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Major Coolant Loss

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 28 Jan 2016, 01:25 pm
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: St. Louis
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Default Major Coolant Loss

2006 PT cruiser, non –turbo, 125xxx miles

Yesterday morning when dropping my kids off I noticed coolant dripping out from under the radiator on the passenger side. Checked coolant level and it was ok, so I went to work and parked the car. Checked on it at lunch and it was dripping on the drivers side. When I left work it looked like the entire contents of my coolant system were on the ground under and behind my car. I added distilled water and drove home (about 10 miles) and it never overheated it just barely made it over the halfway line (maybe there is a bright spot in Midwest winter).

I Drove to a friends garage last night and added more water to look for a leak but couldn’t see anything leaking. When I looked under the car I saw no obvious cracks or places where it was leaking from, just coolant kinda sprayed around on the bottom plastic part of the radiator and pooling in the metal bar directly under the radiator. Drove it around the block and looked again and I couldn’t see any leak. I had my car at the shop a few weeks ago and the mechanic did say that he noticed some slight seepage where the aluminum and plastic were crimped but said he didn’t see a major need to replace it at the time, just to watch it. My questions are:

-Is it possible that the radiator is only leaking when hot/under pressure? I am inclined to think that this is the case since after I added the water I never saw a leak.

-Could it be more than just the radiator? I did check the hoses last night and didn’t see any splits or cracks in them. Not really sure what to look for in terms of water pump failure or if that would even be likely given what happened.

-Would it be “normal” to go from what was described as slight seepage to a major issue such as this seemingly overnight? I would think it would have gotten progressively worse.

Thank you in advance
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Old 28 Jan 2016, 01:40 pm
Fk5 Fk5 is offline
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Location: Colesville, MD
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Default Re: Major Coolant Loss

I have been going through tons of coolant leaks myself on my 2003 over the past couple of years. The first was the radiator. It is fairly common for the seam to separate and leak. The water will hit the support and drip down wherever is the lowest point.

Make sure that the drain is closed, tight and the o-ring is sealed. Mine leaked from there once when they reused the o-ring.

If you are using water and it is cold, be very careful. If it freezes, it will expand and start cracking things. At that point you will be praying it is just the radiator.
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Old 28 Jan 2016, 01:48 pm
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Location: St. Louis
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Default Re: Major Coolant Loss

Thanks for the quick reply.

I have read that the radiator leaking at the crimps is a fairly common problem, I was more curious that it would go from slight seepage to a full on draining of the coolant over the course of a day. I did check that the drain was closed. I'm not too terribly worried about it freezing I was able to borrow a car and I left it last night in a closed garage, also there must have been coolant left in the system somewhere because the water in the filler had a antifreeze tint to it.
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Old 28 Jan 2016, 01:59 pm
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Default Re: Major Coolant Loss

Rent or buy a Coolant Pressure Tester. I chased down 3 leaks before I bought mine & it well worth the money. So far all of my leaks have been from loose clamps.
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Old 28 Jan 2016, 02:30 pm
Fk5 Fk5 is offline
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Default Re: Major Coolant Loss

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digboy78 View Post
Thanks for the quick reply.

I have read that the radiator leaking at the crimps is a fairly common problem, I was more curious that it would go from slight seepage to a full on draining of the coolant over the course of a day. I did check that the drain was closed. I'm not too terribly worried about it freezing I was able to borrow a car and I left it last night in a closed garage, also there must have been coolant left in the system somewhere because the water in the filler had a antifreeze tint to it.
FWIW, mine seemed kind of inconsistent. It never really let loose, but it isn't like it lost the same amount of coolant per mile or minute run. At one point I actually bent the crimp up with a channel lock and it slowed for a bit, but I knew the time for a radiator was coming.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LionPT View Post
Rent or buy a Coolant Pressure Tester. I chased down 3 leaks before I bought mine & it well worth the money. So far all of my leaks have been from loose clamps.
You can borrow one from auto zone and some of the parts houses. Leave a deposit and get it back when you return it. It solves the issue of it not leaking when the car isn't running/warm.
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Old 28 Jan 2016, 02:35 pm
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Default Re: Major Coolant Loss

Just called the parts store in town, and I will be picking up a pressure tester after work. I don't know why I didn't think of that before. Thanks Lion and FK5
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Old 28 Jan 2016, 03:30 pm
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Default Re: Major Coolant Loss

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digboy78 View Post
Just called the parts store in town, and I will be picking up a pressure tester after work. I don't know why I didn't think of that before. Thanks Lion and FK5

If the kit comes with the adapter, don't forget to test the cap.
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Old 28 Jan 2016, 03:51 pm
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Default Re: Major Coolant Loss

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digboy78 View Post
2006 PT cruiser, non –turbo, 125xxx miles

Yesterday morning when dropping my kids off I noticed coolant dripping out from under the radiator on the passenger side. Checked coolant level and it was ok, so I went to work and parked the car. Checked on it at lunch and it was dripping on the drivers side. When I left work it looked like the entire contents of my coolant system were on the ground under and behind my car. I added distilled water and drove home (about 10 miles) and it never overheated it just barely made it over the halfway line (maybe there is a bright spot in Midwest winter).

I Drove to a friends garage last night and added more water to look for a leak but couldn’t see anything leaking. When I looked under the car I saw no obvious cracks or places where it was leaking from, just coolant kinda sprayed around on the bottom plastic part of the radiator and pooling in the metal bar directly under the radiator. Drove it around the block and looked again and I couldn’t see any leak. I had my car at the shop a few weeks ago and the mechanic did say that he noticed some slight seepage where the aluminum and plastic were crimped but said he didn’t see a major need to replace it at the time, just to watch it. My questions are:

-Is it possible that the radiator is only leaking when hot/under pressure? I am inclined to think that this is the case since after I added the water I never saw a leak.

-Could it be more than just the radiator? I did check the hoses last night and didn’t see any splits or cracks in them. Not really sure what to look for in terms of water pump failure or if that would even be likely given what happened.

-Would it be “normal” to go from what was described as slight seepage to a major issue such as this seemingly overnight? I would think it would have gotten progressively worse.

Thank you in advance
It can happen over night , maybe that bumper block was a little high or someone may have backed into you leaving little or no visible damage, but enough to stress the crimps on the radiator..
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Old 28 Jan 2016, 06:39 pm
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Southern California
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Default Re: Major Coolant Loss

Joe,

On the wifes car there is link tube that runs behind the water pump that had a small pin hole that would leak more when hot. check that.

its the Chrysler PT Cruiser Cooling Inlet Tube

here is link on the forum of what i am talking about.

Water Pump Inlet replacement
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Old 28 Jan 2016, 07:01 pm
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Default Re: Major Coolant Loss

If you do look under the engine for a coolant leak you should look for a white residue that occurs when the coolant dries off. This will give you a clue on the location of the coolant leak.
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