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Coolant Leak


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#1 OFFLINE   AlabamaDan

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 10:59 AM

I could use a little help.  I've got a 98 QX4 with the 3.3.  It's all stock.  I have a small coolant leak somewhere, but I can't find it.  If I drive it for a little while I can smell it and after about a week of driving to and from work it is approximately a pint low on coolant.  The cap is good and I can't see any obvious leaks.   Any suggestions on how to troubleshoot?

 

I'm a decent at-home garage mechanic once the problem is diagnosed, but identifying what is the problem is sometimes my weakness.



#2 OFFLINE   Astrorami

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 05:34 PM

Throw some dye in the radiator! You should find the issue quickly.



#3 OFFLINE   deltaR50

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 05:49 PM

71AuBGanbrL._SY355_.jpg

 

pressurize your cooling system with these tool and you will see leaks. faster. 



#4 OFFLINE   AlabamaDan

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 05:49 PM

Throw some dye in the radiator! You should find the issue quickly.

 

I'm not sure how this works?  I'll google it and see what I find.

 

71AuBGanbrL._SY355_.jpg

 

pressurize your cooling system with these tool and you will see leaks. faster. 

 

This looks advanced....



#5 OFFLINE   Slartibartfast

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Posted 06 June 2018 - 01:24 AM

Fixing the problem is often easier than finding it! If I knew what was wrong with my brakes, they'd be fixed by now.

 

A UV dye would make the leak easier to find, provided it's somewhere you can shine a UV light on. People do the same sort of thing to find air conditioner refrigerant leaks. The pressure adapter means you can pressurize the system without warming up the engine, so the coolant that escapes doesn't just boil off. I'd be inclined to jerry rig something with a blow gun and a pressure regulator rather than buying a dedicated test kit.
 

A friend of mine had a fairly bad coolant leak in his van that took ages to track down. Turned out to be a ripped hose buried under other hoses and wires and whatnot. We never saw a drip and it only steamed if he ran it low and overheated it. I think he finally found the problem while working on something else.

Good luck!



#6 OFFLINE   fleurys

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Posted 06 June 2018 - 05:07 AM

if you can smell it, I would think it could be coming from the heater rad... I don't know the 3.3, but if they are easily accessible, I would try to bypass the heater rad simply by connecting the in and out hose.  Then run it like this a few days and see if you are still losing coolant.... It could help you figure out where the leak is a bit...

Cheers.



#7 OFFLINE   AlabamaDan

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Posted 06 June 2018 - 06:32 PM

if you can smell it, I would think it could be coming from the heater rad... I don't know the 3.3, but if they are easily accessible, I would try to bypass the heater rad simply by connecting the in and out hose.  Then run it like this a few days and see if you are still losing coolant.... It could help you figure out where the leak is a bit...

Cheers.

I can't smell it inside the cabin, just outside when I park and get out.

 

Fixing the problem is often easier than finding it! If I knew what was wrong with my brakes, they'd be fixed by now.

 

A UV dye would make the leak easier to find, provided it's somewhere you can shine a UV light on. People do the same sort of thing to find air conditioner refrigerant leaks. The pressure adapter means you can pressurize the system without warming up the engine, so the coolant that escapes doesn't just boil off. I'd be inclined to jerry rig something with a blow gun and a pressure regulator rather than buying a dedicated test kit.
 

A friend of mine had a fairly bad coolant leak in his van that took ages to track down. Turned out to be a ripped hose buried under other hoses and wires and whatnot. We never saw a drip and it only steamed if he ran it low and overheated it. I think he finally found the problem while working on something else.

Good luck!

 

UV dye huh?  That shows under a blacklight?  I've got a blacklight flashlight.  Where can I get it?

 

I haven't run hot yet.



#8 OFFLINE   Cuong Nguyen

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Posted 06 June 2018 - 07:20 PM

You can find the dye at some auto parts store or online. 

I think you can also rent the pressure system tool at the auto parts tore as well...I could be wrong though. 

There's also this coolant elbow behind the thermostat hosing that can crack and case a leak. 

You're not seeing a puddle or anything under the truck? 

Whereabouts are you smelling the coolant?



#9 OFFLINE   TowndawgR50

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 03:39 PM

I have been dealing with a coolant leak at the coolant crossover pipe flanges. Not super sure if the 3.3 has this but its an aluminum pipe that transfers coolant from one cylinder head to the other on the back side, right up against the firewall. No detectable leak other than a sweet odor from the antifreeze when parked. Some have had luck changing the associated gaskets without dropping the transmission but I was not that lucky. Impossible to get a tool on the lower fasteners with the transmission installed and the pair in the vehicle. 

 

8HAZo2M.jpg

 

Aas5JRo.jpg

 

WH6TOIc.jpg

 

0hMxlPB.jpg

 

Usa9gI4.jpg



#10 OFFLINE   ferrariowner123

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 06:53 PM

I think its rubber on the 3.3's, they tie the heads together, and run into the upper intake finally ending at the heater core. Total pain in the ass to get at without taking the upper intake off. My only experience with them is having to futs with them is to get into the V of the engine to change the Knock sensor.

 

-Kyle



#11 OFFLINE   AlabamaDan

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 07:19 PM

You can find the dye at some auto parts store or online. 

I think you can also rent the pressure system tool at the auto parts tore as well...I could be wrong though. 

There's also this coolant elbow behind the thermostat hosing that can crack and case a leak. 

You're not seeing a puddle or anything under the truck? 

Whereabouts are you smelling the coolant?

 

No puddles.  Just smell it outside the car when I park after a drive.  I'll look around talk to the auto parts store.



#12 OFFLINE   AlabamaDan

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 07:20 PM

Oh gosh, I hope that's not on the 3.3!  That would totally suck.

 

I have been dealing with a coolant leak at the coolant crossover pipe flanges. Not super sure if the 3.3 has this but its an aluminum pipe that transfers coolant from one cylinder head to the other on the back side, right up against the firewall. No detectable leak other than a sweet odor from the antifreeze when parked. Some have had luck changing the associated gaskets without dropping the transmission but I was not that lucky. Impossible to get a tool on the lower fasteners with the transmission installed and the pair in the vehicle. 

 

8HAZo2M.jpg

 

Aas5JRo.jpg

 

WH6TOIc.jpg

 

0hMxlPB.jpg

 

Usa9gI4.jpg

 



#13 OFFLINE   jjonez

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 08:07 PM

I have the same leak as towndawg. Sometimes I get drips, sometimes there's just a residue coming down the right side of the bell housing, sometimes it just doesn't leak at all. It's weird how intermittent it is, I think I've only had to top up coolant once. Not worth fixing till I need a new clutch

#14 OFFLINE   AlabamaDan

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 05:48 PM

I just bought this:

 

https://www.amazon.c...customerReviews



#15 OFFLINE   Slartibartfast

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 10:08 PM

Good luck! You got the blacklight too, right?



#16 OFFLINE   AlabamaDan

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 06:29 PM

Good luck! You got the blacklight too, right?

 

Yeah, I've got a little blacklight led flashlight.



#17 OFFLINE   Mrelcocko

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 09:42 PM

I could use a little help.  I've got a 98 QX4 with the 3.3.  It's all stock.  I have a small coolant leak somewhere, but I can't find it.  If I drive it for a little while I can smell it and after about a week of driving to and from work it is approximately a pint low on coolant.  The cap is good and I can't see any obvious leaks.   Any suggestions on how to troubleshoot?
 
I'm a decent at-home garage mechanic once the problem is diagnosed, but identifying what is the problem is sometimes my weakness.

Maybe try and check you thermostat housing. All coolant hoses. Also check your water pump. You'll have to take the timing belt cover off to check the water pump which means the fan all the belts tensioners need to come off. And while you're in there even if it's not the water pump depending on when was the last time the timing belt was changed I would get a timing belt water pump kit and change them both out.

Mr Cox R50

#18 OFFLINE   AlabamaDan

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 03:24 PM

Maybe try and check you thermostat housing. All coolant hoses. Also check your water pump. You'll have to take the timing belt cover off to check the water pump which means the fan all the belts tensioners need to come off. And while you're in there even if it's not the water pump depending on when was the last time the timing belt was changed I would get a timing belt water pump kit and change them both out.

Mr Cox R50

 

I'm afraid the water pump is what I will find with the dye.  About 70k ago I replaced the timing belt and all the things that go with it myself.  By the time I finished all the "while you're in there" stuff It was like a $1000 job, but at 202k miles she still cranks right up and runs well.  I really don't want to do that job again right now...



#19 OFFLINE   Mrelcocko

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 03:25 PM

I totally understand I done three of them within a month and a half time period.

 
I'm afraid the water pump is what I will find with the dye.  About 70k ago I replaced the timing belt and all the things that go with it myself.  By the time I finished all the "while you're in there" stuff It was like a $1000 job, but at 202k miles she still cranks right up and runs well.  I really don't want to do that job again right now...


Mr Cox R50

#20 OFFLINE   AlabamaDan

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 03:57 PM

Well you're an expert.  Come on down and do mine!  lol






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