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Old 03-02-2009, 06:52 PM   #1
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Default Colant Leak - Small leak turned into a big one

I have a 2000 SL1, 119,000 miles on it that has had a small coolanet leak on it for about 6 months. I've had to add coolant to the tank about every 6-8 weeks since it started.

Last fall, I went and replaced the thermostat with a hotter 195 degree one. Before it got too cold I replaced the gasket in the thermostat again thinking that it might have been the source of the small leak. I just checked all of the bolts again and they were fine.

Over the weekend the coolant light came on, again, and while I was driving on the highway I watched the temp on my scanguage climb from the 190s to 225 before I found a place to stop. What coolant remained in the tank was foaming a little and I refilled the coolant. Later that day the coolant light came on again.

Before I go and drop $200 on a new radiator and hoses, does anyone have any other ideas what could cause a small leak to turn into a gusher? Is this a no brainer radiator crack or could it still be something less costly? Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-02-2009, 06:55 PM   #2
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Default Re: Colant Leak - Small leak turned into a big one

Water pump. Check it. Dont let the car get into the RED on the gauge or you will be looking for a new Head instead of just a water pump.
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: Colant Leak - Small leak turned into a big one

Water pumps have a typical life span of around 80 K miles, so your is about due, and as noted above, it the #1 suspect location, once you have verified that all clamps are holding and hoses are OK.

Is is perhaps a bit early for the radiator leak. It typically happens in the 10-12 year window. Best way to inspect the pump is to pull the passanger side wheel and splash shield to get a good look. If it has a visible leak, replace it ASAP. Once the start to go, they can go very fast. (Mine went from no visible leak under the car to gushing perhaps a reservoir full per mile in a matter of 6 miles.)
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:25 PM   #4
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Default Re: Colant Leak - Small leak turned into a big one

If it's boiling over replace the radiator cap with a new one. It's $5 at most parts stores.

Is the leak visible at all?

Drivers side is usually radiator, passenger side is either the water pump weeping/leaking or the coolant reservoir boiling over due to a bad cap not holding pressure.
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