Finding anti freeze leak.


Old 01-31-17, 11:24 AM
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Finding anti freeze leak.

I have just pulled out of storage an 88 Thunderbird sport coupe with 80000 miles on it. I always started it and drove it a bit every few weeks to keep things loose, and make sure I could drive it home when I had to. I just did that, but on the way, after the thermostat let the coolant release to the radiator and heater core, I could smell coolant inside the car. I pressurized it with a tester, and I could not get any coolant visibly leaking anywhere. I guessing it is a pinhole somewhere, and with my luck it probably is the heater core rather than the radiator. Is there an additive I could try that is not detrimental to the system, or should I take it to a pro?
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Old 01-31-17, 11:41 AM
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Try a web search for "cooling system dye" and you will probably come up with this one:

Interdynamics Radiator and Cooling System UV Dye (1 oz.) 375CS: Advance Auto Parts

it is a dye that you can identify with a UV light. put it in the system, run it for a while and then get out the UV light and start looking for pretty colors.

- Peter
Old 01-31-17, 01:40 PM
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While I'm not all that fond of stop leak [any brand] if you can't find the leak and it's a minor one - I'd add stop leak to the radiator.
Old 01-31-17, 01:41 PM
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Did you get white smoke (steam) from the exhaust?

That would be a head gasket failure!
Old 01-31-17, 01:44 PM
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Agree with Marksr. Try Barrs anti-leak. it works.
Old 01-31-17, 02:49 PM
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I would look first at the weep hole in the water pump if you are losing coolant but not fast enough to notice. I chased one around for 5 months before I finally figured it out and changed the pump.
Old 01-31-17, 04:13 PM
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I agree with czizzi on this one, especially considering the age that it is, and with an average of less than 3,000 miles per year. The weep hole in the bottom of the pump generally indicates a bad seal, and, as you can imagine, time and antifreeze play a factor. Personally, given the situation, I would go ahead and replace the water pump regardless, because it's an easy enough job, not expensive, and if it's not the current problem it will be soon.
Old 01-31-17, 07:01 PM
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I can attest to it...... Ford is notorious for water pumps.
Every one of my Fords has had several water pumps.
Old 01-31-17, 07:40 PM
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I think we may have gone off track from the op. He smelled coolant inside the car. I am not the expert but a weeping water pump may not be the culprit. Sure, based on the age and make of the vehicle it may be prudent to replace it proactively but that probably won't change what he is smelling inside. I think he still needs to find the source. I would still follow the dye route or start searching for dirt or discolorations that could indicate a fluid leak.
Old 01-31-17, 07:42 PM
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Have replaced plenty of water pumps, but never had a leaky one cause coolant odor INSIDE the vehicle [unless, of course, it was leaking so badly it was spewing coolant all over inside of engine compartment]. I'm betting heater core.
Old 02-01-17, 09:32 AM
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Finding antifreeze leak.

10-4 on the Barrs leak and possible water pump. I replaced the water pump before it went into storage, (had to) but this time I don't have water shooting everywhere when I pressurized the system. I do have heat and AC just coolant flavored heat when the thermo lets go. I will get it inside soon and get a better look at it.
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