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Coolant recovery failure

No coolant makes it to the expansion tank - no obvious leaks - relatively new radiator & cap - didn't work before either

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  • Jeremy W.
    Jeremy W. Nov 04, 2012

    Year, make, model, and engine size?

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Check the hose going to the expansion tank, That it is not pluged up.

Posted on Nov 04, 2012

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  • Cars & Trucks Master
  • 5,342 Answers

The tank should have a full cold mark and a full hot mark. When checking the coolant, always fill the recovery tank to at least the full cold mark- the lower marking on the tank. As engine coolant gets hot it expands and should transfer into the overflow tank. Then when the engine and coolant starts to cool down, the radiator should siphon the coolant back into the radiator to keep it full. Check for restrictions in the hose from the radiator to the tank. When engine is cool, top up the radiator and the recovery tank.

Posted on Nov 04, 2012

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

  • 1 Answer

SOURCE: Honda Civic LX 1995, replaced

First check for the rad fan working. It could be the Fan relay, bad ground connection or coolant temp sensor (commands the fan relay). If not, check for little tiny bubbles in the coolant. Do this by running the vehicle with the rad cap off. Make sure there is no pressure in the cooling system first or you will get burned (squeeze rad hose, should be cool and easy to squeeze). Look into the top of the rad and watch for these tiny little bubbles. If they are present, you will need a head gasket.

Posted on Jul 22, 2008

  • 102 Answers

SOURCE: coolant leak from left side of engine block running down oil pan.

when you say left side are we talking passanger side or drivers side if drivers side which is my guess most likely your waterpump seal is leaking

Posted on Mar 22, 2009

  • 39 Answers

SOURCE: Water leak from top of expansion tank.2000 BMW 316i se

The water (coolant) in the expansion tank will rise and fall with the engine temperature. What the expansion tank does is collect and return coolant to and from the engine. When the engine warms up the coolant gets hot, builds up pressure and opens up the radiator cap. The coolant then goes into the expansion tank. Now when the engine cools down the pressure drops in the cooling system and the pressure drop (vacuum) pulls the coolant back into the engine via the radiator cap. The radiator cap allows the cooling system to build up pressure and by doing so increases the boiling point of the coolant, but when that pressure exceeds the caps rating the cap opens and the coolant goes to the expansion valve. The cap has another part to it that when the engine cools down and a partial vacuum is created in the cooling system a "valve" in the radiator cap opens and allows the coolant to be drawn back into the engine. I would look at your radiator cap to see if any gunk or build up is on it, and check the rubber gaskets for cracks. It's easiest just to replace the cap because they are inexpensive and easy to replace (2-10 dollars). The expansion tank should have two hoses on it. The one on the bottom comes from the radiator and the one on the top (possibly part of filler cap) runs down and is open to the ground. That way if it is overfilled or becomes overfilled it will slowly leak onto the ground. When and if you change your radiator cap, make sure the engine is cooled down, remove cap and start engine and turn heater to full blast, full heat. Leave the cap off and let it run until engine warmed up. This should burp out any air pockets that may have happened when coolant was changed. Also top off the coolant in the radiator while it is running. Hope this helps and good luck

Posted on Apr 03, 2009

jmgldsmth
  • 1889 Answers

SOURCE: ONGOING COOLANT LEAK

replace your coolant reservior cap; the rubber ring has become brittle and "steams" the coolant out as you drive

Posted on Apr 21, 2009

tneubauer
  • 437 Answers

SOURCE: Expansion tank

Yes these can become distorted or malformed through repetitive overheating. They are made of rather thick plastic so it does make them resilient to warping but not impervious. I can not say that it can weaken the cap, but I can say that constant boil over can not be good for it.

Posted on Jun 06, 2009

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1 Answer

The car was overheating i checked all hoses and replaced the thermostat the radiator it still is ovrheating and the water is boiling in the overflow tank


Answer could be a faulty thermostat,or it could be a sign that your head gasket is about to blow ,or last of all your timing could be out of sync.

Answer 2 from Inventus: It means your cooling system is funtioning properly. In a system having a coolant recovery tank, coolant in the radiator is always up to the brim, hot or cold. There is negligible or no air space. When coolant in the radiator expands sufficiently due to warming from the engine, it will squeeze past the pressure cap's bottom seal and flow into the recovery tank. (If no provision for such expansion was present, the expansion would rupture the radiator or your hoses.) Only coolant within the radiator is under pressure, and because of this pressure (together with the elevated boiling point that the "anti-freeze" permits), it normally does not boil. But once past the pressure cap's bottom seal, the overflow is at atmospheric pressure and therefore boils.
This boiling is usually unnoticed after a short, i.e., local, trip because the cooler coolant already in the recovery tank quenches it. But after some highway driving the influx of more hot overflow heats up all the coolant in the recovery tank to the (unpressurized, i.e., "natural") boiling point.
As the engine cools when shut off, the contracting coolant in the radiator sucks back coolant from the recovery tank. Fluid in the recovery tank should never be below the "full hot" or "full cold" marks, lest air be sucked in.
-- BETTER ANSWER ==
Your cooling fans are not turning on. It is not normal for your overflow tank to boil like that. It is true that your radiator is overflowing into the reserve tank, but that means yourr adiaotor is boiling. Check for blown fuses or relays for your cooling fans. IF theya re fine. run your engine for about 15 minutes and drive. When you temp level is at normal operating temp open your hood with the engine runing and see if your fans are on. If they are, then you may have a bad thermostat or a plugged radiator, or a bad water pump. If the fans are not on, get your cooling fan switch replaced if your car has one. Check your temp sending sensor

Oct 30, 2011 | Cars & Trucks

2 Answers

Cant find the valve to let air pressure from my radiator for my water to flow right


FILL COOLANT SYSTEM UP BY POURING COOLANT IN THE EXPANSION TANK UNTIL COOLANT LEVEL STOP DROPPING IN THE EXPANSION.WHEN YOU POUR COOLANT IN EXPANSION TANK AIR BLEED OFF THROUGH THE SMALL COOLANT LINES GOING TO EXPANSION TANK.WITH PRESSURE CAP OFF RADIATOR COOLANT LEVEL IN EXPANSION IS AT FULL COLD MARK.WHAT YOU TO DO CRANK ENGINE UP LET IDLE WARM UP UNTIL COOLANT DROPS IN EXPANSION TANK KEEP ADDING COOLANT UNTIL STOP DROPPING STAY AT FULL COLD MARK.WHEN COOLANT LEVEL START RISING IN EXPANSION TANK.PUT PRESSURE CAP BACK ON RADIATOR.WHILE ENGINE IDLING WATCH TEMPERATURE GAUGE.IF START CLIMBING TURN OFF ENGINE LET IT SIT FOR LITTLE WHILE TAKE A LARGE RAG OPEN RADIATOR PRESSURE CAP A LITTLE AT A TIME TO KEEP FROM GETTING SCALDING TO RELEASE AIR IN COOLANT SYSTEM.WHEN PRESSURE IS RELEASED OPEN PRESSURE CAP ADD MORE COOLANT IN THE EXPANSION TANK.CRANK ENGINE AGAIN LET IDLE WHEN TEMPERATURE GAUGE START CLIMBING. TURN OFF ENGINE WAIT FOR WHILE BEFORE OPEN RADIATOR PRESSURE CAP.WHEN YOUR THERMOSTAT OPENS WHEN TOP RADIATOR HOSE IS HOT AND ENGINE COOLANT TEMPERATURE GAUGE STOP CLIMBING AND COOLANT LEVEL STOP DROPPING IN THE EXPANSION TANK.ALL AIR IS EXPELLED FROM COOLANT SYSTEM TO KEEP ENGINE FROM OVERHEATING.

Jun 10, 2011 | 2001 Cadillac DeVille

2 Answers

Just need to know where to put the coolant


If you don't have a radiator cap or a cap in the upper radiator hose, you have to add through the Overflow. Cavaliers are this way. It takes forever to burp the air out of them. Be careful that you don't stop before all of the air is out. An aid pocket in the cyl head will damage your engine.

May 09, 2011 | Oldsmobile Alero Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

I changed our my rediator and now the sensor light saying radiator coolant is low and the buzzer won't stop going off. The radiator coolant level is fine and my temp gauge is fine. Any help would be...


Do you have an overflow tank that has low level in it?
LEVEL CHECK The coolant level should be checked regularly. Serious engine damage can occur if the engine overheats. CAUTION
Check the coolant level when the engine is cold; serious injury could result from escaping steam or hot fluid if checked when hot. If your car is equipped with an electric cooling fan, make sure that the ignition switch is OFF. The cooling fan will automatically operate if the ignition switch is on and the engine coolant temperature is high, or if the wiring connector on the thermostat housing is disconnected.
  1. Depress the button on the thermal expansion tank (coolant recovery reservoir) safety cap, if there is one. Allow all of the pressure trapped in the system to escape. CAUTION
    The radiator is not factory-equipped with a safety cap. Do not remove the radiator cap before removing the expansion tank cap, or when the engine is hot. Fig. 1: Remove insects and debris from the radiator fins 85811096.gif

  2. Remove the expansion tank cap. The expansion tank should be 1⁄3 full, unless Full and Low marks are provided. The level should be well above the bottom of the tank when the engine is cold.
  3. If it is not, carefully remove the cap from the radiator. The radiator should be full.
  4. Add a 50/50 solution of ethylene glycol (or other suitable coolant) and clean water. If there was no coolant in the expansion tank, fill the radiator until the level is near the inlet port and install the radiator cap. Then, fill the expansion tank to the specified level, and secure the expansion tank cap. When checking the coolant level, the pressure cap should be examined for signs of age or deterioration. Check it for a worn or cracked gasket. If the cap doesn't seal properly, fluid will be lost and the engine will overheat. A worn cap should be replaced with a new one. The fan belt and other drive belts should be inspected and adjusted to the proper tension. (Please refer to the belt inspection and adjusting procedures, earlier in this section.) Remove the radiator cap and run the tip of your finger around the inside of the filler neck. Check for excessive deposits of rust or scale around the filler neck lip and the filler port. Make sure the coolant is free of oil. Replace the coolant as necessary. Hose clamps should be tightened, and soft or cracked hoses replaced. Damp spots, or accumulations of rust or dye near hoses, the water pump or other areas indicate possible leakage, which must be corrected before filling the system with fresh coolant. Periodically clean any debris, leaves, paper, insects, etc. from the radiator fins. Pick the large pieces off by hand. The smaller pieces can be washed away with water pressure from a hose. Carefully straighten any bent radiator fins with a pair of needle nose pliers. Be careful as the fins are very soft. Don't wiggle the fins back and forth too much. Straighten them once and try not to move them again.
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Jul 05, 2010 | 1985 Mazda RX-7

1 Answer

I have a 2004 BMW 330i and have replaced everything in the coolant system, and my vehicle is still leaking coolant out the expansion tank, or the cap where you add coolant to the radiator. I have use OEM...


We have had some similar problems with some BMW's,the last one we replaced the expansion tank.Before we attached the upper radiator hose to the radiator we filled the engine with antifreeze through the hose.Install the hose and fill your expansion tank to the proper level and run the engine to operating temperature.

Jan 30, 2010 | BMW 330 Cars & Trucks

2 Answers

Water leak from cooling system, carn't see a water leak and have tried a bottle of rad weld, but its still loosing around a litre of water to every 50 miles. Any suggestions for self repair and where to...


If there isn't water obviously appearing from somewhere it's either a head gasket failure or radiator cap. Check the oil filler cap for emulsion. Just hope that it's the radiator cap.

Oct 20, 2009 | 1996 Volvo 960

3 Answers

Engine taking up too much water (1 tank/100kms)


Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} I do not have expertise specific to Mitsubishi passenger cars, but I can offer some generic automotive engine advice.

At risk of oversimplifying, all that water is going somewhere and here are a few common culprits in increasing order of cost:

  1. A failing radiator cap.
    This is a sneaky problem but is cheap and easy to fix! The radiator cap serves to keep the coolant in the engine under pressure, and that pressure raises the boiling point. If the cap is slowly failing, the coolant can quietly boil away in much the same away as water left in a pot on a hot stove with little or no evidence, other than reports from the temperature gauge or light. You can take your radiator cap to a mechanic for pressure testing, but replacements are available at most parts stores for very little money. Note: you already know this, but NEVER OPEN A HOT RADIATOR OR RECOVERY TANK OR YOU WILL GET BURNED!
  2. A leak in the recovery tank, or between the tank and the engine.
    Troubleshooting requires getting under the car WHILE IT IS SHUT OFF AND PROPERLY SECURED and looking for obvious moisture. If you find a leak, it should be immediately obvious which component (e.g., tank, hose, etc.) needs repair or replacement. Tanks can be surprisingly expensive since manufacturers often mold them to fit each unique model of automobile. Note: plastic tanks often begin to crack where they connect to hoses or where exposed to greatest heat.
  3. Failing hoses.
    Since you are checking around the recovery tank anyway, carefully inspect all the engine hoses for damage, soft spots (healthy hoses should feel firm when squeezed, only a little softer than the inside of your forearm), or poor or leaking clamps. Hoses deteriorate most where they are hottest, where they make tight bends, and where they attach to other parts like the radiator or engine. Hoses are relatively inexpensive and are available at most parts stores.
  4. A failing radiator.
    Like caps, tanks, and hoses, radiators live a hard life of high pressure and heat, with the added bonus of being right out front where they can be hit by rocks, small animals, and other debris. If a radiator corrodes internally or has minor exterior damage it may begin to leak only when the engine is running and at normal operating temperature. With engine off and completely cool, open the radiator (if possible) or the recovery tank and inspect the coolant. If it shows evidence of foaming, rust-colored material, or sand-like grit, you probably have internal corrosion and need to replace at least your radiator and possibly the coolant hoses. If the coolant and inside of the radiator look clean, closely inspect the entire outside of the radiator for evidence of corrosion, usually appearing as greenish-, whitish-, or rusty-colored deposits, and most often found at hose fittings and joints where the radiator is braised together during assembly. You will also find deposits anywhere a pinhole leak exists. Again, if you find these symptoms, replace your radiator. Finally, run the engine up to normal operating temperature, shut it off, and closely inspect the exterior of the radiator for steam or wet spots.
  5. A failing water pump.
    When a water pump begins to fail it often "weeps" or leaks small amounts from a small drain hole in the pump body. With the engine hot (i.e., after running to normal operating temperature) BUT NOT RUNNING carefully examine the water pump for obvious signs of seepage both at the gasket where it connects to the engine and behind the drive pulley. Replacement pumps are widely available but can be expensive and challenging to install if you are not mechanically inclined.
  6. Failing engine seals or gaskets.
    OK, now we are into the hard stuff. Every part of your engine mates to other parts with thin gaskets. Most of the gasket surface is internal and thus not visible to inspection on an assembled engine. Cooling system gasket failures sometimes manifest by leaking into the engine directly and are thus very hard to detect. So, how do we diagnose an internal leak? If the coolant is leaking in very small quantities into the exhaust or the combustion chamber, you can sometimes see or smell the burned result at the tailpipe. If you are using conventional coolant (e.g., antifreeze, glycol, or ethylene glycol), the tailpipe emissions will smell very sweet and maybe obviously moist or even steaming, sometimes with liquid water dripping from the tailpipe. NOTE: this should be obvious, but AUTOMOBILE EXHAUST GASSES ARE TOXIC AND CAN CAUSE ILLNESS OR DEATH. DO NOT SPEND A LOT OF TIME INHALING EXHAUST GASSES just take a few whiffs. Another way to check for internal cooling system failures is to inspect the coolant after running the engine briefly but before it all leaks out. If the coolant has a slick of oil (a rainbow or black-oil effect), you have breached cooling and oiling systems and are exchanging fluids. Also, examine the oil on the engine dipstick; if it has a thick gray- or white-colored greasy or foamy layer that may or may not smell sweet you have an internal leak. Finally, have the cooling system pressure tested by a trustworthy mechanic. When the cooling system is open to much higher combustion chamber pressures it over-pressurizes the cooling system and will be immediately obvious in a pressure test. If you find that any of these symptoms apply to your situation, you are looking at an imminent catastrophic failure and should get the car to a mechanic immediately. If you continue to operate a vehicle in this condition, you will destroy the engine, and possibly cause a crash.


I hope this lengthy troubleshooting guide helps you solve your problem.


Good Luck!

Sep 01, 2009 | Mitsubishi Passenger Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

Where do i refill coolant? message reading low engine coolant.


please rate, thx Coolant Recovery System NOTE: When the water thermostat (8575) is closed, there is no flow through the radiator coolant recovery reservoir (8A080).

Trapped air in the cooling system must be removed. A pressurized radiator coolant recovery reservoir system is used which continuously separates the air from the cooling system.
  • When the water thermostat is open, coolant flows through the small hose from the top of the radiator outlet tank to the radiator coolant recovery reservoir.
  • The radiator coolant recovery reservoir separates any trapped air from the coolant and replenishes the system through its radiator coolant recovery hose to the water thermostat housing.
  • The radiator coolant recovery reservoir serves as the location for:
    • service fill
    • coolant expansion during warm-up
    • system pressurization from the pressure relief cap and
    • air separation during operation
  • The radiator coolant recovery reservoir is designed to have approximately 0.5-1 liter (0.53-1.06 quarts) of air when cold to allow for coolant expansion.

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Jul 08, 2009 | 1995 Lincoln Continental

1 Answer

ONGOING COOLANT LEAK


replace your coolant reservior cap; the rubber ring has become brittle and "steams" the coolant out as you drive

Apr 21, 2009 | 1997 BMW 318

1 Answer

Water leak from top of expansion tank.2000 BMW 316i se


The water (coolant) in the expansion tank will rise and fall with the engine temperature. What the expansion tank does is collect and return coolant to and from the engine. When the engine warms up the coolant gets hot, builds up pressure and opens up the radiator cap. The coolant then goes into the expansion tank. Now when the engine cools down the pressure drops in the cooling system and the pressure drop (vacuum) pulls the coolant back into the engine via the radiator cap. The radiator cap allows the cooling system to build up pressure and by doing so increases the boiling point of the coolant, but when that pressure exceeds the caps rating the cap opens and the coolant goes to the expansion valve. The cap has another part to it that when the engine cools down and a partial vacuum is created in the cooling system a "valve" in the radiator cap opens and allows the coolant to be drawn back into the engine. I would look at your radiator cap to see if any gunk or build up is on it, and check the rubber gaskets for cracks. It's easiest just to replace the cap because they are inexpensive and easy to replace (2-10 dollars). The expansion tank should have two hoses on it. The one on the bottom comes from the radiator and the one on the top (possibly part of filler cap) runs down and is open to the ground. That way if it is overfilled or becomes overfilled it will slowly leak onto the ground. When and if you change your radiator cap, make sure the engine is cooled down, remove cap and start engine and turn heater to full blast, full heat. Leave the cap off and let it run until engine warmed up. This should burp out any air pockets that may have happened when coolant was changed. Also top off the coolant in the radiator while it is running. Hope this helps and good luck

Apr 03, 2009 | 1992 BMW 3 Series

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