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Unread 12-07-2008, 08:04 PM   #1
xltj
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coolant leak when cold outside

See last posts, radiator problems have been solved, got other issues

I have a coolant leak and it only happens in the winter (cold outside). This happened last winter too. I had replaced the top radiator hose prior to the problem last winter. And after the problem I had bought a bottom radiator hose but by then it had stopped.

Well it just started back up today. I'm going to look around tomorrow in the daylight, but thought I'd post some pictures and see if anyone can give me advice on where to start.

Edit: There was enough coolant leaking that when I parked, the leaked coolant was basically smoking out of the engine

Coolant on inside of hood


Top of radiator


Other view of radiator


Bottom of radiator


Coolant that had leaked on front axle


Thanks for any help

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Jeep: 1999 Black TJ Sahara, 6-cylinder, 4.0L, front dana 30, rear dana 44, 3.73 gears, 3" Teraflex, 15x8 Eagle Alloys, 33x12.50R15 Mickey Thompson MTZ, Bestop Sailcloth top, KC 150w Daylighters, KC 55w fogs, CB radio, 73k miles
Daily Driver: '05 Silver Civic EX Coupe, 4 cyl 5-speed Manual, ~35 MPG, 54k miles

Last edited by xltj; 01-10-2010 at 10:04 AM..
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Unread 12-07-2008, 08:09 PM   #2
Skeezer
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Looks like an overflow issue. Almost as if it's blowing off. (no pun intended)

As to why it only does it in the winter, maybe your mixture isn't rich enough. Maybe too much water & it's expanding ??? Just a guess. Maybe a dumb one but it's all i got.
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Unread 12-07-2008, 08:13 PM   #3
xltj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeezer View Post
Looks like an overflow issue. Almost as if it's blowing off. (no pun intended)

As to why it only does it in the winter, maybe your mixture isn't rich enough. Maybe too much water & it's expanding ??? Just a guess. Maybe a dumb one but it's all i got.
Thanks for the input. The last time I check the reservoir (maybe a week ago), it was a the full marker. And i believe the mixture was half and half (bought it that way). When you say overflow issue, would that be in the radiator?
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Jeep: 1999 Black TJ Sahara, 6-cylinder, 4.0L, front dana 30, rear dana 44, 3.73 gears, 3" Teraflex, 15x8 Eagle Alloys, 33x12.50R15 Mickey Thompson MTZ, Bestop Sailcloth top, KC 150w Daylighters, KC 55w fogs, CB radio, 73k miles
Daily Driver: '05 Silver Civic EX Coupe, 4 cyl 5-speed Manual, ~35 MPG, 54k miles
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Unread 12-07-2008, 08:20 PM   #4
Skeezer
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Sounds like you have everything right. Since you have fluid inside the hood it appears to be a pressure relief. If your running too hot or have too much coolant it will blow off from the cap (up into the hood). Just something to check.

But that still doesn't make sense of why it's only doing it when it's cold outside.
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Unread 12-07-2008, 08:26 PM   #5
xltj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeezer View Post
Sounds like you have everything right. Since you have fluid inside the hood it appears to be a pressure relief. If your running too hot or have too much coolant it will blow off from the cap (up into the hood). Just something to check.

But that still doesn't make sense of why it's only doing it when it's cold outside.
Think it has anything to do with having the heater on?

The temp gauge was staying right in the middle. I'll definitely check the cap though. There seemed to be coolant "pooled" around the top edges of the radiator
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Jeep: 1999 Black TJ Sahara, 6-cylinder, 4.0L, front dana 30, rear dana 44, 3.73 gears, 3" Teraflex, 15x8 Eagle Alloys, 33x12.50R15 Mickey Thompson MTZ, Bestop Sailcloth top, KC 150w Daylighters, KC 55w fogs, CB radio, 73k miles
Daily Driver: '05 Silver Civic EX Coupe, 4 cyl 5-speed Manual, ~35 MPG, 54k miles
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Unread 12-07-2008, 08:27 PM   #6
Skeezer
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I bet you have a bad cap. I'd go pick one up and replace. Maybe that will do the trick.
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Unread 12-07-2008, 08:30 PM   #7
xltj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeezer View Post
I bet you have a bad cap. I'd go pick one up and replace. Maybe that will do the trick.
Thats a good idea. They're probably cheap, so I'll grab one tomorrow. Luckily I haven't been overheating
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Jeep: 1999 Black TJ Sahara, 6-cylinder, 4.0L, front dana 30, rear dana 44, 3.73 gears, 3" Teraflex, 15x8 Eagle Alloys, 33x12.50R15 Mickey Thompson MTZ, Bestop Sailcloth top, KC 150w Daylighters, KC 55w fogs, CB radio, 73k miles
Daily Driver: '05 Silver Civic EX Coupe, 4 cyl 5-speed Manual, ~35 MPG, 54k miles
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Unread 12-07-2008, 08:32 PM   #8
Skeezer
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Good luck, let me know how you make out.

Since all your levels, temps and pressures are good I almost guarantee you have a bad cap.
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Unread 12-15-2008, 01:05 PM   #9
xltj
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Well I just topped off my coolant reservoir and replaced the radiator cap. I'm gonna take it for a drive and see what happens. (since the leak only happens when running) I'll report back what happens.
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Jeep: 1999 Black TJ Sahara, 6-cylinder, 4.0L, front dana 30, rear dana 44, 3.73 gears, 3" Teraflex, 15x8 Eagle Alloys, 33x12.50R15 Mickey Thompson MTZ, Bestop Sailcloth top, KC 150w Daylighters, KC 55w fogs, CB radio, 73k miles
Daily Driver: '05 Silver Civic EX Coupe, 4 cyl 5-speed Manual, ~35 MPG, 54k miles
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Unread 12-15-2008, 01:12 PM   #10
rnestved
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My bet is the radiator cap. Our ambulances had the same issue. Could not trace the source until I suggested to pressure test the cap on the 6.0 diesels...problem solved.
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Unread 12-15-2008, 01:37 PM   #11
xltj
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So the cap was definitely not the problem. I let my jeep run on the driveway for a bit, and sure enough coolant started dripping. I had wiped down quite a bit of the radiator area so i can see where new coolant landed. It seemed to pool around the top edges of the radiator. And I think the fan edges have coolant on them as well.

I'm going to go look around some more. But here are a few pictures I took. Let me know if you'd like me to take a picture of something in particular that may help you help me








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Jeep: 1999 Black TJ Sahara, 6-cylinder, 4.0L, front dana 30, rear dana 44, 3.73 gears, 3" Teraflex, 15x8 Eagle Alloys, 33x12.50R15 Mickey Thompson MTZ, Bestop Sailcloth top, KC 150w Daylighters, KC 55w fogs, CB radio, 73k miles
Daily Driver: '05 Silver Civic EX Coupe, 4 cyl 5-speed Manual, ~35 MPG, 54k miles
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Unread 12-15-2008, 01:41 PM   #12
A2SuperCrew
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I can't tell from the pics. Is that the OEM radiator with plastic tanks and metal body? If so, they are notorious for leaking along the seams where the tank is crimped on. Two different materials with two different expansion/contraction rates. Thankfully the radiator is very easy to replace. Be sure to get an all metal one.
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Unread 12-15-2008, 01:52 PM   #13
xltj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A2SuperCrew View Post
I can't tell from the pics. Is that the OEM radiator with plastic tanks and metal body? If so, they are notorious for leaking along the seams where the tank is crimped on. Two different materials with two different expansion/contraction rates. Thankfully the radiator is very easy to replace. Be sure to get an all metal one.
Yes it is OEM. For the materials, I never paid attention, but I'm guessing its the plastic/metal combo.

This leak only happens during the winter (this is the second winter its happened). So its definitely an expanding/contracting issue.

Is replacing the radiator the only way of telling if that's the problem? Or would a pressure test help confirm?
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Jeep: 1999 Black TJ Sahara, 6-cylinder, 4.0L, front dana 30, rear dana 44, 3.73 gears, 3" Teraflex, 15x8 Eagle Alloys, 33x12.50R15 Mickey Thompson MTZ, Bestop Sailcloth top, KC 150w Daylighters, KC 55w fogs, CB radio, 73k miles
Daily Driver: '05 Silver Civic EX Coupe, 4 cyl 5-speed Manual, ~35 MPG, 54k miles
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Unread 12-15-2008, 03:45 PM   #14
TJ1911
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I just replaced the OEM radiator in my 2000. Like yours, mine only started leaking when the weather turned cold. The original radiators are prone to separate where the plastic is crimped to the metal. I bought an all metal replacement from Radiator Barn for about $160 shipped. They're super easy to replace. I think it took just over an hour from start to finish.
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Unread 12-15-2008, 03:58 PM   #15
Nonya
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Well when i tell you what is going on you probably won;t beileve me but here goes.......you replaced the upper hose clamp with a non factory type screw clamp.They don't compensate for heat and cold like the factory spring type.SO when it very cold out the plastic rad shrinks but the screw clamp doesn't,after you start the engine and the coolant start to expand it pushes out the loose hose clamp area until the plastic rad heats up expanding sealing the leaks.

I gO THROUGH THIS EVERY year too because some idiot tossed the factory clamps!
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