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Old 12-06-2014, 10:47 AM   #1
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URGENT-heater core question leaving tuesday

Hi All, I am leaving Tuesday to go from florida to Minnesota. Just took my 1999 Winnebago adventurer 35c out of storage and could smell a trace of antifreeze as I drove. When I turned off the engine it was dripping antifreeze, drippin, not gushing. When I turned on the ac and then the heater there was no dripping while it was running, only when I turned it off. Couple of questions since I am supposed to leave Tuesday. Can I drive it like this since it doesn't seem to leak when its running and then just fill it in the mornings before we leave each day? Also, any advice would be appreciated beyond that, where I could find the part and instructions because don't thin a shop will be able to fix it Monday. Would love to be able to get to mn and then get it fixed there cause I have 6 weeks. Thanks for all you help and advice>tom
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Old 12-06-2014, 11:07 AM   #2
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actually it is dripping when ac or heat is on, just rechecked it
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Old 12-06-2014, 11:08 AM   #3
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Tom,

I would find the source of the leak first. It's probably leaking when the engine is running but you can't find it or it's the water pump shaft seal and the spinning shaft slows the leak. Once you know the source of the leak, you can decide if your willing to risk a breakdown on the road. IMHO the downside of an on the road failure is too high.

Hopefully, you'll find a heater hose with a pinhole leak and the fix will be easy, quick and cheap!
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Old 12-06-2014, 11:18 AM   #4
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Tom, you have to find the source of the leak, then go from there. The coolant system is under pressure when it heats up.......then it will leak more. Heat the engine up, and try and find where it is leaking from.
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Old 12-06-2014, 11:19 AM   #5
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Maybe a local mobile RV tech could fix you up before tuesday?
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Old 12-06-2014, 03:56 PM   #6
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You can go to Autozone, they rent a radiator pressure tester. You "Buy" it for around $75 then return it when your done and they refund your money. The tester has a pump to pressurize your system, you should be able to find your leak this way without the engine running and cold.

Then you might want to try a radiator sealer they sell, if your going to chance it.

Maybe you get lucky and it just a bad heater hose that any autoparts store sells. Or maybe just a broken clamp.

If it is your heater core, bypass it, by disconnecting it. You won,t have heat or defrost but you should make it to Minnesota.

By the way, your going the wrong way, Winter time in Florida, summertime in Minnesota.
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Old 12-06-2014, 06:33 PM   #7
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Ok mine did that and it was a broken radiator clamp on the bottom of the radiator replaced it works great.There is a trick to find leaks get a black light and it will show you were the leak is. It has to be a real black light because of the frequency of the light.They sell little florescent black light that are cheap and works well.
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Old 12-06-2014, 06:34 PM   #8
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Travel Blacklight Portable Pocket Size | eBay
here is a quick link
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Old 12-06-2014, 07:03 PM   #9
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I think you've got the picture. It's always best to find the leak. It just might be a simple fix. Something else you could do is double check all the hose clamps and maybe you'll fix it. Often times when a leak occurs it dries up because of the heat but it usually leaves a powder residue so that might be easier to spot.

Pressure testing is the easiest way of finding the leak. If you choose to chance it I've had real good luck with Aluma-Seal. It's a silver powder that will stop coolant leaks. The down side is it has stopped up the heater core on one occasion.

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Old 12-06-2014, 07:33 PM   #10
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If you determine there actually is a "minor" leak in the heater core you can probably seal it temporarily with Silver Seal". There's the small risk that it will plug up your heater core but if it's leaking it needs to be replaced soon anyway.

I've even used Silver Seal in my race car radiator a couple times in the past as a stop gap measure.
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Old 12-06-2014, 08:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quincybear View Post
actually it is dripping when ac or heat is on, just rechecked it
I'm a poor relation here but you really need to see where the coolant is coming from, especially if it is leaking enough to require topping up everyday.

I spent two weeks in October tracking down and eliminating a coolant leak.

October 2014 Coolant Leak Found and Repaired | arts-attic.com

I hope it's a hose or clamp. The weather in St. Paul is pretty good but it is hovering around the freezing mark.
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Old 12-06-2014, 08:07 PM   #12
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He must be out working on it, he has not reported back all day........
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Old 12-07-2014, 02:53 AM   #13
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You'll be dealing with some serious cold, I agree with the others that you need to find the source of the issue. I don't think it is worth the risk
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Old 12-07-2014, 05:02 AM   #14
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The only suggestion I can make is this... If you can not get the heater core fixed/replaced before you go disconnect the heater hoses on the engine side of the firewall (Clamp them first hemostat style) and connect them to a short piece of iron pipe (Regular water pipe) to "Bypass" the heater,, Use the furnace on the road. Or electric heat and the genny if the fuernace does not work.

Alas, this is NOT a good suggestion, since it does not allow you to direct warm air to the defroster vents.

But it is how I had to do it on a car, thankfully in the summer, a couple of times.

(In days of old removing the heater core on a car was simple.. Do as above with the hoses, pull about a dozen screws, lift a lid and there you were.. Today... Evacuate air conditioner, disconnect and seal lines, Dissassamble half the dash, on one model car you pull the steering column, THEN you can slide the A/C evaporator out on it's rails and lift the heater core out from behind that. ) (Never done a modern one).
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