My 2001 CRV with 130,000 miles has developed a slow coolant leak. There are no visible leaks nor any steam escaping. No sign of water in the oil either. Also, while the vehicle starts fine initially, it is almost impossible to restart after it has run a while. The vehicle had a valve job about 25,000 miles ago. I just changed the spark plugs. Other than these two issues, the car seems to be running fine. Any ideas for what could be causing this problem?
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A small leak in the head gasket will cause the coolant to disappear,but will not always be visible steam from the tailpipe.(small leak).A good way to check for this is to remove the spark plugs(keep them in order),and see if one of them is cleaner than the rest.(The coolant will steam clean the plug,and leave a slight greenish hue in some cases).If you do find this,you're looking at doing a head gasket.
The most common sources of leaks that I see on these are where the water pump bolts to the block, the weep hole on the water pump itself, and the seam at the plastic end tank of the radiator [inlet end of radiator]. You'll almost never see any coolant drip on the ground from any of these leaks because of where they are, how slow they leak, and the fact that when the engine is hot the coolant vaporizes about as fast as it can leak. I have a tool that I put on in place of the radiator cap which allows me to pressurize the cooling system to about 17 psi. If its an especially tough one to find I'll leave pressure on the system overnight and come morning the leak is usually quite evident. I'd start by looking at where the water pump bolts to the block as the gaskets there are prone to leaking the most. Good luck, hope you find your leak!
It sounds like your thermostat is not opening. You can take the hose off which contains the thermo and remove the thermo. Now there should be nothing keeping the coolant from circulating except the radiator which may be pluged.
You now will not get heat but this will get you to the garage. Let me know it this does not work,
Possible coolant leak on hot engine parts causing it to evaporate as it leaks. That would definitely invade the cabin air.
You would need to carefully check under the hood with the engine warmed up and running.
Also could be a headgasket failure between coolant channels and a combustion chamber. This latter problem sometimes shows itself as vapor at the tailpipe after there should be no more visible. You may also detect the odor of coolant there too.
Is it in a puddle on the floor? Can you see where it is dripping from? You don't want to look for smoke, you want to look for steam. A head gasket wouldn't leak coolant outside the engine without you hearing it or seeing it. It would get sucked into the cylinder and burnt off as steam. A radiator shop can run a compression check and tell exactly what is wrong. Keep an eye on the temp gauge just in case. We had a subaru here with a blown head gasket and it ran fine, then it would overheat, then be fine again,then over heat, then it finally blew, some 1500 miles later. We found it easier and cheaper to replace the engine that the heads. Hope this helps.