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#1323444 - 12/27/08 10:10 PM Radiator Cap-- Should I hear a hiss?
The Critic Offline


Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 17732
Loc: Walnut Creek, CA
I've been trying to locate a coolant leak in my SL2. It's a 96 with 121,000 miles. I've added about 24 ounces of coolant to it over the last 8 months.

I do not see any visible leaks, nor do I see any oil in the coolant or coolant in the engine oil.

However, today I unscrewed the cap on the pressurized surge tank immediately after an 80 mile highway drive. I didn't get any hiss while removing the cap.

Is this a bad thing? Could it be that my system is not staying pressurized? Would this explain my coolant loss?

Thanks.

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#1323450 - 12/27/08 10:19 PM Re: Radiator Cap-- Should I hear a hiss? [Re: The Critic]
Audi Junkie Offline


Registered: 11/03/02
Posts: 11247
Loc: PA
Try pressing down on it and the tank and see if that changes the sound.
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#1323452 - 12/27/08 10:22 PM Re: Radiator Cap-- Should I hear a hiss? [Re: The Critic]
c3po Offline


Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 3358
Loc: Maryland
I am not an expert on this but I will give you a few thoughts, I do not think the cap is the issue, the coolant has to be leaking out somewhere or going into your oil.

It could be a minor head gasket leak, meaning the coolant loss is so minor that it is not showing up in your oil.

I remember when the Chevrolet Vortec motors were loosing coolant and there was no visible coolant loss, it was later found to be escaping out of the intake manifold and running down the back of the engine where it hit the exhaust pipe and then evaporated.

Have you thought about going to NAPA or CarQuest and buying the dye that you put in the coolant to see if there are any leaks, this will show up with a UV light.

I would also check all of your hose connections too.

Is this car a Saturn or a Mercedes, since I am not sure what an SL2 is.

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#1323454 - 12/27/08 10:26 PM Re: Radiator Cap-- Should I hear a hiss? [Re: c3po]
The Critic Offline


Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 17732
Loc: Walnut Creek, CA
 Originally Posted By: c3po
Is this car a Saturn or a Mercedes, since I am not sure what an SL2 is.

It's a Saturn.

According to the experts over on SaturnFans.com, they said that headgasket problems are extremely rare on the DOHC version of the 1.9L engine, which is the one that I have. Instead, they said that I should check for cracking of the radiator near the transmission line area. I checked that area, and mine is bone dry.

I made an appointment to have Pep Boys pressure test the cooling system tomorrow, so I'll see what they come back with.

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#1323469 - 12/27/08 10:41 PM Re: Radiator Cap-- Should I hear a hiss? [Re: The Critic]
c3po Offline


Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 3358
Loc: Maryland
If you had a crack by the radiator you would see some sign of a coolant leak, just my thought.

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#1323471 - 12/27/08 10:46 PM Re: Radiator Cap-- Should I hear a hiss? [Re: The Critic]
jorton Offline


Registered: 07/04/03
Posts: 2742
Loc: San Antonio, TX
Let us know what Pep Boys finds!
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#1323478 - 12/27/08 10:51 PM Re: Radiator Cap-- Should I hear a hiss? [Re: The Critic]
MONKEYMAN Offline


Registered: 06/24/04
Posts: 1544
Loc: St. Louis
At that age on my SL2 it was the water pump that leaked first. But in my case the pump seal gave way all at once. I doled out the work and they did a pressure test first to confirm it was the water pump. I was loosing some coolant, but not as much as you are until the pump seal went south. Also, I have been told by the knowledgeable members at Saturnfans to check the coolant when the engine is stone cold. If you check it hot vacuum may collapse radiator hoses and some think may contribute to the passenger side radiator crack when the coolant cools.
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#1323557 - 12/28/08 12:31 AM Re: Radiator Cap-- Should I hear a hiss? [Re: MONKEYMAN]
Colt45ws Offline


Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 7421
Loc: Central Washington
Water pump started leaking on my Mom's 1994 SC2 1.9 DOHC last year with 86k on it.
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2004 Ford Crown Vic LX, 81k "Tank"
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#1323568 - 12/28/08 12:45 AM Re: Radiator Cap-- Should I hear a hiss? [Re: Colt45ws]
The Critic Offline


Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 17732
Loc: Walnut Creek, CA
Also, I have not seen a single drop of coolant on the ground. That's the annoying part, this leak isn't very obvious.

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#1323578 - 12/28/08 12:58 AM Re: Radiator Cap-- Should I hear a hiss? [Re: The Critic]
Colt45ws Offline


Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 7421
Loc: Central Washington
On my cavalier, it would only leak from the pump when I left it open, with out the cap. When the pump on it went, before I figured it out, I broke the cap or something and had to wait until morning to buy a new one. I lost about half a gallon of coolant out the water pump that night... Never noticed it leak before that, just had to add small amounts occasionally. That episode is what got me to investigate where it was coming from.


Edited by Onmo'Eegusee (12/28/08 01:00 AM)
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2004 Ford Crown Vic LX, 81k "Tank"
2002 Ford Crown Vic PI, 162k "Highwayman" (Ex-Kootenai County, ID Unit #42)

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#1323667 - 12/28/08 06:56 AM Re: Radiator Cap-- Should I hear a hiss? [Re: Colt45ws]
Busteck2 Offline


Registered: 12/25/08
Posts: 15
Loc: florida
less than a quart of antifreeze in 8 months.?.

I'd take a wait and see attiude on that one..

I've alwasy been of the opinion that since the major component of antifreeze is water, some evpoaration can be expected.although a cooling system is somewhat sealed, its not sealed in the sense of an air conditioning system so some loss is normal overtime..

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#1323717 - 12/28/08 09:04 AM Re: Radiator Cap-- Should I hear a hiss? [Re: Busteck2]
eljefino Online   content


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 23989
Loc: ME
It could easily be... the cap! If it won't hold pressure you'll get more evaporation.

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#1323767 - 12/28/08 10:12 AM Re: Radiator Cap-- Should I hear a hiss? [Re: eljefino]
George7941 Offline


Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 1484
Loc: Toronto, Canada
You should be hearing the hiss when you open the cap. It looks like you have a leak somewhere.

You can check for pressure in the system by squeezing the top rad hose, you will definitely feel the pressure there.

What I do is I tee into a heater line and pressurize the cooling system to 13 psi with compressed air and then see if the system can hold the pressure. This tests for leaks past the cap also.
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#1323770 - 12/28/08 10:15 AM Re: Radiator Cap-- Should I hear a hiss? [Re: eljefino]
Gary Allan Offline


Registered: 09/28/02
Posts: 39806
Loc: Pottstown, PA
While I never saw any coolant leakage, I found my 2.5 jeep engine low on coolant. I discovered it due to having a bit of low speed usage before shut down ..and I happened to be standing there when the rad started pushing air into the coolant recovery bottle. This was the only time coolant was visible on the ground. I freaked ..naturally ..and couldn't quite wrap around how the system held good pressure all the time hot. No cold start or shut down puddling that would have indicated a loose clamp. All clamps tweaked and all hoses showed no leakage when hot (good pressure). This happened a second time. I decided to replace the cap. So far it's worked. My only guess is that the cap held pressure, but not vacuum.

Again, I've only got half the mystery solved in terms of explaining it. The condition was corrected with the cap ..but I have no idea how the coolant got out without notice with the system holding good pressure and no apparent leaks. UOA shows no coolant.
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#1323810 - 12/28/08 10:52 AM Re: Radiator Cap-- Should I hear a hiss? [Re: Gary Allan]
kingrob Offline


Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 1372
Loc: NC
Let us know what Pep Boys finds. My guess is cracked radiator, waterpump, ECTS, or radiator hose.
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