Mechanics

COOLANT ISSUE

1999 Acura RL

I have a '99 acura rl with 170,000 miles. I had the radiator replaced about a year ago but every so often it ends up being low on fluid.I notice it by the heat gauge flying up then down. Turn off the car and it is fine, sometimes, but when it does this the heat doesnt work. I do not see ANY leaks although I get that smell every rare once in a while. A mechanic just scared me by saying the car could be burning/using it and I would have to replace the engine because at that mileage replacing a head gasket or such is not worth it. Again, no leaks evident anywhere. And it takes three or four months to get low? Very strange. Is my engine shot becuase of coolant? It runs phenomenal. Thanks
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Sandenscot
November 9, 2007.



For starters it is not that big of a job to replace the headgasket yourself if you have basic tools. Second I would bleed the coolant system and if still that does not remedy perform a compression test to verify any problems with the headgasket. Your car may have a bad heater core, have you noticed dampness on the cars floor or steam on the windows? If so it probably is the heater core.

How far down does the coolant get after 3-4 months.

Blackop555
Nov 9, 2007.
Not sure I understand. What does bleeding the system do. Is it like brakes. Gets rid of air. No dampness and no steam on the windows

Tiny
Sandenscot
Nov 9, 2007.
Bleeding the coolant system takes the air out of the coolant system, there may be a air bubble caught in there sometimes, whihc may explain the overheating and no heat out of hte core, also you may have a bad thermostat.

How much fluid do you loose in the 3-4month period.

Blackop555
Nov 10, 2007.
I am not sure. But the mechanic put in about half a normal size bottle of antifreeze.I know the overflow was empty and it was out of sight in the radiator. However, I still had heat. It is just something that all of a sudden stops, then starts again. And is fine. Probably an issue with low coolant. That plus I noticed it have that funny smell. But that smell comes and goes as well.

Tiny
Sandenscot
Nov 10, 2007.
Ahhh, does it smell like antifreeze? Do you smell it in the cabin or outside or in the engine compartment?

Blackop555
Nov 10, 2007.
You can smell it in the cabin and out of the car. Sometimes. But you see no leak.I am just hoping it is not the head gasket. The mechanic said if it is that, that he would not want to get into it as with that many miles I would find other stuff and it would be a waste of time. Don't know if I believe that. But nonetheless I dont want a huge bill with that many miles. Perhaps I just keep filling it with antifreeze every couple of months

Tiny
Sandenscot
Nov 10, 2007.
Do you notice white exhaust ever?

Blackop555
Nov 10, 2007.
I never looked for it but never noticed it either. What would that mean?

Tiny
Sandenscot
Nov 10, 2007.
Thats a pretty easy way to check for a bad head gasket or cracked head. And if this next test doesnt work then you for sure dont have a bad head, and I would check for a leak along the hoses.

Fill up the radiator to the way top
take out #1 sparker and use a air compressor and seal up the hole and give it air, if no bubbles form then the head is good and you wont have to worry about it.

Blackop555
Nov 10, 2007.
Are you talking about the pressure test I heard about.I would need a mechanic for that right.I do have an air compressor though. Is this test for a leaky hose. The smoke coming out is the head test correct.

Tiny
Sandenscot
Nov 10, 2007.
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