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2001 Dodge: v..cam..bearings..my overflow (plastic) tank..500 miles…

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I have a 2001 Dodge...
I have a 2001 Dodge dually 3500 with a 8.0 v-10 engine

Two years ago I had the cam bearings replaced by a knowledgable repair shop.

Approximately 7 months later, I noticed I was replacing water in my overflow (plastic) tank every 400-500 miles.

I pressure checked it and it did not hold pressure. I brought the truck to my Dodge dealer and they found a leak from the bypass nipple and hose on the lower intake manifold. Cost $696.26.

I still lost water. I then had a "backyard" mechanic work on it and he replaced hoses and fittings and pressure tested it and it tested good.

However after running it a few hundred miles, I had to replace more water (50/50).Next a repair shop close by checked it out and found a small hose leak and pressure checked it and good again.

Result: Fill the overflow tank to the proper level and travelled 300 miles. Water level dropped from full to a small amount of water on the bottom of the tank.

All during this time, no water has dripped to the ground. The oil has not increased in volume and looks "ok"

I am thinking the manifold gasket might be leaking on the water side or the head gasket needs replacing.

What should I test and how, to find out where the water is going?
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Dodge
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Answered in 9 minutes by:
6/30/2010
Dodge Mechanic: CDJMasterTech, Dodge Master Technician replied 8 years ago
CDJMasterTech
CDJMasterTech, Dodge Master Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 1,608
Experience: Factory trained and certified Dodge Master Technician, ASE Master Technician
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CDJMasterTech :

The most likely cause of your coolant loss is a headgasket problem. The coolant can be going in to the combustion chamber, and not the oil. In this case you would never see a change in the oil. The next step would be to perform a block test to determine if you have combustion gases in the coolant system. If you do it would be time to pull the heads. You can buy a block tester for about $50 at most larger auto parts stores. It is a small tool and special chemical. You drain your radiator down a couple of inches, then install this tool over the radiator cap mount, with a small amount of the special fluid in the tool. Then you draw air through the tool, and hence the fluid. If the fluid changes color from blue to green, then you have a problem.

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Dodge Mechanic: CDJMasterTech, Dodge Master Technician replied 8 years ago
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If you are still working with your Expert on this question, you can post additional replies and receive additional information on this page.  If you received a satisfactory answer in Chat, you can accept the chat conversation above.
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Dodge Mechanic: CDJMasterTech, Dodge Master Technician replied 8 years ago
Having technical difficulties with the chat system. Just respond here if you need further assistance.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
I have the test kit. I will do the test tomorrow. If I "accept answer", can I contact you with questions after the test?
Dodge Mechanic: CDJMasterTech, Dodge Master Technician replied 8 years ago
Sure, just respond here. Be sure when you do the test to drain the radiator down enough that coolant is not sucked in to the tester. Also make sure you test starting with the engine cold, and let it run for at least fifteen minutes, while pulling air through the tester every so often. A large leak will show up quickly, but a smaller leak like I suspect you have may take the entire fifteen minutes to show a failure.
CDJMasterTech
CDJMasterTech, Dodge Master Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 1,608
Experience: Factory trained and certified Dodge Master Technician, ASE Master Technician
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

I ran the test as instructed, actually, twice.

I took a sample cold, after making sure the water level was drained 2-3"...Blue

Started engine, and proceeded to take samples every 30 seconds, but I left the tube in the radiator and within a minute, I started to draw fluid into the tube.....emptied it and refilled it. Continued to take samples and after 3-4 minutes it looked like too many bubbles, so I reread the instructions and as stated, I emptied the tube, wash with clean water, dried it, put in new fluid, and pumped the system in air for two minutes.

Started to take samples every 30 seconds and this time removed the tube between samples. Reread instructions and as stated, sampled for two continuous minutes without removing the tube from the radiator. Results....blue sample...total time engine running 30 minutes. Now what?

Dodge Mechanic: CDJMasterTech, Dodge Master Technician replied 8 years ago
Don't worry about bubbles, we want to draw as much air through the fluid as possible to get an accurate test result. Also try to seal the tester in to the radiator cap area as best possible, do not remove the tester between sampling. I have had some small leaks not show up until the tester was left sealed to the radiator for over fifteen minutes on a hot engine, even then I did not get a positive result until I used a vacuum pump and fitting instead of the included bulb, to draw as much air through the tester as possible. With a very small leak like I suspect you are having, we can not rule out a head gasket problem until you have run the test in this manner, and still received a negative result.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
After I cleaned the tube and reran the test, there were no bubbles. However, I will run another test tomorrow, with the bulb in the radiator for 20-30 minutes, but I don't have a vacuum pump. Other than a leak in a hose connection or fitting, is this the only location left to look? According to the instructions on the test kit, if I follow their procedure, this is suppose to be very accurate. I will do the test again, your way.
Dodge Mechanic: CDJMasterTech, Dodge Master Technician replied 8 years ago
Yes other than coolant getting in to the combustion chamber, the only other cause of your concern would be a slow leak somewhere, usually on the engine, such that the coolant that is leaking evaporates before hitting the ground. You can usually still identify this type of leak by the stains it leaves behind.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
I purchased a manual "mini-vac" and I started the engine and proceeded to draw a continuous samle, hopefully for twenty minutes, but after only 1-1/2 minutes, I drew up water from the radiator into the tube. The level of the radiator water was well below the recommended 2-3", before I started the test. It would seem that no matter how much water I take out of the radiator, when the thermostat opens, the water pump will push water to the top of the radiator because that is where the outlet pipe on the radiator is located. How did you perform your test with the vac pump?
Dodge Mechanic: CDJMasterTech, Dodge Master Technician replied 8 years ago
I have a suction tool that I use to remove excess coolant, I just keep sucking it out every time the level increases until it remains two or three inches below the radiator cap area. This may require the removal of a large amount of coolant.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

"OK".... I will give it another shot tomorrow. I do appreciate your help.

Should I remove the water from the radiator to the 2-3" level after the truck has run awhile before starting the new test?

Dodge Mechanic: CDJMasterTech, Dodge Master Technician replied 8 years ago
Exactly, you need to maintain that two to three inch spacing to avoid sucking in coolant. Also you can not continuously pump vacuum with the pump or you will create a vacuum in the cooling system, collapse the hoses and cause the coolant level to rise. You need to release the vacuum periodically. Most vacuum pumps have a release to accommodate this, so you only release the vacuum, you do not have to remove the tester.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
"OK" Thanks for clearing that up. I believe the next test should be trouble free and give me the answer to the problem. Will get back to you tomorrow with the results.
Dodge Mechanic: CDJMasterTech, Dodge Master Technician replied 8 years ago
Look forward to hearing from you tomorrow.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
I began the test by removing the radiator water below the fins, sucking it out with a turkey baister. Started drawing samples with some success, but 5 minutes into the test I noticed I was pulling too much vacuum and I was losing fluid from the tube. Then I contaminated the test by drawing to much vacuum and sucked radiator water in the tube. Cleaned everything per instructions, and reran the test. This time I only drew samples to a vac of no more than 2" Hg. I noticed that relieving the vacuum pump was not enough to eliminate the sucking of liquid from the sample tube, so I would relieve the vacuum at the radiator by slightly moving the sample tube just enough to brake the vacuum. 30 minutes of continuous sampling and the fluid in the tube never changed color.
Dodge Mechanic: CDJMasterTech, Dodge Master Technician replied 8 years ago
I feel confident now that you don't have a combustion leak, so that rules out coolant leaking in to the cylinder area. That only leaves an external leak. The next step would be to pressure test the system yourself, leaving the maximum pressure on the system overnight, with the truck parked on a clean surface so that any small puddles can be seen in the morning. Pressurize the system up to what the radiator cap is rated for, if it is not stamped on the cap, pressurize to 15psi.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

I rented the block tester. I will return it and rent the pressure tester. If the pressure tester is available, I will do the test tomorrow. If not, I will do it early next week.

Thanks for your help and have a safe and enjoyable weekend. I'll get back to you next week when the test is complete.

Customer reply replied 8 years ago
I want to send you an extra $10.00. What do I need to do?
Dodge Mechanic: CDJMasterTech, Dodge Master Technician replied 8 years ago
You can send it as a bonus since you have already accepted on this question. You can do that now, or wait until we have this problem is completely diagnosed and repaired. My goal is to get your truck fixed. No rush.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

I set up the pressure tester and noticed the unit leaked badly.

I did a soap test on the tester and found a fitting loose and leaking. Retaped the fitting and applied pressure and soap tested it again and it seemed "OK".

Apply 15 PSIG on the radiator at 8:00 PM. Checked the unit this morning at 8:00 AM and the pressure was 0 PSIG. The fitting I retaped leaked overnight.

I will get another unit and retest, hopefully tonight.

Dodge Mechanic: CDJMasterTech, Dodge Master Technician replied 8 years ago
Ok, let me know your results.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

Tested replaced tester, seems in good shape. Pumped the radiator to 15 PSIG and left it for 14 hours, and the reading was 0 PSIG. No water dripping from any location I could see.

Tested the radiator cap (16 PSIG rated) and it relieved at 11-12 PSIG.

Reran the test on the radiator and it lost 1 PSIG in 60 minutes, when set at 15 PSIG.

Purchased new radiator cap.

Will rerun radiator test tonight and check every hour for the first six hours. Will let you know tomorrow how it ends up.

Dodge Mechanic: CDJMasterTech, Dodge Master Technician replied 8 years ago
Sounds good, assuming the pressure tester is good, it definitely sounds like you have a small leak somewhere.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

Test started at 4:45 PM @ 15 PSIG

5:59 PM pressure @ 9 PSIG....Repumped to 15 PSIG

7:13 PM " " 11.5 PSIG

8:19 PM " " 9 PSIG

9:56 PM " " 7 PSIG

9:00 AM " " 0 PSIG, but still some pressure when tester removed.

Don't trust the seal between the tester and plastic radiator fill neck. Remove the rubber washer on tester and rubbed vacuum grease/sealer on both sides.

Rerun the the test @ 15 PSIG. Approx. 2-1/2 hours later. tester reading at 14.5 PSIG.

In the meantime I noticed a water amount of water on the ground. It looks like a small leak coming from the water pump seal.

Taking the truck to the mechanic that installed a new water pump, a year ago. Hopefully, this will solve the problem.

Thanks for your assistance.

Dodge Mechanic: CDJMasterTech, Dodge Master Technician replied 8 years ago
Great, sounds like you found the leak. Sometimes it's a long road. Thanks for using JustAnswer.
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