Low on Coolant... Daily
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This is a discussion on Low on Coolant... Daily within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Hello, This is in reference to a 2010 WRX I have looked for this in the forum and only found ...

  1. #1
    Registered User G0ATLIF3's Avatar
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    Low on Coolant... Daily

    Hello,

    This is in reference to a 2010 WRX

    I have looked for this in the forum and only found one other person who had this happen, and they never posted what was actually happening in the end.

    TL;DR below

    I had a brisk drive home on Friday last week, It was a scorcher out and i was enjoying the sun and the open highways on my commute home. I parked the car and it sat all weekend. On Monday i woke and headed to work. As i rode in, Periodically, i would faintly smell coolant burning. As i have owned a few VW's i am always fearing the worst(because they are unreliable). I pulled off the road and popped the hood expecting a flood of steam and a blown head gasket. To my surprise, and praises, that was not the case. The engine was running smoothly and there was no steam. I quickly smelled my exhaust and checked my oil, Phew, nothing surprising there. I couldn't see any wet spots or obvious leaks. I did notice that i was down around a half liter of coolant(exactly at the fill line) in the reservoir. This was a reading at hot so i was a little concerned. I stopped by the local dealer and picked up a jug of Super Blue and added to the full mark(it was still hot so i know it will probably need more when its cool). As i was adding the coolant i noticed the following overspary on the interior of the engine bay.

    Sorry for the finger... First time with a camera i guess.










    One of the Hood


    So it seems, using my super detective skills, That the coolant was not passing through a head gasket or leaky hose. It looks as though it had come directly out of the resivior... So i came home and started the search as to why that would happen. Lots of "overfilled" or "blockages" in the return line, Even one who just simply forgot to close the lid. For me this was not the case. I have checked my coolant as well as every other fluid everytime i change my oil( i drive 700Km or 435Mi a week so i change my oil close to once a month) I removed the return line and it was uninterrupted. I grew weary of reading about these simple errors and decided to pick up the hunt in the morning. Before going to bed i checked and refilled the reservoir(now that it was cool). In the morning(yesterday) i woke up and checked the fluid level before leaving for work. Hmmm, needed another half liter(exactly at the low mark again), Which made me curious to were it went. I spent a few minutes taking a look around the interior of the engine bay and on the skid plate and ground. There wasn't even a spot. So i chalked this one up to a cooler night and a bit short on the last fill. I filled it and burped the system just in case. After my drive home i checked the reservoir(while hot) and it was just over the full line. This morning I checked the reservoir and it was at the EXACT same spot...(At the Fill mark) WTF is going on here. No spots on the ground, no evidence of leaks, no strange noises or smells, no white smoke of death. Now i am looking for someone who has had this happen or any insight as to why or what is going on.

    TL;DR
    Coolant reservoir overflowed and now Coolant is evacuating the system(or seems to be). i am refilling about a half liter daily(for 3 days). No spots on the ground, no evidence of leaks, no strange noises or smells, no white smoke of death. Checked the oil/exhaust. looking for some outside opinions now.

    Why would the reservoir leak or overflow? How can i stop this from happening again? Where is the coolant going or am i just being a paranoid VW owner? Is it possible that i would need to check and refill more than once or twice to reach a full system? Maybe i am just ignorantly doing something wrong/missing something.
    Thanks for your thoughts and ideas in advance,

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  3. #2
    OMG WTF MainFrame's Avatar
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    There doesn't need to be ANY coolant in the overflow reservoir for the car to run properly. It is just that, overflow.


    Your problem could be as simple as, you're over filling the overflow, then when the car gets hot it pushes more out into the reservoir, causing it to spill out the top.. eventually it would even out to the point where it doesn't spill out, but you keep adding more..

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    Registered User Obeisance's Avatar
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    I am curious about the coolant splash marks on your radiator shroud/cover. If the overflow tank is getting over-filled and spilling out, how is coolant getting forward of that? My recent experience with leaking coolant during a cruise resulted in the coolant getting everywhere behind the leak, but not in front of it (because of wind pressure on the car, I suspect).
    David - '05 WRX

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    Registered User G0ATLIF3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MainFrame View Post
    There doesn't need to be ANY coolant in the overflow reservoir for the car to run properly. It is just that, overflow.


    Your problem could be as simple as, you're over filling the overflow, then when the car gets hot it pushes more out into the reservoir, causing it to spill out the top.. eventually it would even out to the point where it doesn't spill out, but you keep adding more..
    That is a fair statement but up until this monday no coolant was ever added. I have been running at the same level and amount that it was given to me by subaru in february. now that i think about it, that may be exactly what happened. Friday was super hot out and that has been the first time the car ran on a hot day since the previous owner had it. I assume that when a car comes in to subaru they flush the fluids and refill as part of their checks and balances to ensure the next owner doesnt have any surprises. since it was cold when i got it, it never had to evac the system because it never reached the temperature required to do so.

    I wiped everything down on monday and there has been no evidence that the coolant has overflowed since though. I think as you stated maybe i am to just not touch it and see where that gets me.

    Thanks for the help!

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    Registered User G0ATLIF3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obeisance View Post
    I am curious about the coolant splash marks on your radiator shroud/cover. If the overflow tank is getting over-filled and spilling out, how is coolant getting forward of that? My recent experience with leaking coolant during a cruise resulted in the coolant getting everywhere behind the leak, but not in front of it (because of wind pressure on the car, I suspect).
    That was my thought as well, All of the other splash marks have been directional and toward the rear of the car, in adjacent angles of the overflow. I had read at one point that sometimes when the engine shakes/moves when shifting or releasing the throttle, the upper rad hose creates a small gap where coolant can spray through. But after seeing the end result(splash marks that were jettisoned toward the driver's seat) i don't think that is what happened. I do however believe there may have been some pooled in a position during the drive and afterwords it settled to a lower spot like the shroud.

  7. #6
    Moderator Donkey's Avatar
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    Radiator end cap probably has a crack in it. Happens all the time. I would replace it with an all aluminium radiator like a Mishimoto or the like.
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  8. #7
    OMG WTF MainFrame's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donkey View Post
    Radiator end cap probably has a crack in it. Happens all the time. I would replace it with an all aluminium radiator like a Mishimoto or the like.

    If it continues leaking, that would be my guess as well.. although I would think you could spot it spraying when the car is hot.

  9. #8
    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Best case, rad cap or hose leaking. Medium case, rad leaking. Worst case, head gasket leaking such that combustion gasses enter water jacket, causing the overflow reservoir to, well, overflow.

    Pressure test the system if unsure but I'd troubleshoot in that order since cost and complexity increase down the list. Start cheap and optimistic.
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