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Coolant level keeps disappearing and not leaking?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by buddy67, Dec 5, 2006.

  1. buddy67

    buddy67 Registered Member

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    the coolant level was full the night before and the next time i drive it, its gone. The temp keeps goin way up to 260+ then drops within a second to lower than 210. There is absolutely no fluid on the ground and I just added a gallon to it last time I drove it. The oil level is slightly more than full but not a lot so I do not think its mixing. I have had a huge number of problems this past week and now this one is the only one I am not good at fixing. The cap was cold after my 6 minute drive up hill back to my apartment. If the thermostate is bad what could that have to do with constant loss of coolant. so much that i added alomst a gallon of water to get home. Thanks a lot.

    -Buddy
     
  2. pauly383

    pauly383 Daddy383 Staff Member Moderator

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    Its cheap enough to replace the thermostat anyway .
     
  3. 4X4HIGH

    4X4HIGH 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Coolant loss is either from leaking or burning it. It could be leaking only while you're driving which is very hard to find. Is it smoking out the tailpipe? Is the oil milky looking?
     
  4. big dan

    big dan 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    yeah I would check to see if there is white smoke coming out and even look for water dripping from the tailpipe. you could even pull the spark plugs and see if there is any water in the cylinders. once my thermostat stuck and it got up to 260 and blew my head gaskets. had another friend that was losing water and couldnt find out where it was going so I pulled his plugs and drained about a gallon out of two cylinders.
     
  5. buddy67

    buddy67 Registered Member

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    The oil is good. nice and light clear brown. i do have condensation coming out of the exhaust. I noticed how bad it was yesterday. I just put plugs on the passanger side kos one of them was fried. I will pull the plugs and see if there is water in there next. The smoke out of the tail pipe looks like its just warmin up to me. its 30 degrees out here so it looks like condensation, but come to think of it, i was out takin a spin to advanced auto to see if they had a timing gun, but there was a little white smoke still following me at the light. i only saw it in the headlights of the guy behind me real faint. So, I will pull the plugs and check for fluid. If there is none, I will let you know. Thanks a lot for the help.
     
  6. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    also, if you were at some point before you started adding coolant, if you were VERY low on coolant, it could have been low in your engine block. then you filled the radiator. after you drove it, when your engine got warm, the thermostat opened, allowing coolant back into the block. the next time you looked to see how your coolant was, the coolant was again very low in the radiator because you had partially filled your engine block w/ the last gallon you put in. the cycle could continue until you get all the air out of your engine block, or you could take the cap off of your radiator, run your engine till warm and add fluid as needed. just another option to check if there's no fluid when ou check the plugs.
     
  7. blazersnburban

    blazersnburban Registered Member

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    try taking your radiator cap off and starting the truck....don't goose it or you'll cause a geiser underhood
    hop out go look in your radiator for air bubbles bubbling up to the top of the coolant...bad head gasket if, you have a pretty good amount of air bubbling in there.
     
  8. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    unless theres air already trapped in the engine block getting pumped out.
     
  9. buddy67

    buddy67 Registered Member

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    Aside from not gettin her to start, the coolant came out of the radiator as I was cranking. I had the cap off. It was full since I did not run it yesterday. I guess cranking is no different than runnin so I just might be screwed with a gasket leak. There seems to be a little antifreeze remnants on the overflow hose. Its not dripping off but its definetely coating the hose. I think I am just going to get a new cap and thermostat anyways. I just hope ther is air in there still.
     
  10. 4X4HIGH

    4X4HIGH 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    If you pulled the radiator cap and cranked the engine and water shot out of the radiator you definately have a blown head gasket.
     
  11. buddy67

    buddy67 Registered Member

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    Thanks for all the help. I will let you know what happens. I believe its a pinhole crack in the gasket since the coolant is not mixing with the oil. I just have a small steam locomotive coming out of the tailpipes. I am pulling spark plugs this weekend when I have time to find the leak in the cylinders. Then, I have to replace it in the 27 degree cold with 2 buddies. I am looking into renting a space at the local Army National Guard's garage. I hear they rent space out so you can store things or work on projects, they even let you use thier tools. Thanks again for all the advice.
     
  12. 3 on the tree

    3 on the tree 1/2 ton status

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    Remove rad cap
    Remove sparkplugs
    Pressurize each cylinder with air, and watch inside the rad for massive bubbles.
    You can blow a headgasket without getting water in the oil
    Smell the exhaust. If you are leaking coolant into the cylinders, the exhaust will have a sweet smell/taste to it.
     
  13. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    spark plugs look like??..

    Nearly every engine I've pulled heads on to replace the gaskets, had spark plugs that were perfectly clean, and free of any deposits in the leaky cylinder--some even had a tell tale green drop of coolant on the center electrode...so you can most likely tell which cylinder the gasket is leaking into that way..:crazy:
     
  14. buddy67

    buddy67 Registered Member

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    I cant seem to win. Now I have overheating and antifreeze all over the ground once it heats up. I just filled the rad. and was going to take a mile a away to get a sniffer hooked up when it overheated and I got out and there is antifreeze dripping. I tried to find out where from and I seriously think its from the overflow bottle. I do not see anything coming from the lower hose other than its wet from wherever it is coming from. The overflow bottle has a spout on it and its right above the lower hose, so I opened it and it was almost completely full. Again, the level was low in the radiator so I topped it off again and finally made it home. She is only leaking under pressure since it stops, and I can not pin point it. Its on the driver's side though which leads me to think its the overflow bottle shooting coolant out the spout on top of the bottle. Pulling plugs this afternoon. Thanks again
     
  15. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Another way to test..

    Some shops that give inspection stickers here use the "sniffer" to detect head gasket leaks--hold the probe over the radiator cap opening with the cap off and engine running--any unburned hydrocarbons showing up in the coolant will be detected..

    Of course,if your head gasket is badly leaking compression into the coolant,its likely the water will just GUSH out of the radiator,with the cap off!..then you can cancel the rest of the tests..:doah: --I've seen radiators,hoses,and overflow tanks get pressurized to the point of rupture more than once..good luck with your dilema..:crazy:
     
  16. buddy67

    buddy67 Registered Member

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    I just put a new thermostat, upper and lower hoses, and a cap on her and she still heats up, however, when she is idle the temp tops out around 210 (probably 195 since the thermostat opens) then stays there which I expect. Then she is all warmed up for about 8 minutes now, so I put her in gear and take her down the road and not a 1/4 mile she is redline at 260+. I really cannot imagine that the head gaskets are blown if she is overheating that fast. The only other thing it could be is the Water Pump. It is not loose or show any leaks, but perhapes the insides are bad. Maybe it is not circulating the coolant leading to a hight temp. Think this could be it??? If the gasket was blown, it would still use up all the coolant before it would heat up right? I still have coolant when it overheats, but it does fart the coolant onto the ground only when the temp hits 260+ from the overflow bottle. Let me know if you have heard of this problem ever happening. I just dont want to have to pull heads off and fine nothing wrong. But I will get her sniffed out if I can keep it cool enough to take it 1/4 mile down the road to the shop. Thanks a lot.
     
  17. beater_k20

    beater_k20 Banned

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    you really need to get the cooling system pressure checked. that will tell you if you have a leak or not. and if its external, and you're just overlooking it, it will be painfully obvious where its at.
     
  18. ZooMad75

    ZooMad75 1/2 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Quick dumb question..Is the floor in front of the passenger side front seat wet? Does the glass seem to fog on the inside up easier than normal?

    If you say yes to either, you probably have a leaking heater core. It could be leaking inside the box and dribbling on your carpet/floormat. Loose enough coolant through the core and it could still run hot due to the loss. Sounds like you need to find somebody with a pressure tester for the the cooling system. Rent one from autozone if you can't find a buddy with one. Run the system up to 20 psi and watch the needle for pressure loss. If the system won't hold pressure, you should be able to find the leak then.
     
  19. big dan

    big dan 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    when my head gaskets blew my truck would heat up like that too. I guess it was the pressure built up cause when it would heat up I would pull over and take off the cap. I usually got a good antifreeze bath but after I let the pressure off and started it, the temp would go down, filled up the radiator and it was good till it cooled off or burned up too much coolant, then I would have to go through the same process.
     
  20. buddy67

    buddy67 Registered Member

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    Thanks for the advice. What are the chances I did some block or head damage? I know the 400's are known for blowing head gaskets. The engine is too large some say for being a small block. I am getting it towed back to Pittsburgh from State College to pull the heads and send them off to be checked. I will pressure check the system first of course. I think this is a good chance to replace gaskets and make sure everything is in good shape. Just runnin out of dough fast! What ever happens, I will post it here in January. Thanks for the help. -Buddy Lyman
     

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