Author Topic: A really unusual Antifreeze system leak  (Read 627 times)

Rick Matarazzo

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A really unusual Antifreeze system leak
« on: September 15, 2020, 10:05:33 PM »
Problem: 2006 Beaver Patriot Thunder is losing antifreeze, causing the check engine light to go on and engaging limp mode. The engine does not overheat.

UPDATE 09 24 2020:

To date, techs have replaced the surge tank cap, replaced the thermostats, pressurized and checked for leaks in the coolant system hoses and AquaHot, reconfigured the hose from the radiator to the surge tank with a bleed valve to eliminate air pockets, and checked for symptoms of a cracked block or blown headgasket with negative findings. Peterson CAT says the antifreeze loss is from the surge tank; it goes into an aftermarket overflow tank and when the overflow tank gets full, it leaks out the lid (a cork). The antifreeze needs to be refilled every 200-300 miles.

The latest:
CAT was thinking that the coolant system was overpressurizing for some reason forcing the antifreeze out of the surge tank, but couldn't figure out why, how or where.
Now we've discovered that the radiator was replaced. We're wondering if maybe the the new radiator and the old surge tank aren't working together right? Could that cause antifreeze to escape from the surge tank cap? The overflow tank was apparently put on to capture this leakage, but there is no system to return it to the surge tank.

Photos attached.
Any thoughts about this new info?





« Last Edit: September 25, 2020, 05:23:59 AM by Rick Matarazzo »
2006 Patriot Thunder
C13  525hp

Mike Shumack

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Re: A really unusual Antifreeze system leak
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2020, 10:38:23 PM »
What model/year/engine?

It sounds like the basics have been checked by the shop.

If your leaking most of your coolant out in a couple of hundred miles it must be a good size leak.

I was thinking maybe the engine mounted air compressor has a bad head gasket and is pumping coolant into the air system (which you would have noticed by now), but you are saying its coming out of the radiator and overfilling the recovery tank? That sounds like a bad head gasket or cracked head - but the shop checked for that. Did the shop check with the engine hot?

Isolating the AquaHot and front dash Heater is not hard to do. That would be a good starting point.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2020, 10:45:20 PM by Mike Shumack »
- Mike

'05 Beaver Patriot Thunder 525, Vicksburg, CAT C13, Allison 4000MH, HydraLift
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Steve Huber Co-Admin

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Re: A really unusual Antifreeze system leak
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2020, 11:19:53 PM »
Rick,
If the shop(s) think the aftermarket recovery tank is the problem, did they cap the surge tank to return the system to "as designed"? I've added recovery tanks to my coaches for a couple of reasons; easier to monitor level and fill as well as ensuring I don't loose antifreeze if engine gets quite hot when climbing in mtns.  If leak is on engine you would smell the antifreeze. If not, as Mike said, check heater core and hoses. Consider using a set of vice grips or hose pliers to clamp off the heater hoses running to the front of the coach and see it the problem ceases. You could also do the same with the hoses to the Aqua Hot. I had a similar problem with our 00 Marquis and found the heater core was the culprit. I never saw fluid on ground but discovered wet carpet at front of drivers floor.  Drove from east coast to AZ with vise grips attached. :)
Steve
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David T. Richelderfer

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Re: A really unusual Antifreeze system leak
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2020, 12:18:55 AM »
Rick -  A leak of that magnitude would be leaving a wet spot in or under the coach and be dripping on the ground... unless the leak is going into a cylinder, into the engine oil, or into the transmission oil.  There better be a sign of the leak or you have a serious problem somewhere.
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Rick Matarazzo

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Re: A really unusual Antifreeze system leak
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2020, 03:53:18 AM »
Thanks for all the feedback. I'm sharing it with Peterson CAT hoping it leads to a solution. We're puzzled why so much antifreeze is leaving the surge tank and going into this overflow tank, filling the one gallon tank and then leaking out.  To recover the antifreeze, it has to be manually drained from the white plastic overflow tank and poured back into the radiator surge tank. Returning the radiator and surge tank to the factory configuration sounds like a good diagnostic tool as well as isolating they it from auxiliary systems like the heat core and AquaHot. Thanks again. Keep those ideas coming!
2006 Patriot Thunder
C13  525hp

Steve Huber Co-Admin

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Re: A really unusual Antifreeze system leak
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2020, 06:23:46 AM »
Rick,
Just thinking out loud here but from what you say, it almost sounds like the water pump isn't circulating the antifreeze so as it expands the only place it has to go is the expansion tank. Is your engine running hotter than "normal"? I think you've got an 06 Pat Thunder with a C13 in it??
Steve
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Rick Matarazzo

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Re: A really unusual Antifreeze system leak
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2020, 07:18:08 AM »
Thermostats replaced and tested again by climbing to Mount Bachelor towing. Engine temperature is normal, engine runs fine. But overflow tank filled with antifreeze again during the test drive. It's such a mystery!
2006 Patriot Thunder
C13  525hp

Joel Ashley

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Re: A really unusual Antifreeze system leak
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2020, 08:42:12 AM »
Wouldn’t this be a pressure cap issue?  As Steve noted, did the techs put a proper cap on the surge tank to check performance as originally designed?  I mean why else would more than normal fluid enter the surge tank, even at acceptable engine temps?

Joel
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Rick Matarazzo

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Re: A really unusual Antifreeze system leak
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2020, 10:05:19 AM »
I know, right? Techs at Service Center #3 put new cap on. We'll check with #4, Peterson CAT, to see if they think the cap is adequate. Thanks again.
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Joel Ashley

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Re: A really unusual Antifreeze system leak
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2020, 10:33:06 PM »
As I recall, albeit with a memory in steep decline, others here have changed the cap to a different pressure rating than the original.  But then, is your current one original?  Maybe the service techs up the road at BCS have dealt with similar symptoms, but I’ve had good results with Peterson CAT, and they are more engine/chassis-oriented.

If you herein search “Surge tank cap”, there are several discussions that may offer insight, but use the “Search” tab on the menu bar, not the Search field upper right.

Joel
« Last Edit: September 16, 2020, 10:46:51 PM by Joel Ashley »
Joel and Lee Rae Ashley
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Rick Matarazzo

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Re: A really unusual Antifreeze system leak
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2020, 04:58:12 AM »
Thanks! Good suggestions.
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C13  525hp

Steve Huber Co-Admin

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Re: A really unusual Antifreeze system leak
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2020, 05:40:11 AM »
Rick,
In a previous post you said that to recover the antifreeze from the expansion tank it has to be manually added back to the surge tank. That make no sense if the expansion tank is hooked up correctly. When the fluid expands it flows into the expansion tank. When the system cools down the fluid is drawn back into the engine. There should 2 tubes from the surge tank running to the expansion tank, one to the top of the expansion tank and one to the bottom of it. If it's not pulling the fluid back into the surge, look for a leak in the bottom hose or it's connection to the surge tank. If you have a plastic surge, check for leaks at the back of the tank.
Steve
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Rick Matarazzo

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Re: A really unusual Antifreeze system leak
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2020, 09:01:29 PM »
I agree it makes no sense. So far, no one but the previous owner knows what condition this overflow tank was meant to address. The antifreeze overflows from the surge tank into the overflow tank and stays there (unless it overfills and leaks out the cork lid). We haven't heard from Peterson CAT yet, but we're forwarding all the suggestions. Thanks again, everyone, for your input.
2006 Patriot Thunder
C13  525hp

Steve Huber Co-Admin

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Re: A really unusual Antifreeze system leak
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2020, 11:17:18 PM »
Rick,
Can you post a photo showing both the overflow and surge tanks?
Thx, Steve
Steve
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Rick Matarazzo

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Re: A really unusual Antifreeze system leak
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2020, 03:27:16 AM »
I will attempt to attach photos to a future post. The attachments in this forum have a limit of 300KB, so I'll have to really optimize them.
2006 Patriot Thunder
C13  525hp