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This is a discussion on coolant? ... within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; so i was driving home on the freeway today, and the car seemed normal. but when i got off the ...

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    Registered User koogxone's Avatar
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    Exclamation coolant? ...

    so i was driving home on the freeway today, and the car seemed normal.
    but when i got off the freeway and stopped at the first intersection, i noticed steam coming out of the hood scoop. i thought it was just because today was pretty hot, but after a few more blocks i looked at my temp gauge and saw that it was almost all the way to the top.. and mine normally doesn't even get halfway up. i stopped the car and opened up the hood, and there was green liquid all over my engine.

    is this the coolant? the coolant tank cap wasn't screwed off or anything..


    PLEASE HELP!

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    Registered User 4cyturbowrx's Avatar
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    I would say a pressure test would be the best way to start, thats if you cant see any visable holes or loose connnections from any of the hoses. Your T stat might be stuck open or closed.

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    From the description you have a coolant leak. This needs to be addressed immediately. Ask for help from friends in the know or take it to a pro.
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    Registered User koogxone's Avatar
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    sooo one of my friends "in the know" told me to put some distilled water in the radiator until it gets full, then run it and see where it's leaking. according to him it could just be a radiator tube or hose problem, or the radiator itself could be cracked.

    is this a good way i should start?
    i'm REALLY newb so i'm gonna need a lot of help with everything.. :P

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Yes, top with distilled and see if you can find a leak. Since you admitted being new to this, let me warn you to let the car cool down before opening the radiator cap. Also, keep your face and fingers away from things like the fans, that can start at any moment, or anywhere you think pressurized hot liquid might come out of.
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    Registered User koogxone's Avatar
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    so after i top it should i start the car? or will the water move through the system by itself with the car off?

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Let it cool. Wipe everything down so you can see new green come out. While you are doing this, the leak source may become evident anyway and you'll know immediately (for example, last weekend I found a loose top radiator hose on a friend's car -- smelled coolant, popped the hood, saw green ooze at the source).

    If you have to go hunting after all, remove the coolant overflow reservoir cap (white bottle on the driver's side near the headlamp, next to the radiator. Go to the line. Then remove the rad cap, see if it's really low at the rad cap, and add what you can. Depending on the model you will have a single rad cap (confusingly enough, not on the radiator itself but on the metal turbo coolant reservoir, near the passenger side shock tower) or two, one by the turbo and one on the radiator.

    Anyway, top it off, make sure the caps are secure, and start it. Let it warm up but keep an eye on the needle initially. If it starts overheating kill it and ask for help. If it doesn't then let it run and carefully look around. Use your nose too. Coolant smells and you'll know the smell by now.
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    Registered User koogxone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR View Post
    Let it cool. Wipe everything down so you can see new green come out. While you are doing this, the leak source may become evident anyway and you'll know immediately (for example, last weekend I found a loose top radiator hose on a friend's car -- smelled coolant, popped the hood, saw green ooze at the source).

    If you have to go hunting after all, remove the coolant overflow reservoir cap (white bottle on the driver's side near the headlamp, next to the radiator. Go to the line. Then remove the rad cap, see if it's really low at the rad cap, and add what you can. Depending on the model you will have a single rad cap (confusingly enough, not on the radiator itself but on the metal turbo coolant reservoir, near the passenger side shock tower) or two, one by the turbo and one on the radiator.

    Anyway, top it off, make sure the caps are secure, and start it. Let it warm up but keep an eye on the needle initially. If it starts overheating kill it and ask for help. If it doesn't then let it run and carefully look around. Use your nose too. Coolant smells and you'll know the smell by now.
    i have a 2003 sedan. isn't the radiator cap the silver one at the front? that says "do not open when hot" or something along those lines?

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koogxone View Post
    i have a 2003 sedan. isn't the radiator cap the silver one at the front? that says "do not open when hot" or something along those lines?
    Yes, but if you have one in front, you also have one by the shock tower. You'll have two. My car only has one. They switched around 03. So first off, see if there's a leak evident right now. Can you pinpoint a source? Look at the system. There's the radiator up front, with a thick top hose going to the motor, a bottom hose not visible from up top, an overflow hose going to the right to the white plastic tank, and hoses connecting to the metal turbo coolant tank by the shock tower. There are also hoses going to the firewall so they can enter the cabin. Check every black hose thicker than a pencil for a leak (the very thin ones are vacuum hoses, they don't cary coolant). Hoses as thick as a finger and thicker are your main suspects, as is the radiator itself.

    BTW there was a recall on these radiators actually. Is there pooled green juice on the top of the radiator along the seam where the plastic top cap meets the metal main radiator body? Check all around.
    Last edited by SD_GR; 03-30-2007 at 06:33 PM.
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    Registered User koogxone's Avatar
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    the thick hose on top was the culprit. it had a hole on the bottom of it so big that i could fit my finger in it =O.

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    Always nice to hear about a happy ending.
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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koogxone View Post
    the thick hose on top was the culprit. it had a hole on the bottom of it so big that i could fit my finger in it =O.
    OK get a replacement hose and two ring clamps. Let the car cool down again.
    Feel the old hose when everything is cold and stare at it. This is what an old hose feels like and looks like. You should spend time going over the ENTIRE system to see if anything else is going. An aging hose feels different, the walls aren't as supported and it doesn't rebound like a new one when squeezed. Do all the hoses at once. Assuming you only have one problem hose, do this:
    Get either a screwdriver or a ratchet, depending on how you decide to remove the old ring clamps holding the hose on. Carefully TIGHTEN (no typo, tighten but just a little) the existing ring clamp that's easiest to get to. The reason you're doing this is to get a feel for how tight to make the new ring clamps later.
    Once you've got a feel for how tight the ring clamps need to be, loosen them, pull them over the barbs on the host fittings (the little lumps on the radiator and motor housing where the hose goes) them and remove the hose. You may have to pry the old hose off with something, but be careful not to poke any holes in the radiator with whatever you decide to use.
    There will be coolant all about, so have a plan -- including a drain pan or bucket. The stuff is poisonous, it's toxic to mammals and tastes sweet, so pets and kids are not good to have around the stuff.
    Now slip the new ring clamps onto the new hose, pull the hose over the barbs on both fittings, and tighten the ring clamps about as tight as the original ones were (as you found out).
    When you buy the hose, pick up the correct coolant and some distilled water. If you go to a dealer for the hose just get coolant there. Otherwise tell the parts person you need coolant for an aluminum Subaru motor and that you've got green stuff in there now. Ask if the coolant you buy is pre-mixed or if it needs mixing. If it does, mix the coolant and the distilled water 1:1 (oh, hell, you can add a little of each at a time but know what you're adding to keep the ratio correct).
    Fill the overflow tank. Cap it. Clean up the car, dry everything off so you can see if you have new problems. Remove the radiator cap. Fill the radiator. DO NOT cap it. Remove the turbo reservoir tank. Fill that. Cap it. You should now have only the rad cap open. Squeeze the top hose. The level in the rad will probably drop. This happens if there's air pockets in the system. Getting rid of them is called burping. You'll need to top off and burp the system.
    Get as much coolant mix in there as you can. Switch A/C OFF, vents to any position EXCEPT DEFROST. It's best to have a buddy start the car and keep an eye on the temp now. NEVER let the car overheat. If it starts to, something's wrong and turn it off! Start the motor. The rad cap is still OFF. Get out and look at the level in the rad. Add as needed until it's topped off, and keep adding. Things will start getting hotter. Give the top hose a careful squeeze once in a while and see if the level drops. Keep looking at the temperature in the car (gauge) as well as the coolant level in the radiator. Keep in mind the fans are right there and they can kick on at any minute so only touch what you need to and don't get your fingers anywhere near them.
    Eventually, the car will come to temp. Look at the level in the rad. When you start seeing circulation or when the coolant starts moving in the rad, the thermostat has opened. Top off and keep at it until you can't top any more, squeezing carefully on the top hose if you think that helps.
    Cap the radiator when you see you can add no more coolant, make sure the white overflow reservoir has juice in it at least above "LOW" (shoot for the middle) and test drive the car. If it starts overheating you have air bubbles in the system, repeat the burp process.
    Hope this helps. Disclaimer: I'm not responsible for damages/injuries and so on; if in doubt, hire someone.
    Last edited by SD_GR; 03-30-2007 at 09:27 PM.
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    Registered User koogxone's Avatar
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    thanks so much for all the help
    i'm gonna go and get everything i need tomorrow and try it. you said that i need new ring clamps, so i'm assuming that i can't use the existing ones for the new hose? is that right?

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koogxone View Post
    thanks so much for all the help
    i'm gonna go and get everything i need tomorrow and try it. you said that i need new ring clamps, so i'm assuming that i can't use the existing ones for the new hose? is that right?
    You could but I don't. It's up to you. If the old clamps are not slipping they'll be OK but I don't like the original ones personally. Your call.
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    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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    Registered User koogxone's Avatar
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    i did everything exactly like you told me to and test drove it, and it's not overheating

    thankss sd_gr!

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