I fear that I have a leak of coolant into
my engine. The exhaust is white, water
drips out of the tailpipe. It’s possible
that I put some water into the crankcase
because of a previous effort, that I don’t
have a leak.
I borrowed a pressure tester from Auto Zone
but I couldn’t figure out how to use it.
I couldn’t get it to latch onto the neck
of the radiator. Is the ‘plunger’ supposed
to insert into the neck? It was too wide
to fit inside the neck of my radiator and
there was no way I could push it down far
enough for the cap to attach. The
instructions say that I should be able to
twist a handle enough to make it fit, but
that made no difference. I took it back
and checked out their other one, which
worked the same. Do I need a different
one? An adaptor?
How long can I drive before I damage the
engine seriously? How soon will I find water in the oil in the oil pan? Bubbling
up in the engine? Gas in the coolant?
'87 Toyota Pickup
I fear that I have a leak of coolant into
Hey, troll, isn’t this truck becoming more trouble than it’s worth?? How many threads are you going to start?? Once upon a time, radiator caps were pretty much standard. No More. The pressure tester does not fit your radiator…There should be two or three adapters with the tester… Apparently they have disappeared. Blown head gaskets on a 22R engine are VERY rare. These are not Subaru’s…
“The exhause is white” … Do you mean white SMOKE comes out? As in water vapor? “Water drips out”…Well yes, that happens with all cars in cold weather, it’s called condensation.
If you have a blown head gasket, combustion gasses will be present in the coolant and can be detected with a simple sniffer… Also, these gasses will over-pressurize the cooling system and quickly blow all the coolant out of the radiator leading to endless overheating and coolant loss…If coolant is getting into the oil, the oil will look like chocolate pudding on the dip-stick…
There was a time when those pressure testers were a one size fits all tool. Now various adaptors are required to mate the tester to the filler neck.
Whether AZ has any adaptors I have no idea.
If you get this thing connected (assuming it’s like the STANT tester I have) you simply pump the pressure up to the upper range of the PSI rating on the cooling system and let it sit for a while.
I’ve seen recommendations for 5 minutes but my preference is 15. It should hold pressure without dropping off.
Any chance this white exhaust and water drip is just due to heavy condensation?
For checking for a blown head gasket, pump it up to 15 PSI or so and let it stabilize, engine off. Then start the engine and goose it a couple of times while watching the pressure gauge. If the pressure jumps when you goose it, you have a blown head gasket…
Quoth Caddyman: 'Hey, troll, isn’t this truck becoming more trouble than it’s worth??'
Not to me. When this truck fails I return to carlessness.
Quoth Caddyman: 'How many threads are you going to start??'
No one responded to the query I added to the last thread. That happens often.
Quoth Caddyman: 'The pressure tester does not fit your radiator.‘
So I thought: I wanted to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. I went back
to AutoZone and looked at the other one: it was the same.’
Quoth Caddyman: 'Blown head gaskets on a 22R engine are VERY rare.'
I didn’t blow it. At worst, when I was trying to get the #5 screw extractor
to remove the temperature gauge carcass I may have twisted it in too far
and pierced or cracked what’s beyond it: could I have applied that much torque
with a 12" crescent wrench? Alternatively when I was flushing the cooling
system out through the gauge’s hole I got water into the place where the
fuel pump mounts, and I have no internal leak. I thought it would be nice
to test it, especially if I can borrow the tool free from AutoZone.
Quoth Caddyman: 'There should be two or three adapters with the tester’
There were 2 for attaching different size radiator caps but no alternatives
for attaching to the radiator.
Quoth Caddyman: ‘“The exhaust is white” … Do you mean white SMOKE comes out? As in water vapor? “Water drips out”…Well yes, that happens with all cars in cold weather, it’s called condensation.’
It looked like white smoke. It felt and smelt like steam. I put my finger in
the puddle it made: that felt and smelt like water. A neighbor has a Toyota Pickup,
a good few years newer. I went out to watch him start it up next morning, just as cold,
and it made much less steam. I usually pay no attention. My current misfortunes have
sharpened my attention. It could be normal behavior to which I have over-reacted because
of the current context.
Quoth Caddyman: ‘If you have a blown head gasket, combustion gasses will be present in
the coolant and can be detected with a simple sniffer… Also, these gasses will
over-pressurize the cooling system and quickly blow all the coolant out of the radiator
leading to endless overheating and coolant loss…If coolant is getting into the oil, the
oil will look like chocolate pudding on the dip-stick…’
How long will it take for these symptoms to show? The coolant in the radiator looks okay,
as does the oil on the dipstick and at the top of the engine. What’s a ‘simple sniffer’:
my nose? AutoZone sells a chemical one adds to the coolant that changes color if it
detects exhaust gases.
I ran the engine for about 20 minutes to look for leaks around the temperature sender gauge
and elsewhere. I haven’t driven anywhere yet. I have to drive about 10 miles Sunday.
How long can I drive it in this condition, monitoring it for problems, before I do
I always like to start at the basics. White exhaust is normal in cold weather along with water dripping out.
Why are you loosing coolant?
I assume the car is running, do you have any issues in daily operation?
It is good you are testing this, you need to find the coolant leak but if your fluids look normal it is not disaster mode.
If you think you put antifreeze into the oil change the oil, I am confused.
While not completely definitive, you can try this if you suspect a breach in the head gasket between the water jacket and the combustion chambers.
After the truck has been sitting all night loosen the cap to release any possible pressure that may exist.
Retighten the cap, start the engine and allow it to run for about 20 seconds.
Shut the engine off and quickly loosen the radiator cap.
If you hear a faint hiss then there’s a possibility of a head gasket problem and you definitely need to go further with the diagnosis to verify it.
I think I have much more steam and dripping water than normal, but I haven’t paid attention in the past. I haven’t driven it yet this winter. I had another epic repair incident in the course of which I may have accidentally caused a crack. I may be hypersensitive as a result.
I would rather deal with it before serious damage happens. I started the thread to make sure I was using the pressure tester correctly. I assumed that if AutoZone has it it must work for a common vehicle. I have never used one before, and the instruction booklet referred to diagrams and instructions it didn’t have: I thought it possible I had missed something.
I drive only a few times a year. I keep a gas log. When I filled the tank in March 2009
I noticed that I had last bought gas in December 2007.
If you have no other issues I would call it condensation of water in the gas. A full tank of gas can prevent condensation, but given the evidently few miles you put on, you are doing, Dang Good! You are doing well all considered but would run it a lot more now, get the fuel as low as you care to go as it needs to be replaced, try and find a station with no ethanol in the gas, use a stabilizer or sea foam and keep on truckin.
I suppose it could be condensation and I notice the problem because I’m fearful that I broke something. I bought gas last in August.
I put in a can of IsoHeet to absorb the water.
All the gas has ethanol added in the winter (around here).
The question nobody has answered yet is: how long can I drive, trying to figure it out, before I damage something seriously? I need to drive about 10 miles Sunday, another 10 Tuesday, but then not again for a few months.
If it is running and all the fluids look normal you should be fine. Refer to previous post.
I borrowed the pressure tester from AZ today. Mine has two adapters in the box, so maybe you should ask the shop. I am going to try to find a potential coolant leak on my Caravan. Not sure if I need the adapters yet. Wife would not leave the car alone! The instructions on the kit says 2 minutes of pressure. I will post back with results. Around here the shops charge ~ $30 for pressure testing.
Yes you need an adapter for Japanese Denso style radiator necks. It was probably in the testing kit at one time, but as long as the big part with the gauge is in the box, they don’t seem to realize anything is missing.
If you drilled too far and penetrated into the intake manifold, it will show up as a vacuum in your cooling system. If that happened, you can’t drive it very long at all before it sucks your cooling system bone dry.
Here’s the adapter required to pressure test your truck.
It sounds like you may have destroyed your intake manifold during your last repair attempt and now water (coolant) is leaking into an intake passage…THAT would certainly produce the symptoms you describe…
Quoth Galant: 'Mine has two adapters in the box’
Mine did, too, but both were for attaching to radiator caps.
Quoth Galant: 'so maybe you should ask the shop.'
I did. The guy had never used one and didn’t know. The other had only the same parts.
Quoth Galant: 'Around here the shops charge ~ $30 for pressure testing.'
I want to pay nothing: free loans offered by auto shops so promise. I
will try the O’Reilly across the street from the AutoZone.
Quoth Bodybagger: 'If you drilled too far and penetrated into the intake manifold’
I was removing a piece installed in the intake manifold. I never drilled too far but
I may have screwed the screw extractor too far and did whatever damage it could do.
Quoth Bodybagger: 'it will show up as a vacuum in your cooling system. If that happened, you can’t drive it very long at all before it sucks your cooling system bone dry.'
Even if it’s small? I idled 20 minutes and detect no loss of coolant.
That looks like the right part and wasn’t in either box.
Quoth Caddyman: 'It sounds like you may have destroyed your intake manifold during your last repair attempt and now water (coolant) is leaking into an intake passage…THAT would certainly produce the symptoms you describe…'
You get right to the point. That’s what I feared. That’s why I wanted to test it before proceeding. How obvious would the symptoms be?
The only incident that could have caused this was screwing in a #5 screw extractor too far, the extractor seated in the brass of the sender gauge carcass (is that strong enough to hold a part that would break the inside wall of the intake manifold?), turned with a 12" moment-arm by my not-particularly-strong self.
Well then, lets just stick with the pressure tester for now. Armed with Tester’s picture, you should be on the road to success…