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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The last time I did work to my was back when I replaced the spark plugs a few months back. After changing the plugs I checked all the fluids and noticed that the coolant was low in the radiator and was empty in the overflow tank. I filled them up and called my work complete. Fast forward to yesterday, and I go check my fluids again and noticed the same thing - low coolant level in the radiator and empty overflow tank.

My question here is, where can a slow leak like this be coming from?

I don't see any drips of coolant on the floor where I park at work and at home. I don't smell any coolant. The oil doesn't look like a chocolate milk shake. So, where can the coolant be going?
 

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Slow Coolant leak could be a leaking head gasket, or cracked head, but could also be leak from the heater core, radiator, and/or water pump. You can have a cracked head or head gasket leaking that does not leak coolant into the oil, but burns it in the combustion chamber. You should test the system with a pressure tester and test overnight and make sure the PSI does not drop. A small leak will be difficult to find, you could also use one of the stop leak products but I would not. You can rent a coolant test kit from autozone that will show if there is combustion gases in the coolant or you can buy them online for around $30.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'll definitely look into that.
 

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Another hidden leak possibility is you throttle body and IAC. Coolant is routed thru both and could be getting pulled into the intake so you cant see it. I would first check the other locations previously mentioned as they would be more likely.
 

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Compression test, coolant and burning oil

I've got 235k on my '99 4cyl and coolant is disappearing from reservoir slowly. I can see no leaking coolant, the radiator was replaced about 9 months ago. The car runs fine, except for burning oil which seems to be getting worse. I'm losing about 1 quart for every 500 miles. I'm a weekend mechanic, but the dipstick does smell of gas. Otherwise the oil is clean on the stick. When you said to test compression over night, am I looking for a drop from when the engine is hot at night to cold next morning? Can you tell me what range I should be be concerned about if there is a drop?
 

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What you need to do is get a radiator pressure tester and pump it up to the pressure rating on the cap, let it set overnight and see if you loose any pressure and possibly it will force coolant out at the leak point and you Weill see where it is coming from

Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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I had that same problem on an old Ford a few years ago, turned out there was a tiny crack on the plastic seam of the radiator. It would take almost two months for me to see my overflow tank go down, and I never saw any antifreeze on the floor. After about six months of trying to find it, I finally saw a tiny drop of antifreeze in the floor and I traced the leak from there. There not always easy to find, good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'll have to try and trace a leak if there is one.

For all I know, I have a bad rad cap that isn't working at the correct 16lbs or w/e it's supposed to be.
 

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I'm not sure if you found your coolant leak...

...I had the identical problem with mine last year. No drips on ground; no trace of any coolant fluids anywhere. I was loosing coolant at a very slow rate...a trip of 400 miles across the state and I'd have to add maybe a cup or two. The problem persisted for a couple of years. It wasn't a big deal for me but I hate leaks, as I believe they introduce more air into the system.

To compound the problem, I had a bad radiator (I had major overheating issues). I used stop leak--I'll never do that again. I replaced the radiator but the leak persisted. I looked high and low and was able to find two leaks. Clue: don't always look with your eyes, take a paper towel and "wipe" around all the coolant hoses, especially at the clamp areas, looking for moisture transferred onto the towel.

There is a hose right under the distributor cap that had moisture at the end where it connects to the engine. I had a minor oil leak from the cap (resolved with a new distributor o-ring) and apparently the hot dripping oil must have eroded the integrity of the hose. I changed this hose.

I thought I had resolved the problem but no, the car continued to lose coolant. I forgot to mention I could smell the sweet coolant smell in the cabin (and no, it wasn't a clogged heater core). Anyway, a month later I finally discovered the other leak which most likely was my mystery leak: it was coming from the very small coolant hose at the intake manifold at the clamp. I could feel the wetness and later it got worse as the hose progressively deteriorated. It was somewhat simple to replace that hose and I replaced the other small hose near it for good measure as well. I believe the hot coolant was sizzling away as it leaked (hence, no drips), and the misting was the smell that carried into the cabin.

Absolutely no fluid leaks since!

I had some pics saved of all the hoses I replaced and if you wish I can try to find and post them.

1998 Honda Accord, EX, 4dr, 2.3L, 168,000 miles, smurf-blue, owned: seven years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
^^ Why can't you be closer to me? I'd definitely trust you with my car :).
 

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I'm not sure if you found your coolant leak...

...I had the identical problem with mine last year. No drips on ground; no trace of any coolant fluids anywhere. I was loosing coolant at a very slow rate...a trip of 400 miles across the state and I'd have to add maybe a cup or two. The problem persisted for a couple of years. It wasn't a big deal for me but I hate leaks, as I believe they introduce more air into the system.

To compound the problem, I had a bad radiator (I had major overheating issues). I used stop leak--I'll never do that again. I replaced the radiator but the leak persisted. I looked high and low and was able to find two leaks. Clue: don't always look with your eyes, take a paper towel and "wipe" around all the coolant hoses, especially at the clamp areas, looking for moisture transferred onto the towel.

There is a hose right under the distributor cap that had moisture at the end where it connects to the engine. I had a minor oil leak from the cap (resolved with a new distributor o-ring) and apparently the hot dripping oil must have eroded the integrity of the hose. I changed this hose.

I thought I had resolved the problem but no, the car continued to lose coolant. I forgot to mention I could smell the sweet coolant smell in the cabin (and no, it wasn't a clogged heater core). Anyway, a month later I finally discovered the other leak which most likely was my mystery leak: it was coming from the very small coolant hose at the intake manifold at the clamp. I could feel the wetness and later it got worse as the hose progressively deteriorated. It was somewhat simple to replace that hose and I replaced the other small hose near it for good measure as well. I believe the hot coolant was sizzling away as it leaked (hence, no drips), and the misting was the smell that carried into the cabin.

Absolutely no fluid leaks since!

I had some pics saved of all the hoses I replaced and if you wish I can try to find and post them.

1998 Honda Accord, EX, 4dr, 2.3L, 168,000 miles, smurf-blue, owned: seven years.
Just a word on coolant leaks ,when i ws working on a ford granada that was loosing a small amount of fluid the owner was a police officer we were talking and he said his wife kept getting headache,s and was being treated by the hospital ,i took the car out and there was that coolant smell as it turned out coolant fumes are toxic and can cause a migrain effect they also cause a sore dry throat ,so if you start getting a dry throat or head aches after driving you will need to check the car out .
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I *think* I may have found my problem. Won't know yet for a few weeks at least until I check my fluid levels again. It seems that the radiator cap may have been failing for quite some time. If this is indeed the culprit of my issue, then it would have caused steam vapors to escape through the unpressurized cap which would eventually result in the low coolant level.

 

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No fair, CDsDontBurn. Pray tell: how did you finally suspect and determine that it was a faulty radiator cap? Process of elimination (no leaks found) or did you do the radiator cap pressure test as suggested by greg1c or did you actually see it misting from the cap with a warm engine? Just curious as I am working on another Honda with a no-drip coolant loss problem.

By the way, quit being so mute on your new child from a couple weeks ago. Congrats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, I still have no drip from coolant. The only drip I do have is from my PS system leaking which is another issue itself. What I did was simply remove the cap to fill up my radiator and when I did, the spring and stopper were simply logged in at the top of the radiator already broken from fatigue.

And, I'll setup a new thread tonight, lol. :)
 

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Its the coolant manifold gasket under the EGR valve or the small hose near the EGR as described when u have the mysterious cabin leak of anti freeze. Simple hose or gasket will suffice........experience after a lot of headaches. IF its not strong in the cabin then its the cap of radiator , ensure the spring goes up and down and the o rings are good for sealing, and if your loosing power and boils over when idling with cap off (which may happen slightly) but majorly then u got a bad head gasket. also head gasket if builds up pressure.---Too help those that do not need to go though this frustration, hope ALL SEE THIS that has an issue similar!!!!!

Bump nwyse pals, helpful for owners with lesser experience with these pesky issues other than that i love my accord. Remember, a honda can always be fixed!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Had it not been for this bump from @NWYSE, then I'd have never remembered about this thread.

Regarding the issue, I still haven't solved the issue as I've more or less stopped caring and have been topping off with coolant as needed at every oil change. However, I have found a coolant leak, and it is a slow one. The coolant leak appears to be coming from somewhere around the EGR valve. I remember seeing a diagram of this area once....when I did care, lol....but I don't remember where it was or what part of engine diagrams to look up for me to find it again. All I know is that there is a gasket somewhere around the EGR valve area that resolves this slow coolant leak.
 

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The gasket at the EGR looks to be where mine is coming from also. Leaks more when it's cold out it seems. Hardly any leak but definitely can smell coolant when opening the hood and can see it leaving about an inch long trail on that part of the block under the valve. #9 and probably #10 since that whole pipe has to come off. If I ever do it I'll let you guys know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well then! Now that you've provided me this, I I'll go ahead and take care of it here in the near future (tax season) as I'm going to be giving her some TLC to stop the ever worsening oil leaks that are plaguing my driveway....and to fix my wiper blade arm mechanism. That's going to be quite a bit more costly than the $5 or so for these two gaskets, lol.

But looking at the diagram, mine might be #9 in the diagram as the coolant leak seems to be coming from above and behind the EGR valve. I can't discern where the #10 gasket it located in the assembly based off of the diagram.

The part I'll hate most of this whole process is dumping all the coolant as I hate working with fluids in large capacity like that. Changing the part out itself and getting everything back together, seems like it'll only take like an hour to do at most.
 

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10 looks like it's the water passage for the rear bank, also part of the whole pipe the EGR mounts on but I'll have to look under the hood to see for sure. This weekend I'll start by checking the torque on the nuts and bolts to see if it has any effect on the leakage. Interesting how this has become more common.. how dare they call the gaskets Nippon Leakless..

We may not have to dump a whole lot of coolant to do this- I'd start by draining the bleeder on the back of the block and maybe some of the radiator. Shouldn't need to get rid of all of it, this is sort of high in the system.
 
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