Coolant Leak

Tiny
KEOD
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 MAZDA TRIBUTE
  • 10,400 MILES
My 2003 Mazda Tribute has had a leak for approximately 2 years. It began as a very off/on issue i.E. About twice a year and would then go away. A year ago it was more often and the thermostat housing was replaced. The leak continued and has gotten progressively worse. Pressure tests and 3 different mechanics cannot find the leak when it is brought in. At this point the fill will have to be completely refilled after 2 days UNLESS the cap is left loose - that buys a week. There have been no warning lights and the temperature has never wavered. The car sounds louder, like it is stressed. Everyone is at a total loss and I am afraid that this undiagnosed issue will create damage to my engine.
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Monday, April 15th, 2013 AT 7:43 AM

7 Replies

Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Never leave the cap loose. You are keeping the recovery tank from depleting but the cooling system is losing fluids through the cap and you are not going to notice it until it is too late.

The cooling system works under pressure and the main purpose of the cap is to keep the pressure constant.

Depleting in 2 days means the leak is not too big to drip but should be sufficient to show with a pressure test. I don't understand why the leak cannot be detected. Was the heater core checked?

Try a dye test.

If pressure test is done with warm engine and did not show anything, do it when engine is cold. Keep attention on hose joints.
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Monday, April 15th, 2013 AT 10:02 AM
Tiny
KEOD
  • MEMBER
Hoses have been replaced twice. Not sure if heater core has been checked. Will try that. Picture is location of drip after filling coolant, driving 15 miles & after parked for a few hours. Drove home & parked car overnight. Spill was twice as large the next morning.
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Monday, April 15th, 2013 AT 10:40 AM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
If you leave the rtadiator cap loose, that is what to expect. Coolant would be spilled out of the radiator neck.

Coolant leaves behind streaks of oxidation when they dry up. Visual inspection should show you something.
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Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 AT 4:57 AM
Tiny
MBRILEY
  • MEMBER
Keod - did you ever find the source of your leak? I have the *exact* same leak on my Tribute and I'm wondering what it is.
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Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 AT 9:00 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Leaks can be from any part of the cooling system and a pressure test would be necessary to find the leaking point. If leaks are low, chemical test would be the best way to go about.
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Saturday, February 1st, 2014 AT 8:37 PM
Tiny
KEOD
  • MEMBER
I did! Amazingly enough, although each mechanic had done pressure tests, none has done a dye test. So my sister and got into girls rule mode and removed the hose at the coolant container (there's no radiator cap in a Mazda) poured in the dye and looked the next morning. She had a black light (which flabbergasted me) but the dye shows up very well without it. It was a hose. A hose that had been replaced twice. Long story short, it was bubbling on the pipe the hose was on so with the expansion & contraction, the coolant leaked out from those small gaps. One of the mechanics who tried to find the leak & who happens to specialize in exhaust repair, smoothed out the pipe (Mazda of course doesn't sell the replacement part anymore), reattached the hose, and I've been leak free ever since. So but the dye, it cost a little over $2 and the best part was the mechanic didn't charge me a cent. Good luck!
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Saturday, February 1st, 2014 AT 9:55 PM
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Thanks for the update. Nice work.
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Saturday, February 1st, 2014 AT 10:21 PM

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