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Coolant Leak


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#1 soulman123

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 04:44 PM

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

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#2 ajt

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 04:54 PM

Have you looked at the oil filler cap?

#3 Stoney871

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 05:04 PM

Have you looked at the oil filler cap?

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.

#4 soulman123

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:05 PM

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 ?

#5 ajt

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:10 PM

Maybe cabin heater matrix?

#6 NorthSussex

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 07:04 PM

Check for a wet carpet, driver and passenger side, it may be the heater matrix or hose feeding the heater.

#7 soulman123

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 11:04 AM

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.



#8 Barry_

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 10:45 AM

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.

#9 soulman123

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 01:04 PM

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

#10 ajt

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 05:25 PM

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!

#11 soulman123

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 07:57 PM

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.

#12 STEADS

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 08:17 PM

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

#13 DaveD

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 08:39 PM

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.

#14 artscot79

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 12:34 AM

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

#15 Barry_

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 07:33 AM

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.

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