where did the water go?

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  #1  
Old 09-18-14, 03:04 PM
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where did the water go?

My wife's car overheated on her way home from work last night. I added about a 1/2 gallon of water, didn't see any leaks and drove home [about 10 miles] The temp gauge stayed about 1/2 way. Double checked everything when I got it home, didn't see any leaks and the radiator was still full. Today I had to add over 1 gallon to fill the radiator back up There is no white exhaust and no leaks that I can find - what am I missing?

2003 merc
3.0 V6
177k miles
 
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  #2  
Old 09-18-14, 03:09 PM
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Have you checked the oil? It has to go somewhere and there's really only 3 choices. Leak to atmosphere, leak to chamber, leak to oil. Oh, and depending on the type of radiator it can leak to the tranny.
 
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Old 09-18-14, 03:21 PM
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The transmission has a small leak, I check/add it regularly. I changed the engine oil today and there was no sign of moisture in the old oil. No white exhaust, engine runs decent. I ran the heater for about 1 mile last night and the temp gauge stayed constant for 10 miles so I don't really think there was a big air pocket in the cooling system. I'm stumped!
 
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Old 09-18-14, 03:34 PM
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That's a pretty reliable engine, think it was the same one I had in my Tribute. Very odd it seems like the water is leaving after shutdown. Maybe one of the mechanic types will have an idea.

Hey, how's the radiator cap?
 
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Old 09-18-14, 03:36 PM
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It doesn't have the traditional cap on the radiator but rather a screw on cap on the puke jug which is fine, best I can tell.
She went ahead and took my jeep to work today but until I get if figured out, I'm stuck with her car.
 
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Old 09-18-14, 03:45 PM
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Check for "puke jug" leaks and the connecting hose from radiator to puke jug.

RR
 
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Old 09-18-14, 03:48 PM
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Everything was dry under the car where it was parked all night and I couldn't find any leaks after adding 1+ gallon of water. I'll keep checking, the coolant had to go somewhere.
 
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Old 09-21-14, 07:51 AM
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you need to pressure test the cooling system, sounds like the water pump may be leaking when waterpump shaft is loaded be rpm.. or with pressure tester on the cooling system,use a pry bar to rock the waterpump pulley side to side while looking for leaks
 
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Old 09-21-14, 10:46 AM
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I've drove her car twice since I've added water [about 40 miles] and it hasn't used any water but my wife does drive harder/faster than I do. I let her go back to driving it and keep an eye on it. Doing a pressure check sounds like a good place to start.
 
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Old 10-09-14, 07:50 AM
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I still haven't done a pressure check. I didn't know they were so pricey, autozone does have one that is only $50 but it has a lot of negative reviews stating it doesn't fit a lot of vehicles and the adapters aren't available.

I've been checking the coolant level twice a week and haven't needed to add any until this morning - it took 1.5 qts. She did say it was steaming when she got to work yesterday but she didn't look under the hood and it was foggy with intermittent rain and she probably drove thru puddles also so it's hard to pin point anything. I have yet to see any leak anywhere!

I'm assuming it has to be either the water pump or head gasket. It runs fine with no white smoke. Since she drives harder/faster than I do could a water pump on the early stages of failure only leak at high rpm? I know given enough time the leak will present itself but it won't be long before I'm going to have to replace the water with anti freeze.
 
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Old 10-09-14, 08:14 AM
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I don't think you will see white smoke coming from the newer cars with all the smog stuff on them but you might also test the coolant/water for exhaust gasses. Cracked head or head gasket leaking is very possible. Test kits can be found at most auto parts stores.
 
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Old 10-09-14, 03:17 PM
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Have seen many water pumps only leak under pressure. But quit wrench turning 15 years ago.
 
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Old 10-09-14, 07:34 PM
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She did say it was steaming when she got to work yesterday but she didn't look under the hood and it was foggy with intermittent rain and she probably drove thru puddles also so it's hard to pin point anything.
That really sounds like a small leak to me while the engine is running. I have run through puddles many times and never saw steam for longer than a few seconds immediately after the puddle.
 
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Old 10-10-14, 06:07 AM
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The problem is I have yet to see any leak or evidence of a leak other than the missing coolant. It's hard to say how much steam was evident the other morning when she got to work as she often doesn't get the facts straight I haven't put anti-freeze back in yet hoping to resolve it first although murphy's law suggests that if I do - I'll immediately find the leak
 
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Old 10-10-14, 07:45 AM
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I don't know if the Ford 3.0 has coolant crossover tubes in the intake but they can cause what you're describing. They often only leak when hot & under pressure & the coolant dribbles out onto the hot engine & evaporates. The evidence is invisible unless you pull the intake.
 
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Old 10-10-14, 08:01 AM
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Like others have said, you won't always see "steam" coming out of exhaust (especially while under no load). So, you might want to follow your wife as she drives it on the freeway. You can, of course, compare any white exhaust against other cars on the fway.

And again, as others have mentioned, this is fairly typical of a head gasket failure or (less likely) a cracked head. Not sure how accessible the head bolts are, but you may want to check to see if any are loose or broken (with a torque wrench). Broken head bolts are pretty rare these days tho. I only discovered 2 broken HBs during 15+ years as a mechanic. And, believe it or not, both vehicles were returned to reliable service by only replacing the broken bolts (one was an aluminum head on cast iron block Mercedes and the other a cast iron head on a C.I. block GMC truck).
 
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Old 10-10-14, 10:00 AM
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My wife went to work yesterday and won't be back until sunday so it will be next week before I can look at it again. Generally I'm opposed to them but I wonder if a block seal additive would take care of it ??
 
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Old 10-10-14, 10:27 AM
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Your wife went to work on Thurs and doesn't come back for 4 days? How far out in the boonies are you??
 
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Old 10-10-14, 10:32 AM
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Not as far out as I would like
My wife is a caregiver and she stays around the clock with an elderly lady thrus - sunday. She also has a day job [same type of work] on mondays and wednesdays. She can quit working as soon as she can figure out how to quit spending/borrowing money!
 
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