Re: OT - Need help With Civic Coolant Loss

On Feb 19, 11:35pm, "mjc13<REMOVETHIS>"


A used car with a spotty service record is, well, a risk. Hopefully you got it for cheap.

With almost any engine the chances are greater that the leak is somewhere other than a head gasket.

Not safe at all. Inspect all hoses, plastic connectors between hoses, heater core connections, radiator tank & hose connections carefully for any evidence of dried coolant.
A pressure test is not a very good test imho. After doing the above you should have an exhaust gas test performed. Also, is there any bubbling in the expansion tank or forced expulsion of coolant? Does the temperature gauge suddenly drop after the car is warmed up?

See above, keep looking and find the leak.
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Roadie wrote:

As I told Tegger, I'm taking the car in for a scheduled service this evening, so what I can check now is limited. The temp guage behaves perfectly normal - slowly rises to a bit under 1/4, then stays there even in hot weather. No spikes or drops. The exhaust is clear and has no coolant smell. I will look for bubbles, but this seems to be a very subtle leak wherever it is. Yes, the car was inexpensive - $2850 with a busted headlight that I replaced, and no rust, just a few dings. Mileage is now 146k miles. It was 141k when I bought it last May or June. I'm going to have the dealer do a visual inspection for leaks, including the water pump, and if there is no sign of any, replace the head gasket. I'm worried that the guy at Valvoline* didn't actually add coolant, and there is no leak, but I'm also obviously worried that the head gasket is leaking.
* Valvoline used to be fine. Now they push expensive unnecessary service and products on people, especially women. But I always use the same one, and they know better than to try that on me.
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On Feb 20, 8:04am, "mjc13<REMOVETHIS>"

On what exactly do you base the worry that the Valvoline tech did not add coolant?

Huh??? So what does this have to do with lost coolant?
You have several ways to check for the cause of lost coolant. It is now up to you to decide when that search will begin.

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Roadie wrote:

They routinely check the box on the receipt that says they checked and set tire pressures. In fact, they told me that since the tires are warm, they never check the pressures routinely. When they get busy, they get sloppy. The tech may have noted the empty reservoir, told someone else to add coolant, and it may not have been added. I am not claiming that this actually occured.

When my (female) housemate called to ask if they do pressure tests, the person who answered told her that the coolant was probably being "burned because it was worn out" and they would be happy to change it. This does not inspire confidence. I have personally witnessed them tell a woman with a 6 year old car with 70k miles on it that it *needs* the "high mileage" oil. Like I said, they used to be ok, but since they added all these services and products, they push them like snake oil salesmen. Not every one of them, but too many.

Thank you, Master Yoda. ;-)
(...)
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mjc13<REMOVETHIS> wrote:

with respect, you need to take care of this responsibility yourself. "but they said the gun wasn't loaded..." etc.
with an older vehicle such as this, make it a habit to regularly check under the hood. every time you gas up would be ideal. better to "waste" a few seconds doing this than money on expensive repairs that could have been prevented by being more observant.

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On Feb 21, 12:14am, "mjc13<REMOVETHIS>"

I reread your many posts on the simple question of "why is the coolant level dropping". You include an enormous amount of extraneous information that keeps you from focusing on the problem at hand and at least one important fact about the coolant level is inconsistent. It's really simple - either you or your mechanic has to determine whether the coolant is actually dropping and then start a methodic search for the cause.
Given the direction of this thread I think that person should be your mechanic.
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Roadie wrote:

The "extraneous information" was mostly in response to a direct question. The car is in the shop now, and it was in fact the water pump that was leaking. Thanks to all who replied, regardless of the degree of friendliness.
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On Feb 21, 2:25pm, "mjc13<REMOVETHIS>"

well, it's a little late now, but since i just read the whole thread, i will say that the symptoms you described point more to a small leak than a head gasket. if it's a small leak, you won't see the coolant before it evaporates. bet I'm right! haha.
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I had this happen on my 740 years ago. A hose clamp was just loose enough to let the coolant leak out slowly when the engine was hot, I never saw any drips or steam. I finally found it by pressurizing the cooling system to a few psi with the engine cold.
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James Sweet wrote:

My Civic actually passed the pressure test. Ah, for those old-fashioned exposed water pumps!
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