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Archaea 08-02-2013 03:31 PM

Losing coolant, can't figure out where
I have a 4.7 with 112k. I've been mentally preparing myself for the day when new head gaskets would be needed, but I've been lucky so far.

I'm not having any problems with the truck, but about nine months ago I noticed that I was losing water. It needs about a quart every month or month and a half in the reservoir.

I cannot figure out why. No smoke, no water from the exhaust, its not getting hot, there's no water in the oil, no leaks that I can see, there's never a puddle on the ground, etc.

But a quart of water is going somewhere. Is this normal at this age or am I about to get a surprise. Should I be getting ready for some bad news?


andrew93 08-02-2013 05:33 PM

is the passenger floor board wet? could be the heater core

Archaea 08-02-2013 05:50 PM

No water in the cab either
good question, but no. There is no water on the floor or anywhere around the heater core.

1stRAM2012 08-02-2013 05:55 PM

when i had my dakota years ago i ran out of coolant the same way you are and it ended up being one of the coolant hoses was cracked on the inside. the outside looked fine but when i pinched the lined i felt moisture and it bubbled(very small bubble). it wasnt bad enough to show any signs just leak slowly when the system was under pressure and i caught it by maybe check all coolant lines?

Gen1dak 08-02-2013 07:23 PM

Same thoughts here. The line is still intact enough to handle daily chores, but once shut off, the heat and pressure initially increase and the overpressure is seeming through the weakened area. So, next time you run and it's good and hot, shut down and pop the hood. Give it a minute and you'll hear bubbling as the coolant boils in areas. Pressure will build and you may be able to see it emitting a fine mist or small droplets from somewhere in the line.
Otherwise, I'd suspect a weeping freeze plug.
As for the head gasket, a leak that small wouldn't show in the oil most likely, or in any other way at this point. What little coolant that may be escaping is just burning off.

Archaea 08-05-2013 12:52 AM

Thanks for the input. I did not find any problems when I checked the hoses after running up to temp.

I did see where water had been present and quickly dried in the bottom of the fan shroud. It looks like it may have come from a bad seam in the bottom passenger side of the radiator. It is an after market radiator about two years old. Its been over 100 degrees here for a few weeks so maybe the radiator has a small leak at the seam and it just evaporates quickly.

It also could be coming from the little hose at the neck of the reservoir. Not sure why it would overflow though.

Guess I will just keep an eye on it for now.

RogerRamJet 08-05-2013 02:34 AM

Do a pressure test on the cooling system, if it has a leak, you should be able to find it that way.

tjbiker031 08-08-2013 07:38 AM

I agree. i would perform a pressure test, block test, and replace the radiator cap ( they do go bad and will let you loose water through evaporation)

HotDakota 08-16-2013 07:34 PM

Coolant out of the overflow vent
I noticed you were thinking your coolant miught be getting lost out of the overflow tank neck - here is what I found, I posted a bunch of stuff over on the jaymiller thread, but I was pushing coolant out of the overflow due to warped heads and poorly torqued head gaskets - no other leaks, no coolant in the oil or vice versa, no white smoke, nothing peculiar, just disappearing coolant, being pushed out as I drove under load.

Had the local dodge dealer do a block test to see if I had combustion gases in the coolant, and it did - proof positive of a cracked head, blown gasket, warped head or some head/block problem.

Pulled the heads, pressure tested them for cracks (none, thank goodness), had them milled flat again, new fel-pro gaskets and head bolts, put it all together and it seems to have solved the problem.

The definitive test is the block test - you can get a test kit at NAPA for $38, or talk your dodge dealer into doing it for $20 like I did. That will tell you if you have a head problem (at least with your engine....)

Good luck.

DirtyD 08-19-2013 01:24 AM

I just fixed a problem like this with my dodge. I couldn't see it leaking anywhere or nothing. but when we where doing my body lift we seen a small sign of a leak. took the water pump off and the gasket had three cracks in it. swapped it and and so far so good.

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