1 (edited by Lemon_Newton-Metre 2019-06-10 11:06 PM)

Topic: Coolant leak [solved]

My '91 Caprice Classic has been seeping coolant for a while from near the lower rad hose. Just a little at a time. I never used stop leak. I've been putting in water since spring and its now a fairly light green.

Yesterday after driving for about 25 minutes I shut it down, and when I got back to it about 5 min. later, coolant was _streaming_ from that area. It stopped after a while. I put some water into the overflow and let it drain into the rad. When I started it again I didn't see any leaking.

I see some cracking of the hose, but when it just sits it doesn't seep - the hose is dry. Any leaking is _only_ from this area.

I got it back to a home location, checking it about every 5 miles. Today I drove it to a workplace where I'll be able to fix it.

I never see a trail of fluid behind me as I drive. Today I had someone follow me and they didn't see anything leaking either.

Any thoughts why it'll leak - not immediately, but shortly - after shutdown but not while running?

2 (edited by Guildenstern 2019-06-08 08:01 PM)

Re: Coolant leak [solved]

My first guess is still hose. if there's some cracking, it's probably more shot than you think. Also the lower hose it's under "suction" when running so it may only leak when hot and off.

Other than that a crack in the Radiator Tank where the hose connects.

But my guess is the hose is degraded where the hose fitting seals to it and when it's hot it's leaking by.

Being that it's summer. Try the hose fist, and fill up with Distilled Water. run it for a few days to check if the hose fixes it. And when you are sure it's definitely not leaking flush it and replace with 50/50 coolant.

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!"
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)
2018 Route Sucky-Suck Rally Miata.

Re: Coolant leak [solved]

Thanks. My thoughts were similar. When the coolant was running out was near a U-pull-it - I was looking for Accord drive axle.

Sorry, just a little more information I forgot to include which may not change the equation:

a very light _milky_ green ...

and if I can just get this to last for a month I'd be happy - I want to loan it to a friend very soon, but I don't want to have to fix it so far away if it breaks down.

Then I want to sell it - with full disclosure. So there's the time/value equation in play.

If I had a little [a LOT] more time, I'd love to put in one of my extra 6.5TDI engines instead of the 5.0l, just to see if I could get better than the 27mpg highway. But I don't have the time...

But I'm not a mechanic, I'm slow at this stuff, and I already have too many "I'd like to ..."s.

I just need to replace a ball joint, get the high beams to work, and fix the horn button to get it inspected here in PA.

4 (edited by Guildenstern 2019-06-08 10:02 PM)

Re: Coolant leak [solved]

Milky may just be due to the over-dilution and mineral precipitation from the pH change. (among all the other things Anti-freeze does is it's Buffered to maintain a metal friendly and "ideally" scale unfriendly pH.)

Now Milk SHAKE-ey that's a problem.

A lower hose and a couple gallons of distilled water is worth a shot. Unless it's self evident that it's a heat expanding radiator crack, the first thing I'd suspect is the hose, followed by in the 5.0 the radiator cap/overflow line which can sometimes leak in creative ways that look like it's coming from the lower outlet, at least in FOX body installations.

Barring those you can try some Holts Rad-Weld, it's not rest of the engine killing like some can be (Heck, in 90's-2000's Subarus it's part of the 30,000 mile service) But know that a cracked radiator only ever gets worse, usually unpredictably. And stuff like this wants to be in antifreeze to work properly.

If you can't find Holts you can try Barr's, but stay away from K-Seal HD because that may choke a small engine (but it really does work, like plaque in an artery) Also skip the Tablets, because those are for hairline cracks not something noticeably streaming.

Can you tell I had multiple cooling system issues last summer?

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!"
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)
2018 Route Sucky-Suck Rally Miata.

Re: Coolant leak [solved]

Borrow pressure test kit from autozone. Pressurize system. Leak should be obvious.

Re: Coolant leak [solved]

Thanks, G. Good information and suggestions. First thing I did at the U-P-It was go after a hose, figuring if all else failed I'd be able to replace it and buy their used coolant to get back.

Seeping at a low rate I could deal with. The streaming concerned me greatly. I was thinking the next thing would be the rad from the truck I pulled the hose from, a newer, very clean aluminum one, but it was front end damage (though to the side). But, there are always others.

So yes, my next thing will be to get distilled water - enough to replace the hose, and then pressure check it. I'd prefer to only fix this once. I can get a rad if necessary using another vehicle.

rlchv70 wrote:

Borrow pressure test kit from autozone. Pressurize system. Leak should be obvious.

Showing my ignorance, I didn't know there was such a thing. Good suggestion, thanks.

Re: Coolant leak [solved]

Coolant runs through the intake manifold on these TBI cars. It's a fucking nightmare to fix. I spent my teens battling that...

Just throwing it out there in case that might be related.

#928 Porsche 928 - West German Pushrodders

Re: Coolant leak [solved]

Not sure distilled is the right answer either, sorting through the internet is not always easy, I found this

Many people have “heard” that distilled water is the best water to use in a cooling system. This is wrong! While it is certainly true that distilled water’s purity prevents electrolysis and scale/deposit formation, it unfortunately comes with a potentially very damaging side effect.

During the distillation process, water is vaporized into its gaseous phase, so all its impurities are left behind. These impurities include a number of minerals, including “calcium” and “magnesium,” the two components of water “hardness.” The water is then condensed back into its liquid phase, so the resulting liquid is pure water – in fact, some of the purest water on earth. But the problem is that when water is distilled, or “stripped,” of its minerals and impurities, the resulting solution is composed of chemically imbalanced “ions.” This leaves distilled water “ionically hungry,” so it will actually strip electrons from the metals in a cooling system as it attempts to chemically re-balance itself. As it chemically removes electrons from the metals of cooling system components, distilled water eventually does extreme damage that could lead to cooling system failure.

So what’s the answer? Softened water.

https://www.hyperlube.com/blog/blog/why … ng-system/

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Re: Coolant leak [solved]

Oh, to the original concerns about this coolant leak, a compromised hose would leak the most when pressurized, there are bigger issues, pressure testing is the only way.

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10 (edited by Guildenstern 2019-06-09 11:47 AM)

Re: Coolant leak [solved]

Distilled is just to run as a cheaper alternative to filling and dumping coolant repeatedly until the problem is resolved. It also works as a handy flush since it has more “bite” as a solvent, and will leave no mystery deposits or chemically disrupt the coolant later like hard PA water will.

If they were somewhere with softer water I’d say just use the hose, but up here the water tastes great, but is a scale nightmare, and distilled is easy to find at any supermarket.

Also that link was just an ad for a snake oil coolant.

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!"
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)
2018 Route Sucky-Suck Rally Miata.

Re: Coolant leak [solved]

TI: thanks, interesting link. I'll consider the issues raised.

G: Yes, cheaper, cleaner alternative.

  /    I deleted my composed response which was wondering where the citations were for the company's blog claims, because it's clear the suggestion from our Lemons friend TI was made in the best spirit of helping another, and I appreciate it.

Yesterday one of the retired gentlemen in the breakfast coffee club [we meet at the local fast food restaurant] suggested cracked black pepper in the rad to stop the leak - because it worked for him in the '50's. I listened carefully and sincerely thanked him for his suggestion. He's a good man. And, apparently, it did work for him. And I can't discount it, because I don't have the experience or information to contradict. But I'm leery.

[Anecdotal evidence is always 100% reliable... It's the precursor of the internet.]

I tell the coffee club: I don't have any answers, I just ask difficult, inconvenient questions.

Re: Coolant leak [solved]

Jeeeebus! It's a 91 Caprice radiator hose! Just change it!

Worst case is the radiator neck is corroded, what does the whole radiator cost on Rock Auto? $100?

What's the explanation beyond either the rad or hose leaking? Demonic possesion?

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Re: Coolant leak [solved]

Crazy thing, Cracked black pepper can work. It'll get you home but it's not a "I need to rely on this" kind of fix. And like most stop leaks, it's not stopping a stream.

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!"
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)
2018 Route Sucky-Suck Rally Miata.

Re: Coolant leak [solved]

Type44: my second post.

I want/need to sell it, but first I'll loan it to a friend who is having car problems. He's a concert pianist, and has no knowledge or interest in mechanical things except a vehicle which will get him to practice or teaching reliably, and he's pretty far away. His vehicle is down, and he's renting, and it's crushing his budget.

I can loan him this so he can save for repair parts costs, and I'll do what I can, but I can't fund his repairs. Airbag light is on, failed inspection on that basis alone.

But I can't loan a vehicle I'll have to return to repair - it's too far. The seeping had been going on for two years, but it was consistent. Every two tanks I'd put in about a quart, and that'd last two weeks. And no problem if it sat - no leaking.

So I want to sell it [it's body is in great shape for its age - very little rust], and I don't want to put much if any time or money in it, other than to get it inspected of its way enough [the TDI Caprice is a fever dream of mine].

I was going to drive the Caprice to him and drive his back here to PA [if I could] until a drive axle on my Accord snapped, so I wouldn't have a car myself. Then, going in the Caprice for the drive axle for the Accord was when the big leak occurred, so I'm leery of lending the Caprice.

The original question was so I could understand why the leak occurred - if there was a known though obscure situation why something would only leak when shut down for longer than 5 min or so.

Replace the hose was the easy answer - that's why I already pulled it at the U.P.It. But it doesn't seem to leak from the hose when I get down there to look - I seem to be missing the start of the flow. It's either dry or already wet when i've gotten eyes on that area.

And also: original rad on a '91 Caprice.

So I'm going to say my first conclusion was replace both hose and rad; but again I'm trying to pass off work and cost to the next owner - hence full disclosure.

Caprice is parked now, though, and I'm working on the axle for my Honda. 300+k mi.upstate NY car, originally. But I  finally got it with an air gun.

I'm probably going to wind up getting a replacement rad at the U-Pull-It, and replace both rad and hose.

Re: Coolant leak [solved]

One thing that hasn't been mentioned, aluminum/plastic radiators can
start to leak at the seal where the tank meets the core. This happens over
time as the seal/gasket there hardens and the radiator heat cycles. The tank
expands at a different rate than the core. sometimes you get a cold water leak,
and sometimes you get a leak under heat expansion and pressure. Don't expect
wrecking yard part to last long, unless you can score a recently replaced unit, since
it has probably seen nearly as many miles as yours.

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16 (edited by Spank 2019-06-10 09:29 PM)

Re: Coolant leak [solved]

Please pm me your mailing address so I can send you $20 so you can go buy this and spend your time replacing the radiator rather than typing out reasons why you haven't replaced the radiator yet...

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Radiator-For-C … SwTM5YyuMM

(with radiators that cheap and with free shipping, it makes absolutely zero sense to buy a junkyard radiator in my mind. And I'm one cheap bastard.  Oh, and selling a car with a leaking radiator / hose vs selling one with a new radiator/hose is several hundred dollars of difference value in my pea-brain.

sixty
four
Dollars
5
Cents
)

Re: Coolant leak [solved]

Solved, thanks! I do not know how you find stuff so fast.

Also, the Honda's now fixed, so I can wait for delivery.

Frugal. Not cheap, frugal. It's to be admired and emulated.

[My sister can spend a nickel _three_ times]

Re: Coolant leak [solved]

And the solution was?

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL)
88 Thunderbird "THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!"
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)
2018 Route Sucky-Suck Rally Miata.