Strange coolant leak '87 760 GLE

Hi all,
1987 Volvo 760 GLE B280F
Well, I have a strange coolant leak. I can't trace it exactly, I just ran the car through a car wash and draining from the rocker panel on the driver's side (LHD) was
quite an amount of coolant dripping from the drain holes!! Obviously, I have a leak in my system, and it is travelling backwards through the frame. Since the rocker drain holes are higher up than the floor pan, it can't be the heater core leaking from inside the car. I can't smell coolant inside the car, but you can certainly smell it (lightly) from under the hood when the engine is hot.
I can't really see where it is coming from, the rad looks fine, the hoses dry, the hoses leading up to the heater core are fine (I also discovered that someone disconnected the heater temp switch for my climate control, there is a sensor inline with the heater hose, they just grounded the lead -which I assume senses coolant temp so the fan doesn't come on until the coolant is warm enough for hot air to come out, I'm sure that is what the wire is for, the other side is connected to the block. The tab must have broken off the sensor (ground tab)).
Anyhow, yeah, weird..... maybe the bottom of the rad is leaking where I can't really see it and leaking into the frame rails. Not a good thing.
where to look? The rad is original, so is the thermostat and all the hoses!! It just appears to be dry, I had it on the hoist the other week, and no signs of leaking! arghh. (looking is real hard for me right now, still recovering from a broken left leg, luckily, the car is an automatic!)
--
Myron Samila
Toronto, ON Canada
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Because there's more to the internet than hits alone, Myron Samila wrote:

Can you clarify what you mean by 'rocker panel' (for those of us on the East Bank of the Atlantic)? Are you sure what you saw was coolant, and not water from the car wash draining out of one the various enclosed drain tubes? Is the coolant level dropping?
--

Stewart Hargrave

Never wear a hat that has more character than you - Utah Philips
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Hi Stewart,
Rocker Panel (U.S.) = Sill Panel (beneath doors).
As Les commented in an earlier thread, quoting Winston Churchill, "The UK and the US are two countries separated by a common language."
Andy I.

ran the car through

was quite an

leak in my system,

holes are higher

the car. I can't

from under the hood

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through
system,
higher
can't
hood
Hi Stewart,
The rocker panel is the panel just under the door, continues rearward of the front wheel to forward of the rear wheel. _____ __/ |__ =O------O /\ where most of the leak came from..
my ASCII Volvo 760 LOL!!!
I think they probably used that exact system to design the "brick". Anyhow, it was certainly coolant. and where the ----- mark is, that is where it was leaking from!! (there are drain holes located in the rockers). And yes, it does drop in coolant level, and you can smell it from the engine bay only, not the interior (the heater core seems ok at this point).
At first I thought they washed my car with coolant!! (being green and all, bright green and clean, just like what is in my resevoir).
--
Myron Samila
Toronto, ON Canada
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the car through

was quite an

leak in my system,

holes are higher

car. I can't

from under the hood

dry, the hoses

disconnected the

the heater hose,

doesn't come on

what the wire

broken off the sensor

can't really see

hoses!! It just

leaking! arghh.

left leg, luckily,

Myron
This has got me baffled, to my knowledge (740 gle), the nearest point of the car with any coolant in it (assuming V6) is the expansion bottle, but, even so, there is no connection between there, and the void which those drain holes connect to, on the straight 4 engine, the nearest coolant is either the engine, or a small valve to the rear of the engine, again neither of which connect to that void, the chassis rail coming back from the engine bay, attaches to the floor about the middle of the floor pan, no connection to the sill, that water would follow to emerge from the drains. I might stand to be corrected, but the only place around the firewall area for coolant type water to emerge from is the heating systems condensate drain, (not sure where that would be on a lefty), the result of a leaky core would emerge here as well. Water draining from a sill after a car wash is usually the result of water going down the heaters air intakes below the windscreen, if you pour a load of water down the slats below your windscreen, does that reproduce your leak? Still doesn't answer the quandry why the coolant drops, seems impossible, I can't even imagine cooling water spraying into that cavity, the actual pipes to the heater go through the firewall, again, no connection to the sill. Are you absolutely sure it's coolant, and that it's coming from the drains, i.e. if you block the drains with your fingers does it stop flowing, then pour out even more, when you unblock them?
Best wishes, Ken Phillips (UK)
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Thanks Ken!
Thanks for the reply.
Yes, I'm 100% sure it is coolant, since I race cars, I know how much of a banned substance coolant is! (it is incredibly slippery if it leaks on the track, this is my street car, although.... a Volvo 760GLE race car would be nice ;).
Anyhow, what is more than likely happening is the leak is somewhere up front, then buffeting all the way rearwards with air flow. I had a tricky oil leak on my race car that made it appear it was leaking from the cam box, it was leaking UP from the oil pan due to wind/buffeting. So I'm sure the leak is somewhere up front.
LHD has the heater hose entry point near the middle more on the driver's side, the coolant resevoir is on the RHS at least on the V-6. Everything looks really dry, and I can't see where it is coming from (from inspecting up top, and underneath). If the heater core was leaking, I'd certainly smell it inside the car, there is no scent of that "sweet" coolant.
The worst thing would be the PRV block having a nice crack in the wall and leaking into the crossmember, and into the frame rails. BTW: the frame (unibody frame connector) is a big open channel, it also changes direction and goes to the sills (rocker panel).
If the engine was cracked, then this car would HAVE to become a race car... ;). Fit a nice 8pt roll cage, big brakes and a Ford 302 V-8 conversion, and let's see how long the diff lasts.
I'll try filling the vent up top with water and see what pours out.
BTW: Another weird thing (not Volvo related), my friend has a Renault R5 Turbo 2, with 2 fuel leaks. We thought it was leaking at the pump, well, it was, but then another massive leak.... from the tanks, which are inside the car, fuel would drip into the chassis, leak towards the back right near the fuel pump, making us think the leak wasn't fixed the first time!!! What a wicked car ;)
--
Myron Samila
Toronto, ON Canada
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the
even
either
connection
area
core
water
load
cavity,
connection
drains,
then
banned substance

my street car,

front, then

my race car

from the oil pan

side, the coolant

and I can't see
I'm always amazed at the way that everything seems to be on oppsite sides in right and left hand drive cars.

heater core was

"sweet" coolant.
Couldn't really agree more, plus you'd have a sauna effect, steam emitted, and fogging up windows, when you put the heating on,, this happened to me, hilarious!!

leaking into

connector) is a

panel).
If that does communicate with the rocker panels (sills), that might account for the leak, but, for everywhere else to have no evidence of water (anti freeze residue) is very mysterious, can you pressurise the coolant system, with compressed air up to about 11psi, that should reveal any obscure leaks on hoses, etc. About the only place I can think of where water could be unobtrusively getting into the chassis, would be from the underside of the lower rad pipe, beyond that consider me flummoxed.

car... ;). Fit a

see how long the

Very nice! I had a silly thought like that myself the other day, after watching a programme on TV, concerning a Rover V8, lovely sound, would like it to be coming from my volvo :-)

Turbo 2, with 2

another massive

the chassis, leak

fixed the first

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My 1981 240 GLT wagon, manual tranny, was driving me nuts a few years ago with a mysterious coolant leak. I had dismantled every thing around the engine, including heater hoses as I thought it might coming from there. Had it towed into the shop. The mechanic had to remove the transmission and replace a rusted out freeze plug at the back of the engine and inside the bell housing. Never would have found that on my own---didn't even know a freeze plug could have been located there. Derek
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