Losing coolant

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by mowerbrad, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    My current truck (the one I will soon be getting rid of) is starting to lose coolant over a rather short period of time. For the past few years I've had to add coolant about 1 or maybe 2 times a year, never really thought anything of it as it wasn't that often that I would have to add some. Well, I just added coolant back in mid-January when my "low coolant" light came on. And just yesterday my "low coolant" light came on again! I just added coolant 2 months ago and now I had to again?!

    I can't see any leaks on my garage floor and it doesn't appear to be leaking while the truck is parked. I have a feeling that this will be a fairly expensive repair.

    Anyone have any idea if this actually will be an expensive repair or what might be the problem?
  2. ranger350

    ranger350 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 105

    could do an oil analysis to check for coolant in the oil. Otherwise its probably a minor leak. Check all the hose connections, especially if they use spring clamps as opposed to a gear clamp or other positive clamping device.
  3. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    I'm thinking that the coolant is going into the oil, that was my first guess. I checked the hoses that I could see/reach easily and couldn't find any "wet" spots or areas that appeared to be leaking.

    Any idea what the repair would cost me if the coolant was getting into the oil?
  4. ranger350

    ranger350 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 105

  5. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    Well that doesn't make me feel good...I'll have to try one of the "tests" they mentioned in that article, at least it will give me an idea if I have that problem or not.
  6. scaglawnsnj

    scaglawnsnj LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Messages: 435

    I had the same problem in my 6.0 liter gas chevrolet engine. coolant was leaking rather quickly. Come to find out my water pump was on the way out.
    When the water pump bearings start going, there is a pisser under the pump.
    it leaks out. I just kept filling the coolant. but one day there was a nasty squeaky noise. changed the belts, sprayed all kinds of belt crap. Guess what water pump shot. the truck didn't't even over heat. i dont know.. that was my issue. I recommend taking off the belt. On the water pump clutch fan, see if it has play. if so it's shot. I can almost bet it the water pump. go ask the advanced auto guys. they will tell you the same thing, about newer truck water pumps. they piss out fluid slowly to forcast water pump damage..
    hope this helps

    Also had problems like you stated above a year prior. coolant was leakin slowly.had to put a little in twice a year. then more. then on day that happen above
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
  7. scaglawnsnj

    scaglawnsnj LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Messages: 435

    If the coolant was in your oil. you woud know just by pulling the dip stick.
    The oil would look milky.
  8. bls47303

    bls47303 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 354

    may be a head gasket and your burning it off
  9. rlitman

    rlitman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,714

    And you'd have a mayonnaise like goo on the bottom of the oil cap, and might be blowing lots of white smoke out the tailpipe.
    All three of these things though, can happen in an engine that gets water in the oil through condensation too, and I've had a dealer try to tell me these were signs of a blown head gasket, when it turned out to be a bad radiator, and a vehicle only driven on short around-town trips (which don't get the oil hot enough to boil off the water).

    Coolant leaks can be tricky. You may have more than one (very common). Often, the system only leaks under pressure, so if you fix one leak, the pressure goes higher, and new leaks appear.

    I'd get a radiator pressure test kit. They run about $80+. It replaces your radiator cap, when the engine is off and cold. You use a small included pump, to raise the pressure up to operating pressure (this can vary depending on the vehicle), and that may make the leak appear. Pump it too high, and you can damage things.

    Check the easy things first. Heater hoses, radiator hoses, thermostat gasket, and radiator end caps. After that, there's the heater core ($$), head gasket ($$$), and radiator ($-$$).
  10. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    To check for coolant in your oil take a taste test I'am not kidding. Take a little dap of the dipstick and on your tounge. If you taste a sweet taste you have traces of coolant in the oil. Coolant in the oil wipes out bearing so if you do have coolant in the oil the rod and crank bearings are the first ones to be wiped and then the cam bearings.

    The best way to find coolant leaks is put dye in the coolant and use a black light. You will have to find a shop that does that it will also show up in your oil if you have a coolant leak.

    The 6.5 engines are junk they have lots of problems I'am surprised you haven't snapped a crank shaft yet.

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