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Old 08-22-2011, 02:09 PM   #1
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Coolant Leak

I have a 2002 S. Backing out of a driveway on Saturday, I scraped the nose of the car. Now I see a small amount of coolant on the floor of my garage on the passenger side in front of the tire (front).

Any ideas on what I did? I imagine the two events are related. It's not a lot of coolant, probably a few tablespoons. Reservoir level ok. I am idling the car now before I head out tonight to see if it is bad under pressure.

TIA.

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Old 08-22-2011, 02:15 PM   #2
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These cars are famous for damaging the front radiators when hitting the nose on driveways or when pulling into parking spots had putting the nose on the curb. Common failure points are where the mount that hold the radiators in the bodywork protrude from the radiator itself. And even if the unit is only slightly cracked now, it is going to get worse; and no, it cannot be repaired with expoxy from the outside.
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Old 08-22-2011, 02:23 PM   #3
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Any DIY on repairing these things?
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:11 PM   #4
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I've seen it written up, but I do not remember which site. Involves pulling the front bumper cover, which exposes the radiators; after that it is pretty straight foward. You will need either a vacuum filling system for the coolant, or use the manual "burp" proceedures.........
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Old 08-22-2011, 07:40 PM   #5
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Just did my first coolant change. That Airlift vacuum system rocks! Gotta have a decent compressor to operate it though.
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Old 08-23-2011, 03:28 AM   #6
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Wayne's book says that you can get at the radiator while leaving the bumper cover on, but it's a lot easier with it off.

This leak is SO minor that I wonder if I can somehow repair the radiator instead of replacing it. I went to dinner last night and after driving forty miles and dining for 3 hours, the pavement under the car was dry.

This morning there was a teaspoon.

JB Weld anyone?

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Old 08-23-2011, 05:14 AM   #7
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"get at it" is subjective...

with the bumper cover on, yes you can physically touch it but that's about it. To do anything with it though you need to pull the skin (which takes all of 20min). Plus, the a/c condensers sit in front of each rad...
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Old 08-24-2011, 06:56 AM   #8
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Looks like I have a project for Hurricane Irene... At least get the cover off and look at the damage.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:18 AM   #9
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Have a look at Pedro's DIY page - far better pictures and much more detailed explanations than you will find in Wayne's book.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:14 AM   #10
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God, I'm dreading burping the system.
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Old 08-24-2011, 11:13 AM   #11
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So was I - that's why I bought the airlift vacuum tool. I upgraded my compressor at the same time to make sure I would have the flow to operate it.

I also bought the spring clamp tool described in Pedro's article - another tool worth its weight in gold. I've messed around with those clamps before trying to use pliers and this new tool takes all the frustration out of the job.

So, (LOL) I spent about $600 on tools to make sure the job would go smooth. I think I'm still ahead of what it would have cost me to take the car into the dealer for a pump, thermostat, and flush as they would probably hit me for at least 3 hours labour and they would have stepped on the parts pretty hard too. And now I have all the tools I need for next time.
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:21 PM   #12
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My "compressor" plugs into a 12V outlet, so I've really no hope of using an airlift tool without a major expenditure! Maybe my wet-dry vac and some duct tape...... just kidding.
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:59 PM   #13
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hmmm, the shopvac... never thought of that. I wonder if it would run my impact gun?
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Old 08-24-2011, 06:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterbrown77
God, I'm dreading burping the system.
It's just driving around with the vent valve open. No big deal.
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Old 08-25-2011, 08:17 AM   #15
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It's just driving around with the vent valve open. No big deal.
Why are the write-ups so complex on purging (see Pedro's Garage)?

Start this, open that, 1500 rpm for 5 minutes, turn it off, turn it on, 5000 rpm.........
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:32 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JFP in PA
These cars are famous for damaging the front radiators when hitting the nose on driveways or when pulling into parking spots had putting the nose on the curb. Common failure points are where the mount that hold the radiators in the bodywork protrude from the radiator itself. And even if the unit is only slightly cracked now, it is going to get worse; and no, it cannot be repaired with expoxy from the outside.
100% correct. You need a radiator. Been there..done that.
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:36 AM   #17
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probably hardly leaks when running. expansion puts pressure on the rubber bumper washer and kinda seals the leak until it's cooled.
It's a slow but doable job in a day or so. you might need a new air scoop that is in front of the radiator.
No choice....just do it.
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:45 AM   #18
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Grrrrrrr...

The lift I use is out of commission for months too....

I found the Behr part at Parts Train for $200, see some cheaper aftermarket ones for around $120.....

I guess $80 is worth it for peace of mind.
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:33 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by peterbrown77
Why are the write-ups so complex on purging (see Pedro's Garage)?

Start this, open that, 1500 rpm for 5 minutes, turn it off, turn it on, 5000 rpm.........
The complicated part is getting it all drained out. Burbing is easy.

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