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Old 03-18-2015, 11:37 PM
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Cannot find coolant leak

The last month or so I have not been able to consistantly get heat coming out of any vents in my 04. I noticed probably 2 months ago that I was low on coolant(at that time I believe I got heat with no issues) so I topped it off. Now I am low again and on top of that dont get heat half the time. It will warm up for awhile then go cold. Figured a leak somewhere could be the cause of this. Haven't noticed any puddles of coolant and cannot see upon inspection where itd be leaking from. anyone know of any common leaks that TJs have that maybe arent that noticeable and are rather slow leaks?

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Old 03-18-2015, 11:53 PM   #2
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How does your oil look? Does it look like coffee with a lot of cream in it? Check.

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Old 03-19-2015, 12:03 AM   #3
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Nice 1999-era attempt at humor. What a DB...
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Old 03-19-2015, 12:07 AM
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Ill check the oil tomorrow i didnt know it could leak into the oil.

And like I havent tried googling it??? Do you think if I found the answer on google I would post on here??
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Old 03-19-2015, 12:10 AM   #5
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Have you tried a pressure test? that should help you find the leak. I would also check your thermostat it may have failed and locked open that could be the reason for no heat.
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Old 03-19-2015, 12:15 AM
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Have you tried a pressure test? that should help you find the leak. I would also check your thermostat it may have failed and locked open that could be the reason for no heat.
pressure test is next on the list. Going to rent one from Oreilly tomorrow. Could the thermostat still be the problem I do get heat sometimes.
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Old 03-19-2015, 12:20 AM   #7
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If it were me I'd do a full flush of the system. Replace the Tstat- do not use a failsafe thermostat. Hoses and take a good look at the water pump too.
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Old 03-19-2015, 06:33 AM   #8
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Sounds like to me that you are getting the no heat problem when your coolant is low. Is that correct? If so then that is why you are getting little to no heat, and it is common with low coolant levels. I would not replace parts like tstat just because you have no heat and low coolant.

Mine was leaking as well and I couldn't see any leaks. Ended up being the 4 small (7/8") freeze plugs in the head. The coolant would leak from them and pretty much immediately be burnt off by the exhaust manifold. So I never saw leaks or puddles either.
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Old 03-19-2015, 07:35 AM   #9
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A hairline crack in the head can leak coolant into oil gallery which makes coolant level slowly go down and oil level slowly go up and turns oil into a contaminated non lubricating milkshake looking mixture leading to engine failure over time

Most common in poor head design of 2000 and 2001 4.0 engine
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Old 03-19-2015, 12:33 PM
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Sounds like to me that you are getting the no heat problem when your coolant is low. Is that correct? If so then that is why you are getting little to no heat, and it is common with low coolant levels. I would not replace parts like tstat just because you have no heat and low coolant.

Mine was leaking as well and I couldn't see any leaks. Ended up being the 4 small (7/8") freeze plugs in the head. The coolant would leak from them and pretty much immediately be burnt off by the exhaust manifold. So I never saw leaks or puddles either.
Yes. topped off the coolant again today and my heat worked for 15 minutes driving and also another 10 in idle. was looking while the jeep was idling at home under the hood and below the jeep. could not find any leaks. this may be my problem because the coolant is obviously going somewhere, but I could never see a leak.
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Old 03-19-2015, 12:39 PM   #11
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Yes. topped off the coolant again today and my heat worked for 15 minutes driving and also another 10 in idle. was looking while the jeep was idling at home under the hood and below the jeep. could not find any leaks. this may be my problem because the coolant is obviously going somewhere, but I could never see a leak.
look at the exhaust/intake manifolds, right at the top side where they mount to the head are where the freeze plugs are. You will likely see what looks like corrosion in a few areas and if so that is where the leak it. All 4 of mine had holes rusted through them. I'm surprised I didn't have a worse leak considering the size of the holes but I guess the manifold gasket kept them somewhat sealed.
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Old 03-19-2015, 01:01 PM
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look at the exhaust/intake manifolds, right at the top side where they mount to the head are where the freeze plugs are. You will likely see what looks like corrosion in a few areas and if so that is where the leak it. All 4 of mine had holes rusted through them. I'm surprised I didn't have a worse leak considering the size of the holes but I guess the manifold gasket kept them somewhat sealed.
Is your motor a 2.4/5? I watched a video of a 4.0 and it had 5 on the side down where you're talking about. Do you have to take the manifold and everything else on that side of the engine out to get to the plugs?
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Old 03-19-2015, 01:08 PM   #13
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Mine is the 2.5 but the 4.0 has them as well. Now I'm not talking about the big block freeze plugs, there are small ones in the head that I'm talking about. The ones in the block will generally create a puddle or at least visible signs on the ground because they are below the exhaust. I will try to find the pic I have and yes the exhaust and intake manifold have to come off to get them.
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Old 03-19-2015, 01:11 PM   #14
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Here is the pic of the side of the 2.5 engine. The 4 little brass plugs I. The head is what I am referring to. I did also change the ones in the block and even seized to opportunity and put in a block heater in place of one of them.
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Old 03-19-2015, 01:17 PM
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Here is the pic of the side of the 2.5 engine. The 4 little brass plugs I. The head is what I am referring to. I did also change the ones in the block and even seized to opportunity and put in a block heater in place of one of them.
So the four on top would cause antifreeze to leak off and essentially just evaporate so you would not see obvious signs of leakage? That would make sense. I do not have a chance to look under the hood but will later. Can you see the corrosion you mentioned earlier without taking off the exhaust/intake manifolds?
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Old 03-19-2015, 01:24 PM   #16
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So the four on top would cause antifreeze to leak off and essentially just evaporate so you would not see obvious signs of leakage? That would make sense. I do not have a chance to look under the hood but will later. Can you see the corrosion you mentioned earlier without taking off the exhaust/intake manifolds?
yeah I could see it and yeah I never ever saw a leak but was losing about a gallon a month. After pulling everything apart even noticed that some of the antifreeze was being sucked into the intake. The gasket was saturated and the intake port was nasty and slimy!! Got it all cleaned up though and no issues since.
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Old 03-19-2015, 01:30 PM
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So how hard of a repair was it? The plugs themselves don't sound hard but taking the manifold apart is what concerns me. I can turn a wrench and do the basic repairs.
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Old 03-19-2015, 01:33 PM   #18
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Not too long ago I had a similar issue with missing coolant.. My radiator had cracked near the filler neck which caused low pressure. The coolant wouldn't leak out since it was up high, but would evaporate out from the heat and low pressure.
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Old 03-19-2015, 01:35 PM
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Not too long ago I had a similar issue with missing coolant.. My radiator had cracked near the filler neck which caused low pressure. The coolant wouldn't leak out since it was up high, but would evaporate out from the heat and low pressure.
So new radiator I take it. Was the low pressure obvious?
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Old 03-19-2015, 01:39 PM   #20
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Only took about 5 hours the first time I did it. 2 hours the second time.
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Old 03-19-2015, 01:53 PM   #21
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Before tearing things apart you really should revisit the earlier comment where it was suggested you do a pressure test. If you pump it up to 18lb and it holds solid you don't have a pressure leak. This let's you focus on the other cheaper and easier culprits - bad radiator cap or overflow.

The rate at which you are losing fluid - if it was going into your block I'd think you would have some obvious signs like white smoke or a jeep that won't start.

If the test shows pressure dropping you know you have a leak and you're likely going to see it if you stare at all your hoses, connectors, and radiator long enough. Use a bright light and be patient. I wasted so much time fixing things that weren't broke because it was inconvenient to rent a tester. Rented a tester and found several leaking hoses due to those worm clamps.
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Old 03-19-2015, 02:07 PM
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Where did you rent one from? The store closest to me does not have one to rent out. Thought about calling several shops and see how much they'd charge to do it.
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Old 03-19-2015, 02:10 PM   #23
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Where did you rent one from? The store closest to me does not have one to rent out. Thought about calling several shops and see how much they'd charge to do it.
Advance Auto and Auto Zone both rent them. For free . . .
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Old 03-19-2015, 02:14 PM
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So if there are no pressure leaks then the freeze plugs are not the problem correct?
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Old 03-19-2015, 02:22 PM   #25
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So if there are no pressure leaks then the freeze plugs are not the problem correct?
Right. If the system holds pressure then you can rule out a leak from the radiator through to the block. If your plug holes are leaking I'd have to believe you'll see drops forming - especially at the rate you are losing coolant.
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Old 03-19-2015, 02:53 PM   #26
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As said above, get a coolant tester. The most important thing it can do is put your system under pressure and give you all the time you need to check everywhere the coolant is.

Carefully look over both sides of the radiator, water pump and around the pump pulley, hoses and hose connections, the joint where the thermostat housing mounts.

Then carefully look around the freeze plugs on both the head and block. This may be a good time to change your oil, look for coolant contamination.

Lastly, Place newspaper under the vehicle overnight. Newspaper will easily show a drip of coolant, and don't forget to put a sheet of paper on the passengers floor.

When you think about it, it can only go one of two places leak out of the engine....or into it.

Just a note,
When the engine warms up, the coolant expands and flows into the expansion tank, when it cools down the system will draw the coolant back into the engine.

If/When your system has much of a leak, you start off by loosing coolant thru the leak, and when you turn off the engine, it will not draw from the expansion tank, it will suck air thru the leak. When you restart your engine, it will be low on coolant. A few of these cycles, and your engine will over heat.
ask me how I know this.......
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Old 03-19-2015, 03:36 PM   #27
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Mine did the same thing, ended up being a hairline crack by the filler neck also. Think the radiator was $120. Easy swap.
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Old 03-19-2015, 05:41 PM   #28
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Nice 1999-era attempt at humor. What a DB...
Hmm, that guy seems to have deleted his post giving crap to the OP.

Good.
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Old 03-20-2015, 03:46 AM   #29
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So new radiator I take it. Was the low pressure obvious?
No, it was very hidden. My temperature on the gauge and to the pcm were normal, and there was no drips of coolant anywhere. The coolant reservoir was at the full line to boot. The only way I found out was when I went to smog it, I failed for high NOx, so I popped open the radiator and I could see there was a decent amount of coolant missing. I added what was about a half a gallon before it was filled back up, so i knew there was a problem. I pulled the drain on it and the coolant was dark rusty.. One of the main reasons I didn't see the crack was because the engine bay was covered in a layer of dirt. I wiped the radiator clean, and the paint came off with it. It was almost like the paint had become unglued from it and flaked off. Under the paint was blue corroded copper, especially near the crack, which was now visible. So I knew it was time.. After replacing, everything went back to normal and smog was fine.
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Old 03-20-2015, 07:04 AM   #30
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I'd pressure test it as stated before here. My father taught me how to use one and the tool is worth its weight in gold. I remember helping him trace a leak for a friend of mine with a 4 cyl Wrangler. No visible leaks anywhere. He pulled the #2 spark plug and coolant shot out. Bad head gasket, which he knew by looking at the oil. Where the tool proved its used to me was it was also leaking from the water pump, very slight but it would have slipped by w-o the tester. That would have been a real kick in the ass.

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