out indicated a misfire in cylinder 4 and O2 sensors. He agreed to replace all spark plugs and the wires. However the CEL turned off itself after that.

Even though it used to get lit up sometimes, and go off on its own, I did drive it for about 500 miles. I got a complete engine diagnostic done at Firestone and they suggested a head gasket valve replacement.

There was no oil leak before but later I am seeing some oil leak on the right side of the engine. I tried to get the head gasket valve but most of the auto parts store I contacted said they do not have it and needs to be ordered from the dealer.

Today the top radiator hose had a pin hole leak right at the place where it was clamped. The seller has agreed to replace that one for me. However there was not a bit of coolant in the reservoir for me to even drive it to his place. So I brought a clamp and cut the hose to the point where it had the hole and clamped it. I don't have the right set of tools so I can still see the coolant dripping occasionally from the same spot and the coolant level dropped to below minimum in half a day. So I am planning to top it up before I drive it to his place tomorrow.

Also regarding the CEL, I found that the fuel tank cap was not closing properly and so I changed it just today. Yet the CEL is still on.

Kindly advise if I have to replace the head cover valve (if so, is ordering from the dealer the only option?) and also since I could clearly see a leak in the hose, could that be the only problem why the coolant was getting drained or could there be another issue? I am on a tight budget and right now put everything I got on this car.

Thanks,
Deepak
 

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Hello there and welcome to the forum. Sorry to hear about the issues you are having, especially with a "new" purchase.

I'm not sure what you mean by "head gasket valve" - I will assume this to mean headgasket. If the coolant level keeps dropping on its own with no external leaks, this could definitely indicate a headgasket problem. The factory headgaskets on these cars seem to be prone to leaking for alot of people. Unfortunately this isn't always an easy diagnosis as it often doesn't just "blow" all at once. It usually starts out as a small leak, letting a tiny bit of coolant seep into one of your cylinders which just gets burned off next time u run the car. This typically shows up as deposits on one or more spark plugs on the cylinders that are leaking, and the car getting harder to start. Over time if this is not addressed/noticed the leak gets worse and next thing you know you are burning so much coolant that you need to fill up that reservoir every day and your spark plugs are barely firing at all (I've been there). At this point its critical that the headgasket be fixed as you will just start ruining other components inside your engine.

Unfortunately there is no CEL code for blown / leaking headgasket. It will only manifest itself through other symptoms such as misfires in one or more cylinders, fouled spark plugs, harder/rough starts and mysteriously disappearing coolant (this is the biggest clue).

Also fyi driving the car AT ALL with low coolant level can severely damage components - including creating a new headgasket leak or worsening an already existing leak.

Hopefully you don't have a dying headgasket, because that is a fairly expensive repair if a shop is doing the work.

If by chance you meant valve cover then this isn't so bad, and a much cheaper / easier fix. If this is leaking, it just means oil probably getting into your spark plug holes and causing them to misfire. This can be fixed and cleaned up within an hour or two.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you

Hi exist3nce,

Thank you very much for patiently explaining everything to me.

As a clarification, its not the head gasket, but what I meant was the valve cover. The firestone complete engine diagnostic report said that, "The head gasket seems to be replaced very recently and we suggest replacing the valve cover".

Also, the coolant level is dropping as there is definitely a leak from the top radiator hose. Because I could clearly see the coolant dripping at that point even though I tried fixing it. So, I will get that radiator hose fixed and later check if the coolant level for a while to determine if I need to replace the head gasket.

If the valve cover needs replacement, then is there a possibility that the gasket is also blown? Do I have to replace the valve cover and the gasket together?

Thanks,
Deepak
 

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Hi exist3nce,

Thank you very much for patiently explaining everything to me.

As a clarification, its not the head gasket, but what I meant was the valve cover. The firestone complete engine diagnostic report said that, "The head gasket seems to be replaced very recently and we suggest replacing the valve cover".

Also, the coolant level is dropping as there is definitely a leak from the top radiator hose. Because I could clearly see the coolant dripping at that point even though I tried fixing it. So, I will get that radiator hose fixed and later check if the coolant level for a while to determine if I need to replace the head gasket.

If the valve cover needs replacement, then is there a possibility that the gasket is also blown? Do I have to replace the valve cover and the gasket together?

Thanks,
Deepak
You are welcome...

What they are most likely talking about is the valve cover gasket and not the valve cover itself. See the diagram / link below and look at item #4... this is the gasket I'm talking about.

2004 Suzuki Forenza Parts - Suzuki Car Parts Catalog Online Store

As you can see its listed at ~$26 so not very expensive... its just a rubber seal essentially. They can start leaking over time... it's pretty common on many cars. Usually its just the gasket that would need to be replaced, unless someone somehow damaged the valve cover itself (possibly during the "recent headgasket replacement"). Otherwise, the valve cover should be re-useable.

For reference, item #2 in that diagram is the headgasket - its much deeper inside the engine and requires alot more work.

As for the coolant.. keep an eye on it daily until you establish that the leak is gone. Do not let the reservoir run dry.

Good luck!
 

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hi, i would also suggest checking all of your coolant hoses for leaks. a tiny drip from a hose isnt big enough to cause the reservoir to run dry in a day. one thing you can do is when you park for the night put a piece of cardboard under the car. in the morning look at the cardboard and see if theres any fluids on it. if so you have a leak and the fluids position on the card board should help you pinpoint where the leak is.
 

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hi, i would also suggest checking all of your coolant hoses for leaks. a tiny drip from a hose isnt big enough to cause the reservoir to run dry in a day. one thing you can do is when you park for the night put a piece of cardboard under the car. in the morning look at the cardboard and see if theres any fluids on it. if so you have a leak and the fluids position on the card board should help you pinpoint where the leak is.
Good tip 7!

Also just keep in mind that the plastic under-guard (if you still have it) can skew where the leak is appearing to come from.
 

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Good tip 7!

Also just keep in mind that the plastic under-guard (if you still have it) can skew where the leak is appearing to come from.
I may be somewhat off with this comment... now I can't remember if our cars even come with a plastic under cover / guard thing? I don't have one anymore since a shop I took it to a long time ago butchered/removed them.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
No more coolant leak. All hoses fixed. Found out a bad oil leak :(

Thank you all. Now here's the update. I replaced the upper and the lower radiator hose and checked the coolant level for a day and there was no drop in its level. So confirmed that there were no leaks.

But just when I thought that everything's fine, I found out that now I have a profuse oil leak. I just don't understand. How can so many things go bad at once! :( A week back, everything was just good. Ever since the weather started getting cold, I am having these problems.

I found out about the leak and I anyway had to get an oil change done, so when I took it to the same firestone again, I asks them to identify where the leak is coming from. Then I had to clean the engine bay to identify the leak.

So finally after the cleaning they put it on the ramp and I see the mechanic doing a visual inspection of the are under the engine. And he says there's nothing much he can identify and probably its the leak from the valve cover. So he gave me a dye to be added to the engine oil which will help them check for the leak.

However I couldn't sleep thinking about this and at about 3:00AM I go out and check under the car and there's really a bad leak! I can see where the leak is originating but I am unable to identify the part where it is leaking from. I will post some pictures in the morning. Hope some one can tell me what could be the cause for leak :(

And honestly before I took my car to firestone for an engine diagnostic, the engine bay was dry without any leaks!!!! at least even if it was there I never saw oil leak on the floor where the car was parked!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
pictures

I see the leak originating from a spot right below the point where the lower radiator hose runs on top of the engine. I have tried to point to the spot in the pictures. Its on the right side of the engine.

I earlier had a coolant leak from the upper radiator hose and I had fixed it and hadn't found a leak for a day. But this is what I see today morning. Huge coolant leak, not from the hose area but from somewhere down underneath. Th point appeared to be towards the front end on the left side if you are facing the engine.

Kindly help me out here, as I am not even able to trust the firestone guys to even identify the problem correctly. And I don't know anyone here so that I can take it, as I just moved from another country!

Thank you all
 

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When my Forenza had a leaking valve cover gasket, the oil was everywhere to the point that I thought transmission, oil pan gasket and oil drain plug were leaking.It could have been just residue .Ironically, this was when i first moved here from another country too.
What I'd do is check the oil and anti freeze when the car is cold in the morning everyday and keep a gallon of coolant and couple quarts of oil for top offs in the trunk just in case, keep driving the car time will tell.

That's what I'd do.

edit: I just saw your pics and it looks like the leak under the car is coolant from what looks like the water pump?..I could be wrong
 

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Honestly its still hard to tell from those pictures... it is quite likely to be the valve cover seal/gasket and the oil running down from there. Also make sure your PCV line and valve is operating correctly, as is this was clogged it could cause excess pressure in the crank case leading to pre-mature valve cover gasket failure. You may want to find another shop to get a second opinion .
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Have decided to give the car a rest for a while

Thanks a lot everyone. My hands are tied with the budget so I have decided to stop driving the car for a while, because I don't want to put more pressure on the engine when already something is wrong till I can get it checked and fixed :( . I will make a note of all the suggestions now and get a understanding of the possible issues and update here as soon as I can regarding what I find out.

Just wanted to know, If I don't drive it around even a bit for about a week or two, there won't be any problem right? Do you suggest I just fire up the engine every morning and let it idle for 15min or just do nothing till I can fix the problem? :confused:

But thank you everyone for the help.
 

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There is nothing wrong with letting the car sit for a couple weeks. You do not need to start it up every day. I have 2 cars (winter and summer) and I store the one I am not driving - I only start it up about once every 6 weeks. The one thing I would suggest if you are going to let it sit is that you disconnect the battery to prevent it from getting drained. You can do this by removing just the NEGATIVE (black) terminal from the battery - loosen the small 10mm nut and pull the cable off.
 

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I see the leak originating from a spot right below the point where the lower radiator hose runs on top of the engine. I have tried to point to the spot in the pictures. Its on the right side of the engine.

I earlier had a coolant leak from the upper radiator hose and I had fixed it and hadn't found a leak for a day. But this is what I see today morning. Huge coolant leak, not from the hose area but from somewhere down underneath. Th point appeared to be towards the front end on the left side if you are facing the engine.

Kindly help me out here, as I am not even able to trust the firestone guys to even identify the problem correctly. And I don't know anyone here so that I can take it, as I just moved from another country!

Thank you all
Hello Deepaks,

I see from your last post no one answered (can't see a date). Did you ever find out where the leak was coming from?

I seem to have the same leak on my Wife's 08 Forenza. No one seems to have an answer for this :huh:

See my photo, it looks just like yours. Oil seems to be coming from up under the EGR adapter, where it is attached to the head/block.

Please let me know if you solved this mystery oil leak.

Thanks

billyinirwin 81316
 
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