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Troubleshoot coolant leak: Photo of Coolant on top of engine radiator cap

 
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Old 18 Jan 2013, 10:44 pm
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Default Troubleshoot coolant leak: Photo of Coolant on top of engine radiator cap

Hi,

Iím trying to troubleshoot a coolant leak on my 2002 PT Cruiser. It has 106,000 km (65,000 miles).
My coolant overflow container is empty with no coolant visible. Today I noticed a few drops of coolant on the ground under my car. Not a lot though. Here is a photo of what appears to be coolant on top of the engine near the radiator cap. As well coolant is visible on some part below the radiator cap. I also found that the small coolant tube connected just in front of the radiator cap had slid back a little though not disconnected. As well, I can smell the engine coolant after I park the car and turn it off. The engine temperatures are fine during normal operation. However, it has overheated twice in the past (once last year when the outside temperature was about 15 Celsius and once 4 years ago when it was -10 Celcius) when I parked it and let it idle for more than 10 minutes.

Could this leaking be a result of too much pressure in the cooling system, a broken cooling fan or perhaps air bubbles in the cooling system or could the radiator cap needs replacement or could it be something worse a blown head gasket?

Any suggestions or hypotheses would be much appreciated.

Cheers,
Marcus
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Old 18 Jan 2013, 11:00 pm
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Default Re: Troubleshoot coolant leak: Photo of Coolant on top of engine radiator cap

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcusO View Post
Hi,

Iím trying to troubleshoot a coolant leak on my 2002 PT Cruiser. It has 106,000 km (65,000 miles).
My coolant overflow container is empty with no coolant visible. Today I noticed a few drops of coolant on the ground under my car. Not a lot though. Here is a photo of what appears to be coolant on top of the engine near the radiator cap. As well coolant is visible on some part below the radiator cap. I also found that the small coolant tube connected just in front of the radiator cap had slid back a little though not disconnected. As well, I can smell the engine coolant after I park the car and turn it off. The engine temperatures are fine during normal operation. However, it has overheated twice in the past (once last year when the outside temperature was about 15 Celsius and once 4 years ago when it was -10 Celcius) when I parked it and let it idle for more than 10 minutes.

Could this leaking be a result of too much pressure in the cooling system, a broken cooling fan or perhaps air bubbles in the cooling system or could the radiator cap needs replacement or could it be something worse a blown head gasket?

Any suggestions or hypotheses would be much appreciated.

Cheers,
Marcus
Get you a knew radiator cap and trim that hoses so it fits tight or zip tie that so it's not sucking air. And fill the over flow tank and radiator to propper levels. Start and turn the ac on and see if fan is running. Should run when ac is on. Otherwise its bad.
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Old 18 Jan 2013, 11:05 pm
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Default Re: Troubleshoot coolant leak: Photo of Coolant on top of engine radiator cap

Start with the easiest and cheapest, the radiator cap. (I've just ordered a new chrome one for mine). Also, take a high pressure hose and clean off everything below the cap so after you replace it, you can see exactly where the water is coming from. A;; the white residue you see is coolant running down from the cap.

Also (again), any coolant you loose is replace by air so after you get the new cap, bleed the system of any excess air.
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Old 18 Jan 2013, 11:32 pm
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Default Re: Troubleshoot coolant leak: Photo of Coolant on top of engine radiator cap

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm headed to the nearby auto parts store in the morning to get a new radiator cap and a clamp for the hose.

Cheers,
Marcus
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Old 27 Apr 2013, 08:33 am
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Default Re: Troubleshoot coolant leak: Photo of Coolant on top of engine radiator cap

Hi,

I just wanted to followup on my cooling system problem. It turned out a thermostat in a valve that controls the flow of cooling fluid was broken. Once it was replaced everything has been fine, no fluid spraying out the top, no overheating problems or anything, cost me about $130 including parts and labour to have it done.

Cheers,
Marcus O
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Old 27 Apr 2013, 08:47 am
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Default Re: Troubleshoot coolant leak: Photo of Coolant on top of engine radiator cap

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcusO View Post
Hi,

I just wanted to followup on my cooling system problem. It turned out a thermostat in a valve that controls the flow of cooling fluid was broken. Once it was replaced everything has been fine, no fluid spraying out the top, no overheating problems or anything, cost me about $130 including parts and labour to have it done.

Cheers,
Marcus O
Thanks for the update. Never heard of that one, must me called by another name. The only "valve" I can think of that would control the flow would be the thermostat itself. It's between a plastic pipe and a cast iron piece and tends to be the prime suspect when there's a leak.

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Last edited by CREWZIN; 27 Apr 2013 at 08:51 am.
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Old 27 Apr 2013, 09:16 am
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Default Re: Troubleshoot coolant leak: Photo of Coolant on top of engine radiator cap

Must be talking about the plastic housing as well CREWZIN. A shop foreman once told me you make more money with a pen than a wrench.

MarvusO thank for the follow-up. Glad you are cruise'n fine again.
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Old 27 Apr 2013, 09:16 am
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Default Re: Troubleshoot coolant leak: Photo of Coolant on top of engine radiator cap

Thanks for the clarification, so it was the thermostat. My grade 10 auto shop knowledge is a bit clunky 30 years on.

Marcus
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