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Old 06-07-2016, 11:06 PM   #1
Mister_Cee
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Default Doesn't make sense to me

Pulled into a motel for the night after a 460 mile drive. When I came out from registration, I noticed a puddle under passenger side hood. Looked like cooolant but low coolant light never came on (and this car has a hair trigger on low coolant light),. I can't see any hses leaking AND the puddle was not even warm as I'd expect coolant to be after a drive.

Any thoughts? I need to get on the road ASAP tomorrow

Thanks for your insight
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:23 PM   #2
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Default Re: Doesn't make sense to me

AC condensate
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Old 06-08-2016, 12:16 AM   #3
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Default Re: Doesn't make sense to me

billysvue

Thanks for the rapid response

I'm really hoping that you've hit the nail on the head.

Initially, I had my fingers crossed that's what it was. But, the "puddle" didn't seem to be just water, though and (maybe my imagination) had a green tinge. However, I did do the taste test thing and it wasn't sweet.

But, you have a good thought as, prior to today, ever since the car was new, I've always been fastidious about using the air. Today, I said " to heck with it" and thought to myself "You (that would be me !) are too old to be a martyr by 'manning up' and being uncomfortable between a/c bursts". It was 100+ degrees out and I did run the air about 90% of the drive.

Where there was a pie plate sized puddle at the hotel registration area, the car is now parked in front of my motel room with only a drop or two on the ground (which I'm hoping was trapped on a crossbar somewhere and is just dripped down from there).

Thanks again
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Old 06-08-2016, 01:23 AM   #4
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Default Re: Doesn't make sense to me

that's where the water pump starts to leak. it's usually intermittent. sometimes it leaks & sometimes it don't. I would think that a/c would drip that much in such a hot, dry area. I get a lot of condensate in humid weather, but in Nevada it's hot & dry, hardly any humidity to speak of.....

look under the hood under the a/c compressor for evidence of coolant slinging as that's where the water pump is....

my a/c drips more under the car in the center than to the passenger's side area....
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Old 06-08-2016, 04:10 PM   #5
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Default Re: Doesn't make sense to me

Puddle could have been there when you pulled up, from a previous car.

That's my hope, every time I see a puddle under my car
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Old 06-08-2016, 11:19 PM   #6
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Default Re: Doesn't make sense to me

Quote:
Originally Posted by saturnsctwo View Post
that's where the water pump starts to leak. it's usually intermittent. sometimes it leaks & sometimes it don't.....
I second this advice. When the water pump starts to go it will begin dripping but mostly when the car is running. Sooner or later the drip will get worse until it usually fails catastrophically. How long it takes is up to fate. Best thing to do would be to get some cardboard and put it under the serpentine belt and fire up the car for a little bit. Leave the A/C off and let it idle until warm. That way if it is still leaking something you can see where it is coming from and you will know that it is not from the A/C.
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Old 06-09-2016, 12:29 AM   #7
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Default Re: Doesn't make sense to me

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Originally Posted by Chub View Post
I second this advice. When the water pump starts to go it will begin dripping but mostly when the car is running. Sooner or later the drip will get worse until it usually fails catastrophically. How long it takes is up to fate. Best thing to do would be to get some cardboard and put it under the serpentine belt and fire up the car for a little bit. Leave the A/C off and let it idle until warm. That way if it is still leaking something you can see where it is coming from and you will know that it is not from the A/C.
mine started off as a slight leak with a small puddle & in about a week it almost blew out. I had to carry a gallon of water with me to top off the overflow bottle to turn the low coolant light off until I made it to the weekend to replace the pump. the last day it leaked almost half the radiator capacity. it left a long trail of coolant in the parking garage at work. I was worried I might not make it home. the next day thank god I replaced it....
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Old 06-09-2016, 01:57 AM   #8
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Default Re: Doesn't make sense to me

Update

I was driving from Las Vegas northward. The "leakage" didn't show up until Ogden , Utah. I don't know what the difference in humidity is between the Las Vegas Valley and up north of Salt Lake City.

If it was the water pump, wouldn't a "puddle" still have been hot (or at least warm) if seen and touched 3 minutes following engine off after a 450 mile trip ?

Don't want to take pleasure in anyone else's hardship but...I'm sure hoping that puddle was already there and someone else's issue .

Didn't see any signs of leakage today. Of course, today wasn't as hot and I didn't use the a/c the entire 500 miles I made, today.

Oh .. also .. still no low coolant light which (I mentioned before) came on once before, years ago, when in only needed and 8 oz top up to make it go off. So, I don't think I'm losing any fluid. The way that sensor is, I'd think it would have been "yelling" at me by now.

I was going to have everything checked before I left Utah this morning but the shop couldn't get me in until 6 p.m. and wanted $35 to look at it. I'm on a schedule and, unless there was a definite problem, didn't have a day to sit around before they'd even get around to looking at it (let along fixing something, if required).


I'll keep an eye on it, though.

Thanks
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Old 06-09-2016, 03:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: Doesn't make sense to me

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister_Cee View Post
If it was the water pump, wouldn't a "puddle" still have been hot (or at least warm) if seen and touched 3 minutes following engine off after a 450 mile trip ?
Depends on how deep the puddle was.

Your coolant would be no more than about ~220F, IIRC, max. The second it hits the ground, it starts transferring that heat over then entire contact surface to the air on one side of the puddle, and on the other side to the ground, which is a massive heat sink. I don't know the heat transfer rate, but it could be pretty quick.

Do you remember the photos a while back, of people throwing boiling water (212F) into the winter air, so that the water froze in mid air?



Quote:
Oh .. also .. still no low coolant light which (I mentioned before) came on once before, years ago, when in only needed and 8 oz top up to make it go off. So, I don't think I'm losing any fluid. The way that sensor is, I'd think it would have been "yelling" at me by now.
When I first did an antifreeze change on my car, I just filled the bottle up to about halfway. Turns out that was right at the Low Cold line. No lights, so I thought all was fine. However, come October, it started getting cold. That was enough for the coolant to drop ever so slightly and I started getting intermittent low coolant lights.

I marked the levels on the bottle with a sharpie and now I fill it all the way up to the Max Cold line (the top seam of the bottle)

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Old 06-09-2016, 09:26 PM   #10
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Default Re: Doesn't make sense to me

when the water pump starts leaking it's ever so slight & it slings coolant around on hot engine parts which it dries up fast. nothing might even reach the ground. it can do this for a while before you even notice a small drop in the coolant level. when it starts to get bad you will see puddles here & there under the over flow bottle area. the puddles will increase in size & frequency. just keep an eye on that area & the coolant level. check the sub frame area under the over flow bottle as it would be wet with coolant. it would have a greasy appearance there......

look closely at the under hood insulation. you might see some coolant spray there right after a drive.

coolant stains on the ground won't dry up like a/c condensation. coolant will leave an oily stain for a while so there's no confusion between coolant & just plain water...
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Old 06-09-2016, 11:17 PM   #11
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Default Re: Doesn't make sense to me

I've mostly driven in hot, muggy environments and run my A/C regularly from April until November. The A/C compressor is usually coated in a layer of condensation and there is always a puddle from runoff after driving. In the Bonneville, it drips like a slightly loose faucet. There is always a puddle where we park unless by some miracle the temperature drops below 80 and the sun isn't beating down too hard.

If it isn't your water pump, it's probably your A/C. I'd still check though - you can't be too careful unless you want to lose a day on the road...
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Old 06-10-2016, 01:08 AM   #12
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Default Re: Doesn't make sense to me

Quote:
Originally Posted by Murphys_ghosy View Post
I've mostly driven in hot, muggy environments and run my A/C regularly from April until November. The A/C compressor is usually coated in a layer of condensation and there is always a puddle from runoff after driving. In the Bonneville, it drips like a slightly loose faucet. There is always a puddle where we park unless by some miracle the temperature drops below 80 and the sun isn't beating down too hard.

If it isn't your water pump, it's probably your A/C. I'd still check though - you can't be too careful unless you want to lose a day on the road...
i never seen my a/c compressor sweat, but then again i rarely open the hood after i driven the car with the a/c on unless i have a reason to do so. my a/c only seems to drip under the car....

my water pump was replaced a year ago with the same symptoms as the thread starter's car....
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Old 06-10-2016, 12:22 PM   #13
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Default Re: Doesn't make sense to me

If the water pump is leaking, they usually drip down the backside of the pulley. If you run your finger around the bottom rear edge of the water pump pulley after the engine has cooled down, you will eliminate that question.
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Old 06-13-2016, 12:54 PM   #14
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Default Re: Doesn't make sense to me

Well, you are braver than I. Your second post says you TASTED the fluid and it was not sweet..
Unless you actually have your coolant level dropping .. I'd suspect it came from someone else's car and not yours.
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