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Old 12-05-2013, 10:21 PM
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Where has all the coolant gone??

First I want to say hello to the forum

I have a 01 WJ 4.0 and I discovered this month I can't keep coolant in the overflow canister. I don't see any visible leaks in the engine bay, on the ground or in the passenger side of the vehicle. I took my jeep to the mechanic who stated he pressure tested the cooling system and found the problem is the upper radiator hose; both upper and lower radiator hoses were replaced on Tuesday. When I picked up the Jeep I asked the mechanic if I should be worried about the milky white residue on the oil filler cap and was told "no the milky white residue is common for jeeps". Is this true, because I just dropped the jeep off to the garage again, coolant is still leaking and there appears to be no visible signs of a leak. The coolant seems to be leaking after the engine has been turned off and is cooling down. I'm suspecting failed head gasket or possible cracked header? Any suggestions?
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Old 12-06-2013, 05:49 AM
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Re: Where has all the coolant gone??

If you mostly drive short distances where the engine doesn´t heat up sufficiently you can have that milky white residu on the oil cap. When you check the oil dipstick, do you see anything different then only oil on there?
And when the engine is running and at operating temperature, is there no white smoke coming from the exhaust or any sweet smell from the exhaust gasses?
I think the coolant only seems to be disappearing when the engine cools down because of the following: when the engine heats up, the coolant expands and a pressure of about 18 PSI will be build up inside the cooling system. If there is any internal leak in the engine, the coolant will disappear then. As soon as you switch the engine off and it cools down again, the coolant goes back to its normal volume and takes the coolant from the overflow reservoir.
You could check this theory by checking the upper radiator hose just after engine shutdown, it should be almost impossible to squeeze the hose because of the internal pressure (use a glove or a rag, because the hose is hot). Compare the state of the hose cold and hot. If there is no pressure when hot, then the coolant is probably leaking internal to the engine.
Sometimes an external leak on a hot place is difficult to find, because the coolant can evaporize before dripping on the ground. But then mostly some coloured residue will remain.
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Old 12-06-2013, 12:44 PM
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Re: Where has all the coolant gone??

Mine does the same thing if driving with overdrive off, with it on, it doesn't do it.
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Old 12-06-2013, 01:02 PM
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Re: Where has all the coolant gone??

I'd suggest adding radiator dye to the coolant, as if you have a small leak near a hot object, the fluid would evaporate before you could spot it.

I think the dye would survive a trip into the engine, should you have a leaky gasket or similar, such that the whitish gunk would fluoresce under a UV light if there is coolant causing it.

Look under your water pump to see if you have staining there---it isn't that uncommon for the 4.0 water pumps to leak after a few years of service.

A very common issue is the plastic tanks on MOPAR radiators leaking, particularly on the passenger side at the bottom, but those usually leak mainly under pressure.

Check every hose for the slightest signs of mushiness or wear--or just rehose the thing.

The heater core can leak, but usually you smell that.

One last place would be the coolant recovery bottle itself--hairpin holes common.
You can fix them with a glue gun, or just replace it.
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Old 12-07-2013, 08:50 PM
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Re: Where has all the coolant gone??

Thanks for the suggestions. We got the jeep back from the mechanic fairly early Friday. The mechanic said they retightened everything and completed another pressure check free of charge. They didn't find any leaks. My wife drove the jeep for the rest of the day and put over 100 miles. When she left the mechanic the coolant reservoir was to the full line.

I checked it this morning to find it nearly empty. It rained Friday night and the ground was still wet so I couldn't look for leaks on the ground, but didn't see any coolant leak in the engine bay and I don't smell coolant in the cabin. I filled the coolant and drove approx. 15 to 20 miles. I then checked the dip stick and there doesn't appear to be any milky white residue; I checked the oil filler cap and there seems to be some milky white residue, but if my trip had been longer that may have disappeared. I then checked the tail pipe and didn't witness white smoke or a sweat smell. I'm at a loss.

The upper and lower radiator hoses were replaced earlier this week.

I have been busy the rest of the day, but if the weather holds out tomorrow I will look a getting UV dye and rent a coolant pressure tester. I attached photos I took this morning. I forgot to get a video of the tail pipe.
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:18 AM
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Re: Where has all the coolant gone??

Did you check if the upper radiator hose was hard after driving? If you burn the coolant the pressure is probably 0. There can be a leak in the head which only appears when the head is hot.
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Old 12-08-2013, 01:33 PM
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Re: Where has all the coolant gone??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frango100 View Post
Did you check if the upper radiator hose was hard after driving? If you burn the coolant the pressure is probably 0. There can be a leak in the head which only appears when the head is hot.
I would recommend checking this. It is pretty well known that the 4.0 has an issue with the casting material and the head is known to crack. This can cause the coolant to leak into the cylinder and burn off or leak into your oil.

If you Google this, you can find which cast numbers are prone to this issue and then compare it to the numbers on your head.

Your oil is way overfilled. That could be a result of coolant (but then it usually turns milky).
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Old 12-08-2013, 02:02 PM
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Re: Where has all the coolant gone??

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Originally Posted by JeepMe View Post
I would recommend checking this. It is pretty well known that the 4.0 has an issue with the casting material and the head is known to crack. This can cause the coolant to leak into the cylinder and burn off or leak into your oil.

If you Google this, you can find which cast numbers are prone to this issue and then compare it to the numbers on your head.

Your oil is way overfilled. That could be a result of coolant (but then it usually turns milky).
0331 Head is prone to cracking between 3 and 4 cylinder
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:00 PM
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Re: Where has all the coolant gone??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frango100 View Post
Did you check if the upper radiator hose was hard after driving? If you burn the coolant the pressure is probably 0. There can be a leak in the head which only appears when the head is hot.
Does a pressure test by default check the coolant recovery?

My dim memory is the traditional tester would replace the cap and seal off the hose
to the recovery system in order to be able to hold pressure on the rest of the system.

I'd suggest cleaning that cap off, BTW, and it is probably time to dye the thing.

Even if raining, if you move the vehicle and stick your finger in the puddles, coolant has a pronounced sweet smell compared to rain...
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Old 12-28-2013, 04:55 PM
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Re: Where has all the coolant gone??

I know it's been awhile since I've responded. Here's what I've done so far to try and verify the cause for the coolant loss.

Frango100,

I tried your suggestion with the upper radiator hose. I will say that it wasn't impossible to squeeze the upper radiator hose; the upper radiator hose is harder to squeeze after engine shutdown, but I can squeeze it.

Not sure if this means anything, but when the engine was cold I squeezed the upper radiator hose and could hear coolant movement under the radiator cap. After engine shutdown I couldn't hear coolant movement when squeezing the upper radiator hose, it took approximately 10 minutes before I could hear coolant moving under the radiator cap.

lstowell

I completed the coolant dye test today with no visible leaks. I checked everywhere including the tail pipe.

My next step was to do a leak down test which requires me to drain the radiator halfway, but I can't get coolant to flow through the radiator drain valve/plug. Any suggestions?

One thing I noticed, when the weather went from the 30s to the 70s there was barely any coolant loss until the weather went back down to the teens. I typically drive the jeep more than 100 miles a day at least 3 days a week.

Anyone know of a good mechanic in the Frederick Maryland area who is familiar with Jeeps? The mechanic I've been taking my Jeep to is simply wasting my time. They seem more than happy to work on my wife's Honda Civic than my Jeep.
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Old 12-28-2013, 07:43 PM
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pull your spark plugs and check for a clean spark plug. how is trans level, color radiator run trams cooler internally?

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