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Old 07-19-2013, 02:26 PM   #1
northbranchroad
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Coolant leaking from reservoir cap

My mom was at my house the other night and when she was about to leave we noticed her car has steam coming from under the hood and it was pouring coolant so I let her take my bmw home so I could take a look at it the next day. She drives a 99 saturn, so this is not a post about a bmw but you guys have always been helpful with all my bmw problems. So when I took a look at her car I noticed it only leaks coolant when car is up to temp and it is spilling out of the reservoir cap. I assume I need to replace the cap, possibly the reservoir but does anyone know if there is something that could cause access pressure in the reservoir to cause it to leak out of the cap? Any input would be appreciated. Sorry it's not bmw. Thanks!Click image for larger version

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Old 07-19-2013, 02:31 PM   #2
northbranchroad
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Coolant leaking from reservoir cap

It won't let me upload the video but first it's starts steaming out of the cap then shortly after coolant starts seeping out, and when you shut off the car coolant pours out of the cap very fast


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Old 07-19-2013, 02:33 PM   #3
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You can try a UV light dye kit. Works well.

UV Light Dye Kit



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Old 07-19-2013, 02:42 PM   #4
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Coolant leaking from reservoir cap

Mango, you have always been helpful and very knowledgeable about cars, especially bmws, you have helped me with situations about my car and several times so I wanted to thank you. But if I know where the leak is coming from how would that kit help me? I was mostly wondering if it was a cap, coolant, or pressure issue. I need to get this fixed because I won't get my bmw back until I fix my moms car haha. Thanks again man


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Old 07-19-2013, 02:44 PM   #5
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Put a new cap on it. They do go bad at times.

Cheap and easy.

What is he going to find with the dye? He can see where it's leaking.
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Old 07-19-2013, 02:45 PM   #6
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Could be a blown headgasket, OP. never hurts to check for leaks though. maybe you could find traces of coolant in the oil or vise versa with a flourescent dye and uv light
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Old 07-19-2013, 02:50 PM   #7
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Coolant leaking from reservoir cap

Oil was just changed at a service center and they said nothing about coolant mixing in with the oil. I just checked under the oil cap and it is clean, I also checked the dip stick and it appeared to only be oil on it. Car only had 80k on it and I don't believe the car has ever overheated so I wasn't thinking head gasket, I really hope not atleast


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Old 07-19-2013, 02:52 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by northbranchroad View Post
Oil was just changed at a service center and they said nothing about coolant mixing in with the oil. I just checked under the oil cap and it is clean, I also checked the dip stick and it appeared to only be oil on it. Car only had 80k on it and I don't believe the car has ever overheated so I wasn't thinking head gasket, I really hope not atleast


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For a lot of cars, headgaskets just fail. Doesn't need to be caused by an overheat.

In the E46 world though, we know them to fail just due to overheats. not the same for other cars.
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:01 PM   #9
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Make sure it's not overfilled, the fluid expands as it warms up, that is another possible cause of the leak. Faulty cap, overheating and head gasket are the others.
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:26 PM   #10
northbranchroad
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Coolant leaking from reservoir cap

It is not overfilled at all, and there are no noticeable signs of a blown head gasket. It just seems too much pressure is building up in the reservoir tank


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Old 07-19-2013, 03:34 PM   #11
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Coolant leaking from reservoir cap

And it is not overheating


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Old 07-19-2013, 03:37 PM   #12
northbranchroad
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Coolant leaking from reservoir cap

I just let it get up to temp with the reservoir cap off and it started shooting out fast


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Old 07-19-2013, 03:49 PM   #13
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It must be the cap then.
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Old 07-19-2013, 04:03 PM   #14
northbranchroad
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Coolant leaking from reservoir cap

Are you sure? Seems like something is plugged up


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Old 07-19-2013, 04:04 PM   #15
northbranchroad
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Coolant leaking from reservoir cap

I don't think coolant is supposed to shoot out of the top even with no cap


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Old 07-19-2013, 04:12 PM   #16
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The cooling system works under pressure at a high temperature. The pressure raises the boiling point of the liquid. If I had a dollar for every person who burned their hands removing the radiator cap on a hot engine, I would be a very rich.
Just get a new cap and see what happens.
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Old 07-19-2013, 04:18 PM   #17
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I don't think coolant is supposed to shoot out of the top even with no cap


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you mean when it's cold, right?
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Old 07-19-2013, 09:00 PM   #18
northbranchroad
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Coolant leaking from reservoir cap

I didn't think it would violently blast out when it got up to temp


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Old 07-19-2013, 11:51 PM   #19
northbranchroad
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Coolant leaking from reservoir cap

I am pretty sure the thermostat is stuck closed causing the engine to get hotter than normal which causes steam pressure to build up back into the reservoir tank.


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Old 07-20-2013, 08:39 AM   #20
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No man, the thermostat just opened up, that's why you're getting stuff shooting out of your tank. Put the cap back on, warm it up until the thermostat opens, then feel the upper and lower radiator hoses. If they are about the same temp, you're good. Replace the cap.
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