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Water Leaks -- How to Find and Fix



  • I just fixed a leak in one of my coolant lines, the line between the water pump, the oil cooler, and the heater core. Now that it's fixed, the water pump seems to leak coolant ONLY when the car is cold. Once it has warmed up, the leak stops, only to return once the car has cooled down again, pretty much emptying all of the coolant.

    My question is, What could this leak be, where could it be coming from, and how would I go about making it go away.

    I heard that there is some sort of spray that, when sprayed on the OUTSIDE of the water pump, will seal any leaks. Is this true, and would it work for a long time, or only a short one.

    Thanks in advance for any help yall can lend.
  • No there is nothing you can do from the outside. A water pump leak will sometimes leak only when it is not moving...once it starts to spin, the shaft seal can swell or move around and prevent leakage---but once you shut the engine off, the water can slowly leak down the shaft and past the seal.

    Probably you need a new pump.

    Also, stop leak hat you add to the cooling system will NOT work on a water pump, so don't go there.
  • Damn... ok Thanks for the insight.

    Probably not easy to replace the leaky seal either, is it?

    Actually, what I meant to ask was... I see you can buy a replacement gasket for a water pump. Would THAT be the problem, or might it be something else in the water pump?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Between the cost of parts, and the cost of labor now a days......if you have to take it apart, I'd also replace the pump so there is a high likelihood that you don't have to take it apart again.

    Just think of how you'd feel, if 5K or 10K miles from now that water pump bearing totally goes out, and now you have to take it apart again (or pay someone to do that), to do the job all over again.

    If it was me pulling it apart, it's getting a new pump, new radiator hoses, and coolant.
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,065
    The water pump has failed. You will also need a new gasket along with a new water pump. Both parts are inexpensive and I wouldn't even consider to change one without changing the other.
  • Here's another question I should've asked. There is oil in my coolant overflow. What, I HATE to ask, would cause that one? lol
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    If your head gasket is leaking between the coolant and the cylinder, you'll get exhaust oily residue in the coolant. The coolant into the engine/cylinders/bearing areas is the bad part of this equation.
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,065
    Better head on down to a dealership and see if the car qualifies for Cash for Clunkers. ;)

    Oil with coolant? Best guess would be blown head gasket. The other way to check is to see if there is coolant in the oil.
  • There doesn't seem to be any coolant in the oil at all, just vice versa.

    So... More than likely, to resolve these issues, replace the water pump, gasket, and the head gasket? That should, hopefully, do it. ^^;
  • I have a water leak on the driver's side front floor after it rains. The passenger side front is slightly damp but the driver's side is very wet. I understand that the front passenger side leak is common...but the driver's side is not common. Any advice as to the cause and how to fix? It would be greatly appreciated.
  • ralkaralka Posts: 72
    the hood release cable / grommet is the culprit in many cases, water flow's from the plennum area onto the cable than runs down the cable to the grommet section at the firewall . sometimes the part of the grommet which the cable passes through is torn or stretched which allows the water to run into the car freely . access the inside firewall where the cable passes through and than let water run down the left side windshield after a little time you should be able to see the water entering if this is the problem.the fix is to seal the open section or replace the cable(with grommet). also check for windshield leaks .
  • Here is where the water was coming into my 1996 Oldsmobile Delta 88. It took forever to find it. It would leak even when parked. I finally used some food coloring in some water and poured it in by the vent where the wipers are. Water in the front of the windshield is how I had isolated it to this area just like gkwiatkowski did. I had to patch it from the inside though since it didn't look like I could get at it even with the left fender removed. It is the Urethane that was leaking. I had to remove the emergency brake and all the insulation under the carpet up there. This is as far up towards the firewall you can get, see the hood release to the left in the picture. I patched it over with some 3M Windo-Weld and so far so good.
    Picture of where my Delta 88's leak was
  • After 3 days of heavy rain, my brand new 2010 acura tsx (bought in November) started leaking through the front overhead console light and the headliner in front of the console next to the windshield was soaking wet, radiating over a few inches on each side behind the visors. The water was only in the center of the ceiling, next to the windshield. The dripping only happened 1 time while driving, it was a small stream of water, then stopped dripping after a second. The moonroof was completely closed and dry, could not find any moisture around it at all.

    The car is currently at the dealer, after running a hose on it for a couple hours today, they were unable to recreate the leak, tomorrow they will try leaving it in the car wash for a while. I have a feeling they are not going to be able to find the problem, of course they were closed when it happened, so they could not see it.

    Any ideas what could cause this kind of leak, or other ways to figure out what is going on?
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    -Clogged drain on the moonroof.
    -Windshield is not sealed across the top. You said you were driving the car when it leaked, right? The dealer may not be able to find the leak when it is sitting still.

    P.S. Many years ago, my wife bought me a 'leak detecter' from Sears. (Why? I don't know. She's a wife.). This is a machine that has a small black box with battery that you put inside a car. It emits an high-pitched sound. There there is a large detecter box with a rubber hose attached, also battery driven. You move the hose around until it 'hears' the emitter box. That's where the leak is. This thing will also find a vacumn leak because sucking air also creats an ultrasonic noise.

    I would think that some nice equiped body shop would have one of these devices. After a major rebuild of a wreck, there could be leaks that this device can find.
  • Picked up this car from a dealer last week.
    Noticed 2" of water standing in the passenger footwell.
    Read some of your posts here.
    Removed soaking wet front passenger carpet with foam backing.
    Poured some water in the sunroof drain channel. Right front ponded water at drain.
    Used a straw and blew some air down the drain line. (wife says I'm just full of hot air). Noticed debris/water loosening at the drain out/ wheel well of right front tire.
    Could not get trim off of the A pillar and could not find auto manual for it.

    Frustrated, took car to Volvo mechanic to remove seats, console and rest of carpet (soaking wet at rear passenger side). Mechanic said they found blockage in A pillar drain out.

    Mechanic says they used a shop vac but the carpet has 4-5" of dense polystyrene? attached to it and it is still very wet... hard to dry out when it is cold and rainy out..

    I don't want mold to set in, any ideas on how to get the carpet/foam dryed out completely?
    I'm tempted to pick the carpet up and rent a dehumidifier for a day or so.

    Thanks for any ideas.
  • gdh1gdh1 Posts: 3
    I have a 2006 Dodge Ram Quad, when I folded up the backseat to store some gear, it was storing water! The seats were dry, the carpet was dry, just the stoarges under both seats. You can fold up either the rear passenger seat or the rear drivers seat, and there was water on both sides. Just had a recent heavy rain. Have know idea where it is getting in! Help please!
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    Do you have the sliding rear window (which is what I have on my 2005 Dakota)?. Maybe the water is leaking in there.
  • gdh1gdh1 Posts: 3
    Yes I do, good suggestion, I will check that out. Thanks.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Also the 'high brake light' on the rear of the cab on pickups have a seal. If bad, water comes in here.
  • gdh1gdh1 Posts: 3
    I will check that also...may have to wait for a good rain to find out exactly where the water is coming in. Thanks.
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