Loss of coolant in 2014 Colorado

Submitted: Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 21:20
ThreadID: 117622 Views:15050 Replies:12 FollowUps:13
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I have a 2014 2.8 CRDI Colorado with a 6 speed auto. I have just bought the vehicle (S/hand) with 33,000km on the clock. Whilst towing our 2800kg full van i noticed on a slight climb up a hill the temp gauge went from 1/4 to 1/2 & then when on a straight section it went back to normal operating position. The next day & after travelling 340km the day before I checked the coolant & discovered that the reservoir was well down taking 3/4 of a litre of coolant to get it back to normal. A Holden dealer told me that the radiator does flex when the vehicle is working hard & getting hot!!! I have had the system & coolant cap tested and everything is OK. I have had Toyota,Nissan & Mitsubishi vehicles,never experiencing this. To the Colorado owners out there have you experienced anything similar? This vehicle is advertised by Holden as being able to tow 3500kg.......hope I don't have to add $20 worth of coolant every 300km!! I never work a vehicle harder than 3000RPM & at 90 -95K/pH in 5th it certainly wasn't working hard in my opinion.
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 21:30

Saturday, Apr 25, 2015 at 21:30
"the radiator does flex when the vehicle is working hard & getting hot!!!"

You have to be kidding!!!!!!!! That cannot possibly explain 3/4 litre of missing coolant.

Something is/was wrong.

Maybe the previous owner had the cooling system repaired and they didn't fill or bleed it properly. In that case you might be lucky, it could be a one off.

OTOH, there could be an on-going problem. If you bought it from a dealer and you're still in 2nd hand warranty, pursue it. Don't let it lapse or you'll wear the expense.



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AnswerID: 552931

Reply By: Bigfish - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 08:26

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 08:26
Most important...get an after market water temp gauge. The in dash supplied by the factory are rubbish.
I would make 100% sure that you have the right pressure radiator cap on the vehicle. Is the liquid escaping from the overflow bottle? Ensure system when cold is filled to top of radiator cap and the over flow bottle is full. Take for a spin, towing, and then check levels out.

2800kg full van...guesstimated weight or actual weight.? It could be well over 3.0 tonne load up plus gear in the back of vehicle plus fuel and car occupants...Maybe you are expecting too much from a tiny 2.8 motor. Advertised at towing 3500kg...IN THERE DREAMS.

Personally I think we are being sucked into thinking that the small 4 cylinder diesels on offer today will do the job we once gave to 6 cylinder diesels..As I said I think it may be too much for the car OR the radiator cap may be too weak.

Hope you get it sorted.
AnswerID: 552938

Follow Up By: 19738662 - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 10:46

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 10:46
Holden acknowledge that the gauge will fluctuate but not any further than the half way mark. The overflow pipe is clean and there does not appear to be any traces of red fluid....wet or dry. Checked levels when cold Holden tell me to fill coolant bottle just above low mark. I have had the van weighed when about to head off at local weighbridge,fully loaded water,food,full gas bottles etc.....2790kg. Yes the motor is small at 2.8 but the KW are 147 & torque is 500nm.....ball weight rated at 350kg & towing rated at 3500kg....NOW...IF...these figures prove false..then GM USA,because the vehicle is actually made in Thailand for Chevrolet......then GM have misrepresented the vehicle & therefore could be fighting off civil litigations in the very near future. I know where you are coming from with "Small motor" syndrome...it was the same or similar story when Nissan changed motors from the 4.2 to a 2.8 6 cylinder & then a 3.0 litre 4 cylinder diesel !! Don't forget the silly decision by Nissan to put the small skyline 4 cyl petrol into the big patrol with one small carby!!! The system has been pressure tested as I said,so to has the coolant cap. Thanks for your reply.
FollowupID: 838682

Reply By: Bushranger1 - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 08:30

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 08:30
Most definitely a leak somewhere!
I have always serviced my own vehicles & they never lose any coolant between services. If they have, I have found a leak somewhere internal in the engine, or external.
2 years since I changed the Hilux coolant & despite 4wding around in some VERY hot (mid 40s) weather last summer towing a trailer, the coolant level has not changed.
As for the "radiator flex" that is the most ridiculous explanation for your problem I have ever heard.
Take it back because if you overheat a modern engine due to coolant loss it will more than likely have to be replaced!

AnswerID: 552939

Follow Up By: 19738662 - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 10:55

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 10:55
Thanks for the reply Stu. I reckon you are on the money. The temp gauge only going to half way indicates to me that it got hot but not THAT hot!! On another forum there is a post from another owner about his Colorado temp gauge fluctuating like mine but no evidence of fluid loss. Like you,I have owned vehicles without ever having to "top up " coolant!!! It seems to me that Holden (like some other companies) deny everything, probably well trained Customer Service Reps who deny everything agree to nothing & maybe the customer will get sick & tired of the B S & get the vehicle fixed at their expense. Reminds me of a fellow who after having his third injector pump fitted to his V8 diesel Toyota,was presented with a huge bill from local dealer because Toyota denied all responsibility and accused the owner of "Changing the vehicle from manufacturers specifications" he took the case to VCAT & won....but he only won the battle.....not the war....Toyota sent him a nice letter withdrawing all warranty on vehicle.
FollowupID: 838684

Reply By: Member - mechpete - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 08:52

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 08:52
yes ditto
what a load of rubbish ,I had the service reception girl at the holden dealer in Shepp
tell me that the water evapourates out of the overflow bottle .
I nearly lost it big time ,why dealers have idiots in the face of customers
is behond me
AnswerID: 552940

Follow Up By: Bushranger1 - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 09:25

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 09:25
Or the dealer that told me that the reason my air conditioner would not blow cold air in my new company car was that the thermostat was icing up!
Huh. How can it ice up if the compressor is not even cutting in??
Response "I think we know more about the system than you do sir"

Had the car for 3 days & it still would not work. Fixed it myself when I got home. Pressure switch plug for refrigerant was disconnected!
Let me say it was the same brand as listed above.
FollowupID: 838671

Follow Up By: 19738662 - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 10:57

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 10:57
"Ya pay peanuts...Ya get monkeys"
FollowupID: 838685

Reply By: Notso - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 09:05

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 09:05
Always remembering that the coolant reservoir is designed to take the expansion of coolant from the radiator and will not overflow unless the reservoir is overfilled or there is an internal issue with the engine such as a blown head gasket, cracked head or some other leak of gas into the cooling system.

AnswerID: 552942

Reply By: Fab72 - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 09:29

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 09:29
The fact that the overflow bottle is empty is the biggest clue here.
Assuming there was coolant in the overflow bottle to start with suggests that the coolant is being recovered back into the main cooling system.
Hence....the radiator cap is the correct type and working fine.
Your cooling system is pulling a "vacuum" when it's cooling down.

The question is...... is it holding a positive pressure when it's hot?

Radiators don't expand.....that's a load of B/S. But the hoses do. Not to any significant size but they do. However, they do generally retain sufficient memory to return to their original size once they cool. So yes, the cooling system's volume may increase when hot drawing in coolant from the overflow bottle, but that coolant will be returned to the bottle when the system cools.

Anyway....confusing the issue here. Let's get back on track.

No.1 job..... get the system pressure tested. It's quick, probably free from most places, and will show up a leak instantly.

As for the temp gauge. The difference between 1/4 and 1/2 may only be 5 degrees. Which under load is expected. Factory gauge calibrations vary from model to model and manufacturer to manufacturer. Don't stress about it unless it drifts out of the "normal" operating range which is generally up around the 3/4 mark.

2014 model.... driveline warranty of 3 years..... get it booked in to a dealer. Have it on record that it is a customer complaint. Then at least if it goes boom...you're covered by warranty.

AnswerID: 552944

Follow Up By: 19738662 - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 11:10

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 11:10
Thanks Fab for the reply. The Holden dealer has pressure tested system & cap.....all correct. I have insisted that the "problem" be documented NOT only at customer service level but at the dealer too. The point you make is that it gets hot,creates a vacuum but when it cools down the coolant is returned to the coolant bottle....well it doesn;t so where is it going? Could the leak be close to a "Hot" item on or near the engine which would then cause the water to turn to steam? When the hoses expand water could be leaking from them? Have driven vehicle 340km without towing,no temp gauge fluctuation or fluid loss. Could the system have or had an air block? may have been bled in previous service but vehicle only travelled 34,000km. I would appreciate your response.
FollowupID: 838686

Follow Up By: Fab72 - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 12:06

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 12:06
G'day 19738662,
You've got the main thing covered which is any fall back with warranty.

The bleeding of the system does have merit. Usual indicators are an audible gurgling sound from your heater and the most obvious physical sign is a lack of performance from your heater. As a rule of thumb, most air locks happen in the heater core and normally after a coolant change not after many kms in service unless there has been some coolant loss and the coolant over flow pipe in the bottle has been allowed to draw air in.

This can happen if the system was flushed and refilled, it burped the air out but hasn't been checked since allowing the level in the recovery bottle to drop below the level of the pipe outlet. Or.... if the recover bottle itself has a leak. Rub through? A rouge screw from the fitment of something else? A stray rock?

A pressure test can check for a few things....the system holds pressure (seen on the gauge reading), fpr any external leaking of coolant and also, especially in the case of a diesel, any internal leaking. Any coolant escaping into the combustion chamber will show up as a hesitation when cranking the engine over immediately after the pressure test. That is the "worst case scenario"... a stationary engine with coolant in it. Not so noticeable while the engine is running.

An external leak while driving will generally give off a distinct odour and a leak internal to the combustion chamber will show up as signs of steam from the exhaust..... although unlikely. Remember the pressure in the combustion chamber is a squillion times higher in a diesel than the pressure in a cooling system so the migration would be of pressure into the radiator, not the other way around.

It's always hard to diagnose any problem from a keyboard so the best you could go with is recommendations. Hence I'm not going to say what it is, rather what it's likely to not be, and my recommendations.

Summary..... radiator cap is fine. Going by your info, I'm doubting it to be a head gasket/serious engine problem. A sticking thermostat will not lead to an unrecoverable coolant loss. The notion of spotlights etc leading to a warmer operating temperature has merit but again would not lead to an unrecoverable coolant loss.

I'm hedging my bets on a "burp" aka air in the system which can happen if the overflow bottle is allowed to get low anytime after a coolant change. Or an external leak which would be obvious through staining, smell and a drop in pressure on a pressure test hand pump.

Now for some experienced advice. Keep your coolant overflow bottle at it's max mark. It's better to lose a bit of coolant out of the bottle if it gets over full, than it is to draw in air if it's under full. Top it up with coolant as that will generally not evapourate with the heat from the engine bay, whereas water or a weak mixture will over time, just from engine bay temperatures getting high.

What I would do....get a pressure test done by an independent person other than the dealer. I'd suggest a radiator shop. Then top up your coolant directly into the radiator and an equivalent mix into the overflow bottle and monitor it. Also check it after about 100 kms of driving. Remember that the pressure test itself can induce air into the system.

As for the Colorado being over rated for a 2.8l engine.....more B/S. You've got yourself a good strong rig. I have seen these things wired up with monitoring equipment tow trailer dynes with braked axles to simulate load in very extreme hot test trip conditions up near Kunnanura. Your van and even the 3500 rating is way within it's safe operating limits. The weak link would be the towbar and chassis/suspension...not the drivetrain.

FollowupID: 838689

Follow Up By: 19738662 - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 12:30

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 12:30
Thanks very much for the reply Fab.
FollowupID: 838691

Reply By: Bigfish - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 12:04

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 12:04
A radiator place/reconditioner now use a dye to see if water is leaking into the head/combustion chamber. Something to do with carbon monoxide entering the water.Simple job and may be of benefit to you.
AnswerID: 552952

Follow Up By: 19738662 - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 12:32

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 12:32
Thanks Bigfish for replying to my post....helpful advice cheers.
FollowupID: 838692

Follow Up By: Bigfish - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 13:09

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 13:09

Just spke to my mate, the radiator specialist. He says that they have a fitting that goes over your radiator nozzle(where cap screws onto). The fitting is a glass tube that is fitted with a pump and a tube of dye that detects carbon monoxide in the radiator AIR. You do not test the fluid. He said it detects carbon monoxide that can only enter the system thru leaky head gaskets or cracks in head. Even though it is a minute crack the combustion pressure will force carbon monoxide into the cooling system and releases this as a gas.
The dye changes colour if carbon monoxide is present.

Hope this helps. I saw him do it and it took less than a minute.
FollowupID: 838695

Follow Up By: psroberts - Monday, Apr 27, 2015 at 19:42

Monday, Apr 27, 2015 at 19:42
Hi guys just remember that a diesel produces carbon dioxide not carbon monoxide!
FollowupID: 838739

Reply By: member - mazcan - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 12:12

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 12:12
it is all a big concern with loss of rad fluid when towing i have read through all of this and the only other thing i can come up with is to check the cab heater and connections and hoses as i had a similar problem once on a Subaru 4x4 and found the rad fluid was escaping via the heater pipe attached to the heater unit in under the dash had to remove it and solder the pipe joint no more probs after that
just a thought
AnswerID: 552953

Follow Up By: 19738662 - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 12:33

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 12:33
Thanks for the reply mazcan
FollowupID: 838693

Reply By: swampfox - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 17:48

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 17:48
First radiators do expand and contract but not in a passenger/4wd vehicle
Very large radiators do expand a little but typically never run hot under normal conditions.
Automotive radiators can expand and contract a lot when there is a faulty wax stat in the thermostat [not allowing to open very much ] The car can be driven for months like this.
Overflow tank ,where one side is connected on the rad side and the other to atmosphere
Expansion tank where one side is connected at the top tank of rad and the other to the return water pipe . The system is pressurized . Rad cap is located on the tank .

Pressure testing for leaks
On a near new vehicle the hoses may not be sealing . The plastic connections are very smooth and cause weeping leaks . Correct these by emery taping the connection for a proper seal . Typically u can twist the hose .[caution u can break the fitting ].

Some leaks only happen at full load eg heads weeping . There will be evidence of this eventually .

Alloy radiators allow use typically 33% less material than used in an copper radiator for a given engine size .That's why they r used . Eg a smaller radiator is also better for the OEM design but mainly profit .

There are many tales in industry about installing bigger radiators when new or near new .Typically but not exclusive to European Japanese vehicles & machinery . This has occurred in both the copper and alloy types .

Temp Guage ,this maybe reading ok as its only 1/4 to 1/ 2 operation .U need to find out what the corresponding temperature is b4 u panic .

Thermostats temp ratings . Most modern thermostats are way way to high around 96 degrees celsius . The scan tool allows u to watch the operating temp going down the road . Typically 102 c or higher
The only reason to have a thermostat that high is to get every bit of power and or to reduce emissions from the engine .

There is evidence of overheating in vehicles but unless your Telstra the Mitsubishi Tritons did not get ""modified "".

There is ZERO SERVICE IN TODAYS DEALERS,hand your money over and pray like hell.

Did I mention the ECU [computer] that the dealer cannot fix because it happens b4 there scan tool is energized at start up . It will not start [,no electric to diesel injector ]
AnswerID: 552963

Reply By: get outmore - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 18:52

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 18:52
your overcomplicating things
- fill it up to the normal level and regulary check it
IF and ONLY IF it disapears after youve topped it up will it indicate an issue
youve only just bought give it time for you to realise whats normal and whats not

if that amount of coolant really is dissapearing then its either going onto the ground or out the exaust pipe
AnswerID: 552965

Follow Up By: wholehog - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 19:37

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 19:37
It's not 19738662 over complicating things, its the 75% replies of morons with NFI mechanically that are stuffing up the original post.

A few clowns posted that radiators do not expand, then verballed on to trip up their claim.

We do not know the volume of the expansion tank, so 3/4 of a litre is a variable of the percentage of capacity.

We don't know how full the coolant system was at the start of the trial, and due to heat and expansion...oops..there's that word that quite a few said didn't happen...possible expulsion occurred.

Do you know that when cool/cold, the coolant level should be more to the low level than the high..?

19738662...do this mate, only check-recheck your expansion check either after engine shut down, or the vehicle/engine is cold, not either or, only the one temperature situation as the control measuring time.

Have a study of your driving technique regarding engine operating temperature movement, are you driving inclines out of an over drive gear...?

Gearbox ratios above 1:1 ratio are torque multipliers, ratio's above below 1:1 are torque reducers...ie..overdrive gears.

Take some liquid relaxants and don't stress.
FollowupID: 838706

Reply By: Con_Qld - Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 21:42

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015 at 21:42
19738662, I have a 2013 RG colorado series 2 with 147kw & 500nm. I tow a 3 ton van up from Innisfail to Mareeba up the large big hill on a hot day and temp gauge went to 1/2 - as the gauge started to rise I slowed down and when I got to the top the gauge immediately started to come back down to around 1/4. I drove slowly for a few minutes and the temperature came back to normal. When I came the back way up the Cunningham Gap towing around 2.8 ton the gauge went to 1/2 but as soon as I got to the top the gauge came back down to 1/4. Normally without towing even up steep hills the gauge only moved a little over 1/4.

Just my first hand experience with my Colorado. I have 27,000km on the clock and have been up to the Cape not towing in August 2014 and not a problem with overheating. The coolant appears to be normal but I will check it cold tomorrow morning.
AnswerID: 552973

Follow Up By: 19738662 - Monday, Apr 27, 2015 at 11:31

Monday, Apr 27, 2015 at 11:31
Thanks for the reply Con_Qld.
FollowupID: 838720

Reply By: Darren B2 - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2015 at 14:52

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2015 at 14:52
IGNORE that the Radiator cap has been tested and tested ok. Order AND fit a new "Denso" cap to the radiator. If you cant find a shop that deals in Denso Rad caps, try a Toyota Dealer.
I have fixed many unexplained coolant losses and engine temp issues by this action.
And as for the temp gauge, it reads engine coolant temperature. As the temp increases, the gauge WILL rise, as it cools, it will drop. When you load your engine ie towing, driving up hill etc etc etc, the extra load is causing the engine to work harder. increasing the cooling system temp hence your gauge will rise. Sounds and is obvious, and sorry to those that thought the same.
AnswerID: 553021

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