Losing coolant when cold ?

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Losing coolant when cold ?

Postby simonbuk » Fri 02.02.2018, 12:59

I've noticed that occasionally I have lost some coolant, both times my mechanic has checked and searched for any problems, including doing some pressure tests.

I've realised that both times it is when the car has stood for a while in cold temperatures.

Has anybody else had this ?

I'm not talking standing for a week or two, but when standing for prolonged periods.

There has been the odd damp patch under the car but nothing I could see in the engine bay.
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Re: Losing coolant when cold ?

Postby HJ2 » Fri 02.02.2018, 13:17

I suspect the water pump.
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Re: Losing coolant when cold ?

Postby GeoffSmith » Fri 02.02.2018, 13:59

Or the infamous Y hose if you haven't changed them for silicone. Mine weeped intermittently for years (before it exploded) and confusingly would drip coolant on the garage floor from either side of the radiator.
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Re: Losing coolant when cold ?

Postby simonbuk » Fri 02.02.2018, 14:06

HJ2 wrote:I suspect the water pump.



Wouldn't that leak at anytime though ?
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Re: Losing coolant when cold ?

Postby lotusrepair » Fri 02.02.2018, 16:59

In cold gaps expand. Clamps that are tight enough are now loose. How cold are you referring to?
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Re: Losing coolant when cold ?

Postby simonbuk » Fri 02.02.2018, 17:33

i guess when its getting down towards freezing.
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Re: Losing coolant when cold ?

Postby Giniw » Fri 02.02.2018, 17:52

I hope it doesn't actually freeze the coolant ... ;)
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Re: Losing coolant when cold ?

Postby Brit-Car-Nut » Fri 02.02.2018, 17:55

Older (age wise, not just older car models) water pumps are notorious for weeping when they are cold and there is no pressure on the system due to the lip seal being less flexible and no longer able to seal tightly around the shaft.

Once the engine warms up or pressure is added, the seal swells and the leak disappears.

When looking for a small leak using a pressure pump type checker, start with low pressure - just enough to give the coolant a slight nudge.

Then check at rated pressure for other leaks and DON'T forget to test the cap!
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Re: Losing coolant when cold ?

Postby John_W » Fri 02.02.2018, 19:21

My car is kept in the garage while there’s salt on the roads. I have silicon hoses on mine and when it’s below freezing the one on the driver’s side from the engine to the bottom of the radiator tends to dribble a few drops. I need to reseat and retighten the jubilee clip. It doesn’t leak when hot.
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Re: Losing coolant when cold ?

Postby simonbuk » Fri 02.02.2018, 19:39

Well it'll be having a new water pump shortly so I'll find out if it's a fix or not !!
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Re: Losing coolant when cold ?

Postby Simon_P » Fri 02.02.2018, 20:12

Without wishing to be boring...

Not all gaps shrink when they are cold it is to do with the geometry and coefficient of expansion of the materials. But the advice is good as the rubber hose will shrink more than the steel clamp. Also rubber creeps (takes a set) so much of the tension is lost anyway - They only stick when you want to take them off.

John's advice on the water pump is also good, but water pumps generally have a mechanical seal which relies on Carbon/ceramic/cast iron seal face - It relies on the surfaces wearing to a perfect fit. When left to stand the cast iron rusts which opens the seal a tiny amount if it gets worse it destroys the carbon seal face when the engine is run - Always change the coolant regularly the rust inhibitors get used up.

Most substances become more dense when they cool so the reduction in coolant volume could just be because it is cold - But water is strange stuff and becomes less dense below about 4oC

Also check the radiator drain and bleed bungs, as well as all hose connections

Cold cooling systems generally have a vacuum which hinders the coolant from leaking as the vacuum reduces over time it may let things leak hence it only hapens after prolonged periods - just a thought! try tightening the cap.
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Re: Losing coolant when cold ?

Postby Rambo » Fri 02.02.2018, 20:33

Sorry to bang on too, but what antifreeze are you using. If you ard using OAT its not good for older engines and has a propensity to seek a weak spot

Check round about your thermostat housing
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Re: Losing coolant when cold ?

Postby HJ2 » Sat 03.02.2018, 14:17

simonbuk wrote:
HJ2 wrote:I suspect the water pump.



Wouldn't that leak at anytime though ?


Nope. regularly leaks only after the engine has cooled down (depending on the cause obviously)
Edit: Ah! John beat m to it :bowdown:
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Re: Losing coolant when cold ?

Postby lotusflasherman » Sat 03.02.2018, 17:04

John_W wrote: the bottom ... tends to dribble a few drops. John
:lol: an age related problem ?? :lol:
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Re: Losing coolant when cold ?

Postby John_W » Sun 04.02.2018, 11:32

Probably... :|
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Re: Losing coolant when cold ?

Postby GeoffSmith » Sun 04.02.2018, 11:59

If only he could remember… :twisted:
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Re: Losing coolant when cold ?

Postby simonbuk » Mon 05.02.2018, 13:26

Rambo wrote:Sorry to bang on too, but what antifreeze are you using. If you ard using OAT its not good for older engines and has a propensity to seek a weak spot

Check round about your thermostat housing


Can't remember off the top of my head although i'm sure i looked into it before.

What is the correct stuff to use ?
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Re: Losing coolant when cold ?

Postby lotusflasherman » Mon 05.02.2018, 15:45

simonbuk wrote:
Rambo wrote:Sorry to bang on too, but what antifreeze are you using. If you ard using OAT its not good for older engines and has a propensity to seek a weak spot

Check round about your thermostat housing


Can't remember off the top of my head although i'm sure i looked into it before.

What is the correct stuff to use ?

Our friend has done some good research - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAbfTtMKWOU
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Re: Losing coolant when cold ?

Postby Steve A » Mon 05.02.2018, 21:50

simonbuk wrote:I've noticed that occasionally I have lost some coolant, both times my mechanic has checked and searched for any problems, including doing some pressure tests.

I've realised that both times it is when the car has stood for a while in cold temperatures.

Has anybody else had this ?

I'm not talking standing for a week or two, but when standing for prolonged periods.

There has been the odd damp patch under the car but nothing I could see in the engine bay.


Could it be as simple that your car has a Boston rad ? :roll:
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