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Old 06-07-2019, 05:31 AM   #1
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Coolant leak - need a St. Louis mechanic

Hi all,

Can anyone recommend a good independent mechanic in St. Louis?

I pulled into work this morning and noticed a lot of steam coming out of the drivers side vent. When I inspected further there was a trail of water that was following me. The engine temp was still reading normal levels, and there is still coolant in the tank...so hopefully just a minor hose leak. I live 25 miles away and don't want to drive it home to check it out. I also don't want to mess with it too much in the parking lot. I'll probably have it towed to a shop. Any recommendations on where I can go? I'm currently in mid-town near SLU

BTW - Long timer lurker, but I don't post too much. This forum has been great.

Thanks!
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Old 06-08-2019, 06:52 AM   #2
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sorry nobody has replied. I cannot help, not knowing your area, but a response might prod another in your area with suggestions.
It is probably a hose leak, but everyone is here help you, so help us.
what year, model and mileage on the car?
anything else you could think relevant to your problem, such as recent service, topped off coolant a week ago, CEL lights etc?

Plus, let us know what you find, how it works out, etc.

Best of luck
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Old 06-08-2019, 04:30 PM   #3
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Thanks, Tony. The car is a 2002 S with about 80k miles. I've owned it for 2.5 years and its been relatively trouble free. I checked for codes with my obdii scanner and got no hits. The engine seemed to be running fine when I shut it down.

I took a peak under the car in the afternoon. There is an active drip towards the front of the oil pan. It appears to be coolant. The level in the coolant tank also appears to have dropped a little as well. Neither the trunk carpet or the interior carpet appeared to be wet. The oil level also appeared to be fine.

I'll look at it again on Monday and see if it's still dripping.

Are there any easy/obvious things I should be checking? How risky would it be if I topped off the coolant and tried to drive it home or to a shop?
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Old 06-08-2019, 04:43 PM   #4
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I'm not from St. Louis, so I can't recommend anyone for you, but what you're describing sounds like a water pump failure. In most cars, keeping up with the coolant would be OK for a quick drive to a shop or home. From what I've read on these forums, though, failure to the point where the impeller disintegrates can could cause you serious engine problems. So I wouldn't chance driving it. Do you have AAA?

It could be something as minor as a hose, but if it is, it could burst entirely and then you'd be overheating. Even if you don't have AAA, paying for a tow would be good insurance.
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piper6909 View Post
I'm not from St. Louis, so I can't recommend anyone for you, but what you're describing sounds like a water pump failure. In most cars, keeping up with the coolant would be OK for a quick drive to a shop or home. From what I've read on these forums, though, failure to the point where the impeller disintegrates can could cause you serious engine problems. So I wouldn't chance driving it. Do you have AAA?

It could be something as minor as a hose, but if it is, it could burst entirely and then you'd be overheating. Even if you don't have AAA, paying for a tow would be good insurance.
dollars for donuts, its a water pump, and your car was VERY polite about it; gave you options. I think the best advice would be tow it to a shop and have the pump replaced. It is a common repair, really considered maintenance. I hope folks here can give you an idea on cost, I do this kinda stuff myself.

I like shops that let me source the parts and charge me labor. You have to absorb the chance of part failure, but it can save you hundreds.
you want a Pierburg Water Pump and a new serpentine belt
Consider the low temp thermostat replacement at the same time and be prepared to replace the front motor mount, since they wear out and the easiest way to replace the WP is pulling off the motor mount, its a do it while your in there thing.

Read the pelican tech article on water pump replacement so you know what is involved and can talk to the shop about it, understand what they have to do, determine if they are overcharging you. Read it, it helps even if you arent doing it and that is much of the fun of these cars, for me at least.

https://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/Boxster_Tech/34-WATER-Thermostat_and_Pump/34-WATER-Thermostat_and_Pump.htm

let us know how it works out.
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:13 AM   #6
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another point, join PCA...great magazine and the local website for your chapter will list mechanics you can trust, that others have used. (you also get a sticker!) I would only suggest that you know what you are talking about and make everything clear upfront with whomever is wrenching your car. A good shop will appreciate that and you will qualify them or eliminate them based on the interaction.

I cannot vouch for this site, but it does list shops in your area.
https://www.pcarshops.com/near/st-louis-mo/
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:19 AM   #7
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Thanks Tony and Piper. I've got a flatbed truck coming to pick it up in the morning and take it to one of the local shops from the link Tony sent. The rough estimate was $900-$1000...if its the water pump.

I'll keep you posted.
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:35 PM   #8
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Outcomes


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Old 06-17-2019, 08:24 PM   #9
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It was the water pump. The impeller had imploded but they were able to recover the pieces. I'm lucky that it happened as I was pulling into the parking lot. They replaced it with the Pierberg water pump recommended above and also did the serpentine belt and thermostat while they were in there. Thanks for all the recommendations and advice. She's back up and running strong.

For any other StL natives, I took it to European performance auto center in Bella Villa. They were knowledgeable and quick. I'd recommend them if you need your car serviced...
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Old 06-18-2019, 06:28 AM   #10
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Awesome


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