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Thread: Random coolant leak from front driver's side

  1. #1
    Stupid Newbie DaraSue's Avatar
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    Random coolant leak from front driver's side

    So the problem I was trying to fix when all this started is still going on.

    Every so often after I drive, the next morning I'll find a small puddle of antifreeze up near the left side of the radiator. The last time it happened was after I drove it a straight 35 miles after letting it sit for several weeks, but the previous time it was being regularly driven, and it didn't noticeably happen before or after that until last week. I drove the car again yesterday (about 25 miles) and didn't notice any leakage but I did wash the undercarriage afterward so it's possible it did it and I couldn't tell.

    My radiator was replaced, with this kit AFAIK, last winter. About 10000 miles have been put on the car since then. I'm now hearing that this can be a known issue with the OEM radiators and even some vendors don't use them anymore.

    Has anybody else had this issue and fixed it without having to replace the radiator?

    I found this thread http://dmctalk.org/showthread.php?93...light=radiator and it looks like this might be the closest to the issue I'm having. He ended up replacing his.

    After all that futzing with my coolant system I did over Thanksgiving, I never did actually manage to replicate this leak. I'm loath to try the pressure tester again since last time it leaked from everywhere but the radiator. Are there any other things I should check?

    There isn't any overheating that I've seen.
    Last edited by DaraSue; 01-06-2018 at 06:01 PM.

  2. #2
    Delorean Guru
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    Raise the car and look for dampness or staining on the radiator, the hoses, pipes, and clamps. It is going to be a joint where a hose connects to a pipe or the radiator or the radiator itself. You might get by with just tightening up a hose clamp but you really have to see what is leaking.
    David Teitelbaum

  3. #3
    TGTF (Too Greek to Function) AugustneverEnds's Avatar
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    My radiator is five years old. At the end of November I had a leak on the front driver's side. Somehow the drain valve worked its way a little loose. Tightened it up and no leak since.
    Nick A.
    Νικος Αυγουστινατου

    1988 BMW 325iS
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  4. #4
    Not a DeLorean Guru
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    First thing to do is to make sure that the hose clamps are nice and tight. Cheap (as in free), easy to do, and my experience has been that it is simply a loose hose clamp frequently.
    -Mike
    1981 DeLorean, Carb LS4 swap completed
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  5. #5
    Stupid Newbie DaraSue's Avatar
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    I finally caught it leaking after driving to work today(about 14 miles, temps in the upper 40s Fahrenheit).

    When I found it dripping the puddle was small enough that I could stand my flashlight in it and follow the beam to where it was dripping, which was off the corner of the tank (?) next to the bleed valve(?)

    20180115_173033.jpg

    Taking a closer look the coolant appeared to be running down this black plastic (?) part from the right side of the top hose, although it doesn't show up well in this pic:
    20180115_173513.jpg

    It was getting dark and cold so I didn't do too much more investigation but I'll try tightening that clamp tomorrow.

    When I saw the leak, it had been sitting for about 2 hours, and on my previous break I didn't notice any leakage. An hour later it didn't appear to have leaked much more. Does this pattern sound like it could be something other than a loose clamp?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Rich's Avatar
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    You're right, hard to tell from those photos.

    Get out your cooling system pump and try again after you wipe everything dry on that side of the radiator. Pump it up and look for first signs of leakage, go from there.

    If it won't leak when cold at 15-16PSI then get her out there for another hot run, wipe it clean as soon afterward, then observe for leaks while warm/hot.
    March '81, 5-speed, black interior

  7. #7
    Stupid Newbie DaraSue's Avatar
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    I pressurized it a few times while troubleshooting the last time (when I had the intake off) and never actually managed to duplicate the problem with it cold.

    It did it again last night after I got home, and that time it dripped a bit on the way into the garage so it wasn't waiting until it was cool to leak. When I poked around underneath I found greenish residue on that black plastic piece again but it only looked like it went about halfway up and it didn't feel wet near that top hose. About 10 mins had elapsed between shutting the car off and feeding the cats/changing out of my work clothes, if it was leaking from that hose could it have evaporated that fast?

  8. #8
    Nit-picking customer(as seen on TV) Iznodmad's Avatar
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    I once had the exact same issue Dara. It was a pinhole in the top of the radiator. I hope that isnít the case for you.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Rich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaraSue View Post
    It did it again last night after I got home, and that time it dripped a bit on the way into the garage so it wasn't waiting until it was cool to leak. When I poked around underneath I found greenish residue on that black plastic piece again but it only looked like it went about halfway up and it didn't feel wet near that top hose. About 10 mins had elapsed between shutting the car off and feeding the cats/changing out of my work clothes, if it was leaking from that hose could it have evaporated that fast?
    Best bet is to get under there and see where the leak starts after you wipe it down. If it has to be hot to leak then arrange for that.

    Guessing how fast the coolant might evaporate isn't enough to go on if you need to narrow it down to a bad hose, loose/leaky connection or a new radiator.
    March '81, 5-speed, black interior

  10. #10
    Senior Member DMC-81's Avatar
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    Just a note on that DMC radiator kit. The radiator is not the original OEM plastic. It is all metal (aluminum I believe). I have the same one installed in 2016, and it seemed to be high quality:



    I agree with the other advice. Clean the area and try to get access to the spot to determine whether it is a loose clamp or a rarer pinhole in the radiator. What is that hose in your picture with a non-standard crimp style clamp on it?

    Does the leak only manifest itself in cold temperatures?
    Dana

    1981 DeLorean DMC-12 (5 Speed, Gas Flap, Black Interior, Windshield Antenna, Dark Gray)
    Restored as "mostly correct, but with flaws corrected". Pictures and comments of my restoration are in the albums section on my profile.
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