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Old 12-17-2010, 09:24 AM   #1
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Dealer cant figure out whats wrong.

Our 2001 Camry has started to leak coolant, and we've taken it to the dealership 3 times now. They pressure tested it and couldn't find a leak. I know I wasn't crazy, so I had to physically take them out there and move the car for them to show them that a puddle had formed. So they take it back in and call me later and tell me that the radiator needs to be replaced.

They replace it, I take it home, and put it in the garage. 3 Days later, I open the hood and coolant levels are low again (1/4 tank left). They had fill it to the top when I took it home. Now they want me to bring it back in, but I don't have time to keep doing this. Anyone have any ideas?
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Old 12-17-2010, 09:27 AM   #2
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They might have had some air in the system when they filled and as you drove it home it worked it's way out. Also sometimes on the plastic tank / aluminum core radiators teh seal between the tank and the core will seep when the car is cold (or more noticeable in real cold weather) and seal up when the radiator gets warmed up.

That's a tough one to crack.
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Old 12-17-2010, 09:30 AM   #3
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Check for a leak in the coolant recovery tank,or
the hose connecting the radiator to the recovery tank.

A leak in the tank or hose won't show up in a radiator pressure
test.
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Old 12-17-2010, 09:34 AM   #4
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Good thinking Warped - I should have thought of that too...
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Old 12-17-2010, 10:40 AM   #5
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sounds like a simple case of whoever is looking at the car doesn't know what they're doing. Tell the dealership you want a different tech to look at it.
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:13 AM   #6
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Ask to speak to the service mgr. KILL THEM WITH KINDNESS. They are not used to this. Ask him/her that you would like the master tech to take a look at it. Sometimes simple jobs are given to simple people. "Someone has to make the fries"
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:23 AM   #7
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Kind of what warped said, how do the hoses look? Look for the connection to the engine as a starting spot. Check for bulges or hardening hoses. I had a similar issue on my Honda - touched the hose and it disintegrated.

Feel the rest of the hose for softness, bulging, weatherization - it might be sweating off your coolant.
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:49 AM   #8
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leak

I had one of the original HOSE CLAMPS give way. Looked fine-was rusted thru on the bottom-only leaked when warmed up. Radiator hose clamp--would be my first look. see if you can move the hoses or pull them loose.
OF COURSE NOT WHILE THEY ARE HOT!!!!!!
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Old 12-17-2010, 12:14 PM   #9
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Reads like some of the trapped air pockets bled out, which is usually the case when you change a radiator. Coolant level should be left at about 1-2 inches below the radiator cap for fluid expansion,,but no inside core showing/exposed.
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Old 12-17-2010, 12:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mod View Post
Coolant level should be left at about 1-2 inches below the radiator cap for fluid expansion,,but no inside core showing/exposed.
That is true of older vehicles that don't have a coolant recovery tank.

Vehicles with a recovery tank(most all newer vehicles)should have the radiator completely filled.
The recovery tank provides the expansion space.
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Old 12-17-2010, 01:10 PM   #11
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lol careful, there's another trick to some vehicles as well.

My honda had an air bleeder bolt. Whenever you opened the radiator cap, you had to remember to run the vehicle, turn the bolt to bleed out the air, and tighten the bolt. Otherwise recovery tank does nothing. I seized an engine once because I didn't know about it.
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Old 12-17-2010, 01:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kws129 View Post
They might have had some air in the system when they filled and as you drove it home it worked it's way out. Also sometimes on the plastic tank / aluminum core radiators teh seal between the tank and the core will seep when the car is cold (or more noticeable in real cold weather) and seal up when the radiator gets warmed up.

That's a tough one to crack.
Yup sounds like an air bubble
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Old 12-17-2010, 01:37 PM   #13
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check your oil. head gasket?
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Old 12-17-2010, 06:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Who Dat Popcorn View Post
Our 2001 Camry has started to leak coolant, and we've taken it to the dealership 3 times now. They pressure tested it and couldn't find a leak. I know I wasn't crazy, so I had to physically take them out there and move the car for them to show them that a puddle had formed. So they take it back in and call me later and tell me that the radiator needs to be replaced.

They replace it, I take it home, and put it in the garage. 3 Days later, I open the hood and coolant levels are low again (1/4 tank left). They had fill it to the top when I took it home. Now they want me to bring it back in, but I don't have time to keep doing this. Anyone have any ideas?
Fill it back up yourself with the car completely cold. Fill the radiator, then the overflow bottle. Once you've done that, check it after a couple days. Make sure you check it when the car is completely cold. If it still drops, then either buy a pressure tester and check it yourself for leaks or take it back to the dealer.

I have always had to top off the coolant the day after I have worked on a cooling system. There is always some air in the system and the first time the car heats all the way up, then cools, the radiator will draw coolant out of the overflow bottle.

Don't get excited just yet. I think you're going to be okay. You did not mention seeing coolant on the ground, so it sounds like they have fixed it to me.
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Old 12-17-2010, 09:49 PM   #15
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There is coolant on the ground though.
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:18 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Who Dat Popcorn View Post
There is coolant on the ground though.
Well, all bets are off then.

Tough situation.

Maybe give the service manager a call at the dealership and tell him of the money you spent there to try to fix a problem.

Or,,

Get a 2nd opinion and let that shop know what has transpired with the dealership and see if they can sort it out.
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:22 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Who Dat Popcorn View Post
There is coolant on the ground though.
Whoops! Never mind.

In the past when I've had leaks sometimes they only leak as the car is warming up. Hot enough to build pressure, but not fully warmed up yet.

Maybe drive around the block a few times, then check it.

I have seen leaks found very quickly with a pressure checker that otherwise I could not have found myself.

Of course, the dealer should be using a pressure checker.

Maybe someone knows a good independent mechanic?
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:26 AM   #18
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It's not rocket science either. If you get yourself a nice bright flashlight you should be able to follow the coolant from the puddle on the ground back to where it came from.

Good luck man. I hate when dealerships (sometimes others) seem to lack any interest in actually fixing things.
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:28 AM   #19
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I say take it back. You have already spent the money to have them fix it...like others have said talk to the service manager tell him you have been there 3 times for the same issue and you need to get it resolved. Maybe he will give you a discount... You get more flies with honey then you do vinegar so make sure you are nice. It should be a straight forward diagnosis and repair
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:32 AM   #20
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Best clue would be to go straight up from leak on ground, see where it's coming from. Front of engine? Radiator? Recovery tank? Overflow line? Heater core? Hoses? Block? Freeze plug? Investigate yourself...
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