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Old 12-13-2010, 02:14 PM   #1
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coolant loss

Hello, I usually don't post but I am at a loss.

I have a mysterious (to me) coolant loss. No visible leak, no puddle, nothing out the tailpipe, no antifreeze smell, no nothing..... except I need to put coolant in about once a week or so.

I had the radiator replaced about 2 or three months ago. Passed coolant system pressure test done at that time after the replacement.

There is no chocolate milk/caramel color to the oil when I look on the dipstick, the oil looks fine when I change it. There is that chocolate milk/caramel looking oil in the top of the oil filler cap. The technician at firestone said that was common on jeeps?

My Jeep runs and drives fine, no power loss, no smoke, it does not get hot unless I am low on coolant, when ever the temp rises above it's normal operating temp, I check the coolant level and add antifreeze.

Obviously with the color of the oil under the filler cap, I would think head or head gasket, but it passed a pressure test. Would I also need to have a block test performed?

Any ideas or suggestions are much appreciated

oh forgot to say, 2000 tj sport, 4.0 manual trans, it's my daily driver.

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Old 12-13-2010, 02:22 PM   #2
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I lose a little bit and have to put some in every once in a while in my 99 TJ Sport 4.0 ... It's strange.

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Old 12-13-2010, 02:32 PM   #3
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coolant system pressure test doesn't really mean anything.

I know this because I recently had the same problem you are describing on another vehicle. I suspected the water pump and dropped it off to have it checked. They stated it was my radiator, so I replaced that.

weeks later, you guessed it, low coolant. I add more, two weeks later, low coolant.

I had it pressure tested (again) no leaks found.

I got a cardboard box, pulled it apart to make one large sheet of cardboard.

Then I drove the vehicle around like usual.
When I got home, I left the vehicle running in park and placed the cardboard sheet under the engine area to see what all leaked. found it, and yes, it was the water pump.

In your case, it could be a simple hose connection or something since the radiator was replaced.

But whatever the case, a pressure test would not show it up in mine. even starting the engine, letting it warn up just sitting there, or even driving it down the road with the heater or AC running to warm it up, it would never leak. Only leaked after typical driving.

I'm not sure what a pressure test can find, I thought everything had to be warm to open up the thermostat, then everything would be flowing. At least, that's what I found in my case.

Fluids going somewhere, a good place to look is around all the hoses, especially check the weep hole of the water pump. I'll be willing to bet that's your trouble spot.
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Old 12-13-2010, 02:44 PM   #4
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I'll try putting the cardboard underneath it to see if I can find the leak, I kinduv suspect the water pump (it's the original water pump), but is it leaking so slowly nothing is really detectable? I should probable just replace it just to rule it out.

the thing that concerns me is the oil under the filler cap being discolored, otherwise I would just chalk it up to a really slow external leak.
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Old 12-13-2010, 05:35 PM   #5
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The wifes truck has the milky film under the cap from time to time. I live in Louisiana so I figure it's condensation from the humidity. Had the truck 5 years and never lost a drop of coolant between annual flushes.
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Old 12-13-2010, 06:46 PM   #6
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Take a picture of the filler cap and post it here.
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Old 12-13-2010, 07:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sterling5 View Post
I'll try putting the cardboard underneath it to see if I can find the leak, I kinduv suspect the water pump (it's the original water pump), but is it leaking so slowly nothing is really detectable? I should probable just replace it just to rule it out.

the thing that concerns me is the oil under the filler cap being discolored, otherwise I would just chalk it up to a really slow external leak.
Is your oil level staying the same? If it's on the rise, then that would explain the coolant loss.
Your coolant loss may be temperature related, perhaps when heating up but not when hot, for example.
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Old 12-13-2010, 07:43 PM   #8
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Ok I'll post a pic of the filler cap tomorrow, I'm at work right now ....

As far as the oil level goes it's just below the full mark. I have been keeping an eye on it to see if it seems to be overfull or have that milky look to it, but it still looks fine.
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Old 12-14-2010, 09:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sterling5 View Post
I'll try putting the cardboard underneath it to see if I can find the leak, I kinduv suspect the water pump (it's the original water pump), but is it leaking so slowly nothing is really detectable? I should probable just replace it just to rule it out.

the thing that concerns me is the oil under the filler cap being discolored, otherwise I would just chalk it up to a really slow external leak.
If it's the weep hole (or whatever they call it), then it would be a very slow leak. A drop every few minutes, give or take. Over a few weeks, those drops can add up to half a gallon or so quickly.

same with the hoses and where they connect.

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