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    Thread: Why does my coolant keep running low

    1. 06-05-2009 06:52 PM #1
      I just had the alternator replaced, and the day after I picked it up from the shop, I am driving along and the coolant level light comes on. Sure enough, it is low, so I put more coolant in. The next day, same thing. Obviously, I have a leak, how do I diagnose this? There doesn't seem to be any leak under the car, so does that mean head gasket or block? How can you tell, and what is the typical cost to fix either one?

      Thanks guys!


    2. 06-05-2009 07:04 PM #2
      see if its leaking around the thermostat. (its almost directly under the alternator.) maybe they bumped the black plastic hose coming off of the engine or something.

    3. 06-05-2009 07:36 PM #3
      That's what I was thinking because everything was fine until after I got it back from the shop. I even called them back and asked if they noticed any leak or anything.

      I looked but can't see the hose by the thermostat, is there a "creative" way to get to the thermostat? i'm not engine savvy, so bear with me


    4. Member Andaloons's Avatar
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      06-05-2009 07:46 PM #4
      Quote, originally posted by klive72 »
      That's what I was thinking because everything was fine until after I got it back from the shop. I even called them back and asked if they noticed any leak or anything.

      I looked but can't see the hose by the thermostat, is there a "creative" way to get to the thermostat? i'm not engine savvy, so bear with me

      You pretty much have to pull the intake manifold to get a good look at it.

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      06-05-2009 07:48 PM #5
      get a pressure tester


      Modified by WHITEWOLF01 at 8:49 PM 6-5-2009

    6. 06-05-2009 07:51 PM #6
      OK, Thanks, I'll try that.
      One other thing I shoul add, the coolant doesn't seem to leak just sitting idle, it seems to leak when driving. I filled the coolant tank last night, and this morning it was the same level. I drove it to work and back (35 mi ea. way), and the coolant level light came on about 10 miles from home. Does that indicate one thing or another?

    7. Member Andaloons's Avatar
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      06-05-2009 07:54 PM #7
      Heat builds pressure in the coolant system. The more pressure, the more leak. Probably a small crack in plastic piping or bad o-ring.
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    8. 06-05-2009 08:11 PM #8
      Thanks, hopefully that is all that it is, those are inexpensive fixes!

    9. Member vwgtimk41088's Avatar
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      06-05-2009 08:40 PM #9
      dont remove your intake, to see if the thermostat is leaking!

      remove your engine covers, then look to the right of the alternator right where you see the coolant hose, get a flashlight and a mirror, if you still cant get a good look at it remove the black bracket attached to the intake and dipstick tube.


      How many miles you have? water pumps like to leak? Look above your transmission as well as your coolant flange is right there and they also like to leak.


    10. 06-05-2009 08:55 PM #10
      130k

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      06-05-2009 09:21 PM #11
      if the Timing belt/waterpump/tensioner hasnt been done yet get them all done.

      if you remove the belt cover(PITA to get off/on sometimes) and look at the waterpump if its leaking you will see what looks like corrosion on a battery terminal (best way to describe it)


    12. 06-06-2009 08:29 AM #12
      Quote, originally posted by vwgtimk41088 »
      dont remove your intake, to see if the thermostat is leaking!

      remove your engine covers, then look to the right of the alternator right where you see the coolant hose, get a flashlight and a mirror, if you still cant get a good look at it remove the black bracket attached to the intake and dipstick tube.


      How many miles you have? water pumps like to leak? Look above your transmission as well as your coolant flange is right there and they also like to leak.

      Thank you !!! Some one with some sense!!! You also may want to look at your Aux. water pump seeing that it sit right infront of the alternator and some dumb ass could have hit it. The water pump and coolant flange are very good places to look. If you run a pressure test then you will find the leak for sure!


    13. 06-06-2009 08:34 AM #13
      Its a close system so you arent "running low," you have a leak somewhere.

    14. 06-06-2009 10:12 AM #14
      OK Guys, some updated info to mu low coolant levels. Since I was only noticing the problem when I drive, I decided this morning to turn on the car and let it run for 1/2 hour to see if I could notice any leaks. (I wasn't noticing any when the engine was cold). I also wanted to see if I was getting a lot of water coming out of the tail pipe which wouldn't be good. After 30 mins, sure enough there was a huge puddle of coolant under the car, as pure as when I put it in. So, that probably indicates a leaky hose or something??? What should I try next?

    15. 06-06-2009 10:51 AM #15
      Pressure test the system and look at the highest point first, then work your way down.

    16. Member vwgtimk41088's Avatar
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      06-06-2009 11:55 AM #16
      check these in any order you want: coolant flange, thermostast housing, water pump, auxilary water pump, and hoses.

      when the car is sitting still where does the puddle seem to sit under related to the car?


    17. 06-06-2009 12:18 PM #17
      Where do I get a pressure tester?

    18. 06-06-2009 01:43 PM #18
      - I found the leak in 2 places, the first hose is at the top just behind the engine (between the engine and dash); there is an "s" shaped hose about an inch or so in dia.that actually has some heat protective covering around it and another hose running along side of it. There is a small leak there. The 2nd is just below that large hose. It is about a 1/4" dia hose and if I set my flashlight on top of the brake fluid container and shine straight down, I can see it coming out pretty good there also. Bad news, no way I can get in there and fix myself with my tools. any comments?

    19. Member vwgtimk41088's Avatar
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      06-07-2009 12:58 AM #19
      bad news is that the only dealer in your area that im aware of is Garnet VW in Chadds ford(lived in west chester for two years). if your not to far from west chester i would recommend Tom's Volkswagen on Market St. He is a good guy that doesn't rip you off unlike garnet where they dont have a problem with breaking your panels in you interior and then dont do anything to fix the problem that they caused.

    20. Member zeusenergy's Avatar
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      06-07-2009 01:40 AM #20
      It may just be one of those hoses. So don't rip it all apart to fix both until you are sure both are bad. The larger one goes to the heater core in the dash, the smaller line goes to the turbo bearing from the hard pipe on the passenger side frame rail. Pressure might be pushing the coolant out onto another hose.
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