Coolant leak

Tiny
OFFICEBOX
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 ACURA CL
  • 3.0L
  • V6
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 162,000 MILES
Re: DIY inspection report

This vehicle began to run hot about 4 miles from home yesterday. I pulled it over as soon as the temperature gauge meter touch red or almost max to the side of the freeway. I turned the A/C off. I saw a little bit of white steam emitting from the passenger side of the hood near the belts. I turned the engine off, opened the hood and looked at the radiator and engine area. I noticed some white spots scattered on the radiator upper hose area. I checked the radiator cap and it looked good except the inner rubber core had a small defect or chip on the edge. I don't know if that could cause a leak problem or not because I did not see any leak before removing it. The coolant was about a gallon low after filling it up before leaving 10 minutes ago. I waited for it to complete cool down and drove to the yard. Today, I checked it again. The coolant appears to be visible with the cap off so I did not add any more. The reservoir overflow was still full from me adding enough to go from half full to full. Today, I removed what I added yesterday. I started it up on the second try and it only was a few seconds to start. I checked the cooling fans. Both were not moving. I turned on the A/C to max and checked the fans again. The passenger side fan was now running, but the drivers side fan was not. I was thinking the one running is probably the ac fan. I checked the fan connection and could not see any disconnection.

Why did the radiator fan not come on? I begin to look for leaks or problems around the entire radiator, hoses and engine. I did not see any except the white spots scattered on or near the hose, possibly coolant stains from the radiator. With the engine running and ac at max, I placed a cardboard layer under the engine and checked for leaks. On the drivers side underneath the engine, I began to see water dripping continuously onto the cardboard. I could not see where precisely the water was coming from. I was wondering if it was coming from the water pump, A/C condenser or a leak in that small area. The radiator fan never comes on. The A/C cooling fan turned off when I turned the A/C off. I captured a quick video of the water dripping underneath the passenger side of the engine, the fans, engine and no smoke coming from the tailpipe. During my 5 minute inspection, the engine ran smooth at normal temperature during the whole time. Is it the radiator fan, the water pump, radiator cap or what and where is that dripping water coming from? It stopped dripping when I turned off the A/C.
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Monday, August 31st, 2020 AT 4:34 PM

20 Replies

Tiny
ASEMASTER6371
  • EXPERT
Good morning,

The first thing I would do is to pressure test the system to be sure of the location of the leak.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/radiator-pressure-test

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/engine-overheating-or-running-hot

I would also replace the thermostat as well as it may not be opening.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/replace-thermostat

As far as the fans, the cooling fan will not come on until the coolant is 208 degrees. Then it should come on. Did you let it run that long?

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-an-electric-cooling-fan-works

I would replace the radiator cap as well.

I attached a wiring diagram of the fans for you. Let me know if the radiator fan does not work and we will do some testing.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-check-wiring

Roy
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Tuesday, September 1st, 2020 AT 5:44 AM
Tiny
OFFICEBOX
  • MEMBER
Thank you for your reply.

With respect to how long I let the engine run, was about 5 minutes.

Today, I checked it again. With the engine off, I put more coolant in. As soon as I add coolant to the radiator, the coolant begins to drip out fast from underneath the engine near or at the small motor or pump beside the oil pan and under the oil stick area. What is the part called that looks like a small motor or pump where the coolant is dripping down from? After what coolant I add has dripped out in just a few minutes, it stops dripping. Then, I connected my new radiator coolant pressure tester, but it would not add any psi when I pump. It does not appear to be holding any pressure nor coolant. I cannot see the origin of the leak, only coolant dripping down underneath from the part beside the oil pan. There are too many parts in the way blocking my view from all angles, including top, bottom and sides while on the ground flat and on Rhino ramps. The radiator coolant pressure tester was of no use for 2 reasons: it will not hold any pressure and the origin of the leak is not detected or visible. Where do you believe the leak origin is coming from and what steps would you start next? Which part is causing the leak? Which part(s) needs to be repaired or replaced?

Your ASE expert advice is greatly appreciated.
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Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 AT 2:19 PM
Tiny
ASEMASTER6371
  • EXPERT
You are going to have to get under the car with a bright LED light while someone pump up the pressure tester to find the leak. You cannot see anything from the top.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/car-is-leaking-coolant

Roy
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Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 AT 2:24 PM
Tiny
OFFICEBOX
  • MEMBER
I cannot see any origin of the leak with an led light underneath either.
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Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 AT 2:28 PM
Tiny
OFFICEBOX
  • MEMBER
What is the name of that part beside the oil pan underneath the oil stick where the coolant is dripping down from underneath in the video? Could it be a hose leak or what?
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Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 AT 2:34 PM
Tiny
ASEMASTER6371
  • EXPERT
I cannot see the box you are referring to at all. The camera was not steady and only showed the pan and the dripping.

Roy
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Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 AT 2:40 PM
Tiny
OFFICEBOX
  • MEMBER
What are you ASE certified in?

Is there someone else available with more experience and expertise in diagnosing coolant leaks? Please ask him to look at the photos and video after reading the posts and to provide the best possible diagnosis from the information provided.

Thanks a lot for your information.
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Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 AT 2:42 PM
Tiny
ASEMASTER6371
  • EXPERT
Then it is best for you to take it to a shop and have them at least tell you the origin of the leak.

Let me know the results and I can help from there.

RoyI am a triple master ASE in cars, truck and buses.

I have been in the field 50 years and am nationally recognized.

Coolant leaks can come from many places. I cannot see the origin at all with your video or pictures.

Roy
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Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 AT 2:45 PM
Tiny
OFFICEBOX
  • MEMBER
I understand that you cannot see the origin of the coolant leak. Based on your factory training, experience and knowledge, where is the most like source of the leak?
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Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 AT 2:49 PM
Tiny
ASEMASTER6371
  • EXPERT
It could be from a hose, intake manifold, water pump or a core plug.

Again, that is only a few of the many, many possibilities.

Roy
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Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 AT 2:52 PM
Tiny
OFFICEBOX
  • MEMBER
I don't have a shop and don't know who to tow it to?

What are some requirements, guidelines and recommendations when shopping and choosing the right shop and pro for the car listed above with a coolant leak like this one?
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Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 AT 3:29 PM
Tiny
ASEMASTER6371
  • EXPERT
Any repair shop can check it for you. Cooling system diagnostics and repairs are basic repairs any shop can perform.

Check the shops for ratings with the BBB.

Look at there lot and see how busy they are. You want a shop that is busy. Make sure the shop is clean as well as the techs working there.

Roy
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Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 AT 3:45 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
It looks like the timing cover or water pump is leaking. Can you get a small mirror to look up in there, also can you see it leaking from the top? We need to see the front of the engine.
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Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 AT 7:10 PM
Tiny
OFFICEBOX
  • MEMBER
From the top, I did not see any leak nor the coolant dripping. With the engine off at normal temperature, when coolant is added, it immediately begins a steady fast drip until all of the coolant added has dripped out. I could only see this when looking underneath the engine as it was dripping down from the part beside the oil pan under the oil stick and onto the oil pan. When I then tried add pressure to the radiator with a new radiator pressure tester adapter kit, the pump wouldn't add any pressure. The coolant system does not appear to hold any pressure nor new coolant. What is the most likely source of the leak?
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Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 AT 7:48 PM
Tiny
ASEMASTER6371
  • EXPERT
You could try adding a leak dye. You can get it at any parts store. Add it to the radiator and fill with water and then watch for the leak. It will glow a very bright green at the source of the leak.

Roy
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Friday, September 4th, 2020 AT 3:49 AM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Timing cover or water pump, I use a small mirror on a stick and a flashlight to help me see the origin of the leak.
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Friday, September 4th, 2020 AT 10:30 AM
Tiny
OFFICEBOX
  • MEMBER
What do you mean the timing cover? What is behind the timing cover that can cause or be the source of the leak? Are there any hoses that could cause this leak?

With the car on rhino ramps, the engine off at normal temperature, I added coolant and got underneath the passenger side of the engine with a mirror, flash light and video camera. As the coolant was flowing with a steady drip from above the oil pan and the part to the passenger side if the oil pan (maybe the water pump?) Underneath the oil stick with an orange circle in the attached photo, was not able to see for sure if the leak is coming from a coolant system hose, heater core hose or a part. Plus, coolant began to drip on my hand and stopped the video. There may be parts obstructing the view of the source of the leak. I was told by a local A+ rated shop not to use leak die because it will make a real mess and other methods are better and in some extremely hard to find coolant leaks certain parts will need to be removed first to discover the source of the leak. Most of the dozen coolant leaks I looked at in other cars has been a defective hose or hose clamp somewhere in the coolant system including the hoses to various parts connected to the coolant system.
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Friday, September 4th, 2020 AT 11:50 AM
Tiny
ASEMASTER6371
  • EXPERT
The water pump is behind the timing cover.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/water-pump-replacement

As far as the dye, yes, it makes a mess but rinses off with water but it verifies the source of the leak.

I attached a picture of the water pump location. It is driven by the timing belt under the front cover.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-a-timing-belt-works

Roy
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Friday, September 4th, 2020 AT 12:01 PM
Tiny
OFFICEBOX
  • MEMBER
If the source of the leak is verified to be the water pump and not a hose or other part, what parts and labor are recommended for this repair for this car and estimated labor time to complete the repair?
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Friday, September 4th, 2020 AT 12:05 PM
Tiny
ASEMASTER6371
  • EXPERT
You would need a timing belt kit. that would include the water pump, timing belt, tensions and pulleys.

I would also replace the drive belt in the front of the motor.

I would replace the thermostat as well.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/replace-thermostat

Shop labor time is 7 hours.

Parts can be found at any parts store.

Roy
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Friday, September 4th, 2020 AT 12:13 PM

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