Losing Radiator Water

Submitted: Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 00:14
ThreadID: 19019 Views:2793 Replies:11 FollowUps:1
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I have noticed recently that my 80 series turbo cruiser has been losing radiator water. Today I reckon I had to add about a litre and a half of coolant into the radiator. Before I take it to a radiator speacilist, I was wondering if there was anything that I should look for that may give me a simple remedy or reason for this to occur. Some resent history on my vehicle to assist you with your responses follows.

About 4 months ago on a trip north of Perth, towing a 16ft Caravan, the engine temperature starting to increase while going up a hill and trying to maintain a constant speed of 90 - 100kph. Noticed the gauge move and backed off on the accelerator with the gauge immideately returning to normal operating level.

2 months ago prior to heading north again, this time towing a camper trailer, I decided to change the radiator hoses and also flush and replace the radiator coolant. The trip went well without any overheating problems but did loose a little water. At the time I put this down to the possibility of a little air lock when I replaced the coolant.

Since returning from this trip, I occasionally get a distinct coolant smell when idiling the car down (turbo) after a significant trip (more than 20 k's). Have not been able to visually see any water leaks. I have topped up the reservoir possible twice in the last 6 weeks with minimal fluid. Up until today that is.

Vehicle is serviced regularly every 5000 kms with no indication of water in the oil. Even on todays inspection, it did not appear that any water was showing on the dip stick or an increase in the oil level.

Any ideas what I should check before I take it to a speacilist?

Thanks in advance.

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Reply By: KiwiAngler - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 00:34

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 00:34
I would replace the radiator cap (if not done already)
AnswerID: 91053

Follow Up By: Coops (Pilbara) - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 19:57

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 19:57
and do so every year thereafter
FollowupID: 349716

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 00:36

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 00:36
Cracked head
blown head gasket
blown waterpump gasket
split in radiator somewhere
AnswerID: 91054

Reply By: mcgra - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 02:58

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 02:58
hi turbo.

after you have been for a 20 min run let it sit over night and in the morning remove the rocker cover fill cap. (its where u pour engine oil in in case you didnt know). see if there is water under the cap also after the 20 min run leave the engine idling and take the rockercap off and see if you have steam coming up from inside the cover.

you can also check all round on all hose clamps, and if its a head leak and a small one you wont pick up on it till it craps itself more, the small amount of water that you may be putting in the oil will flash off pdq thats why i suggest to look under the cap and watch for steam while idling


AnswerID: 91056

Reply By: Member - DickyBeach - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 07:04

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 07:04
I posted a similar question a few weeks ago re LC80 on ID 17499 and received many helpful suggestions.
For those who offered me suggestions I confess I haven't followed them all up but, curiously, while towing a heavy trailer up the Pacific from Sydney to Bribie Island in November, and at times sitting on 120 (naughty, I know), I lost zero water.
Nothing is as hard to locate as an intermittent problem !
AnswerID: 91060

Reply By: Peter 2 - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 11:48

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 11:48
Cruisers usually split the radiator tubes on the RHS 2nd or 3rd tube in at the front just under the top tank. Very hard to see and find as the aircon condenser covers it from the front and the cowl from the rear, if it is very slow the airflow dries it off before the fluid gets to the back where you can see it, but yes you will smell it and as you've noted will have to top the header tank occasionally.
80 series are a bugger to get the rad out of, start at the blinkers and remove just about everything, blinkers, headlights, a/c cond (lean it forward) to get at the bolts holding it in. We've got it down to about 2 hrs to R & R and repair in the bush.
Much cheaper to have a look and R & R it yourself if it is the rad.
AnswerID: 91081

Reply By: theanimal - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 12:33

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 12:33
replace thermostat?
AnswerID: 91085

Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 17:09

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 17:09
My Patrol was loosing coolant on our Cape York trip a few months ago. The reason on one occasion was that the small hose leading from the raditor cap to the expansion tank, was not sealing properly at the radiator cap end. Coolant would expand and cap would allow it to flow into header/expansion tank. However, when it cooled down, it sucked air instead of coolant, therefore the radiator was loosing it's contents.
Might help......good luck
AnswerID: 91123

Reply By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 13:25

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 13:25
I recently bought a cruiser with exactly the synmptoms you mention (running warm no visable loss but down on the radiator with coolant smell) when pulled out despite excellent appearance it had leaks that were evaporating and not dripping so a new radiator and some extra silicone oil to the viscous coupling and all was sweet. I am a bit nervous however about the the amount going missing the last time I had that much go missing with no leaks it was a cracked head no water in oil either. However dont listen to the doomsayers just yet. check your exsaust as if it is a cracked head it will go out your exaust and you will have very little black soot around your tail pipe
AnswerID: 91271

Reply By: dano01 - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 21:37

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 21:37
Is the turbo a water cooled turbo if so it might be leaking in to the turbo and getting blown straight out your exhaust as steam. Worth a look
AnswerID: 91338

Reply By: Member - DOZER- Wednesday, Jan 05, 2005 at 08:13

Wednesday, Jan 05, 2005 at 08:13
The two most common places of leaks are at the radiator top or bottom tank seals, and the water pump shaft seal.
Have a look around the motor for white stains, (residue of coolant)
In the mornings, start and let idle till warm...if u get a puddle under the front, it will most probably be from the water pump. When this leaks, the fan sprays it round, leaving no trace. Once hot, the seal usually seals better.
The radiator is harder to find, but probably at the top of my list when you stated, you smell the coolant after stopping.
AnswerID: 91381

Reply By: TurboCruise - Thursday, Jan 06, 2005 at 01:28

Thursday, Jan 06, 2005 at 01:28
Thanks to everyone for their input with this problem.

After much deliberation and going thru most of the points given, I still couldn't find an easy solution so took it in to a engine recon place up the road from work. They pressure tested the system while the engine was hot and could not find a fault. Waited to the engine cooled down and pressure tested it again and this time found that the heater hose toward the rear of the engine heading to the fire wall was leaking ever so slightly.

Replaced the hose and clamps and pressure tested again with no loss of pressure. Hopefully that fixes the problem. Happy at this stage that it was only a minor issue and not the worst case scenario that I was dreading.

Thanks again guys, and I'll keep you posted in the next couple of weeks with the outcome.
AnswerID: 91527

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