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Coolant Reservoir Level In Winter #4626940
01/07/18 02:03 PM
01/07/18 02:03 PM
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 2,024
Illinois, U.S.A
RamFan Online sleepy OP
RamFan  Online Sleepy OP
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 2,024
Illinois, U.S.A
Quick question for you guys on an observation I made this morning. It's 22* here (finally warm!) and decided to do a quick once-over on the CX-5 while it was in the driveway. Everything was good to go, as expected, except for the coolant. On the reservoir tank it read about 2" below the low line, I popped the Rad cap and it was full to the top. Mind you this is on a cold engine.

The system is clearly full, I'm not having any external leaks and my UOAs don't indicate an internal leak. It seems as though the very cold temps are causing the fluid to be pulled into the block, I'm just surprised by the amount.

Any others notice this much variance with their reservoir tanks?


06 Monte Carlo LT
+3.9l V6 - 191k - DuraBlend 10w30 - EcoGard Synthetic - OLM
16.5 CX-5 Touring
+2.5l I4 - 48k - SynPower w/ Maxlife 0w20 - PureOne - 8k/1yr
Re: Coolant Reservoir Level In Winter [Re: RamFan] #4626946
01/07/18 02:13 PM
01/07/18 02:13 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,565
North Carolina
Rat407 Offline
Rat407  Offline
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,565
North Carolina
To me the coolant level is supposed to be at the full line cold. It doesn't matter if it is summer time cold after sitting over night or winter cold. It should be at the full line cold. That is my understanding. When the engine has been off for it to cool down to existing outside temp.


2002 Silverado 5.3 0w-20 AMSOIL
Re: Coolant Reservoir Level In Winter [Re: RamFan] #4626950
01/07/18 02:16 PM
01/07/18 02:16 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 2,301
SE British Columbia, Canada
Snagglefoot Offline
Snagglefoot  Offline
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 2,301
SE British Columbia, Canada
There definitely is a coefficient of expansion for the fluid. How cold did it get and have you driven the vehicle yet.

SF


If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: Coolant Reservoir Level In Winter [Re: RamFan] #4626951
01/07/18 02:16 PM
01/07/18 02:16 PM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 5,663
MIchigan
Warstud Offline
Warstud  Offline
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 5,663
MIchigan
As the coolant heats up it expands and goes into the reservoir. When it cools it gets drawn back into the radiator. Just like cooking something on the stove with a pan half full. It gets hot enough it boils over.

Re: Coolant Reservoir Level In Winter [Re: Snagglefoot] #4626956
01/07/18 02:24 PM
01/07/18 02:24 PM
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 2,024
Illinois, U.S.A
RamFan Online sleepy OP
RamFan  Online Sleepy OP
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 2,024
Illinois, U.S.A
Originally Posted By: Snagglefoot
There definitely is a coefficient of expansion for the fluid. How cold did it get and have you driven the vehicle yet.

SF


We've had lows in the negatives for the past 7-10 days. Just yesterday morning was -10*F on the drive to the office. This morning it was driven 2 miles then parked in the driveway for about an hour and a half before I did the once-over.


06 Monte Carlo LT
+3.9l V6 - 191k - DuraBlend 10w30 - EcoGard Synthetic - OLM
16.5 CX-5 Touring
+2.5l I4 - 48k - SynPower w/ Maxlife 0w20 - PureOne - 8k/1yr
Re: Coolant Reservoir Level In Winter [Re: RamFan] #4626961
01/07/18 02:37 PM
01/07/18 02:37 PM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 22,158
Colorado Springs
Drew99GT Offline
Drew99GT  Offline
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 22,158
Colorado Springs
I've noticed this as well; if it's very cold, it will be w little low; once it warms back up into the 50s/60s, it's back to where it should be. Seems logical and normal to me.

Re: Coolant Reservoir Level In Winter [Re: RamFan] #4626963
01/07/18 02:37 PM
01/07/18 02:37 PM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 19,891
MA, Mittelfranken.de
Trav Offline
Trav  Offline
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 19,891
MA, Mittelfranken.de
I observed the same thing with a VW golf, the system filled to the correct level at 70f in the garage (overnight) then put outside where it sat for 2 days.
It went down below 0f and took 200ml to bring it back up to the same level. I removed the excess once I knew exactly how much the difference was.

VW sometimes will flash a red coolant light meaning the coolant is low in very cold temps, the contacts were to high in the bottle, a revised bottle with the contacts lower is now regular production and for service and addresses this issue.


ASE L1, Master. Deutsch Meisterbrief.
Re: Coolant Reservoir Level In Winter [Re: RamFan] #4626974
01/07/18 02:46 PM
01/07/18 02:46 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 20,743
Upstate NY
Donald Offline
Donald  Offline
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 20,743
Upstate NY
The coolant does contract a little when it's really cold. I would make sure at freezing or 32F it's at cold full. If it's below cold full at 0F no big deal.


2015 Subaru Forester 2.5 engine/CVT
2015 Ford F250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)
Re: Coolant Reservoir Level In Winter [Re: RamFan] #4626984
01/07/18 02:54 PM
01/07/18 02:54 PM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 5,663
MIchigan
Warstud Offline
Warstud  Offline
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 5,663
MIchigan
Depends on the temp you added the coolant last. Full at 70 degrees wont be full at 10 degrees. Just like tire pressure.

Re: Coolant Reservoir Level In Winter [Re: Donald] #4627034
01/07/18 03:47 PM
01/07/18 03:47 PM
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 2,024
Illinois, U.S.A
RamFan Online sleepy OP
RamFan  Online Sleepy OP
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 2,024
Illinois, U.S.A
Originally Posted By: Donald
The coolant does contract a little when it's really cold. I would make sure at freezing or 32F it's at cold full. If it's below cold full at 0F no big deal.


This is my thought as well.


06 Monte Carlo LT
+3.9l V6 - 191k - DuraBlend 10w30 - EcoGard Synthetic - OLM
16.5 CX-5 Touring
+2.5l I4 - 48k - SynPower w/ Maxlife 0w20 - PureOne - 8k/1yr
Re: Coolant Reservoir Level In Winter [Re: RamFan] #4627086
01/07/18 04:32 PM
01/07/18 04:32 PM
Joined: May 2014
Posts: 3,661
Columbus,Nebraska
Yah-Tah-Hey Offline
Yah-Tah-Hey  Offline
Joined: May 2014
Posts: 3,661
Columbus,Nebraska
Fill the coolant reservoir to the full line and forget it.

Re: Coolant Reservoir Level In Winter [Re: RamFan] #4633147
01/13/18 01:33 AM
01/13/18 01:33 AM
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 801
VA
Thax Offline
Thax  Offline
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 801
VA
When its really cold, nearly every vehicle I service has low coolant in the reservoir. Ive come to expect it and top it off to the fill line on the reservoir. Seems to me as normal thermal contraction and expansion. As long as the radiator is filled all is well.


2000 Ford Explorer Limited 5.0L AWD
2018 KIA Soul EX 2.0L
ASE P2 Parts Specialist
AIA Import Part Specialist
KIA certified Senior Technician, Hybrid certified.
Re: Coolant Reservoir Level In Winter [Re: RamFan] #4634235
01/14/18 07:24 AM
01/14/18 07:24 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,711
N.Ohio
Lubener Offline
Lubener  Offline
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,711
N.Ohio
After sitting overnight, I make sure the level is up to the cold mark. That's it and I do not worry where it ends up when the engine is warm.

Last edited by Lubener; 01/14/18 07:25 AM.

The "thinking" man's friend.
Re: Coolant Reservoir Level In Winter [Re: Thax] #4636922
01/16/18 05:12 PM
01/16/18 05:12 PM
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 2,024
Illinois, U.S.A
RamFan Online sleepy OP
RamFan  Online Sleepy OP
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 2,024
Illinois, U.S.A
Originally Posted By: Thax
When its really cold, nearly every vehicle I service has low coolant in the reservoir. Ive come to expect it and top it off to the fill line on the reservoir. Seems to me as normal thermal contraction and expansion. As long as the radiator is filled all is well.


My thoughts exactly. Went down to the Mazda dealership and bought some FL22 ($25/gal!), this way I know with 100% certainty I've got the correct fluid for a top off.


06 Monte Carlo LT
+3.9l V6 - 191k - DuraBlend 10w30 - EcoGard Synthetic - OLM
16.5 CX-5 Touring
+2.5l I4 - 48k - SynPower w/ Maxlife 0w20 - PureOne - 8k/1yr
Re: Coolant Reservoir Level In Winter [Re: RamFan] #4637061
01/16/18 07:34 PM
01/16/18 07:34 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 2,406
CA
raytseng Offline
raytseng  Offline
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 2,406
CA
Originally Posted By: RamFan
Originally Posted By: Thax
When its really cold, nearly every vehicle I service has low coolant in the reservoir. Ive come to expect it and top it off to the fill line on the reservoir. Seems to me as normal thermal contraction and expansion. As long as the radiator is filled all is well.


My thoughts exactly. Went down to the Mazda dealership and bought some FL22 ($25/gal!), this way I know with 100% certainty I've got the correct fluid for a top off.

if your coolant doesnt have a leak then your fluid loss is evaporative and mostly water as it expands it pushes a volume of hot vapor out the overflow and as it cools it sucks back in dry air. ethylene glycols boiling point is much higher than h20 so the vapor is mostly h20. Your remaining coolant is therefore concentrated.

Therefore, if you are splitting hairs and concerned about the correct topoff, you should topoff with distilled water, not coolant.

Last edited by raytseng; 01/16/18 07:36 PM.
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