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Old 06-10-2009, 12:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Leaking Engine Coolant

So I get out of class earlier and drive home, which is about 3 miles down the road, and I pull into the driveway. I get out of the car and notice some drips behind my car, and I knew I didn't hit anything or go thru a puddle. So I check out the front of the car and a puddle is forming on the driveway. I pop the hood and my engine coolant container is all wet with engine coolant. I press on the plastic cap to the coolant reservoir and coolant comes out, meaning it is way too full, and I know there wasn't that much coolant in it to just spew out of the top.

The Radiator cap is hot and the line from the reservoir to the radiator feels empty when I pinch it.

P.S. The car is a 1981 Chevy Citation.

Any ideas?

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Old 06-10-2009, 12:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m.portice View Post
So I get out of class earlier and drive home, which is about 3 miles down the road, and I pull into the driveway. I get out of the car and notice some drips behind my car, and I knew I didn't hit anything or go thru a puddle. So I check out the front of the car and a puddle is forming on the driveway. I pop the hood and my engine coolant container is all wet with engine coolant. I press on the plastic cap to the coolant reservoir and coolant comes out, meaning it is way too full, and I know there wasn't that much coolant in it to just spew out of the top.

The Radiator cap is hot and the line from the reservoir to the radiator feels empty when I pinch it.

P.S. The car is a 1981 Chevy Citation.

Any ideas?
81 citation. holy cow.
if its a carb v6, it may be burping to the season change. A wiff like alcohol after opening cap means it is s simple separation. The four cyl carb could do the same..
that is the optimistic thought. wrap the thermostat line to be sure..
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Yea 81 Citation with just over 44,000 miles on it.

4 cylinder. I gonna ask some people tomorrow what they think. I'm not exactly engine savvy so I don't really know too much. I'm learnin.
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If your reservoir bottle is full the coolant escaped the pressurized cooling system. This means you either overheated (overexpansion of coolant escaped past pressure cap as designed), the pressure cap failed (bleeding coolant off at a lower pressure allowing it to expand more), or your head gasket failed and combustion gases/exhaust began displacing coolant from inside the engine.

Easiest to check is radiator cap as they're usually a cheap replacement. If you see an oily sheen or skim on your coolant when removing the radiator cap you may have had a head gasket leak. I think there is a way to test for the presence of exhaust gases in the coolant but I don't know the best way to actually do this. If you don't have reason to suspect a bad head gasket and the radiator cap appears to work something is causing you to overheat. An air leak in a hose could cause an air bubble to become trapped in the system which will have to be burped out. The thermostat could be failing to open all the way. A cavitation-eroded water pump impeller can cause overheating, as can a scaled-up radiator or bad fan clutch.

Start with the simpler/cheaper/easier checks and proceed from there.

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