radiator runs low of fluid but reservoir stays full?
Well back when I bought my truck the radiator was stopped up so I bought a new one and installed it. It would completely empty the reservoir after two weeks back during the summer. Now it's keeping the reservoir completely full but my radiator is losing 4-10oz or water/antifreeze a week. Now I cannot find a leak any where and the heater core isn't leaking cause I can't smell antifreeze. I flushed the heater core 2 weeks ago because my heater wasn't getting hot. So my heater core isn't stopped up and I'm out of ideas. On a side note my heater is still only blowing warm air. We flushed the system when we put the radiator in and got all the air out but it's still only blowing mildly warm.
Any help on either problem would be nice : )
This is on a 1999 Dodge Dakota slt ext cab 5.2 2wd
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With the work you've done recently taking the cooling system apart, it might be that you still have air in the system. I have to jack up the front of a car that I have to get it to bleed all the air out, plus I installed a flushing tee in one of the heater hoses to burp the air at the tee as well.
The other possibility is that if you were having cooling problems, you may have overheated the engine and you now have a warped head or just a blown head gasket that is allowing cylinder pressure into the cooling system and pushing coolant out of the radiator, into the overflow and overflowing the overflow as well...
You can check by taking off the rad cap when it is cool, start up the engine, and once the coolant is up to temp and flowing, look for bubbles at the water neck. This may not work if the engine has to be under load to build enough pressure to overcome the head gasket and leak.
I have used a block tester kit from Napa that chemically checks for exhaust gases in the coolant, and it its pretty accurate. I think I spent $50. It did find a leaking head gasket when the bubble check said everything was OK.
2005 QC 1500 Hemi, 20's, 3.92 LSD, fog lamps
DNA grill, de-badged/re-badged
Superchips Cortex 3950, AT3030
Rear lowering shackles, Cooper Zeon LTZ's
A blow head gasket is a possibility. God knows how long some one ran the truck with the old stopped up radiator. My dad has suspected that I do have a blown head gasket due to the fact of a faint blue smoke when starting the truck cold. Ill replace the head gaskets when I get the money. Unfortunately that will be several months from now as work is slow. I'll also install a flushing tee maybe that will take care of the heater. Till then I guess I'll keep adding antifreeze and water.
Blue smoke is caused by burning oil. White would be coolant. But I would do a cooling system pressure check. If your not getting the certain pressure its going somehwere. Normally with a blown head gasket it would get far worse over a 8 month period.
I would try to releive the system of air again. Remove radiator cap, turn defrost on high and wait. Tap hoses now and then and watch coolant level. Air likes to stick to the inside of the hoses at times. Might want to make sure your T Stat is operating normally. ALso check the water pump for signs of it leaking at the weep hole.
Brand new thermostat that was put in when I put the radiator in. Beleive me it works, lol. Kinda had a fit with it actually. Back when I changed the radiator shortly after I kept losing fluid. Turns out it was these cheap paper gaskets, finally got a good gasket and some permatex later it sealed it, after 4 paper gaskets. Also that little 3in. Hose from the water pump to the manifold, I believe it was, was busted. After those fixes I hadn't had any coolant leak for a good 3 months. Then I started losing coolant from the reservoir and now from the radiator. I bought the truck back in may. Done all the tune up and repairs the next week. So it has gotten progressively worse. Losing 4 oz. In a week is quite a bit in my opinion. I'll try to get any air out tomorrow if there is any. But I'm probably gonna replace my heads and wait to put a new gasket then.
Oh and I've checked every hose and around the water pump after running but no sign of antifreeze and I'll be low in the radiator. Im probably gonna get a can of stop leAK and see if that helps. If I can ever get the heat hot, and the leak fixed the truck will be running perfect.
I also forgot to mention when I flushed my heater core it ran crystal clear, no junk came out. I flushed it both ways about 5 time for 5 minutes at a time. I thought it got warmer afterwards. But it could've just been my frozen hands enjoying mild warmth. Anyways now it doesn't blow any heat. Just stale air. I don't think my thermostat is bad but I'm gonna try replacing it when I get the money and also flush the heater core again.
I tried to get some air out today, after an hour an a half nothing came out. I checked the heater hoses and the one going to the firewall from the water pump was mildly warm, the one from the intake to the firewall was blistering hot. So I know something still isn't right.
As your not getting any heat or it isnt getting warm, thats a tell tail sign of a gasket failure. Just becasue your heater core was flushed both ways and the water ran clear, you can stil have a blockage that wont break up somewhere. Before you go and buy stop leak, do a pressure check on teh cooling system. No need to waste money on soemthing that wont work. You dont want those pellets in your new radiator.
Well I ended up not flushing the heater core. Today I went out and felt of the two heater hoses and both were the same temp or close to it. So I decided that the radiator cap must be bad. I went and bought a new radiator cap, this one with a lever and I immediately felt the heater get hotter on the ride home. Now it still isn't as hot as it should be, but I got some amount of heat.
It's also colder when idleing, so whenever I get some money for more antifreeze and a thermostat I will replace it. I noticed my temp was fluctuating mildly on the ride home so maybe the thermostat will take care of it.
I'm also expecting the radiator to draw fluid from the reservoir when the radiator starts to get low as it did before.
The thing is I just bought this radiator cap when I changed the thermostat hardly 6 months ago.
If the thermostat doesn't fix it, then I'm gonna buy new heads, heater core, blend door, and fan. Then I'll replace them during this summer.
Just an update. I may have solved one problem. I went an purchased some bars radiator stop leak, it's the one with the silver junk in it. when I went to go take my radiator cap off I noticed around the overflow hose small amount of antifreeze seeping out. Squeezed the hose and a good amount came out around the lip of it. I put a clamp on the hose, drained a little antifreeze from the radiator and put the whole bottle of stop leak in it. Drove it home last night and it sat all day today. Checked the radiator, it was full. Checked the reservoir, it was a quarter inch lower than it was yesterday.
So for the first time in months my radiator is full while the reservoir drained a little. Hopefully now if my radiator goes low it will take fluid from the reservoir. And maybe the stop leak will fix my disappearing antifreeze. If the clamp I put on the overflow doesnt.