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post #1 of 25 Old 09-03-2013, 06:57 AM Thread Starter
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Slow Coolant Leak

The last time I did work to my was back when I replaced the spark plugs a few months back. After changing the plugs I checked all the fluids and noticed that the coolant was low in the radiator and was empty in the overflow tank. I filled them up and called my work complete. Fast forward to yesterday, and I go check my fluids again and noticed the same thing - low coolant level in the radiator and empty overflow tank.

My question here is, where can a slow leak like this be coming from?

I don't see any drips of coolant on the floor where I park at work and at home. I don't smell any coolant. The oil doesn't look like a chocolate milk shake. So, where can the coolant be going?


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post #2 of 25 Old 09-03-2013, 09:22 AM
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Slow Coolant leak could be a leaking head gasket, or cracked head, but could also be leak from the heater core, radiator, and/or water pump. You can have a cracked head or head gasket leaking that does not leak coolant into the oil, but burns it in the combustion chamber. You should test the system with a pressure tester and test overnight and make sure the PSI does not drop. A small leak will be difficult to find, you could also use one of the stop leak products but I would not. You can rent a coolant test kit from autozone that will show if there is combustion gases in the coolant or you can buy them online for around $30.


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post #3 of 25 Old 09-03-2013, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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I'll definitely look into that.

2000 2dr. v6 Accord, "Dirty Girl": Greddy MX Exhaust | K&N Drop-in Filter | Magnaflow Hi-Flow CAT | Eibach Pro Springs | KYB-GR2 Shocks | Eibach Sway Bars | Stereo stuff

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post #4 of 25 Old 09-03-2013, 04:33 PM
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Another hidden leak possibility is you throttle body and IAC. Coolant is routed thru both and could be getting pulled into the intake so you cant see it. I would first check the other locations previously mentioned as they would be more likely.

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post #5 of 25 Old 09-16-2013, 10:47 AM
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Compression test, coolant and burning oil

I've got 235k on my '99 4cyl and coolant is disappearing from reservoir slowly. I can see no leaking coolant, the radiator was replaced about 9 months ago. The car runs fine, except for burning oil which seems to be getting worse. I'm losing about 1 quart for every 500 miles. I'm a weekend mechanic, but the dipstick does smell of gas. Otherwise the oil is clean on the stick. When you said to test compression over night, am I looking for a drop from when the engine is hot at night to cold next morning? Can you tell me what range I should be be concerned about if there is a drop?
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post #6 of 25 Old 09-18-2013, 05:27 PM
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What you need to do is get a radiator pressure tester and pump it up to the pressure rating on the cap, let it set overnight and see if you loose any pressure and possibly it will force coolant out at the leak point and you Weill see where it is coming from

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Current Honda vehicles
2010 Acura RDX Turbo AWD/Tech 67k miles - Daily Driver
2013 Accord EX-L I4 Auto 53k miles Black Pearl - Wife's car
2005 Acura TSX Auto 208k miles - Youngest Daughter
2013 FIT Sport Auto - 24k miles - Oldest Daughters car
Former Honda Vehicles
2001 Acura MDX Totaled t223k
1991 Accord LX auto sold 185k miles
1995 GSR sold miles
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1989 Prelude SI soldr miles
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post #7 of 25 Old 09-19-2013, 04:33 AM
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I had that same problem on an old Ford a few years ago, turned out there was a tiny crack on the plastic seam of the radiator. It would take almost two months for me to see my overflow tank go down, and I never saw any antifreeze on the floor. After about six months of trying to find it, I finally saw a tiny drop of antifreeze in the floor and I traced the leak from there. There not always easy to find, good luck.

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post #8 of 25 Old 09-19-2013, 07:00 AM Thread Starter
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I'll have to try and trace a leak if there is one.

For all I know, I have a bad rad cap that isn't working at the correct 16lbs or w/e it's supposed to be.

2000 2dr. v6 Accord, "Dirty Girl": Greddy MX Exhaust | K&N Drop-in Filter | Magnaflow Hi-Flow CAT | Eibach Pro Springs | KYB-GR2 Shocks | Eibach Sway Bars | Stereo stuff

'97 Thunderbird, "Pearl": L/R 2.5in Magnaflow Hi-Flow CATs | PI Intake | PI Cams

'13 Taurus, "The Bull": 3.5L Goodness
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post #9 of 25 Old 10-06-2013, 11:15 PM
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I'm not sure if you found your coolant leak...

...I had the identical problem with mine last year. No drips on ground; no trace of any coolant fluids anywhere. I was loosing coolant at a very slow rate...a trip of 400 miles across the state and I'd have to add maybe a cup or two. The problem persisted for a couple of years. It wasn't a big deal for me but I hate leaks, as I believe they introduce more air into the system.

To compound the problem, I had a bad radiator (I had major overheating issues). I used stop leak--I'll never do that again. I replaced the radiator but the leak persisted. I looked high and low and was able to find two leaks. Clue: don't always look with your eyes, take a paper towel and "wipe" around all the coolant hoses, especially at the clamp areas, looking for moisture transferred onto the towel.

There is a hose right under the distributor cap that had moisture at the end where it connects to the engine. I had a minor oil leak from the cap (resolved with a new distributor o-ring) and apparently the hot dripping oil must have eroded the integrity of the hose. I changed this hose.

I thought I had resolved the problem but no, the car continued to lose coolant. I forgot to mention I could smell the sweet coolant smell in the cabin (and no, it wasn't a clogged heater core). Anyway, a month later I finally discovered the other leak which most likely was my mystery leak: it was coming from the very small coolant hose at the intake manifold at the clamp. I could feel the wetness and later it got worse as the hose progressively deteriorated. It was somewhat simple to replace that hose and I replaced the other small hose near it for good measure as well. I believe the hot coolant was sizzling away as it leaked (hence, no drips), and the misting was the smell that carried into the cabin.

Absolutely no fluid leaks since!

I had some pics saved of all the hoses I replaced and if you wish I can try to find and post them.

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post #10 of 25 Old 10-12-2013, 08:06 PM
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no leaks? then it's the head gasket. confirm with combustion leak detection fluid
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post #11 of 25 Old 10-15-2013, 08:36 AM Thread Starter
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^^ Why can't you be closer to me? I'd definitely trust you with my car .

2000 2dr. v6 Accord, "Dirty Girl": Greddy MX Exhaust | K&N Drop-in Filter | Magnaflow Hi-Flow CAT | Eibach Pro Springs | KYB-GR2 Shocks | Eibach Sway Bars | Stereo stuff

'97 Thunderbird, "Pearl": L/R 2.5in Magnaflow Hi-Flow CATs | PI Intake | PI Cams

'13 Taurus, "The Bull": 3.5L Goodness
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post #12 of 25 Old 11-21-2013, 06:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smurf View Post
I'm not sure if you found your coolant leak...

...I had the identical problem with mine last year. No drips on ground; no trace of any coolant fluids anywhere. I was loosing coolant at a very slow rate...a trip of 400 miles across the state and I'd have to add maybe a cup or two. The problem persisted for a couple of years. It wasn't a big deal for me but I hate leaks, as I believe they introduce more air into the system.

To compound the problem, I had a bad radiator (I had major overheating issues). I used stop leak--I'll never do that again. I replaced the radiator but the leak persisted. I looked high and low and was able to find two leaks. Clue: don't always look with your eyes, take a paper towel and "wipe" around all the coolant hoses, especially at the clamp areas, looking for moisture transferred onto the towel.

There is a hose right under the distributor cap that had moisture at the end where it connects to the engine. I had a minor oil leak from the cap (resolved with a new distributor o-ring) and apparently the hot dripping oil must have eroded the integrity of the hose. I changed this hose.

I thought I had resolved the problem but no, the car continued to lose coolant. I forgot to mention I could smell the sweet coolant smell in the cabin (and no, it wasn't a clogged heater core). Anyway, a month later I finally discovered the other leak which most likely was my mystery leak: it was coming from the very small coolant hose at the intake manifold at the clamp. I could feel the wetness and later it got worse as the hose progressively deteriorated. It was somewhat simple to replace that hose and I replaced the other small hose near it for good measure as well. I believe the hot coolant was sizzling away as it leaked (hence, no drips), and the misting was the smell that carried into the cabin.

Absolutely no fluid leaks since!

I had some pics saved of all the hoses I replaced and if you wish I can try to find and post them.

1998 Honda Accord, EX, 4dr, 2.3L, 168,000 miles, smurf-blue, owned: seven years.
Just a word on coolant leaks, when i ws working on a ford granada that was loosing a small amount of fluid the owner was a police officer we were talking and he said his wife kept getting headache,s and was being treated by the hospital, i took the car out and there was that coolant smell as it turned out coolant fumes are toxic and can cause a migrain effect they also cause a sore dry throat, so if you start getting a dry throat or head aches after driving you will need to check the car out .
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post #13 of 25 Old 02-18-2014, 07:18 AM Thread Starter
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I *think* I may have found my problem. Won't know yet for a few weeks at least until I check my fluid levels again. It seems that the radiator cap may have been failing for quite some time. If this is indeed the culprit of my issue, then it would have caused steam vapors to escape through the unpressurized cap which would eventually result in the low coolant level.


2000 2dr. v6 Accord, "Dirty Girl": Greddy MX Exhaust | K&N Drop-in Filter | Magnaflow Hi-Flow CAT | Eibach Pro Springs | KYB-GR2 Shocks | Eibach Sway Bars | Stereo stuff

'97 Thunderbird, "Pearl": L/R 2.5in Magnaflow Hi-Flow CATs | PI Intake | PI Cams

'13 Taurus, "The Bull": 3.5L Goodness
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post #14 of 25 Old 02-18-2014, 09:12 AM
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No fair, CDsDontBurn. Pray tell: how did you finally suspect and determine that it was a faulty radiator cap? Process of elimination (no leaks found) or did you do the radiator cap pressure test as suggested by greg1c or did you actually see it misting from the cap with a warm engine? Just curious as I am working on another Honda with a no-drip coolant loss problem.

By the way, quit being so mute on your new child from a couple weeks ago. Congrats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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post #15 of 25 Old 02-18-2014, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Well, I still have no drip from coolant. The only drip I do have is from my PS system leaking which is another issue itself. What I did was simply remove the cap to fill up my radiator and when I did, the spring and stopper were simply logged in at the top of the radiator already broken from fatigue.

And, I'll setup a new thread tonight, lol.


2000 2dr. v6 Accord, "Dirty Girl": Greddy MX Exhaust | K&N Drop-in Filter | Magnaflow Hi-Flow CAT | Eibach Pro Springs | KYB-GR2 Shocks | Eibach Sway Bars | Stereo stuff

'97 Thunderbird, "Pearl": L/R 2.5in Magnaflow Hi-Flow CATs | PI Intake | PI Cams

'13 Taurus, "The Bull": 3.5L Goodness
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