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Excuse my ignorance - I like cars to drive but I'm clueless when poking about inside when things go wrong !

Ok - '97 2.5 CDX auto - "coolant level" warning appeared yesterday for the first time since buying , today level has dropped noticeably and there's a small damp patch on the drive under the engine/sump. After cleaning and drying to see where it was coming from, it's clear that the coolant is leaking out from somewhere around the underside of the engine block, near the bottom right hand fan belt pulley - with what little I can see (no way today of getting under it) water is slowly seeping down the little channel that's inset on the upper surface of the "lip" where the sump is bolted on - so it's running along that lip and dripping off. The pictures in my Haynes are so crap that I'm not sure, but I guess this is in the area of the water pump - right hand lower front of engine, roughly somewhere behind the lower part of the cam belt cover ? The leak is inconsistent - tried it with engine cold and warm - varies from nothing to a steady drip-drip......

Other sypmtoms - some gunk in the coolant bottle - could be mayo but seems more like light brown "putty" (maybe the previous owner put something in to seal up a leak ?) No mayo anywhere else - I've checked oil filler etc. I've only been doing about 50-80 miles a week since I bought it a couple of months back, and mainly at weekends - first time I've seen this problem.

Any ideas ? Water pump ? Are there any sealing gaskets etc. that might have failed (asking this because I was led to believe the water pump was done a few months back - there's an invoice for the pump but now i'm wondering if maybe it wasn't fitted, or was done but bodged.... can't get hold of previous owner just now to check. For what it's worth the oil cooler was renewed about 7 months ago, at the same time as cam belt was done).

Hpe I'm wrong, but it's starting to feel expensive......:(
 

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From what I've read here , gunk in water is probably oil cooler but if that has already been done it may just be oil residue left in the water from when it was leaking and water leak sounds like water pump , does it leak all time? is the leak worse with engine running?
 

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sonds like it may be oil cooler, not experienced it but heard this before, HG generally doest fail, mayo quite common, or gunk but your miles should be eliminating the build up.

Check all the hoses, belts and clips your leak may, just may, be something very trivial, some of the real gurus will be in a better position to diagnose......not had the misfortune to have to go investigting the v6 in my year so far ( engine wise)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Elite Man Steve said:
From what I've read here , gunk in water is probably oil cooler but if that has already been done it may just be oil residue left in the water from when it was leaking and water leak sounds like water pump , does it leak all time? is the leak worse with engine running?
No, leak seems to be intermittent - when I ran it up to normall temp earlier, it seemed to get worse for a while then eased off again. leak stopped shortly after engine stopped. But the again it HAD leaked a bit overnight while standing....... I think I'm gonna have to monitor it for a few days to get a sense of exactly when and why it's leaking.....

You could be right about the residue - that would fit with the oil cooler having been done not long ago....
 

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as long as you dont boot it, monitor the fluid and ensure its kept fully topped up, it should be okay to run until you get it looked at, but dont go far with out checking the fluid
 

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Markiec said:
as long as you dont boot it, monitor the fluid and ensure its kept fully topped up, it should be okay to run until you get it looked at, but dont go far with out checking the fluid
Yep - will keep an eye and get it looked over. Funny thing is - I just gave it 25 mins good run alng the dual crgway and got it up to temp, and there's no leak at all now.... weird. I'm letting it cool now to see what happens - to check if the coolant level holds up and whether the leak reappears. All very starnge - will have to get it checked over during the week sometime.
 
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Where the water is ending up, just before hitting the floor, is around that bottom right hand pulley (air con). But, it could be from just about anywhere.

The fact that it doesn't leak when hot tells you it isn't likely to be a hose, but not a lot more.

I am a bit confused by what exactly you have in your header tank. If the previous owner tried to 'repair' it, why? A header tank cannot be repaired, it works under quite high pressure, so if it was leaking he should have replaced the whole tank.

If, and I hope not, he has used radweld or similar, that would not be great news. The last possibility is the oil in the header tank. If that is what you actually have in there, then the oil cooler is most likely. It is not the easiest job to do, but not the worst. However, mopping up the oil in the water system will be fun.
 

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RonaldMcBurger said:
Where the water is ending up, just before hitting the floor, is around that bottom right hand pulley (air con). But, it could be from just about anywhere.

The fact that it doesn't leak when hot tells you it isn't likely to be a hose, but not a lot more.

I am a bit confused by what exactly you have in your header tank. If the previous owner tried to 'repair' it, why? A header tank cannot be repaired, it works under quite high pressure, so if it was leaking he should have replaced the whole tank.

If, and I hope not, he has used radweld or similar, that would not be great news. The last possibility is the oil in the header tank. If that is what you actually have in there, then the oil cooler is most likely. It is not the easiest job to do, but not the worst. However, mopping up the oil in the water system will be fun.
Yep that all sounds sensible - I wonder if, as suggested above, the gunk in the coolant is oil and is a leftover from before the oil cooler was done - was only a few months ago and I'm guessing he didn't bother to clean the system through afterwards. Wasn't obvious when I bought it but it was evening when I inspected it so maybe I didn't notice it in the light (it's not all that obvious even now). Anyway the leak seems to have stopped again now (he said, crossing everything he can) so I'm going to spy on it for a few days and see what develops - will get it looked at anyway.
 
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