Finding a coolant leak on 96 EX


New Member
5+ Year Member
as stated, 96 ex with a five speed.

Cars got hella miles on it.

Had to do a major overhaul about a year and a half ago, replaced the following:
radiator & both hoses
water pump
timing belt
head gasket
bunch of little crap I either broke or lost taking the engine out in my driveway :???:

Now... after a nother heavy replace session involving both axels and ball joints, she's back in the road again...... and losing coolant. :cry:

This thing gets a lot of wear put on it. Wife's familiy lives 170 miles away and I've got two kids in therapy and seeing specialists 80 miles away every week. With no funds in place for a more reliable ride anytime soon. :(

It sat awaiting money for parts for the front end redo for about a month (with me bumming vehicals away from my parents, who repeated assured me it was "only because of their grandkids" that they were doing this.). Got the axles and joints on it rode like newerish, (amazing what a diff new ball joints makes, man!). Did good for about three weeks, started smelling antifreeze inside about the time my wife started cranking the heater up.

Initially it was just the smell, wasn't actually losing enough fluid to be alarmed yet. Just another red flag in the back of my head signifying something to fix. Two nights ago it lost quite abit while my wife was on another of our hour long journeys. She pulled off into a gas station, let it cool, filled it with water, drove it home.

Today I got up, got in... thought I'd better top off the radiator, do so. Pulled out... realized I forgot something, went back into my drive to see a big, alarming puddle. Cut it off and stuck my head under it to see coolant rapidly dripping from the exhaust. (Driveway on a hill, car tilted backwards).

I'm pretty familure with finding coolant leaks under the hood now... but aside from the big "smelling it inside the car" hint, how else could I check or test the heater? Really hate to tear the dash all to peices without knowing for sure.

Thx guys.


New Member
Registered VIP
so you think its the heater? if its leaking only in the engine bay its probably from the heater hose that comes out of the block and by the dizzy and goes to the valve that opens and closes when you turn the heater on. its easy to follow and is an easy fix. but then again it could also be the one coming out of the heater going back into the block on the right side of the hose i just described.


New Member
Registered VIP
Check the hose under the distributor like said above, I've seen it leaking on a few civics. With out a Radiator Pressure Tester it's not very easy to find some leaks, even more so if they are pin hole leaks.


100% real juice
Registered VIP
5+ Year Member
Yeah man I'm tryna find a leak right now myself. Head over to Orielly's Auto and rent a pressure tester. Cost $160 and u get ur money back when u bring it back


New Member
Registered VIP
i found that when i was looking for leaks it was easiest to do by degreasing and cleaning the engine bay really well and then driving it for 10-15 miles (or until reaches operating temp for at least 10 minutes) and then parking it and looking for a leak. I remember one time the bottom radiator hose was leaking but it wouldn't leak unless it was under pressure due to a very small hole.

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