Coolant disappearing 03 Base 136K miles

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TYK97
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:06 am

Coolant disappearing 03 Base 136K miles

Post by TYK97 »

Good evening. I was idling at a light the other day and I noticed my heat would go out and then come back on once there was a load on the engine again. I immediately knew this meant I had low coolant.

Went and got some coolant. Filled it up to max, ran the engine and heat, filled it back to max an went about my day. Check it when I got home and it has dropped about an inch. Check it the next day and it has dropped further.

A similar thing happened to my moms 07 Honda Odyssey. After looking for leaks and puddles I replaced the radiator cap and that fixed her problem.

Any chance I am having the same issue or is some part of the cooling system destined to have failed me at this mileage? In all honesty I have never checked my coolant level and have owned the car for 5 years. The temperature gauge has also never gone above half in 5 years. There is also no cream on the oil cap to indicate a head gasket leak. Daily Chicago driven.

Any thoughts are appreciated.

P.S. Maybe related, there is a "whine" went accelerating. Water pump maybe? Hose leak?
andrewclaus
Posts: 375
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:38 pm
Location: Golden, CO

Re: Coolant disappearing 03 Base 136K miles

Post by andrewclaus »

Are you looking at the level in the radiator or in the overflow reservoir? 'Depending on your bleeding technique, you might have left an air bubble in the heater core.

It's possible to have an internal HG leak, from cooling jacket to cylinder, that won't show up in the engine compartment, rather as a small amount of steam in the exhaust.

You can rent a coolant pressure tester at some auto parts stores for complete trouble shooting. Some stores have free loaner deals.

Use a mechanic's stethoscope to track down the noise. A leak at the water pump should be obvious, but a bearing may be failing with or without a leak.
TYK97
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:06 am

Re: Coolant disappearing 03 Base 136K miles

Post by TYK97 »

The overflow reservoir. Thanks for the advice.

Should I top off the reservoir again? The bubble in the heater core should be filled now right?
andrewclaus
Posts: 375
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Location: Golden, CO

Re: Coolant disappearing 03 Base 136K miles

Post by andrewclaus »

TYK97 wrote: Mon Oct 25, 2021 6:53 pm The overflow reservoir. Thanks for the advice.

Should I top off the reservoir again? The bubble in the heater core should be filled now right?
I always use the radiator neck to fill coolant. Tools like a Lisle funnel are available.

A small leak in the system may stop the siphon process needed for the overflow reservoir to work properly. As always, be careful working with the radiator cap--heat and pressure may be present.
TYK97
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:06 am

Re: Coolant disappearing 03 Base 136K miles

Post by TYK97 »

UPDATE:

Topped off the reservoir yesterday around 4:30p. I also replaced the radiator cap. When I replaced the cap, the car had only had about 15 minutes to cool after my drive home.

Today at like 11a I checked and I had lost about an inch of coolant in the reservoir. No puddles underneath the car. The car hadn't been moved for those 18 hours or so.

Not sure if this helps narrow down a problem. Google said it could be a water pump leak, coolant is still being moved around but some is still lost. Also no "cream" in the oil and the trans fluid looks good too.

I will probably end up pressure testing the system soon. Still no overheat issues.
SSizler
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Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:06 pm
Location: Urbandale, Iowa

Re: Coolant disappearing 03 Base 136K miles

Post by SSizler »

When you replaced the radiator cap, was the radiator full right up to the bottom of the cap?
If not, that is where your coolant is going, filling the radiator.
2003 Vibe Base / Frosty Mono / Moon & Tunes / Auto / Well equipped / 183k mi
2006 Vibe AWD / Lava Red Mono / Loaded w/Leather and Sport Pkg / 141k mi
Many other 2 & 4 wheel toys :mrgreen:
39 years with a wonderful woman / 2 adult kids
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joatmon
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Location: SMC MD

Re: Coolant disappearing 03 Base 136K miles

Post by joatmon »

It is concerning that it was low, something you definitely need to keep watching
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