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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Over the past 3-4 weeks I've had to add an entire 4 liter bottle of premixed coolant to my car. Coolant sensor keeps going off every time the level goes down.

The car had a head gasket, timing belt, water pump done in May. My dad thinks that the mechanic may have bs'd about actually changing the head gasket but I doubt it.

Is it possible there's a tiny leak somewhere and it's evaporating at an accelerated rate due to the summer heat?

EDIT: I'm not seeing any liquid leaking anywhere, and the exhaust smoke is normal.
 

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Two places to look and likely it will be the first place I mention.

1. Look along the seams of the radiator, both sides. Where the factory crimp seal is (little metal tabs bent over the tanks) near the bottom corners, is the "most" likely place to see wetness. Often times hard to ever see a drip, the air through the radiator usually evaporates the fluid off, during the summer.

2. Check the overflow tank for a small crack. May have been bumped when the head gasket was replaced.

Do you see ANY smoke out the exhaust? You shouldn't...
 

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Its all too common for the 'low coolant' to illuminate, due to aging of the sensor circuitry.... not because the coolant is actually low. It does it on all 3 of my 2nd gen. LX Escorts; a 91, 92 & 94; none of which are really losing coolant.
I find that the normal 'cold' condition is to have one or two inches of inches of air space under the radiator cap (but its high enough that I can see it), and the level of coolant in the overflow bottle is just below the part of the bottle where it widens out to full width/length. When the engine is fully warm, I can see the coolant in the overflow bottle sloshing -- if I nudge the fender with my knee a couple of times to shake things sideways.

Naturally I dont open the radiator cap when its hot.
If you are adding coolant to the overflow bottle, and the 'cold' level is above that region where the overflow bottle is wider and longer, then it might just be flowing out of the overflow bottle when fully warm, and being blown away by the airflow.

They sell new 'low coolant' sensors at www.rockauto.com, but they are more expensive ($60?) than I care to spend for something that is only a convenience.
 

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Another thing is just because the head gasket was replaced doesn't mean the head itself isn't warped or cracked. A reputable mechanic would have sent the head out to a machine shop to have it resurfaced and checked for cracks/leaks.

Assuming the head and waterpump are ok, then I would have to agree with dave... check the radiator VERY closely. I just replaced mine last winter because of a very slight leak at the seams. It was a very small leak, but it was gradually getting worse.

Also make sure the small hose connecting the radiator to the overflow bottle isn't plugged up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Okay took a look, didn't really want to before cause it was raining...

I pretty much agree with all of you guys, it's definitely possible that the head wasn't machined even though he said it was. I know I'm losing coolant and it's not just the sensor because I've had to add some.

For the first time I actually saw some coolant acuumulated on the plastic coweling below the radiator draining valve. I guess when it was hot, prior to today, the coolant just dried up quickly before I could see it. The valve was tight but I see a small leak along the bottom of the radiator exactly where you said it would be (seam?). I guess when it gets hot the leak gets bigger and I slowly lose a bit.

So what should I do? jb weld? Buying a bottle of coolant a month isn't too bad but fixing the leak should be cheaper. Definitely not going to get a new radiator, I can't wait till this car dies lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
denisond3 said:
If you are interested in the car dying - do nothing.
Did I hit a nerve? I'm just ready to move on to something else at this point, the car has other issues that will take it off the road at some point in the near future. I repaired it so that I could continue to use it for a bit longer but it needs other stuff and it's just not worth it.

So is JB weld a short term option for my problem?
 

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i bet it's the head gasket which probably wasn't replaced. that's why i do my own work on my car so i won't get juiced for my money and not have things done. take out the O2 sensor and see if it's white. if it is then ur coolant is leaking into the engine which means ur head gasket is letting coolant in. does ur car leak any oil from that area onto the exhaust? it might not even be the head gasket. it could be like said above a crack in the cylinder head.
 

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I had to chuckle when reading Denisond's comment.

Start with the simple and most likely. Make sure the drain valve is sealed. Briefly open it and close it again. Should require a bit of force to open. A paper towel will retain color and/or shrivel after being wet. Place a few spots of glue there and the paper towel on top... could serve as a leak-indicator. Once the leak is confirmed, consider a radiator pull from a junkyard. More work, but far, far, far less money. They'll except it back or exchange in the unlikely event that it too, is defective. If and only if your cooling system is and has been well maintained, alumiseal flakes may seal the leak. But if the cooling system has been poorly maintained and there's build-up already present, clogging may occur.

If the coolant is evaporating during driving as one poster suggested, just hold the accelerator at a stand-stil until the engine warms up enough to turn the fan on. Then shut it off and wait. Check the paper towel again, after several hours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Intuit said:
I had to chuckle when reading Denisond's comment.

Start with the simple and most likely. Make sure the drain valve is sealed. Briefly open it and close it again. Should require a bit of force to open. A paper towel will retain color and/or shrivel after being wet. Place a few spots of glue there and the paper towel on top... could serve as a leak-indicator. Once the leak is confirmed, consider a radiator pull from a junkyard. More work, but far, far, far less money. They'll except it back or exchange in the unlikely event that it too, is defective. If and only if your cooling system is and has been well maintained, alumiseal flakes may seal the leak. But if the cooling system has been poorly maintained and there's build-up already present, clogging may occur.

If the coolant is evaporating during driving as one poster suggested, just hold the accelerator at a stand-stil until the engine warms up enough to turn the fan on. Then shut it off and wait. Check the paper towel again, after several hours.
Okay, just to make it clear, there is no exhaust smoke. What I meant when I said the smoke was normal was that there was none lol. When the head gasket was toast there was milk in the pcv valve. If I actually see coolant accumulated on a coweling on the bottom of the car, it's pretty obvious that I'm not losing coolant internally.

I checked the draining valve, no leak, it's tight. I still think it's the radiator leak that I found. I'm debating pulling the radiator and taking it to a shop or trying alumiseal. The local junkyard has a few 2nd gen escorts but I noticed all of the radiators were gone when I was getting some other stuff a few months ago lol.
 

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You can probably use the radiator from a 3rd gen Escort.
 

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david889 said:
Intuit said:
I had to chuckle when reading Denisond's comment.

Start with the simple and most likely. Make sure the drain valve is sealed. Briefly open it and close it again. Should require a bit of force to open. A paper towel will retain color and/or shrivel after being wet. Place a few spots of glue there and the paper towel on top... could serve as a leak-indicator. Once the leak is confirmed, consider a radiator pull from a junkyard. More work, but far, far, far less money. They'll except it back or exchange in the unlikely event that it too, is defective. If and only if your cooling system is and has been well maintained, alumiseal flakes may seal the leak. But if the cooling system has been poorly maintained and there's build-up already present, clogging may occur.

If the coolant is evaporating during driving as one poster suggested, just hold the accelerator at a stand-stil until the engine warms up enough to turn the fan on. Then shut it off and wait. Check the paper towel again, after several hours.
Okay, just to make it clear, there is no exhaust smoke. What I meant when I said the smoke was normal was that there was none lol. When the head gasket was toast there was milk in the pcv valve. If I actually see coolant accumulated on a coweling on the bottom of the car, it's pretty obvious that I'm not losing coolant internally.

I checked the draining valve, no leak, it's tight. I still think it's the radiator leak that I found. I'm debating pulling the radiator and taking it to a shop or trying alumiseal. The local junkyard has a few 2nd gen escorts but I noticed all of the radiators were gone when I was getting some other stuff a few months ago lol.
??? If your radiator is leaking then you definitely have a head gasket problem. :lol: PS: http://www.goldeagle.com/brands/alumaseal/default.aspx
 

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If you are looking for the really cheap fix (and I've done it myself...it works) use a Vice Grip pliers, set about 1/4 turn tighter than is needed to just barely slip over the existing factory crimp. You should be able to pull the pliers off with slight effort then add the 1/4 turn and tape the adjuster so that it doesn't move. Then spend the next half hour, re-crimping the tabs around the radiator. I took mine out of the car to do this, but you may be able to get at most of them, with it still in the car. :wink:
 

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Nelson said:
Pick up your floor mats and see if you have coolant on either side of the inside floor. Could be a heater core leak. The 2nd one I installed in my car is leaking.
if the heater core was leaking it would leak onto the ECU causing engine problems
 
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