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Old 03-01-2011, 07:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Mysterious Coolant Leak

I have a 2002 Vulcan with 140,000 miles. It has developed a coolant leak that I can't seem to find. It is in the vacinity of the water pump, but when I go looking for the leak, I don't see any evidence on or around the pump. I've been putting a drip pan under the car at night and some times I get some coolant in the pan and other times I don't get any coolant. The other day my son was driving the car when enough coolant escaped to cause the serpentine belt to slip. Unfortunately, my son has a 35 mile one-way commute to work and by the time I could examine the car, I couldn't find any leak. The only coolant I found was a very small amount on the connector for the crankshaft sensor and on the coolant hose going to the top of the expansion tank.

The water pump is the original and I have Bars Leak tablets in the cooling system.

Any thoughts as to the leak?
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Old 03-01-2011, 08:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Check the expansion tank for a crack. That's what it sounds like to me.
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Old 03-02-2011, 08:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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^^^^^ +1!
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Old 03-02-2011, 09:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The degauss tanks are known to fail often, even more so for the Dorman replacements you will get from all the auto parts stores. I just replaced mine within the last year and my coolant leaks went away and now i have full pressure in my system again.

If you do go replacing the degauss tank make sure to get a Motorcraft from the dealer as they will save you in the long run because they will last as long as 3-4 Dorman tanks.
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Old 03-02-2011, 05:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Instead of making a new post with the same problem ill add onto this one. My leak is somewhere in front of the front right tire by the headlight. It only seems to leak after ive drove the car around for a little while and then just let it sit. I took my taurus to a mechanic for a pressure test and after 30 minutes the only lost half a psi and they said one small drip from the water pump. Now im going to replace the water pump soon anyways after 123k miles it hasnt been replaced and i think thats why im not getting any heat inside. But anyways when i check the coolant when its cold its only a few inches above the bottom of the tank but when i check the coolant when the engine is still warm the coolant is near the top in the recommend zone for when the engine and coolant should be cold. Could it be the tank also?
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex_white8706 View Post
Instead of making a new post with the same problem ill add onto this one. My leak is somewhere in front of the front right tire by the headlight. It only seems to leak after ive drove the car around for a little while and then just let it sit. I took my taurus to a mechanic for a pressure test and after 30 minutes the only lost half a psi and they said one small drip from the water pump. Now im going to replace the water pump soon anyways after 123k miles it hasnt been replaced and i think thats why im not getting any heat inside. But anyways when i check the coolant when its cold its only a few inches above the bottom of the tank but when i check the coolant when the engine is still warm the coolant is near the top in the recommend zone for when the engine and coolant should be cold. Could it be the tank also?
You likely have a clogged heater core. The tank might be leaking, I would check the bottom of it for cracks, if you live in the rust belt, I would consider drilling the nut off that goes over the tire, the sheet metal won't stop it from turning while you loosen it. Replace the bolt. The water pumps tend to rot their impellers off, so that's another possible reason for the lack of heat, though the rotten impeller bits usually end up plugging the heater core.

There's also several hoses that go around that area, including the lower rad hose. You might want to consider checking the back plumbing for the heater core as well, it's made of steel and tends to rust out and cause slow leaks.
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by JW657 View Post
You likely have a clogged heater core. The tank might be leaking, I would check the bottom of it for cracks, if you live in the rust belt, I would consider drilling the nut off that goes over the tire, the sheet metal won't stop it from turning while you loosen it. Replace the bolt. The water pumps tend to rot their impellers off, so that's another possible reason for the lack of heat, though the rotten impeller bits usually end up plugging the heater core.

There's also several hoses that go around that area, including the lower rad hose. You might want to consider checking the back plumbing for the heater core as well, it's made of steel and tends to rust out and cause slow leaks.
I just replaced the heater core no more than a month ago. the one old wasnt clogged which lead me the think it was the water pump losing its impellers and not pumping enough coolant to the heater core. cause i do get some heat, but not much.

I checked the hoses when i replaced my core and they all seemed fine. ill check the tank and the lower radiator hose but if the leak was coming from one of those wouldn't the pressure test fail?
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Old 03-02-2011, 07:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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^ First thought i had when you described your leak location was water pump.
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Old 03-02-2011, 08:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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^ First thought i had when you described your leak location was water pump.
Thats what im thinking.. which is something i know i can replace myself. i just hope its not the timing cover gasket..
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Old 03-03-2011, 07:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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haha so many of us have coolant leaks. Mines due to a bad freeze plug though. now i have to figure out how to change that, but it doesnt look too hard. so, i guess if you cant find the leak, make sure you check your freeze plugs? thats the only advice ive got.
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