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Old 05-06-2012, 10:30 AM   #1
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Disappearing anti-freeze

I seem to be adding anti-freeze pretty frequently. It's become all to normal to see the fluid level an inch or two below the cold line on the reservoir the morning after running a couple of hundred miles. I'll add enough to bring it up to maybe an inch above the cold line and the next morning same thing - its an inch or two down. Is this at all a normal burn rate?

There is no evidence of an external leak anywhere and according to my new pyrometer I'm running pretty normal egt's. I hate to think this way but it's been my experience in the gasser world that if anti-freeze isn't leaking out - its buring through, thanks to either a blown head gasket or cracked block. I'm hoping, praying, that in the diesel world there are other reasons for anti-freeze to disappear.

I'm running a 1996 Cummins 5.9 BTA 230 HP in a 36' HR on a Freightliner XC chassis.

Please, somebody tell me that the old mechanicals routinely vent anti-freeze overboard and this all just fine
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:54 AM   #2
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Yeras ago on a 89 7.3 Ford diesel I used to loose a few ounzes on every cold start.
Mine was a leak somewhere around the pump/lower hose. mine was very odd as it wouldn't leak at room temp and it wouldn't leak when warmed up.
I never did find it.
I could fire it up cold and drive for a about 10 min and you could see some coolant/wetness on the front of the front axle. But it wasen't leaking at all when warmed up .

Make darn sure you don't have a leak like mine did before you pay to open up the engine.
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:18 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardbark View Post

There is no evidence of an external leak anywhere and according to my new pyrometer I'm running pretty normal egt's. I hate to think this way but it's been my experience in the gasser world that if anti-freeze isn't leaking out - its buring through, thanks to either a blown head gasket or cracked block. I'm hoping, praying, that in the diesel world there are other reasons for anti-freeze to disappear.

:
I'm afraid that my instincts are the same as yours. Maybe you should not top off the coolant each morning to test and see if it continues to drop or if you just have a cold start "burping" problem... although I would think you'd see evidence of that on the ground.

Hope you find it's something simple.

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Old 05-06-2012, 11:21 AM   #4
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Check your connections\clamps on all hoses. I found a loose hose clamp on the heater hose that leaks a small amount when I'm done for the day (400 miles or so).
Remember the radiator hoses also.
Good Luck
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:22 AM   #5
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There should be no antifreeze loss. Spend the money to get a proper leak check performed.

I had a leak/loss of coolant on my 2002 F350 diesel. It was small and drving me batty (which was not very far). After the level dropped to a certain level, the loss rate lessened. One day I had the engine running and raised the hood. As I was checking the transmission fluid, I felt a warm dampness on my stomach. I started looking and I found the upper seam on the coolant expansion tank had a hair line crack about 1" long.

I replaced the tank and the problem was fixed. Some leaks are hard to find.

ken
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:27 AM   #6
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Check oil dipstick for any foam, also the transmission fluid. Have you looked after running it, or just the next morning? Perhaps you have a loose hose clamp, weak radiator cap? Trying to think of less expensive reasons. You could also do oil analysis to see if coolant is in oil.
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:34 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by RickO View Post
I'm afraid that my instincts are the same as yours. Maybe you should not top off the coolant each morning to test and see if it continues to drop or if you just have a cold start "burping" problem... although I would think you'd see evidence of that on the ground.

Hope you find it's something simple.

Rick
Ha! I could have went all day without reading this reply

But really, I'm a long, loonnggg way from open heart surgery. Might be something as simple as being able to keep the temps more in line now that I'm running with a pyrometer instead of the old water temp gauge.

Yea, it might be something simple like that... it happens. Anybody seen Murphy recently
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:49 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
Check oil dipstick for any foam, also the transmission fluid. Have you looked after running it, or just the next morning? Perhaps you have a loose hose clamp, weak radiator cap? Trying to think of less expensive reasons. You could also do oil analysis to see if coolant is in oil.
"Trying to think of less expensive reasons"

BFlinn, I like the way you think!

And the oil analysis is a great idea. Probably tell me a bunch of stuff I don't really want to know . How does one go about getting one? Is that a send-it-in-to-a-lab somewhere service or is it done locally? I'm in Logan, Utah and we do have a Freightliner/Cummins authorized dealer. I'll ask Monday but I doubt they have that sort of capability.

I always check as part of my pre-flight. I should check at EOD, but after driving all day I'm thinking more about adult beverages than radiator fluids.
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Old 05-06-2012, 12:39 PM   #9
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Where's your heater coil? Those tend to develop small leaks you dont know about untill winter..
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Old 05-06-2012, 01:06 PM   #10
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The 5.9 motor is famous for failed head gaskets in the corner of the head under the alternator. With our reversed sitting motors that would be the back corner on the drivers side. Sometimes it leaks externally down on top of the waterpump and you will think the pump is leaking or it will leak internally. Cummins changed the head bolt torque procedures because of the problem with a wait time between each torque step to let the gasket compress and the bolts to stretch and angle torque. It failed on mine and I took the head off and had it resurfaced and used the updated Cummins head gasket and new head bolts and torque procedures. Worked great for many more great miles. I had 125k miles on it when it failed.
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Old 05-06-2012, 02:04 PM   #11
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Where's your heater coil? Those tend to develop small leaks you dont know about untill winter..
If your referring to the dash heater coil, that's a very good question. I've never went looking for it and to be honest, now that I think about it the "hot" air coming out of the dash is really not all that hot. I realize its 40' from the engine but still, its warm at best exiting the vents.

That's going on my short list of possibilities. Anyone know where the heater coil is hidden on a '96 HR Endeavor LE?
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Old 05-06-2012, 02:13 PM   #12
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If your referring to the dash heater coil, that's a very good question. I've never went looking for it and to be honest, now that I think about it the "hot" air coming out of the dash is really not all that hot. I realize its 40' from the engine but still, its warm at best exiting the vents.

That's going on my short list of possibilities. Anyone know where the heater coil is hidden on a '96 HR Endeavor LE?
It should be right in front of the passenger position in the dash. Check the AC drip hole for signs of a leak. Also remember you have 80 feet of heater hose and connections that can develop a leak.
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Old 05-06-2012, 02:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Canter View Post
The 5.9 motor is famous for failed head gaskets in the corner of the head under the alternator. With our reversed sitting motors that would be the back corner on the drivers side. Sometimes it leaks externally down on top of the waterpump and you will think the pump is leaking or it will leak internally. Cummins changed the head bolt torque procedures because of the problem with a wait time between each torque step to let the gasket compress and the bolts to stretch and angle torque. It failed on mine and I took the head off and had it resurfaced and used the updated Cummins head gasket and new head bolts and torque procedures. Worked great for many more great miles. I had 125k miles on it when it failed.
I've got 80k on this one, not that it matters to the head gasket I suppose. But let's hope for something less involved.

BTW, just curious, did/do you remove the bed and hatch completely when working on anything other than the simplest tasks back there? If so how tough is it to put those back together?

Working around the hatch and dodging bed shocks while installing the pyro, which was mostly towards the foot of the bed and out in the open, about killed my back. I'm getting a bit long in the tooth to be doing basic ballet moves these days.
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Old 05-06-2012, 02:26 PM   #14
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I had a 2006 XC chassis that had similar problems. Solved the problem by replacing the coolant tank. The seam where the top and bottom of the tanks were glued together leaked when it got warm. No signs of coolant leaking any where. Replaced the tank and no more problems. After I took the old tank off and looked at the seams I could see a little red color several places on the seam.
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