Coolant leak on front passenger side??? - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
 
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Coolant leak on front passenger side???

I came out to the car this morning and noticed some liquid under the car. I took a quick peak at the expansion tank and noticed that the coolant level was down to nearly the bottom. Sure enough all of that liquid on the ground was coolant.

I took a quick peak under the car and could not find where the coolant was coming from. I topped the level back up and started the car and backed it up to see if it was dripping/spraying from somewhere but after 5 minutes of observing I didn't see any more coolant coming out.

By the way, I took the car out for about 30 minutes yesterday and it drove fine. Not overheating, no coolant spraying, nothing. I simply pulled it back into the garage last night and came out this morning to this.

Does it sound like I might be having an issue with one of the connections on my radiator?
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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there is a bleed screw at the passenger front, at least there is on an Elise, I would double check that that is tight.

under the front access panel, follow the radiator hose, its up by the headlight. Not real fun to get to.
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by doug_porsche View Post
there is a bleed screw at the passenger front, at least there is on an Elise, I would double check that that is tight.

under the front access panel, follow the radiator hose, its up by the headlight. Not real fun to get to.
I would be ecstatic if that is all it is. I REALLY don't want to have to replace the radiator. I just am curious how it would suddenly loosen.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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i think there's a service bulletin for the hose clamp on the drivers side hose on the radiator. they were not installed correctly at the factory. (clamp is actually off the ridge slightly)

do you have the plastic black radiator end caps? if so, maybe you developed a small crack that only leaks when the radiator is cold?

mine cracked and leaked at 4000 miles. you should check the condition of it before you drive much more. If i knew about this problem before hand I would never have gotten stranded and have to get a tow.

also I agree with the above post, maybe it's the bleed screw with any luck.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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i think there's a service bulletin for the hose clamp on the drivers side hose on the radiator. they were not installed correctly at the factory. (clamp is actually off the ridge slightly)

do you have the plastic black radiator end caps? if so, maybe you developed a small crack that only leaks when the radiator is cold?

mine cracked and leaked at 4000 miles. you should check the condition of it before you drive much more. If i knew about this problem before hand I would never have gotten stranded and have to get a tow.

also I agree with the above post, maybe it's the bleed screw with any luck.
I haven't had a chance to get under the car and really start peaking around quite yet so I'm not sure.

As far as I know, this is still the original radiator and from what I've read on here it is just a matter of time before the factory radiator goes out. Being a 6 year old car, it sounds like it is overdue.

What I don't understand is from reading on here either people had a massive failure where they were driving and coolant just exploded over their windshield or they had a small leak that would leave a a few drops on the ground if the car sat for a little while. In my case, I never had any sign of leaks, nor a sudden temperature increase while driving...and when I came out this morning it wasn't a small spot of coolant but rather a significant amount underneath.

Are the hose clamps on the passenger side not known for failing as well?
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Another random question: is there anyway that our radiators can "boil over" like they do in conventional cars? Since our radiator "cap" is at the back of the car, I didn't know if there was a way for boil-over to occur at the radiator itself. It still just seems extremely odds that a massive leak would occur AFTER the car is parked and turned off.
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Another random question: is there anyway that our radiators can "boil over" like they do in conventional cars? Since our radiator "cap" is at the back of the car, I didn't know if there was a way for boil-over to occur at the radiator itself. It still just seems extremely odds that a massive leak would occur AFTER the car is parked and turned off.
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Is there an escape route for our radiators at the front of the car? I was under the impression that it was a closed system up there except for the bleed valve.
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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no escape near front of car, overflow is at the expansion tank.

From your description, I thought the leak was pretty minor, and it could have easily been dripping while you drove and only accumulated after you stopped, so I don't think I'd call it a leak when just hot or just cold.

Finally, there is an undertray up there, so the coolant could have traveled horizontally. You just need to inspect carefully, and you many need to have the engine running to keep up the heat and pressure.
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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no escape near front of car, overflow is at the expansion tank.

From your description, I thought the leak was pretty minor, and it could have easily been dripping while you drove and only accumulated after you stopped, so I don't think I'd call it a leak when just hot or just cold.

Finally, there is an undertray up there, so the coolant could have traveled horizontally. You just need to inspect carefully, and you many need to have the engine running to keep up the heat and pressure.
You are correct. I don't know whether it was continuously leaking or just leaking after the car was shut off. I did move the car back a few feet and topped off the expansion tank this morning but could detect no new leak on the ground when I checked a couple hours ago, so heat and pressure either initially or continuously must be necessary to create the leak.
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:17 AM   #11 (permalink)
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There are meny potential issues with the Lotus cooling system but up front the only one we've seen actually happen is the radiator failure. I've seen only a couple of mentions anywhere of problems with the clamp which is on the left side. If it is a radiator they do often have a small leak but if if not repaired that can turn into complete radiator tank failure at a very inopportune time.

In the case of an overfilled or overheating cooling system the others are correct, the pressure is relieved at the bottle so you'd see coolant under the engine area.
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:59 AM   #12 (permalink)
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There are meny potential issues with the Lotus cooling system but up front the only one we've seen actually happen is the radiator failure. I've seen only a couple of mentions anywhere of problems with the clamp which is on the left side. If it is a radiator they do often have a small leak but if if not repaired that can turn into complete radiator tank failure at a very inopportune time.

In the case of an overfilled or overheating cooling system the others are correct, the pressure is relieved at the bottle so you'd see coolant under the engine area.
It is definitely up front. I investigated some last night and it doesn't look like it is coming from the bleed valve, so I have to assume that it is leaking from somewhere on the bottom of the radiator. I'm pulling off the tire and wheel well this weekend and, after starting the car up, hopefully I can replicate the leak and verify this.

Seeing people's radiators fail after 6k miles and 2 years on here makes me think that my 6 year old radiator is overdue.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:13 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I would pop out the passenger side turn signal and look in that way. I bet you'll find that the channel in the carbon crash structure is full of fluid.

If you have a dental mirror you can look all the way back on the underside of the radiator and I'll bet you'll see when the rad has been leaking.


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Old 11-09-2012, 12:48 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Yeah...Have your car checked by a Lotus mechanic. Either the hoses/hose clamps are loose or you need a new radiator.

Don't freak out, it's an easy fix.

Sector 111 in California has a radiator better and a little less expensive than factory.

This happened to my Lotus Elise. I had both issues.
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Old 11-09-2012, 01:46 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I would pop out the passenger side turn signal and look in that way. I bet you'll find that the channel in the carbon crash structure is full of fluid.

If you have a dental mirror you can look all the way back on the underside of the radiator and I'll bet you'll see when the rad has been leaking.


dave
Yeah I actually have one of those mirrors so I'll check that out when I get home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LARRY View Post
Yeah...Have your car checked by a Lotus mechanic. Either the hoses/hose clamps are loose or you need a new radiator.

Don't freak out, it's an easy fix.

Sector 111 in California has a radiator better and a little less expensive than factory.

This happened to my Lotus Elise. I had both issues.
I'm going to attempt to figure out and correct this issue myself so I don't have to pay my friendly Lotus mechanic $100+/hour to do the work. I already received a quote from the dealership for $675 to remove and replace the radiator. I think if that is what I need to do then I may try to do it myself to save some $. From what I've read on here it doesn't seem to be THAT hard to remove the front clam.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:24 PM   #16 (permalink)
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It is too dark to do anything else but I popped the passenger side turn signal and tried to take a peek inside. I saw lots of white residue and some sort of orange-ish stuff in the channel? Is it safe to assume that this can be attributed to leaking coolant?

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Old 11-09-2012, 03:32 PM   #17 (permalink)
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It is too dark to do anything else but I popped the passenger side turn signal and tried to take a peek inside. I saw lots of white residue and some sort of orange-ish stuff in the channel? Is it safe to assume that this can be attributed to leaking coolant?

Looks like it's been weeping for awhile and dripping into the channel. It evaporates and leaves the orange residue.

If you pull the teardrop and the grill off on that side it will give you access to the top inlet of the rad. You should be able to poke around up there and run your finger under where the hose attaches to see if it's wet or covered with dry orange stuff. I'll bet you'll find it dry and that the rad itself is leaking. It can't hurt to make sure the clamp is tight but I bet it already is.

Sorry.

I replaced mine and while it's a bit fussy it's by no means difficult.

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Old 11-09-2012, 05:03 PM   #18 (permalink)
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that's on the same side as the clamp that's loose.

here is the service bulletin for that problem

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/15592597/Lo...20hose%202.pdf
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:10 PM   #19 (permalink)
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that's on the same side as the clamp that's loose.

here is the service bulletin for that problem

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/15592597/Lo...20hose%202.pdf
I thought that issue was occurring on the driver's side? The leak I am experiencing is on the passenger side.

Also, what does this mean exactly? That they have to fix this problem on their dime, even out of warranty?
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:58 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bpfergu View Post
I thought that issue was occurring on the driver's side? The leak I am experiencing is on the passenger side.

Also, what does this mean exactly? That they have to fix this problem on their dime, even out of warranty?
I believe that they are required to fix that issue I posted.

the fact it's leaking from the passenger side though makes this bulletin useless.. I honestly believe that it is the radiator. there are only two hoses on that unit. one on each side. mine started as a slow leak and the smell of hot coolant. I assumed it was just a "lotus thing" until it erupted and that was that.

Here's the diagram of the cooling system if it helps you trouble shoot the passenger side hose / bleed screw.

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/15592597/Lo...%20Cooling.pdf

on page 6, the hose going in the left hand side, you can see a band around it with what looks like a screw going into it on the top. that's the bleed screw.


also, just so you know, this is a full clam off job if you do have to replace the radiator. it's not that big of a deal if you have worked on cars before, it's just a little tedious with bolts in hard to access places. i would highly recommend getting an aluminum radiator.

Clam instructions:
http://www.sandsmuseum.com/cars/elis...amremoval.html

radiator:
http://www.eliseparts.com/products/s...aded-radiator/

you should look for a single pass unit.
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