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Coolant leak found!

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Old 01-22-12, 06:11 PM
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Talking Coolant leak found!

I have been trying to observe my slow coolant leak for years but i never saw any wet spots or clear leak spots. Recently ive been loosing more coolant than normal and decided to listen to the wise who say "pressure test the coolant system, then you will know for sure". Im guilty of being to lazy to attempt this try and true method until today. However i made my own pressurizer out of a bicycle pump w/gauge and some longer hose.
Just wish to post this quick video i made to demonstrate how easy it is to achieve a clear answer to the coolant leak problem. If i had'nt discovered obvious leaks i would have taken out the spark plugs and fuel replay to see if any coolant was leaking inside the combustion chamber......hope this modivates or helps someone to test their system.

oh and i know i said in the video "pressurize the fuel system" by mistake

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKJv0N4jX4w

Last edited by Hotwheelz; 01-22-12 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 01-22-12, 06:15 PM
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whatever works, i didn't even think about using a bike pump but i have an expensive name brand tester already so i just yell at people to go rent one as that was the next best alternative.

won't work for every setup but the FD does have that port that goes right into the system, it just needs to have the proper flat cap installed and return hose pinched off to work.
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Old 01-22-12, 06:22 PM
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I have a 16psi spring cap on mine when i performed this test.
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Old 01-22-12, 06:22 PM
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I like it. Nice video too. Congrats on finding your problem.
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Old 01-22-12, 06:44 PM
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Awesome video!

When I had my turbo replaced, the mechanic "forgot" to re-clamp almost every single coolant hose. Since then, I jumped from one coolant leak to another day after day. I think I got them all and the car should be fine now but then again there are some coolant hoses that are harder to get to. I'll probably do this soon just to be sure. Thanks buddy.
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Old 01-23-12, 06:10 AM
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Nice video simple and effective.
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Old 01-23-12, 11:17 AM
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cool. Its weird I also had two clamps on my upper radiator hose on my s10 with a new radiator and they had to be super tight or it would leak, one stock clamp wasn't sealing it.
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Old 01-23-12, 04:27 PM
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IMHO, worm drive clamps don't work well for coolant hoses. The stock spring clamps are constant tension clamps, as the system expands and contracts with heat, they always provide proper tension on the hose.

Two clamps is just a sloppy way to do it as well.

If it was me, I'd get a new upper radiator hose and 2 stock spring clamps for each end. With the hose off, make sure the nipple on the thermostat housing is smooth and doesn't have junk on it, clean it up with a wire brush and a Scotchbrite pad. Put the new hose and clamps on, you won't ever have a problem again.

Really good trick on using the bike pump! Hell, I have a fancy Snapon pressure tester and I like that better!

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Old 01-23-12, 05:01 PM
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Nice improvised tool.

That hose always seems to leak when not using the stock hose which is specifically formed to that outlet and stock hose clamps... My experience has been the same as Dale's with regards to hose clamps. The only exception is if you absolutely need a non-stock clamp, the Breeze constant tension clamps work well (similar to those used for IC piping)
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Old 01-23-12, 05:02 PM
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i agree about the spring clamps, most people pitch them but in my opinion they work better than worm screw clamps. i also have never seen a spring clamp cut into a hose where i have seen many with worm clamps rupture from cutting.
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Old 01-23-12, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by DaleClark View Post
IMHO, worm drive clamps don't work well for coolant hoses. The stock spring clamps are constant tension clamps, as the system expands and contracts with heat, they always provide proper tension on the hose.
The reason is compliance. The stock clamps apply a consistent pressure even if the hose contracts or expands. They also tend not to cut into the rubber hose like a thin band clamp can.

Worm drive clamps are properly tight the day you install them. The rest of the time.. who knows? I think for larger diameters, the worm drive clamps with the belleville spring washers do a nice job of adding enough compliance, but I have yet to see the small ones built like that.

I do think worm drive clamps are reasonable for intake hoses because the required tension is so low. Just don't overtighten them.

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Old 02-10-12, 10:41 PM
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Fixed that leak but found another leak from the inlet coolant line to the turbo. A total PITA to get to and replace but at least for now there are no detectable leaks......time for a long drive through some twisted back roads
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Old 02-17-12, 09:25 PM
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Ok, need some people with experiance now. After fixing the two leaks i wanted to be absolutely sure my coolant seal isnt going as well. So i pulled the leading plugs out of both housings and pressurized the coolant system then waited an hour. I pulled the fuel relay and put a piece of clear/clean plasic in front of both leading plug holes to catch any mist that may or may not come out. A fine mist barely came out of the front rotor housing only but enough to condensate on the plastic. So i tasted the condensation and ****, it tasted sweet like coolant.

The leak is almost nonexistant but i know it will only become more severe over time. My question is once you all have detected a very minor seal leak, how long or how many miles did it take before you had to have a rebuild?Are there fixes for pinpoint seal leaks besides a rebuild?

Last edited by Hotwheelz; 02-17-12 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 02-17-12, 10:43 PM
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There are some hack fixes (like using block weld) to fix small coolant leaks but really they only buy you time. They can also clog up your radiator, heater core, etc.

Are you losing a substantial amount of coolant or having a lot of smoking at startup?

Depending on how bad it is, you can drive the car until it gets bad. Big thing with a water pumper engine is when you DO decide to put the car down to fix it, get the engine out, torn down, and all cleaned up pronto. Letting the engine sit with water in the combustion chamber is way bad, you can rust seals into the rotors that are damn near impossible to remove. Pulling it apart and cleaning will solve that.

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Old 02-17-12, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by DaleClark View Post
Are you losing a substantial amount of coolant or having a lot of smoking at startup?

On a longer drive (1hr or more) I loose about a 1/4-1/2 cup of coolant with the other leaks. I dont know how much coolant loss I have with the other leaks repaired (I'll report back). I have some blueish smoke on startup that makes my eyes burn and smells like fuel but that quickly subsides as the temps climb to operating temps. Never smells sweet.
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Old 02-18-12, 06:31 AM
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I would also want to be sure I don't have a coolant seal leak - but it's not necessary. You've fixed some stuff, so I would run the car for a while and not worry about the coolant seals unless you really start seeing more coolant loss.

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Old 02-18-12, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Hotwheelz View Post
On a longer drive (1hr or more) I loose about a 1/4-1/2 cup of coolant with the other leaks. I dont know how much coolant loss I have with the other leaks repaired (I'll report back). I have some blueish smoke on startup that makes my eyes burn and smells like fuel but that quickly subsides as the temps climb to operating temps. Never smells sweet.
I would assume nearly all of the coolant that was leaking was due to the hose leaks. Drive the car, and check it once in a while. As long as the car isn't overheating, or bellowing coolant out the overflow tank, you are good to go for a long time
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Old 03-23-12, 11:48 PM
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what did you do to fix the initial leak on your radiator hose? you did what dale said to do?
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Old 04-22-12, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by cr-rex View Post
what did you do to fix the initial leak on your radiator hose? you did what dale said to do?
I removed the upper rad hose from the housing neck and srubbed a stiff wire brush untill all the build up deposits were gone, then put the hose back on which worked great
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Old 04-23-12, 06:15 AM
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very cool and simple way to find your leak. I wouldnt think with 2 worm clamps it would leak but obviously it can.
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