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  #1  
Old 01-04-2010, 07:24 PM
yankeefan4ever yankeefan4ever is offline
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Default Low Coolant and Overheat but no leaks?

I just bought a used 2002 Ram 1500 w/ 4.7L v8 engine. Only been driving it for 3-4 weeks and the coolant was topped off when I picked it up. Last week my "check gauge" light came on because it was overheating. When I got home and checked, the coolant was really low. I haven't seen any puddles or noticed any leaks since I've had it. I put in a whole gallon of 50/50 mix (it's all I had at home) and it was still low. It's at the shop right now and mechanic said he topped it off, put pressure on it and can't find a coolant leak? A quick online search brings back results that scare me...head gasket. I mentioned the head gasket to mech and he said it would be smoking badly out the exhaust and the oil would show signs which he said were not happening. I only have a week left on 30 day warranty so I need to confirm a head gasket problem sooner rather than later, what should I be asking mech to check, what should I look for myself when I check out the truck tomorrow at the shop? Is there any way to confirm head gasket problem without taking the entire engine apart??? Please help.

Last edited by yankeefan4ever; 01-04-2010 at 07:33 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-04-2010, 07:42 PM
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If you have to tell the mechanic how to check for a head gasket leak, you need a new mechanic. The 4.7 is NOTORIOUS for trapping air in the cooling system passages. Give this a shot - remove the radiator cap and the coolant bleed plug from the water neck at the end of the upper radiator hose. Insert a funnel into the hole where the plug goes and fill the coolant through that hole until it's full, then replace the plug. Then top off your radiator, replace the cap, fire it up and take it for a test drive and see what happens. If that doesn't get all the air out, you'll need to find a shop with a vacuum venturi bleeder to get it out. Also, you may want to try a new cap on the radiator as well or have yours tested.
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:24 PM
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Thanks for the info...
so air in the coolant system passages might be the cause of my losing almost all of my coolant in a month with no external signs of leakage (no puddles).
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:31 PM
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Yes, I believe this could be it also. As the air moves around, the coolant will fill its space, and the air will find more air to be with. Thus, your coolant will "disappear" to my understanding. I am no mechanic, maybe they mix, but that's just my logic.

Randy is a far better source Lol.
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:32 PM
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No, but it's possible a bad cap led to it and then once air got into the system, it's been a bear to get out.
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:35 PM
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Could the air in the coolant system be related to the problem I had with no hot air on the driver's side or is that strictly the blend door actuator which was fixed?
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:42 PM
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That should be a door issue in the HVAC but I wouldn't rule out a heater core leak. This adds a whole new dimension to the overheating issue. Have you smelled any coolant inside with the fan on? You should probably have the cooling system pressure tested and have them test the cap as well. There still remains the head gasket possibility or a cracked head but we want to rule out everything else before you have the heads taken off. There are several methods to detect a cracked head or bad gasket. A leak down test, compression test, chemical test (which checks for combustion gas in the cooling system), borescope, and cooling system pressure test can all tell you if you have either problem.
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:42 PM
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Yeah I think it could be.

Look at this, this has some suggestions. Somebody had a similar problem.

http://matrixowners.com/index.php?showtopic=85556
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Old 01-04-2010, 10:07 PM
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Thanks so much for all the info.
I know the mech was doing a pressure test this afternoon when I spoke with him so I'll check with him tomorrow about the air in the coolant system and the cap and make sure he's checked the head gasket.
If he tells me there's no head gasket prob should I just keep an eye on the coolant level everyday to make sure I'm not losing any?
Thanks again for the info!
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  #10  
Old 01-04-2010, 10:08 PM
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Yeah, that would be a good idea.
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