Losing coolant
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Cadillac Seville / Cadillac Eldorado Forum Discussion, Losing coolant in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; So yesterday I started and moved the car closer to the spigot to be washed, this is about 25 feet ...
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    firstimecaddi's Avatar
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    Losing coolant

    So yesterday I started and moved the car closer to the spigot to be washed, this is about 25 feet . The "Check Coolant Level" warning came on the DIC, so I checked and added as necessary. Before yesterday, the car was last driven on 07/02 by the wife to do errands maybe about 30 miles in total (25mi @55 and 5 town). Anyway today, I take the car out, was on my way to a friend's house, which would have been a drive of about 20 miles one way. I had gotten about 4 miles from home when the "Check Coolant Level" warning came on. I toggled to the temperature reading and it was holding steady at 196F. I pulled over at a gas station another couple miles further up the road. I popped the hood, with engine running and found that there was coolant visible on the transaxle case, not very much though. This happens to be nearby the thermostat/water pump area. I also noticed that the fans were running, when I looked at the temperature display, it read 198F. It is my understanding that the fans kick on at 225F. So I took it back home, popped the hood again to find fans still running, no coolant dripping anywhere and the DIC still reading 198F. I let it sit for about an hour checked the jug and it is empty. Where did the coolant go?

    Light started to fade, so that is as far as I can go for now. Will add coolant tomorrow, put it on the ramps and see what can be seen from underneath. But in the mean time I'd be interested in your thoughts and look forward to any usable advice on offer.

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    Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: Loosing coolant

    The cooling fans also run when the A/C is on. The fact that you saw coolant is a good thing. That means that the leak is external. Now your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to locate that leak.

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    firstimecaddi's Avatar
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    Re: Loosing coolant

    no the A/C was not on. The tip of that piece of overflow hose was wet forgot to mention that in first post.

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    It might be a faulty surge tank cap.

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    Re: Loosing coolant

    OK, i filled the coolant jug ( it took about 3 quarts) and took it out for a 10 mile run to get thins good and warm. The temperature got up to about 194F while on the road. When I got back parked and popped the hood, I observed coolant dripping to the ground, on the left hand side of the car. I got it on the ramps to get a look from underneath, but was not able to pinpoint the source. From underneath, I was also able to get a look at the water pump/thermostat area but no traces of coolant there. Whats else is there in that area of the engine that can spring a leak?

    Fans did not come on today until temperature got up to 223F.

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    Re: Loosing coolant

    Left side? WP housing aka crossover manifold, WP cover gasket or hoses. Where exactly on the left side? Can you rule out the two heater pipes on the back side of the rear head? What side is your surge tank one?

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    Re: Loosing coolant

    224 is fans to SLOW temp setting, no A/C setting used. Fans run all the time when some HVAC setting that calls for compressor operation is set. If the coolant was dripping from the surge tank overflow tube (at the edge of the fill cap neck) then the surge tank was overfilled and normal expansion forced out the excess coolant.

    Once again: NEVER check or adjust coolant levels hot - cold only, halfway up in the surge tank.

    You might want to read the three sticky posts on Northstar cooling and gauges - at the top of the Engines: Northstar Performance threads page.

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    Re: Loosing coolant

    @ SUB...added coolant to cold engine. Coolant is definitely leaking from somewhere other than surge tank.

    The leak is on the driver's side. I carefully checked he thermostat and waterpump area...no leaks or traces of coolant. I even passed my hand there.
    Checked hoses to and from throttle, no leak.
    Check major hoses...good

    But what I find was this: if looking at engine bay from front of car. To the left of the transaxle fill neck, there is a flat surface that is part of the transaxle case. Coolant was "pooling" on this surface , this is the highest point at which I seen coolant. I do not understand how it got there.

    How are the heater pipes accessed?

    Ranger in a previous post you mentioned that it is good that I saw coolant. Why is that?

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    It's good that you saw coolant, because that indicates an external leak, not an internal one (HGs). However, where you're seeing coolant, indicates leaking crossover gaskets. That is NOT good (long, PITA job).

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    Re: Loosing coolant

    Hmmm.. does this engine have the purge line tubes running through the heated throttlebody casting - that's right where coolant would drip on the transmission case top.

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    Re: Loosing coolant

    Hmmm.. does this engine have the purge line tubes running through the heated throttlebody casting
    @ Sub not sure how to answer that question.

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    Re: Loosing coolant

    Had same problem, check lower radiator hose.

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    Re: Losing coolant

    Might sound stupid but... Did you check the clamps that hold the tubes to the surge tank?

    I thought my surge tank was leaking since it was dripping, ended up being the clamp of the lower tube that needed some tightning...

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    Re: Loosing coolant

    Quote Originally Posted by firstimecaddi View Post
    [q]Hmmm.. does this engine have the purge line tubes running through the heated throttlebody casting[/q]

    @ Sub not sure how to answer that question.
    OK - These engines use a purge line in the cooling system: It runs from a high point on the discharge side of the water pump back to the coolant surge tank. It is used to bleed off air and gases in the cooling system in order to prevent coolant aeration and the resulting loss of cooant circulation due to water pump cavitation.

    In the Northstar the purge line runs from a hollow bolt/nipple just next to the water pump cover/thermostat housing to the top side - side - of the surge tank. That line must flow a steady stream of coolant with the engine idling, tank end of the line disconnected and held in the open filler neck, engine idling. If it does not flow, then the line or the hollow bolt/nipple is clogged and must be cleaned out.

    IN SOME MODELS/YEARS the purge line leaves the hollow bolt/nipple and snakes around to a metal tube at the throttlebody - and another metal tube nearby continues the line to the side of the surge tank - the resulting coolant flow through the throttlebody passage heats the bore to prevent icing. That passage may also clog, and you can simply bypass it - don't sweat the icing theory - that aluminum water crossover transfers all the heat the throttlebody needs.

    Surge - in this case, the rise and fall of coolant level due to normal expansion and contraction.
    Serge - a twilled cloth; a fabric used in clothing manufacture.

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    Re: Loosing coolant

    OK in the time between when this thread was first started and now, the car has been mostly sitting idle. I did drive it earlier this week(7/23) about ten miles to take it to a shop to have it looked at. Strange thing though, there was now no leaking/dripping coolant. Neither any pooling of coolant as earlier described. Everything is bone dry. As it happened, the shop was closed and will reopen this week upcoming (7/29). Drove it again today on another 10 mile jaunt, and again no signs of leaks/drips, no messages on the DIC and the temperature stayed in the normal operating range. I know the car cannot fix itself, so I'm really confused now. I cannot drive a car that I cannot trust...not for any extended period of time anyway....so I'm still seeking answers to my original questions.

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