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Old 06-10-2009, 12:12 PM   #1
moonzie
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Join Date: Oct 2006
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Location: Bloomington, Indiana
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2004 Baja Turbo
Red/Silver

Default radiator leakage?

The other day I started to overheat on my way home so I carefully limped it home. Not that it means much but I took extra care to never get that needle in the red-zone but it got close. Low enough on coolant that air must have got sucked into the system.


It had been about 2 years since I flushed & filled my cooling system! It was kinda dirty. Flushed, ran some cleaner through and filled last week. Now I'm noticing a coolant smell sometimes when I get out of the trucklette. Upon inspection it looks like water/coolant is either sieping out at the top of the radiator where the metal fins crimp over the top, on the side closest to the fans.

When I was overheating (before the flush) I did notice there was a little bit of coolant splashed up on the upper radiator hose and the air intake, but I couldn't find any obvious leaks. I can run the engine idle at normal temp, and stand there forever watching under the hood but not see anything.

Suggestions? Does coolant evaporate after a few days or does it just sit around until heated? Could be caps, REALLY hoping my radiator isn't going out! It's kinda expensive.
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Old 06-15-2009, 04:09 PM   #2
moonzie
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I had to make an unexpected trip to Cincinnati OH today. Reservoir tank (in front) was low when I arrived, topped off. By the remnants of the spray pattern and looking at where the hood liner has gotten wet, I was quite positive it was coming from the radiator cap. Let it cool, wiped clean and replaced the cap. Just got home now and the coolant is once again low and the spray pattern is back - right at where the cap is. I got a cheap CST 7516 cap from autozone. I've watched it sit there until the fans kick on, then back off (A/C off) and back on and did not see any leakage.

what gives with this? could be a hose - but I would have thought I would have seen it leak at some point.
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Old 06-16-2009, 02:17 AM   #3
kidjoe
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I'm having the exact same issue, just not as severe. I was thinking the radiator cap as well. Let me know if you have anymore leakage. I was talking to a local subie tech. and he suggested i might have a hairline crank in the top tank of the rad. The spray pattern for me is at the back of the rad cap.
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Old 06-16-2009, 05:50 AM   #4
su-be3
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Cool

Well, you can always try Bars-Leak, or other types of radiator products to see if that helps. I have used these products in the past, and in most cases they have worked!
If not, you will have to replace the radiator. Not cheap, but cheaper than a new engine! Good luck!
Keep it under 90, folks!
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:42 PM   #5
moonzie
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I won't put in any kind of radiator leak fix gunk - I did that once before in my Dodge Shadow and it fixed the leak for only a month or two only for the system to blow out pretty bad when I was far away from home. That crap is terrible to put in your cooling system anyways.

I've not noticed any hairline cracks in my radiator. There is a funny looking vertical cap looking thing behind the radiator cap..? I don't know if that's removable or not.
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Old 06-17-2009, 12:23 AM   #6
kidjoe
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HA........Déjà vue, Thought it might be coming from there as well. I've notic ed some spray just to the left of the cap on the black metal tubes running across the back of the rad.

It will eventually drive me mad!

I had it in to be pressure tested and they couldn't find the leak!
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:22 PM   #7
BajaGuy68
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I have a similar problem! I can smell the coolant, but I can't find the leak! I have replaced both radiator caps, taken it to the dealership four times...they can't find anything either, and its driving me nuts! What is this-common on the Baja Turbos?!

PS. The reserve tank goes down maybe a 1/4 of an inch a week.
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Old 06-19-2009, 02:55 AM   #8
Benhart21
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I had a problem with mine burning coolant right after I bought it. Turned out it was my lower radiator hose leaking at where it was attached to the radiator. I'd get a very noticeable smell after I'd come to a stop because it would drip onto the exhaust manifold, so there'd never be any puddles on the ground. Installed a set of Gimmick radiator hoses and the problem went away.
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Old 06-19-2009, 08:46 AM   #9
BajaGuy68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benhart21 View Post
I had a problem with mine burning coolant right after I bought it. Turned out it was my lower radiator hose leaking at where it was attached to the radiator. I'd get a very noticeable smell after I'd come to a stop because it would drip onto the exhaust manifold, so there'd never be any puddles on the ground. Installed a set of Gimmick radiator hoses and the problem went away.
Thanks for the info! I'm going to look there when I get home.
Like you, I can smell it when I come to a stop or have driven it on a short trip. When the dealership can't find it, thats pretty bad!

Last edited by BajaGuy68; 06-22-2009 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 06-19-2009, 04:44 PM   #10
moonzie
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Unhappy

Took it to AutoZone and did a pressure test. It got up to around 10lbs when it began to spray out of the top of the radiator within an inch or two to the left of the radiator cap.

New Radiator is gonna run around $220 - $250. grr.
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:27 PM   #11
BajaGuy68
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You were right on the money!....Benhart21.... It was the lower radiator hose...or should I say, the wonderful hose clamps Subaru uses! New(different) clamps and NO MORE COOLANT SMELL! Thanks!
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Old 06-23-2009, 05:27 AM   #12
su-be3
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benhart21 View Post
I had a problem with mine burning coolant right after I bought it. Turned out it was my lower radiator hose leaking at where it was attached to the radiator. I'd get a very noticeable smell after I'd come to a stop because it would drip onto the exhaust manifold, so there'd never be any puddles on the ground. Installed a set of Gimmick radiator hoses and the problem went away.
Where did you get those Gimmick radiator hoses? I haven't heard of them before.
Also, I remember MY BAJA having the same problem with the lower radiator hose leaking, about three months after buying it, and tracing it to the lower radiator hose. Tightened it up with a couple of turns, and have had no problems since. There was a posting about this about 4 years ago, if I remember correctly!
Keep it under 90, folks!
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Old 06-19-2009, 04:45 PM   #13
moonzie
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I swear these radiators with the crimp-on ends are ****. Same design that was on my Shadow and it blew too.

134k miles on my Roo. guess it was time for something to go wonky.
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Old 06-19-2009, 04:56 PM   #14
moonzie
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You know what - I just found the same Spectra Premium radiator from Autozone on ebay for $130!
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:48 PM   #15
Benhart21
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I made sure to ditch the OEM clamps when I replaced the hoses for that reason. They chewed up the original hose something awful.
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:47 AM   #16
BajaGuy68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benhart21 View Post
I made sure to ditch the OEM clamps when I replaced the hoses for that reason. They chewed up the original hose something awful.
My hoses are still in good shape. My baby has only 23k miles on her at the moment.
I found the leak after your posting....and taking off the plastic shield under the front end. Bingo!...on the very bottom of the hose-where you could'nt see! Thanks Again!
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Old 06-23-2009, 03:13 PM   #17
Benhart21
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I got them from importimageracing.com They seem to be on par with Samco hoses, but much cheaper. Glad I could be of help, because that problem drove me nutty for a couple of months.
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