Coolant pouring out of Dodge Ram 1500

I’ve got a 1997 Dogde Ram 1500 Pickup. It’s got a major coolant leak that seems to be coming right from the middle of the front of the engine. I can’t see where it’s coming from. I changed the thermostat and the water pump, but it seems to be even behind that. There is a rubber hose that comes off the water pump and disappears between the two banks. I can only see a tiny end of it and I have no idea where it goes. It looks like getting to that would involve taking off the whole intake manifold. If that’s the case, I might as well total the truck. I dunno. Anybody have any helpful hints for me?

You’ve already listed your options: start pulling bolts or junk the truck.

Would you really junk the truck rather than remove the intake manifold?

Do you have a service manual? If not, you should, because a service manual would tell you where that hose goes, and what it’s for.

If you don’t have a manual you’re just guessing, and guessing is not the way to go.

See if you can trace the heater core hoses back to the block and see if that is the issue. I don’t know your particular engine but I don’t think it is toast yet!

I dunno. I never had the desire to take off an intake manifold before! It kind of has the a/c compressor over it too. So I'm not sure if I would be able to get that out of the way and a/c is its whole own can of worms.

Maybe it is not as big of a job as I'm imagining, but this is my only work truck and I already blew two days messing around with it. I'm not making any money when I'm playing shade tree mechanic. For some reason I couldn't get the bolt in the thermostat cover to thread in right. It's in an awkward spot and it must have just kept going crooked. After about an hour trying to screw in that one bolt, I just cut the thing in half and screwed in with the threads crossed. But it then went in far enough to hold the cover. That was pretty desperate, but I didn't know what else to do!

If I try to do the whole manifold, I'll probably wind up shearing off a bolt head in an inconvenient location. Then the whole engine will have to come out to drill it. Yeah. Nothing is ever as easy as it looks. This might be a job for a pro.

The FIRST thing you need to do is find out for sure exactly where the water is coming from…BEFORE you start destroying your truck…If it’s a heater hose, that can be bypassed, stopping the leak for now…

This is not 1960…If you are not a mechanic, perhaps you should stop trying to do a mechanics job…If you are broke, that’s another issue…You can’t solve it by causing more damage to your truck…What engine is in this truck, the old 318-360 pushrod V-8?? if so, see Nevada’s post below…

Could be the by-pass hose that is leaking, it is connected to the water pump and is under the A/C compressor.

Disconnect the battery, remove the belt and bolts from the A/C compressor and alternator. Move the compressor and alternator aside. Remove the compressor mounting bracket and you will be able to see the by-pass hose. If it isn't leaking replace it anyway, it will fail eventually. The whole job should take 30 minutes for a experienced tech.

Caddyman, you are absolutely no help.

Nevada_545, I think you are exactly right. I gave up and took it to the shop. But I'm glad to hear it may not be that big of a job.

The bypass hose on these trucks is a common place for coolant to leak and will cause exactly what you are experiencing. Removing the a/c compressor will cause it all to make sense, since it is blocking your view of the hose. Removing the a/c compressor probably would have made that thermostat job a whole lot easier, too.

Well, I took the truck into the shop. Sure enough. The bypass hose was shot. They had to take off the a/c compressor and the bracket. They charged me a total of $308.

Then I was driving today. I noticed the temperature guage wasn’t showing any reading. That’s odd. Oh well. Maybe they forgot to plug the temperature guage back in or something. Then, as I’m sitting at the traffic light, there is a loud explosion and billowing steam and all the coolant drains out on the street. My lower radiator hose completely ruptured!

I called the shop and had them tow it back. The driver said maybe it’s the thermostat. But the thermostat is brand new. And, besides, wouldn’t a blockage at the thermostat PREVENT flow to the radiator and hoses?

My theory is that they didn’t bleed the system properly when they changed the bypass hose. The system vapor locked and blew out the hose. I can’t totally visualize how that would work, but I think it makes more sense than the thermostat. I dunno.

Any thoughts? Who is responsible for this repair?

You would think for $308 they would have at least road-tested the vehicle…

If one coolant hose is bad, it’s time to change them ALL…The lower hose was ready to blow if it could not withstand the 14 PSI that the radiator cap limits pressure to…

They should have run the vehicle until the temperature was stable and normal and the heater was blowing hot air. THAT’s when you check the coolant and put the radiator cap on for the last time…

Interesting point about the radiator cap. But it would be one heck of a coincidence for that hose to explode two days after I just got the truck out of the shop. Plus that doesn’t explain the zero reading on the temperature guage.

The zero reading on the temp gauge was because you were low on coolant, the temp sensor in your radiator can’t read the temp unless it is immersed. Your truck could have overheated from the low coolant and blown the hose.