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Unread 10-02-2013, 05:09 PM   #1
Why J?
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Where is my coolant going?

I picked up a 1999 XJ Sport on Monday with 144,000 miles. She is in pretty good condition. Never wheeled. Needs some suspension work and an exhaust manifold which is being done next week.

I crawled all over the thing but missed checking the rad overflow. I'm an idiot.

Anyhow I topped the overflow off and marked its level. Drove it 80 miles and noticed that it was a tad lower than my mark. Ever so slightly. So I put a coolant system pressure tester on it and it looses 3-4 lbs over an hour. No visible leaks.

Plugs look good, nothing in the oil or trans fluid. Passenger floor board was wet under mat. Seems to be water not coolant. No white smoke, no sweet smell in exhaust. No CELs.

Thoughts? Cost estimate for head gasket replacement?

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Unread 10-02-2013, 08:37 PM   #2
jhickman1
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I'm not 100% sure on this so hopefully someone who's had the heater core out can verify whether or not it's possible. I was also loosing coolant very slowly with no visible signs anywhere and I had dry floors. I did have a faint odor of antifreeze when I turned on the heater. I finally happened to have the Jeep parked on fairly new concrete one day and noticed that the AC condensation drip had a greenish tint to it. I have yet to change my heater core but I'm beginning to think I'm loosing fluid through my core and it's dripping out with the AC condensation. Anyone know if that's possible? Good luck.
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Unread 10-02-2013, 10:49 PM   #3
um7267
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well i have about the same issue, but when i bought the jeep the guy put straight water in the radiator because it had lost a lot of fluid the day i went to look at it(the hose clamp broke), i have added more 50/50 to it and just assumed since there are no leaks and its running fine, that water has to evaporate at some point, i also changed the oil yesterday it looked alright for only being in there for a 2 months, prior to that the oil was changed 2 years ago so it still looks dirty but it isnt
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Unread 10-03-2013, 03:49 AM   #4
SaarXJ
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Is there any over heating issue?
You can check if there is a gas in the coolant to verify the head gasket issue (there is a liquid which changes its color from blue to yellow if there is a problem)
You can bypass the heater for a day or 2 and see if the coolant stays (if it stays, the problem is in the heater, if it is not, then... let's continue...)
Look for cracked hoses when the engine is running.
Look around the water pump for signs of coolant.
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Unread 10-03-2013, 04:35 AM   #5
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No overheating. I will pick up the dye and test the coolant for gas today.
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Unread 10-03-2013, 02:25 PM   #6
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I changed the lower hose because it had coolant markings on it. My overflow tank was also going down. Then I looked closer and saw some coolant under the passenger side of the radiator, so I'm thinking busted radiator. Then I wash off since it's seeping out slowly to make sure and no more pooling of coolant. So I get under a week or so after washing off and see drops of coolant on hose I replaced on the pump side????? Look some more and it looked like the pump seal was busted and coming out of weep hole but not constant flow only now and then. I could see it was hitting the oil pan and running down it's side. I look a few days after a long run and not a drop of coolant anywhere. This is driving me nuts. Now I'm thinking it's the thermostat housing seal may be done and seeps down to pump weep hole area and ruther to oil pan and hose. I just can't explain coolant under radiator on passenger side??? If it had a leak you would think it would leak all the time. Any ideas?
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Unread 10-03-2013, 02:35 PM   #7
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I replaced my rad cap and haven't noticed anymore coolant loss.

The system still looses 3lbs or pressure over an hour thought. Mo am having the exhaust manifold replaced next week and my mechanic is going to diag the missing coolant then.

Much more cost effective to replace the head gasket and or head when I am paying to R and R the exhaust manifold.
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Unread 10-03-2013, 05:47 PM   #8
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Scratch that last post. After I got home tonight from work it was noticeably lower. Maybe a 1/4" below my mark.

Weird that it isn't lower in the morning but after driving in the afternoon it gets lower.
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Unread 10-04-2013, 08:22 AM   #9
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Took the Jeep to a mechanic here by work this morning. They pressure tested the system and found the rad to be leaking on both side tanks.

They didn't do a test to find exhaust in the coolant so I am having then do that as well. Only $20 for all the testing so might as well.
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Unread 10-04-2013, 09:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Why J? View Post
Took the Jeep to a mechanic here by work this morning. They pressure tested the system and found the rad to be leaking on both side tanks.

They didn't do a test to find exhaust in the coolant so I am having then do that as well. Only $20 for all the testing so might as well.
The plastic seams on the factory radiator are the most common point of failure on the OEM radiator. I replaced the original radiator on my 99 at about 130k.

As long as you're having them replace the radiator, I'd consider putting in a new water pump, thermostat and hoses if you plan on keeping this XJ and if those items are original.........or you'll be doing cooling system maintenance again in the near future.

I'm guessing that the testing for hydrocarbons in your coolant will be negative but keep us posted!
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Unread 10-04-2013, 09:51 AM   #11
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Just called. Negative for exhaust in the coolant. No signs of any type if head issue. But it still puzzles me that it could lose that much and not be apparent.

They recommended rad, hoses, thermo, pump, fan and clutch.

Which it needs. But they want $650 to do it. I'll do it my self in a few weeks.
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Unread 10-04-2013, 01:04 PM   #12
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Got the shop down to $350 for the rad, all new hose and claps so I decided to save my self the headache and let then do the work.

Should know in a few hours if my coolant issue is solved..... I'm currently drinking an Amberbock and thinking it will still lose coolant.

But we shall see.
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Unread 10-04-2013, 03:35 PM   #13
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Picked up the jeep. Seems to runs bit cooler. They said it holds pressure now. I'll test it when I get home.
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Unread 10-04-2013, 05:44 PM   #14
tjwalker
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The cylinder head (0630) on your 99 is one of the best. I think that the radiator was likely the sole cause of your coolant loss.

Keep an eye on that passenger floorboard though. If you get a "sweet" smell in the cab and it is still getting wet and you determine that it is coolant, then you have a leak in your heater core. That isn't a fun job to replace!

Enjoy your XJ!
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Unread 10-04-2013, 06:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjwalker
The cylinder head (0630) on your 99 is one of the best.
Not saying you're wrong but my 0630 head cracked with 115k miles on it.
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