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Strange coolant loss

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 29 Nov 2016, 12:05 pm
FeelthySanchez's Avatar
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Default Strange coolant loss

on Mamma's 2001 LE as follows, which has a long history of this condition.

Details:
259,xxx on odometer.
Orig engine was "overhauled" @ 174,xxx.
New radiator 2 weeks ago, & it's sealed solid.
No obvious viscous leaks. Anywhere.
Random P0300, which comes & goes.
Spark plugs appear normal for a high-mileage engine.

The oddest feature here: it loses MUCH LESS coolant when the heater is turned on. Once this odd fact was noted, I advised her to "run the heater constantly".
Typical scenario: after a 14mi round trip commute to/from work, the upper tank & overflow bottle will frequently take 1.5 gal total. Shorter hop losses are proportional.
I've trained her to keep a good eye out for any pooled liquids, & always keep a large filled water bottle & funnel handy.

Thus, given the above info ...... could one of you fine gents offer-up any possible insight as to what the heck might be going-on?

Many tnx !!
Phil T.
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Last edited by FeelthySanchez; 30 Nov 2016 at 10:56 am.
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Old 29 Nov 2016, 01:22 pm
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Default Re: Strange coolant loss

It would be a good idea to have the system pressure tested. There has to be a leak somewhere, possibly the head gasket. It sounds odd but, there is a chance that the water is getting into a cylinder or two. As far as turning the heater on to help, unless it's a temperature thing, when you turn the knob to the red side, you are only moving a blend door. The water is always running through the heater core.

A gallon and a half in a 14 mile span is an extreme amount of coolant loss in my opinion. Especially if you do not see steam, have a puddle or a trail of coolant.


Do a coolant pressure test.
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Old 29 Nov 2016, 01:54 pm
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Default Re: Strange coolant loss

If you are observing low coolant levels after running the vehicle you do not have a closed/sealed system.

I recommend to do a pressure test and carefully examine all the hoses and caps.

If you do not find any leaks than you should do a block test to confirm no coolant in the cooling system.


The heater on a PT Cruiser is constant coolant flow. When to adjust setting you are only opening and closing air flow doors.
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Old 30 Nov 2016, 11:06 am
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Default Re: Strange coolant loss

Many thanks to both of you gents, as these answers have confirmed my thoughts.
Will schedule a pressure test as suggested on the next maint interval (due in ~3 weeks).

Regarding yesterday's 14 mi commute: no coolant loss at all .........
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Last edited by FeelthySanchez; 30 Nov 2016 at 12:47 pm.
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Old 30 Nov 2016, 05:10 pm
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Default Re: Strange coolant loss

I would suggest checking under the engine for dried coolant dripping off the engine. It will show up as a gray dusty film and you might see where the coolant is leaking from. Check and see if you might have the gray dusty film under the water pump area or any area where coolant might leak. As NitroPT says do the coolant pressure test if its not obvious where the coolant leak is coming from.

Are you blowing white smoke?
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Last edited by ptcruisersteve; 30 Nov 2016 at 05:17 pm.
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Old 30 Nov 2016, 10:54 pm
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Default Re: Strange coolant loss

Steve,
Tnx for the reply. We've never noted white smoke from the exhaust.
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Old 30 Nov 2016, 11:13 pm
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Default Re: Strange coolant loss

Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroPT View Post
If you are observing low coolant levels after running the vehicle you do not have a closed/sealed system.

I recommend to do a pressure test and carefully examine all the hoses and caps.

If you do not find any leaks than you should do a block test to confirm no coolant in the cooling system.


The heater on a PT Cruiser is constant coolant flow. When to adjust setting you are only opening and closing air flow doors.
REPEAT!! ^^^^^^^^^^^
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Last edited by NitroPT; 30 Nov 2016 at 11:20 pm.
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Old 30 Nov 2016, 11:26 pm
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Default Re: Strange coolant loss

You can buy an coolant pressure tester for a reasonable price at Harbor Frieght.
Search results for: 'coolant pressure test'
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Old 05 Jan 2017, 09:04 am
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Default Re: Strange coolant loss (a no-brainer)

Well, many tnx again.
Happy to report that the lower hose had an obvious ring of crusty coolant residue from a permeation leak: the worm-drive hose clamp was loose by 1.5 turns.
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Old 05 Jan 2017, 09:17 am
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Default Re: Strange coolant loss (a no-brainer)

Quote:
Originally Posted by FeelthySanchez View Post
Well, many tnx again.
Happy to report that the lower hose had an obvious ring of crusty coolant residue from a permeation leak: the worm-drive hose clamp was loose by 1.5 turns.
Glad to hear you got the issue fixed, but worm-type clamps should not be used as they apply unequal pressure on whatever they are clamping, it's best to use the original type spring clamp.

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