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Disappearing coolant. Mechanics opinions welcome.

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Detectorist, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. Detectorist

    Detectorist

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    I think I've posted this before. '94 Ford Ranger 4.0

    I'm losing about half a quart of coolant a day. It's not leaking out. Not a drop under the car. None in the oil. Nothing out of the tailpipe. As a matter of fact, after the truck is warmed up, no smoke is visible coming out of the tail pipe. The passenger side carpet is bone dry. Can't small anything when I turn my heater on.

    I just installed a new overflow tank and hoses. No leak there..

    Out of desperation I'm going to do the Liquid Glass treatment next weekend...

    Any mechanics with experience on this?

    I'm frutrated..
     
  2. aircarver

    aircarver Descent Terminated Silver Member

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    There are all kinds of sneaky leaks that dissipate the coolant without a leak ever being apparent. Radiator leaks that come and go with a heating cycle. (Look for water stains on the metal frame under the radiator.) Look carefully at the hoses. (I had a pinhole leak that was blowing and dissapating the coolant, and didn't find it until I got hit in the face with the fine stream it was blowing when I examined closely.)

    Sneaky coolant leaks are a major PITA and you'll have to operate and examine (throughout the heating cooling cycle) until you locate it. My money would be on the radiator.

    .
     

  3. elsolo

    elsolo

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    Something like a small crack in the cylinder head can leak a tiny bit of coolant into the motor where it is burned off and you don't notice it. And it may disappear once the engine heats up and the metal expands. Rangers have an issue with cracked heads.

    In the morning, when the engine is cold: remove the oil fill cap and look at the backside for condensation. There shouldn't be any water droplets.

    You can also remove the sparkplugs and check the business end for coolant evidence.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  4. warhog

    warhog

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    Not a ford mechanic and I don't play one on T.V. but have you changed out the radiator cap yet I usually start with the cheap then work my way to the expensive parts also check the sides of the radiator I have had some leak there as well, check all hose clamps too.
     
  5. 686Owner

    686Owner NRA Life Member

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    It's either leaking out or you're burning it. OR the coolant gnomes are stealing it at night.
     
  6. MaxxAction

    MaxxAction

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    Unless you want to replace that engine completely...

    and a lot of other parts, don't do the liquid glass treatment. It will destroy your heater core, radiator, and clog off the coolant passages in the block and head as well. It may stop the head gasket leaking, but will introduce a whole host of other problems.

    I know this from experience. When we were getting ready to move last year, my kid's 240sx lost the head gasket, so we did that liquid glass treatment. The motor ran for about a thousand miles, then overheated so bad that it ended up warping the head beyond repair. When we pulled it apart, all the coolant passages in the head were reduced to about 10 percent of their original size.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  7. Ragnar

    Ragnar

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    That would be awesome. Kinda like taking gas out of a buddy's car to make him think his mileage is really bad. And then putting more in so he thinks he's getting 50mpg.
     
  8. UtahIrishman

    UtahIrishman BLR Silver Member

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    My '95 Ford F-150 was doing this, or I thought it was then the problem disappeared. :headscratch:

    There is a fluid you can buy that will show up under UV light. You throw the fluid in and take a UV light and look for leaks. I don't recall the name of it, but it was available at my local auto parts store. Kind of expensive. I think it was about $25.00 for a single application.
     
  9. faawrenchbndr

    faawrenchbndr DirtyThirty fan CLM

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    Like others have stated,.......either leaking or burning it.
    A quart a day is a BIG loss! How many miles are diven daily?
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  10. Eric

    Eric Big Giant Head Staff Member Admin Silver Member

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    You need to pressure test the cooling system. Pressure testers can be rented/borrowed at Autozone, or purchased inexpensively. The tester attaches where the radiator cap goes and you pump it up, to pressurize your cooling system to operating pressure. Then you can look for the leak. You might also add a UV dye, to help spot where the leak is.

    Barring that, a cylinder leakage test is a bit more involved, but it can tell if you have any leaks out of any of your cylinders. Eric
     
  11. jakebrake

    jakebrake cracker

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    betting you either have a crack in the head, or one of the rings in your head gasket.

    easest way to prove it, is take it to a shop, and have them put the probe for the emmissions machine in your radiator under the cap. it will sniff out hydrocarbons.
     
  12. JohnBT

    JohnBT NRA Benefactor

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    Disappearing quarts of coolant always reminds me of the brand new '87 Camry LE 4-cyl my wife drove. Turned out the dealer knew what was up - the water pump had what the dealer called a "weep hole" for overpressure situations and many of the pumps were defective. It only dripped when it was running and hot. They replaced the pump for free and that took care of the problem.

    Whew, I was concerned a month-old car was a major lemon. As it turned out it ran for more than 20 years for the next owner.
     
  13. LEO/Dad

    LEO/Dad Navy Veteran

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    HVAC guys use these also, if you know any. Ritchie makes several models.
     
  14. ray9898

    ray9898

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    Pressure test with UV additive.
     
  15. xtreme99

    xtreme99 What's a Glock?

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    This. We can give possibilities all day long, but the reality is, there are just too many possibilities. Pressure test, find leak, fix, and be done.

    Sent from my SGH-T999 using Tapatalk 2
     
  16. larry_minn

    larry_minn Silver Member Millennium Member

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    I would say a ATV engine, car engine are not same size hoses/ports/pumps....
    IMO adding "liquid patch/sealer/etc into fluid is last resort. Often when you decide repair cost is higher then unit is worth.
    I have a OLD tractor. Was leaking coolent. I decided I did NOT want to spend $$$ on. So put in "sodder seal" and it has held up for couple yrs.
    So find leak, fix, but if not worth it THEN consider this option.
     
  17. Glockdude1

    Glockdude1 Federal Member CLM

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    How old is the radiator?

    My wifes Town & Country had a problem like yours. Turned out the radiator had a hair line crack. It was spraying fluid towards the exhaust, burning it off just enough not to make smoke.

    :cool:
     
  18. Detectorist

    Detectorist

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    The pressure test option makes sense. Will do it tomorrow.

    Radiator and hoses are about a year old, as is the intake manifold gasket.

    Hopefully, the pressure test will reveal if there is a leak which is fixable.

    Thanks for all the advice, guys..
     
  19. elsolo

    elsolo

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    What happened a year ago that resulted in the replacement of the radiator, radiator hoses, and intake gaskets?
     
  20. Detectorist

    Detectorist

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    Coolant was leaking from the intake manifold.

    Then a few months later, the radiator exploded. There was a jagged hole on its side about the size of my fist. Original plastic radiator. Decided to change the hoses, too.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013