Intermittent Coolant Leak?

Tech-Mechanic

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'07 Liberty. I have a very small coolant leak that only happens every few days. I can't determine the source. It is dripping from the lower radiator hose gooseneck/hose on the engine side but, I don't know if that's the source of the leak, or if it's running off something else. (the hose and clamp are less than a year old)

The baffling thing to me is the intermittent part. In my experience, coolant leaks are not a "sometimes" thing. In this instance, it's usually only a few drops, creating a small puddle a couple inches wide. It seems to only happen when the engine is at operating temperature but, I can often drive it for a couple of hours with no sign of a leak at all. But, every few days, I'll sometimes see that small puddle. So, I don't think it's a case of the leak only occurring when the thermostat is open, or only when it's closed. In that scenario, wouldn't it be leaking much more often?

In the two weeks or so it's been happening, I have only been able to actually see it leak once, which is how I was able to determine where the drip is coming from. It hasn't yet lost enough coolant for the reservoir to be dry it's about an inch below the "full" line. So, I don't think I'm losing much.

This started about two weeks after I installed a new water pump. But, I can't see any wetness around the pump on that side. And, in any case, I would think a gasket leak would not be intermittent. There's no indication that it could be coming out of the water pump' shaft seal.

Any ideas?
 
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JRB

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Always hard to find the intermittent stuff.

Even though your water pump sounds new, still include that in your search for the leak source, whether bad gasket seal or poor quality control on the part. Could be while everything is sitting pressurized is when its able to be seen better, and shows up as a puddle that way, but odd that it doesn't happen every time after it sits.

Could try some dye in the rad fluid, see if that can help spot where its coming from.
 

Jeremy-WI

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It wouldn't surprise me if you have a small crack in the radiator. I replaced mine last year after the crack expanded enough that I could find the leak
 

Tech-Mechanic

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It wouldn't surprise me if you have a small crack in the radiator. I replaced mine last year after the crack expanded enough that I could find the leak
The radiator is less than a year old... Which doesn't mean that it's still not faulty.

However in this case, for it to be running off of the engine side, the stream of coolant would have to travel uphill along the outer bottom of the radiator hose, in order for the drip to be coming from the engine side. So, I've pretty much ruled out the radiator as the culprit.
 

Johnny O

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Always hard to find the intermittent stuff.

Even though your water pump sounds new, still include that in your search for the leak source, whether bad gasket seal or poor quality control on the part. Could be while everything is sitting pressurized is when its able to be seen better, and shows up as a puddle that way, but odd that it doesn't happen every time after it sits.

Could try some dye in the rad fluid, see if that can help spot where its coming from.
Id treat if with a dose of flourescein (uv dye) and get out the blacklight flash light.

'07 Liberty. I have a very small coolant leak that only happens every few days. I can't determine the source. It is dripping from the lower radiator hose gooseneck/hose on the engine side but, I don't know if that's the source of the leak, or if it's running off something else. (the hose and clamp are less than a year old)

The baffling thing to me is the intermittent part. In my experience, coolant leaks are not a "sometimes" thing. In this instance, it's usually only a few drops, creating a small puddle a couple inches wide. It seems to only happen when the engine is at operating temperature but, I can often drive it for a couple of hours with no sign of a leak at all. But, every few days, I'll sometimes see that small puddle. So, I don't think it's a case of the leak only occurring when the thermostat is open, or only when it's closed. In that scenario, wouldn't it be leaking much more often?

In the two weeks or so it's been happening, I have only been able to actually see it leak once, which is how I was able to determine where the drip is coming from. It hasn't yet lost enough coolant for the reservoir to be dry it's about an inch below the "full" line. So, I don't think I'm losing much.

This started about two weeks after I installed a new water pump. But, I can't see any wetness around the pump on that side. And, in any case, I would think a gasket leak would not be intermittent. There's no indication that it could be coming out of the water pump' shaft seal.

Any ideas?
If its intermittent: after a long drive that heats things up? or after it has been sitting cold?

Either way, get you a fluorescein kit- leak detector - and a black light flashlight. Dose it and then it is easy to find.
 

frankjc

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Mine had an intermittent leak. It definitely seemed temp related. For example, when the weather cooled down a bit, there would be a puddle in my driveway, drive it to work and let it sit all day...no leak. If I recall correctly it was making it's way to where you mentioned. Is there any wetness on or behind the harmonic balancer? Mine turned out to be the water pump gasket...replaced under extended warranty, all is fine now.
 

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