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Eating Coolant After Maintenance? Please help troubleshoot

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Old 05-22-2013, 10:39 PM   #1
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Eating Coolant After Maintenance? Please help troubleshoot

So my truck was running fine no problems...I decided to do a tune up:

AFE air filter
MAF cleaning
Spark plugs
Oil change
Differential / transfer case fluid swap
Intake system cleaning (3M kit)

Everything seemed normal...I did all the work myself..I'm mechanically inclined...

Well shorty after I ate the entire reservoir of coolant. I just so happened to be doing coolant swap the day I noticed it was on empty. I flushed the system according to manual and filled it back up. Now after a tank of gas it's back down to empty. WTF?

No overheating, no smoking, but tail pipe seems to collect a lot of moisture...no obvious leaks anywhere. Possible headgasket leak?

Please help troubleshoot.
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:27 PM   #2
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Bump
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:09 PM   #3
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Top up and see if it drops again? Could be simply not full after the swap. I don't see how any of the previous maintenance would cause coolant use.

Are you sure your coolant was full before the maintenance?
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:00 PM   #4
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Yeah, it probably wasn't all the way filled up. It sucks the reservoir fluid into the radiator when it cools down.

Is the radiator all the way full when you take the cap off. If the headgasket was blown, there would probably not be enough vacuum in the system to suck in the reservoir fluid after it cools down.
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Old 05-24-2013, 02:42 PM   #5
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I topped it off and it's still draining the reservoir. There's no leaks outside the engine which is why I think it may be the head gasket. No over heating no leaks. About 1 reservoir per gas of tank. Wtf?
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Old 05-24-2013, 02:50 PM   #6
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Check the oil. Is it clean or milky? Could be the head gasket.

Most likely a pinhole in the rad from a rock. Could be a loose hose connection

A good go over with a flashlight should find a damp spot where it's leaking.
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Old 05-24-2013, 03:01 PM   #7
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Swapping the oil out to energy conserving next week. I'll check to see if it's milky. The coolant looked a little milky when I popped off the radiator cap...but that could just be me and it's hard to tell from just that little bit.
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Old 05-24-2013, 03:06 PM   #8
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Would a pressure test determine if there is a leak even if its pin size.
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Old 05-24-2013, 03:08 PM   #9
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from what I understood the overflow is just that over flow only, I thought there was no way vaccum could be created to pull it back in to the radiator? am I wrong?
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Old 05-24-2013, 03:13 PM   #10
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Am I correct in understanding you flushed the radiator? Have you noticed any gurgling noises while driving? Our heater hoses enter the truck right in front of the drivers position. So any gurgling would sound like it is coming from under the dash right in front if you. Have you noticed any sharp fluctuations in the temp gauge? Like one moment it's normal and the next it's really hot?

Did you burp the system? Meaning did you run the truck (parked) until hot with the cap off and the inside heater on "hot" with the blower on full blast? Once it is hot, still with the above suggestions, increase RPM's slowly to force the water pump to send any air pockets through and purge them out the open cap. Keep adding coolant to the radiator until its brimful, if it burps out air, it will need more coolant to replace the air. Only after all the air is purged, then top off overflow tank to proper level.
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Old 05-24-2013, 04:01 PM   #11
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Yep. Pressure test will determine a leak. Rad shops will generally do it for free.
Clean your oil cap off good right now, so you can tell if any new foam builds up.
You should be able to just pull the dipstick and look at the film on it to see if its nice and clear.
Sometimes if the head gasket leaks .. Depending if the block side or coolant side you'll see oily film in the reservoir
The one vehicle I had a leaky head gasket, the Coolant went down, the reservoir had oily film, the oil was milky, and the oil cap had lots of white gunk on it.
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowzerdoo77 View Post
from what I understood the overflow is just that over flow only, I thought there was no way vaccum could be created to pull it back in to the radiator? am I wrong?

Lots of good advice given so far. As to your specific question, yes, vacuum can be generated of a sort. Whenever anything heats up, it expands. Coolant is no different. As it expands slightly, that fluid will push past the radiator cap, spilling into the overflow. As the engine cools, the coolant cools and contracts. This contraction will create a vacuum that will pull some fluid from the overflow back into the system.

As for the excessive loss of coolant the OP is experiencing, I agree that a pressure test would be the best, and easiest method to look for a potential leak.
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Old 05-25-2013, 01:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowzerdoo77 View Post
from what I understood the overflow is just that over flow only, I thought there was no way vaccum could be created to pull it back in to the radiator? am I wrong?
If you look at the underside of the radiator cap, you will notice a big spring that holds a rubber seal. When the pressure is enough, the spring allows the coolant to go through the hole in the side of the radiator neck that leads to the reservoir.

Then when coolant cools and contracts, the only place it should pull from is the reservoir. But, if there is a hole somewhere else it will pull in air, and the level in your radiator will be well below the cap even if the reservoir has coolant in it.

Sometimes the crimps along the top of the radiator leak very slightly and ruin the pressure in the cooling system. It can be hard to see.
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Old 05-25-2013, 01:07 PM   #14
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So not 100% clear yet but now the coolant stopped dropping. Either I was so bad at filling the coolant and got lots of air in the system. Or my Taco knew I was on this board and about to do some major surgery on it and decided to stop acting up.
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Old 05-25-2013, 01:21 PM   #15
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I just had to have my radiator fixed and refilled and experienced the same thing. Must not be able to fill itself all the way up just through the regular cap, and has to draw some out of the reservoir.
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Old 05-25-2013, 01:36 PM   #16
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Yeah, I think it takes time to fill up all the little voids in the system. Don't forget to run the heater when flushing and filling too.
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:45 PM   #17
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I think mine is a combo of draining coolant from all 3 plugs and not letting it burp air long enough. Was in a rush to get off the rack and to a hot date lol.
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:53 PM   #18
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Would still do a pressure check just to be on the safe side. Mine came back good on a pressure check but seeping coolant very slowly on the outside. This was on a 3.4. Engine info on yours would be nice.
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Old 05-25-2013, 04:16 PM   #20
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Lol you recommended a pressure test yet admitted your pressure test was a wrong. I know what you meant but sounded funny.

I have the 4.0L

I only added 2 gallons total (1.9) I initially. I think factory capacity is like 2.5 gallons but that's if you were able to drain every last bit.
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