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Coolant leak?

Discussion in 'Tech Archive (No Posting)' started by GummyBear, Jan 29, 2010.



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  1. GummyBear

    GummyBear New Member 5+ Year Member

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    i noticed my coolant reservoir was low and thought it might just be because i havent added any coolant in forever... so i added some right upto the max line. couple of days later i notice my car's cold/hot gauge is going up and down... i also felt as though i havent heard my fan turn on in a long time but i attributed that to the fact its pretty cold(winter). today i was driving and noticed some stream coming out of my hood and when i popped the hood i noticed some coolant above my fan area and the spongy part was wet as well... any ideas what might be wrong and how i should go about this? if it is truly a radiator leak i'm not sure i can handle that myself as i'm just a novice when it comes to cars. anyhow my thoughts is to try to test the fan somehow to make sure it works and to see if maybe its the switch, if its not the switch/fan then i will test the thermostat by removing it and putting it in some hot water(will coolant come out if i remove the thermostat?, i mean all of the coolant as i know some will come out). what i am hoping is it to be one of the above problems and not a actual radiator leak... btw if it is one of the things i listed, would it stop leaking or will i have to replace the radiator no matter what?

    thanks for reading and any help will be appreciated. oh yeah my car is a 1996 honda civic dx with 229k miles. pretty much stock everything.

    also i forgot to mention, if my fan goes bad or the switch or the thermostat wouldnt a CEL come on?
     
  2. 2slo4u

    2slo4u wait4me Registered VIP Registered OG 5+ Year Member 10+ Year Member

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    test your fan out. connect the positive/negative to the battery and it should come on
    yes some antifreeze will come out if you take out the thermostat because you have to take off the lower hose of the radiator.actually..alot of fluid might come out
    but if your radiator is getting wet on top..it might have a crack :thumbdown:
     
  3. UCCRacing

    UCCRacing No Fun Registered VIP 5+ Year Member

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    Here is the thing... When it is cool fill up your radiator... 50/50 Peak Antifreeze... Let it get hot, see if you can find the leak... Most likely from what you described... It is the radiator... Get a new one don't mess with trying to fix it... You can find a used one cheap look on craigslist... Or go on ebay and buy one, they are not a bad price... Anyone can change the radiator in a Civic easy with a drain pan and simple hand tools such as sockets and a screw driver... If you go to take your thermostat out, it would be the dumbest thing ever not to just replace it as they are around 10 dollars, plus the cost of some fresh coolant... It is recommended to replace the thermostat about every yr... But something as simple as that, 99% of people including myself just wait till it goes or until I do something with the coolant system that will drain the fluid any ways so I pop a new one in...

    As far as above 2slo4u has it correct, test out your fan... But while your checking for this leak with the rad full you should watch to see what the fan does..... .
     
  4. RonJ

    RonJ Banned

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    It's very common for the Civic radiator to leak from the top seam. I just recently replaced my radiator for this reason. The job is quite simple, as mentioned, just remember to thoroughly bleed the cooling system when done.
     
  5. UCCRacing

    UCCRacing No Fun Registered VIP 5+ Year Member

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  6. jasanp

    jasanp New Member 5+ Year Member

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    I recently had trouble with my radiator a few time...i recently had to replace it cuz it cracked. One this i learned is you can check to see if it is a leak by simply taking off the hose next to cap and using a air compressor put air into it and if indeed its cracked then your'll see where the cracks at like that...coolent should squirt out. If it squirts from around the cap...it might just be that one of the rubber pieces on the cap feel of...just go buy a new one for like 5 bux. You wanna check before the problem gets any worst.

    Good Luck!
     
  7. GummyBear

    GummyBear New Member 5+ Year Member

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    everyone is telling me something a bit different from the next person. should i even check my thermostat? should i check the switch/fan? from what i gather my radiator has a leak somewhere 100% so regardless if the thermostat or the fan/switch was the culprit i need a new radiator correct? changing a radiator seems difficult and i'm a bit scared to do it. i've changed o2 sensors, brakes, air filter and oil. i feel this might be too much for me to handle... thanks for the replies.
     
  8. RonJ

    RonJ Banned

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    Logic dictates:

    1) Fix the leak. This probably means the radiator needs to be replaced. It's a very easy job (see diagram). Hell, even I can do it.

    2) Any time the cooling system is drained and refilled, you need to bleed the cooling system. See steps below.

    3) Go from there.


    [​IMG]

    -------------------

    The bleed procedure may take 20-30 minutes:

    1) Park the car on an inclined driveway with the front end higher than the rear.

    2) Push the dash heater lever/knob to MAX heat.

    3) Follow the directions in the diagram below

    [​IMG]
     
  9. GummyBear

    GummyBear New Member 5+ Year Member

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    i also noticed my cover for the coolant reservoir is loose, while it doesnt come off it moves fairly easily. would this cause coolant to evaporate out of my car and condense back onto my car?
     
  10. RonJ

    RonJ Banned

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    No
     
  11. jasanp

    jasanp New Member 5+ Year Member

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    If the cap is lose then it might just be you need a new cap...happend to me and felt dumb when I found out...lol.
     
  12. UCCRacing

    UCCRacing No Fun Registered VIP 5+ Year Member

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    The cap on the overflow is usually lose, if its falling off, sure replace it.... Otherwise it is nothing... And since the coolant in that tank is an OVERFLOW, it is not what is your problem.....
     
  13. GummyBear

    GummyBear New Member 5+ Year Member

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    thanks for the replies thus far. i'm pretty sure its the radiator as well because i just realized if it was the thermostat, my CEL would come on... i'm going to check the fan as it might be the culprit as to why my radiator cracked. i'm a bit nervous changing the radiator myself but i'm going to give it a shot. if anyone in philly wants to help me, i'd appreciate it =)
     
  14. RonJ

    RonJ Banned

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    A bad thermostat would not throw a CEL.
     
  15. GummyBear

    GummyBear New Member 5+ Year Member

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    really? do other cars throw a CEL for a bad themostat? because my dad's 02 daewoo leganza threw a p0128 which meants themostat most likely so i figured my car would as well...
     
  16. RonJ

    RonJ Banned

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    6th gen civics don't have such a code but 7th gen Civics do.
     
  17. GummyBear

    GummyBear New Member 5+ Year Member

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    would a bad themostat cause the fan not to come on? thanks for answering so many of my questions. also when i replace a themostat, is it necessary to bleed out the anti freeze?
     
  18. RonJ

    RonJ Banned

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    The radiator leaks from the top seam covered by the spongy foam, right? See post #8.

    If you are concerned about the thermostat, just replace it because it's so inexpensive.
     
  19. GummyBear

    GummyBear New Member 5+ Year Member

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    well i decided to change my thermostat, the one i purchased was a little smaller than the one i had. so i added back the coolant+water that was loss due to the install and turn on my car until it got hot... the fan never turned on but my temperature on my car was also slightly lower than it usually was(due to a better thermostat i guess or newer one?). i waited about 30 mins... my heat is also not as hot as it was before i did this. i'm not sure why.

    thoughts? im going to drive around for a bit and see what happens.

    is the fan switch right next to the radiator/fan pretty much at the top? i tried unplugging it but it was rather difficult to take off so i gave up since i wasnt even sure if that was the fan switch. a picture would help greatly.
     


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