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LwnmwnMan2

Coolant disappearing

Question

LwnmwnMan2

2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins diesel.

Coolant has disappeared twice now.

It's not an external leak, no spot on the ground, no signs in the engine compartment of a leaky hose, bad gasket.

Truck has 3900 miles on it.

Took it into the dealer, they said "no puddles on the ground, no signs of leaks anywhere". I said, yes, I know.

They put dye in the coolant so it would show up under black light, I drove it for 3 days, took it back, no signs of leaks again.

Its got a bad fan clutch, so that's been ordered.

The first time the coolant disappeared, it wsa New Year's eve, 2 am while plowing. Limped the truck home, filled the coolant, then it was good for a couple of weeks.

It doesn't slowly diappear. All of a sudden a week ago, the coolant was gone again, almost like someone syphons it out. It's gone in both the radiator and the overflow tank.

I've got a record on file at the dealer, so now I'm just driving it again until the coolant disappears again.

My dad and I are both thinking it's a bad head gasket, or a bad head itself, with a manu. flaw from the factory.

Any other ideas?? We pretty much believe it's an internal leak somewhere.

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vitalshot5

if it is a head gasket and your losing it that fast your truck would be running like crud.....and you'd be puffing alot of white smoke out of the exhaust....wouldn't hurt to bring it to a private shop just to see what they say....nothing against dealerships, my brother works at one and tells me about some of their warranty practices....like going to a doctor....2nd opinions don't hurt.

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Whoaru99

Quote:

...nothing against dealerships, my brother works at one and tells me about some of their warranty practices....like going to a doctor....2nd opinions don't hurt.


Often it's not the dealership to blame, nor really, the OEM.

With the price of labor these days, neither OEMs nor dealers can afford to put a ton of time into diagnosis when there are no obvious symptoms.

OEM warranty reimbursements seldom cover diagnosis with no defect found and dealerships can't afford to eat lots of time without pay from either the OEM or the customer.

The OP did the right thing to bring it in and have a concern put on file.

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bucketmouth64

I would also think it would be a head gasket. Check your oil dipstick. If it is white and creamy that will tell you it is your head gasket. And the white exhaust is a telltale sign too.

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PierBridge

Intake gasket.

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PierBridge

It's not over heating?...Intake gasket.

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Whoaru99

If that much coolant went into the engine it would have run quite poorly, wouldn't ya think?

Both times the rad and the recovery tank were completely emptied?

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TUMBLEWEED

Your floor isn't wet between the carpet and insulation

near the passenger side (heater core)???

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hondavxr

Sometimes head gasket leaks are very little and the coolant gets burnt up by the motor heat, that it is almost undetectable. I have seen this happen a few times. Make sure the dealer pressure tests the cooling system. A very easy to test if there is a leaky head gasket is, fill your radiator up and take your cap off, look to see if you see little bubbles coming in when the vehicle has wormed up. Those little bubbles could mean compressed air from the motor leaking into the cooling system. You are in good hands, because you are still under the warranty. Good Luck

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PierBridge

A 4-gas analyzer can detremine a head gasket leak.

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LwnmwnMan2

Well, I've got an update....

This morning I had to run around with the plow on, checking my commercial lots for the 1/4-1/2" of snow we got in the northeast suburbs.

Anyways, got to Forest Lake, whipped into the Holiday station to get a diet Dew, and noticed the truck was "steaming".

Quick ran it down to the dealer, hoping it would still be steaming.

It was.

They looked at it, noticed some leaking around the bottom of the radiator hose.

They decided they would try to replace the clamp at the bottom of the radiator hose.

When they took the clamp off to put on a new one, the clamp fell in half. Turns out the clamp was cracked and not holding in place.

The truck wouldn't build up enough pressure just driving down the road, but when I put the plow on the front, reduced the airflow along with the extra weight, then the pressure would build up just enough to get it to leak slightly.

I'm usually plowing at night, in the snow, so you don't see just a slight coolant leak's amount of steam, due to the fact that it just looked like the exhaust steam whenever I would back up.

It was such a small leak that usually there wasn't any notice of it.

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Macgyver55

A simple 5 minute pressure test would have found a leak like that easily. Did the dealer take the time to try or just leave you out there to worry about it? Had the hose blown off the radiator completely it would have left you stranded on the side of the road real quick. It could have cost you a nights worth of plowing that you wouldn't get back too. (Thats if it ever snows)

Glad you got it resolved though!

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Whoaru99

Quote:

A simple 5 minute pressure test would have found a leak like that easily. Did the dealer take the time to try or just leave you out there to worry about it? Had the hose blown off the radiator completely it would have left you stranded on the side of the road real quick. It could have cost you a nights worth of plowing that you wouldn't get back too. (Thats if it ever snows)

Glad you got it resolved though!


The diagnostic computer probably indicated no problem. wink.gif

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Macgyver55

There was no need for any diagnostics. A pressure test should be the very first thing they did to diagnose the problem. If no visible leak was found they could then start looking for other sources.

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Whoaru99

I was being facetious...

My point was that everyone was looking for a much more serious problem and overlooking the obvious/simple stuff.

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LwnmwnMan2

Supposedly they ran a pressure test, were not able to get it to leak down.

Supposedly they ran dye in the coolant so if it did leak, the dye would show.

I know nothing about a pressure test. Would they just run the pressure at "normal" operating levels?? Or would they run a higher pressure??

I would think they wouldn't run it too high, since they wouldn't want to create additional issues if there weren't any to begin with.

Again, like I said, before I found it steaming, there were absolutely no traces of a leak, whether in puddles below the truck, or stains / deposits anywhere in / near the engine compartment, just coolant gone as though someone syphoned it out.

On one hand, it's frustrating they don't dig into it more, but on the other hand, I can understand that Chrysler (or any other manufacturer) isn't going to work 6 hours on a truck, trying to figure out what's wrong, when there's no obvious sign.

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PierBridge

I'd keep a close eye on things.

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Macgyver55

Quote:

Supposedly they ran a pressure test, were not able to get it to leak down.

I know nothing about a pressure test. Would they just run the pressure at "normal" operating levels?? Or would they run a higher pressure??

I would think they wouldn't run it too high, since they wouldn't want to create additional issues if there weren't any to begin with.


Your radiator cap determines what the system pressure is. There should be a number on it somewhere telling how many lbs the system is run at. (assuming its the original cap with 3900 miles) The cap will bleed off excess pressure any time it rises above the cap pressure.

Normally I'd check the cap first to make sure it tests out at what the cap is marked to be. Then you simply pump up the system to a pound or so over the cap pressure and if there is a leak it should show up right away. Its a very simple way to test for external leaks and should be the first thing done.

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Whoaru99

Quote:

I'd keep a close eye on things.


Always good advice after a "weird" problem is seeming resolved.

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Jeremy airjer W

Did it ever over heat?

Quote:

The diagnostic computer probably indicated no problem.
wink.gif


I got it!! grin.gif

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LwnmwnMan2

Quote:

Quote:

A simple 5 minute pressure test would have found a leak like that easily. Did the dealer take the time to try or just leave you out there to worry about it? Had the hose blown off the radiator completely it would have left you stranded on the side of the road real quick. It could have cost you a nights worth of plowing that you wouldn't get back too. (Thats if it ever snows)

Glad you got it resolved though!


The diagnostic computer probably indicated no problem. wink.gif


The diagnostic computer actually came back with 4 codes, one of which is a bad fan clutch, which is being replaced either today or tomorrow, depending on what the snow does.

Also, a fuel pressure rail code, along with 2 others I can't remember right now.

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311Hemi

Check out cumminsforum(dot)com for more more info and troubleshooting help if you ever need it going forward..

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MNmikew

My 2000 Dodge Ram quad 4x4 with the 5.9 is doing the same thing. I can smell antifreeze but never see any drips or wetness. And my recovery bottle is always being emptied. I just had the water pump and thermostat replaced this summer.

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PierBridge

.

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PierBridge

heater core, intake gasket, head gasket, radiator.

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Valv

Quote:

My 2000 Dodge Ram quad 4x4 with the 5.9 is doing the same thing. I can smell antifreeze but never see any drips or wetness. And my recovery bottle is always being emptied. I just had the water pump and thermostat replaced this summer.


Are you talking 5.9 gas or 5.9 Cummins ?

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