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Coolant leak

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 03 Feb 2014, 12:17 pm
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 7
Default Coolant leak

First post on here and looking for some advice.

My pt cruiser has a coolant leak but i cannot locate it. Here are the symptoms:

Coolant reservoir goes from full line to none visible over a period of 4 days

small amount of steam coming from front vents when parked

No puddles in the garage or drive where it sits at night/work

no visible dripping from pipes or radiator

exhaust fumes do not appear to be overly white or no particular sweet smell.

My guess is that its the radiator based upon the steaming from the vents. Would coolant only be lost through the radiator while driving or should pools of coolant be gathering somewhere? Are there any other signs of a broken head gasket other than white smoke with a sweet smell (lose of power, noises etc)?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 03 Feb 2014, 12:38 pm
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Posts: 27,744
Default Re: Coolant leak

FYI: You've logged into a forum where people get together to discuss their interest in the PT and help each other out. Not just a question and answer website. You are encouraged to log into the WELCOME New Members section and tell us about yourself and information about your PT so we can help you in any way we can. There's a difference in the first and second generation PT's and letting us know what you drive, the mileage, the problem your having and what you've done to try and fix it yourself is invaluable information.

As to your question: Coolant can drip onto hot things that will dissipate the fluid and should leave a whitish residue somewhere. The plastic pipe that goes from the radiator cap to the head is a known place for leaks. Look for residue around the base or near the bottom of the radiator itself. If the head gasket had gone, there should be other signs other than loosing coolant.
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Old 03 Feb 2014, 01:35 pm
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 29
Default Re: Coolant leak

I have had two coolant leaks on my wife's 01 PT. One was from a small crack in the plastic end caps of the radiator and the second was from the water pump. The pump is in the timing area and leaks down around the crank shaft and is hidden by the timing cover and a splash shield on the passenger side.

If you can not locate the leak you can try UV dye. You can buy UV dye for coolant at most parts stores, napa has it in bulk. Add the dye to the system, allow the car to heat up and the thermostat to open a few cycles then inspect with a UV light. I now use UV dye for all non obvious fluid leaks. It also helps to clean / degrease the engine bay prior to inspection.

Good luck. Hope its not the water pump. I ended up replacing our pump as part of the timing service.
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Old 03 Feb 2014, 02:13 pm
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 7
Default Re: Coolant leak

Thanks Crewzin and imalittleturd for your advice i shall report my findings after I've had a chance to follow you advice.

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Old 03 Feb 2014, 07:39 pm
needmoretoys's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Rising Sun MD
Posts: 643
Default Re: Coolant leak

you left out a lot of info. If you have a turbo(like I do) I had a leak at the line that goes to the turbo. Only way I found it was by reving the motor while under the hood, with the air box out.

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Old 06 Feb 2014, 06:31 pm
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 4
Default Re: Coolant leak

I have an 03 touring cruiser I have a leake somewhere also I lose heat when at a stop light I also have a syrup smell. I was wondering if anyone knows how much it cost to go get a pressure test done thanks
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Old 07 Feb 2014, 01:04 pm
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Default Re: Coolant leak

Originally Posted by Ravenlioncourt View Post
I also have a syrup smell.
Raven.. If smell is in the car, your heater core is leaking.
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Old 07 Feb 2014, 01:13 pm
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Default Re: Coolant leak

It can smell through the vents from the engine compartment. But could be either one. You need to do some looking while running. See if you can spot the leak.

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