mystery leak

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  #1  
Old 01-24-07, 10:41 AM
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mystery leak

I have a 2001 Ford Escort with the dohc "Zetec" engine and about 53,000 miles. For several months and on an intermittent basis I have been finding a small deposit of watery liquid under the engine after the car cools. The liquid is clear, odorless, slightly slippery, and although it doesn't smell like coolant it has a similar taste. A few months back while I was still using the a/c I attributed it to condensation, but the problem continues when the a/c is not used. The puddle accumulates under the catalytic convertor. The first possibility that popped in my mind was a coolant leak somewhere that was running down the block.I have put the car up on jackstands and failed to see any evidence of a leak. Finally last week I spotted a tiny amount of coolant escaping from one heater hose where it clamps to the thermostat housing, coolant seemed to be accumulating on top of the transmission bellhousing and probably running down to the ground. I took the car to a local repair shop where they pressure tested the coolant system, confirmed the leak, and replaced the factory spring clamp on the heater hose with a screw clamp. I have checked around the new clamp for the past 5 days and that leak has been eliminated. This morning although there is no sign of a leak at the new clamp the puddle reappeared on the ground.

Could the leak be coming from the catalytic convertor? If it is some form of condensation building up in the convertor as it cools, what does it signify? If a faulty emission system is it still under warranty (I live in California)? I thank you in advance for your advice.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-24-07, 11:06 AM
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Check your windshield washer fluid connections/tank. Even with winter driving the AC will run when you use the defroster. Has this happened (puddle) after using the defroster/defogger setting?
 
  #3  
Old 01-24-07, 12:38 PM
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Thanks for the information. No leaks around the windshield washer reservoir or the lines. I do work nights so I drive home with the heater on and the heat directed to the floor and dash panel but I rarely use the defroster. Since this is southern California and I can survive without running the heater, I'll drive the next week or so without using the vents, heater or a/c and I'll let you know if there are any puddles.
 
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Old 01-24-07, 08:49 PM
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Do you use your defroster alot.
Because I believe the A/C runs when the front defrost is turned on.
Can anyone confirm this ?
 
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Old 01-24-07, 10:45 PM
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I've gotta ask...you actually did a taste test? You know what coolant taste like? Not a good idea to taste chemicals under the hood. Coolant is poisonous.
 
  #6  
Old 01-25-07, 12:49 AM
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Mackey,
I use the heater a lot but not the defroster setting.
 
  #7  
Old 01-30-07, 07:56 AM
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update

It's been 5 days of driving without using the heater, a/c, or ventilation and there have been no puddles under the engine. Apparently the a/c runs in conjunction with the heat and it was simply condensation. Thanks.
 
  #8  
Old 01-30-07, 09:25 AM
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Thanks for the feedback. But keep us posted if the puddle reappears.
 
  #9  
Old 01-30-07, 10:08 AM
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And echoing Jeff, I wouldn't go tasting it anymore.
 
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