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soulman123
Ford focus 04 1.8 petrol 50k

Seems I have a coolant leak. I have just topped up, its been about 3/4 weeks (I know bit long in between checks) but have discovered the coolant was just below the minimum line, no warning lights came on though.

So I have topped it up and will keep and eye on it. I have had it running and have been watching for leaks and can see none. I have checked the hoses from the coolant tank to the radiator, thermostat and see no signs of leaks either usually a white residue. What I can't see is if its a radiator leaking. Although it wasn't up to temp when I just looked.

Any ideas of what I can do to hunt this leak down. Usually they are obvious and I can see signs of it and visually see the leak.

Thanks
ajt
Have you looked at the oil filler cap?
Stoney871
[quote name='ajt' timestamp='1334335447' post='177462']
Have you looked at the oil filler cap?
[/quote]
Very valid point, check to see if there is any foam at the cap, if so you have a damaged head gasket.
If not, then a leaking seal, radiator, coolant pipes or at the very worst case - a cracked block.
Stick cardboard under the car to see if you can find a leak location.
soulman123
Wonders back to the car, hehe my neighbours must think I have Focus OCD :)

Ok I had a check no foam thankfully on the oil filler cap. So I guess the cuplrpit lies else where.

I'll start by leaving some car underneath overnight and seeing if that helps me locate the leak.

I just wanted to ask incase this is a contributary factor if using the heating can cause the coolant to drop as in the last month it has been used quite a bit during the colder periods ?

Thanks for the help, very grateful as always.

edit:

Is it possible to be the common fault on the thermostat housing leaking from distortion ?
ajt
Maybe cabin heater matrix?
NorthSussex
[color=#0000ff][size=5][font=comic sans ms,cursive]Check for a wet carpet, driver and passenger side, it may be the heater matrix or hose feeding the heater.[/font][/size][/color]
soulman123
Hey all

Im not sure how to check the heater matrix, or where it even is ? Behind the heater switch panel ?

Carpets are dry both sides.

I put some cardboard under over night and there was nit a drop on it. Also the level has remained the same.

I drove around 20 miles this morning and it has remained exactly as I filled it.

I'll keep a close eye on it over the week to see how it goes.

I was going to take the thermostat/housing off to see if it is warped or seals are shot just to elinate it but its chucking down sadly, just to eliminate it as aoarantly ob searching the forums this can be a cause of slow leaks.

Thanks

Ps forgot to add. I should now figure out how get to this heater matrix dooodah to check the hose. Heating blows hot.

Barry_
I had some fluid level issues like u, and no visable sign of a leak, all coolant hoses were fine and no signs of small dripping or anything and from what I could tell the rad looks ok??

So stuck some radweld in coolant topped it back up and not had an issue since to be honest and been doing a lot of miles to.
soulman123
Today I checked and the coolant is down 5mm using tape marks to keep and eye on it. What's weird is I turned the car on and after 2/3 mins the coolant was back to where I initially filled it. So it hasn't leaked I guess. It has not been driving since yesterday leaving me to believe its leaky when cold or cooling down ? Although I think I have contradicted myself there.

I've had a good look for leaks, hoses, rad, stat, coolant tank, although forgot to check lid seal.

Beats me.

The garage I use last year on anothet vehicle said radweld is bad stuff and gets in to bearings etc but I only hear good about it tbh and might give it a go.

To add I noticed some white spotting on top of the bell housing, coincidently the stat is just about that so that's got me suspect the stat seals and or housing could be the suspect.

Although Haynes manual suggests it could be the coolant pump at fault about I have no movement on the pulley which it Saud to check.

Wondering what to do now, should I just change the stat, seals and housing (do I need to change the stat itself as my engine temp needle is rock solid) or should I change it for got measure whilst its off ?

Does anyone know what the above costs by any chance ?

Thanks for the help guys
ajt
Water expands with increase in temperature and contracts with decrease (obviousl except for 4 degs C, before any one trys to be clever!). If I was you I would just keep an eye on it for a couple more weeks. I would not suggest using rad weld just for the sake of it, I would rather try to find the leak, if there is one!
soulman123
I think that's the best course of action.

Although it is a mystery how the tank emptied in the first place.

I'll keep a close eye on it and post back my findings.
STEADS
[b]Could simply have had an air lock/bubble which has now disapeared would of accounted for a drop in level just keep an eye on it over the next day or two usually check from cold no drop no problem [/b]
DaveD
This fault we had with my sons 1.6 Astra. He was constantly topping it up and no sign of a leek. I went and topped it up and tried to twist all the rubber hoses and there it was a loose heater hose. Tightened it and all ok. It was leaking when under pressure and car travelling on road. Hope this helps. Im not keen on radweld as in the 60s these were used and clogged the radiator up then you had to buy a new rad! Best just to keep an eye on the levels. You could take the car to a garage to do a 'sniffer' test to see if the head gasket is on the way out but I dont think thats the problem. Good luck.
artscot79
the 1.8 has an achiles heel the thermostat housing and seal age makes the thermoplastic and the seal brittle leaks wont be evident till the hot coolant starts flowing.

as you say its hard to spot as the bellhousing is warm take a small plate and place it so its under the thermostat housing after the engines hot and after you switch off the car check every 20mins for an hour if its dry thats not youre culprit
Barry_
You could always use egg yolk lol

Depends were the leak is I suppose, stuff like radweld etc don't damage anything Imho - all this stuff goes through tons of testing. Obviously best to find leak if there is one but if all the obvious places are fine (there would be obvious signs of leakage with stains etc) then its worth a shot. I used to have an Belmont and had to top it up every week without fail, chucked this stuff in and never had to top it up again in the 3 years after before it was scrapped.

More last resort action though.
mjt
So far no-one's suggested a faulty pressure cap as the cause. If the system's not pressurising properly the coolant could be boiling off.
soulman123
Just back from my local ford dealer. Bought a litre of coolant as I have a 200 round trip which I'm dreding.

The parts guy said best thing to do is a pressure test, but said its usually the thermo housing or the water pump. A pressure test is 35 + vat.

I had a look at the cap and the seal is in tact.

He did say if the coolant has been watered down too much it could has evaporated.

He said cheapest thing to do is drain it, refill with 50/50 coolant and water and watch for leaks.

So I guess I will see how it goes this week. He reckons from my description with the white splatter marks on the bellhousing it could be the thermo housing.

Problem is the housing, 2 seals and stat come to 99.53 so the question is after a week of monitoring should I go with a pressure test or change the housing/seals ?

You never know it might not leak again.... Probably wishful thinking lol

Sadly money is a big issue at this moment so I'm wondering what to do at the end of the week. I rely on the car heavily so I need to make sure its tip top :)

ajt
What about sticking a couple of these in the system

[url="http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/GLOWING-FLUORESCENT-DYE-Liquid-Neon-UV-Blacklight-reactive-concentrate-/280839862287?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&var=&hash=item870f3e023e"]http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/GLOWING-FLUORESCENT-DYE-Liquid-Neon-UV-Blacklight-reactive-concentrate-/280839862287?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&var=&hash=item870f3e023e[/url]

And then get a blacklight torch, something like this

[url="http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/UV-Ultra-Violet-Blacklight-9-LED-Flashlight-Torch-Lamp-/251025209310?pt=UK_SportsLeisure_Camping_LightsLanternsTorches&hash=item3a7244b7de"]http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/UV-Ultra-Violet-Blacklight-9-LED-Flashlight-Torch-Lamp-/251025209310?pt=UK_SportsLeisure_Camping_LightsLanternsTorches&hash=item3a7244b7de[/url]

and do your own leak detection.
ajt
Also came across this!

[url="http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mini-Urine-Finder-UV-Black-Light-/150796341974?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Dogs&hash=item231c2992d6"]http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mini-Urine-Finder-UV-Black-Light-/150796341974?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Dogs&hash=item231c2992d6[/url]


Might be a cheaper option than uv dye ;)
Barry_
[quote name='ajt' timestamp='1334608068' post='178008']
Also came across this!

[url="http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mini-Urine-Finder-UV-Black-Light-/150796341974?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Dogs&hash=item231c2992d6"]http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mini-Urine-Finder-UV-Black-Light-/150796341974?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Dogs&hash=item231c2992d6[/url]


Might be a cheaper option than uv dye ;)
[/quote]

Lol
soulman123
[quote name='ajt' timestamp='1334608068' post='178008']
Also came across this!

[url="http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mini-Urine-Finder-UV-Black-Light-/150796341974?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Dogs&hash=item231c2992d6"]http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mini-Urine-Finder-UV-Black-Light-/150796341974?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Dogs&hash=item231c2992d6[/url]


Might be a cheaper option than uv dye ;)
[/quote]

Your taking the wee wee hehe

Just got done with the first leg of my trip 100 miles done. Stopped to check the coolant a couple of times no problems, the return pipe to the tank is returning coolant hapilly. Now its sitting and tomorrow ill see if any is gone.

One odd thing I noticed in the first ten mins of driving was the temp need got about a quarter of the way up then dropped a bit as I slowed down to a slower speed limit then after 15 mins total time it got to 90oc and happily sat there no movement.

I think I have coolant ocd now.

I'm contemplating that urine torch I would never need to buy refil fluids not with the amount of pg tips I drink hehe.

The first post looks good the dye and torch. Cheaper than pressure testing and sounds equally as effective.

I guess you add the dye to the coolant tank, fire it up to temp then shine the iv light at night for max dye effect and await the fellas in the white coats.

I'll order some in the morning. Got to be worth a try. Hopefully this stuff is safe to use in an engine, although I'd flush it after and refill.
Hosam
Hi Soulman ,
i know this is a bit old thread but did you discover the issue in your car , actually i have the same problem , and i went to ford dealer they made a pressure test and they said that everything in the cooling system is OK , so they refilled the radiator water again and told me to test it again and if there is an issue , they should investigate if there is an issue in the engine itself! so actually i think that the dealer guys know nothing about the car and i don't know what to do
dan_st170
i have had this with my st170. First time round the thermostat housing actually cracked so it was easy to find. SO i fitted a new one and it still kept loosing coolant. Yet again thermostat housing was the culprit. A second unit unit later and its now fine. If youve got a thermostat housing with the blanking plug it can sometimes be the seal on the plug letting by a little water and burning off while driving hence you wouldnt normally see it. These can be a few quid on ebay or fords. Look more at the gearbox and just under the housing as that would be where the water would seep from.

The other alternative as most of the others have been mentioned is the expansion bottle itself. Ive heard a few cracking slightly enough to cause a lack in pressure enough for the water to boil off and escape that way.

Euro car parts have a good aftermarket tank avalible.
artscot79
agreed with the above post the pressure cap needs replaced every few years even though the seal looks okay it doesnt mean its holding the pressure
Hosam
The agent finally found out the issue , there was a black plastic screw that was jointing the radiator with something , that screw was cracked and there was a sponge below the radiator that absorbs the leakages that why there were no any sign of leakage
Thanks you guys
soulman123
Apologies I didn't spot your post till now.

I've had a couple of leaks one was the thermostat housing common on the focus, waterpump which you could see weeping from the weep hole with a bright light light, and the last one was a lose bottom hose radiator pipe.

Glad you got the leak sorted they can be a nightmare sometimes to find.



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