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Coolant Sitting on Top of Engine

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Old 02-10-2012, 08:32 PM   #1
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Question Coolant Sitting on Top of Engine

Good evening!

I am new here, so I apologize if I am posting this in the wrong place...

I just bought a '91 S10 Blazer last night and was told that there were no major mechanical issues. The guy I bought it from used to be a mechanic, and, what he told me was that he had taken really good care of it in the year that he had it. I had no reason to think that he was playing me because he was up front about several items; he told me that the fuel filter was ready to be replaced soon, and included a new one, for starters.

We looked under the hood and I was surprised at how clean the engine was; I didn't notice anything out of place at the time.

After exchanging the cash for title/keys, I drove the Blazer to show it off to my brother. When I got there, he looked under the hood and pointed out what appeared to be coolant standing on the top of the engine block just under the air filter, on the passenger side; it wasn't a whole lot.

This morning on my way to work, I noticed that the passenger carpet was saturated, the windows fogged up with the defroster on, and I could smell coolant. I did a search and found that the problem is most likely the heater core; no big deal as I can fix that without too much hassle.

What I'm wanting to know is if the coolant on top of the engine could possibly have anything to do with the heater core issued. I've looked under the hood and have been unsuccessful in finding the source of the excess coolant in that spot - hoses are dry, not brittle, not cracked; they look fairly healthy. The coolant reservoir was empty at this time.

He told me that he had replaced the water pump approximately 6-months ago. Although it appeared wet, it was dry to the touch.

Obviously, I'm not a mechanic. I really know very little about vehicle (self) maintenance, but pride myself in being able to handle any maintenance task that is accessible without pulling the engine out and apart.

I found this forum, and am hoping that the bright minds here could help me to troubleshoot this issue.

Any help that can be offered would be greatly appreciated.
Old 02-10-2012, 08:36 PM   #2
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Re: Coolant Sitting on Top of Engine

The coolant on the engine is either from a thermostat housing, intake gaskets or a heater hose connection.

Clean it up and if you can put a cooling system pressure tester on it for a while. Or just watch it while it's hot and under pressure and cooling.
Old 02-10-2012, 08:39 PM   #3
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Re: Coolant Sitting on Top of Engine

Quote: Originally Posted by AWD V8
The coolant on the engine is either from a thermostat housing, intake gaskets or a heater hose connection.

Clean it up and if you can put a cooling system pressure tester on it for a while. Or just watch it while it's hot and under pressure and cooling.
Thanks for the quick response.

I'll definitely be keeping an eye on it.

From what you've posted, it sounds like it's not directly related to the heater core; unless the heater hose connection is the culprit. Is this correct?
Old 02-10-2012, 08:49 PM   #4
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Re: Coolant Sitting on Top of Engine

It's not likely related, but it is possible that some corrosion has taken place in the cooling system and resulted in the intake gaskets failing along with the heater core.
Old 02-10-2012, 11:20 PM   #5
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Re: Coolant Sitting on Top of Engine

Possibly good news... I took it out for a short drive (long enough to warm up) after refilling the coolant; there was no new liquid on the engine... I may have jumped the gun, but will wait till morning to be sure. I have a feeling it may have been spilled at some point before I bought it.

The matter of losing coolant is likely due to the heater core, IMHO. The carpet was SOAKED!

Like I said, I will wait until the morning to make my final determination.

Thanks, again, for the response AWD V8!
Old 02-11-2012, 12:53 AM   #6
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Re: Coolant Sitting on Top of Engine

check your oil and check your intake bolts. it may be time to do intake gaskets and just may be coencidental that this happenend.
for me this wouldnt be a big deal, now it leaking from the side of the block would concern me.
Old 02-11-2012, 04:19 AM   #7
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Re: Coolant Sitting on Top of Engine

To me it sounds like the leak is around the thermostat. I had a similar issue where just enough to form a small puddle on top the intake when driving. I changed the top radiator hose which connects to the thermostat and that was where my problem was. The old hose wasn't holding a good seal anymore.

Start with the easy and cheap solutions first.
Old 02-11-2012, 04:22 AM   #8
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Re: Coolant Sitting on Top of Engine

Quote: Originally Posted by Nrohstrah
Possibly good news... I took it out for a short drive (long enough to warm up) after refilling the coolant; there was no new liquid on the engine... I may have jumped the gun, but will wait till morning to be sure. I have a feeling it may have been spilled at some point before I bought it.

The matter of losing coolant is likely due to the heater core, IMHO. The carpet was SOAKED!

Like I said, I will wait until the morning to make my final determination.

Thanks, again, for the response AWD V8!
If the carpet being soaked is on the passenger side then yes, your heater core is shot. They can be a SOB to replace though unless you can remove the dash which makes it 200% easier. It can be replaced with the dash still in place though just like I said... it's a SOB!
Old 02-12-2012, 03:11 AM   #9
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Re: Coolant Sitting on Top of Engine

Just to update ya'll:

I have found no new coolant pooling anywhere under the hood.

I spent the day tearing apart the dash and making my way to the heater core. I had hoped that it was the simple version.

Regardless, heater core is now replaced; I have heat.

Next, the fuel filter. I've never done one; but, I understand they are very simple.
Old 02-12-2012, 08:41 AM   #10
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Re: Coolant Sitting on Top of Engine

Super easy indeed! Just follow the frame underneath on the drivers side. You'll find the filter in a clip. You should take the gas cap off to release any pressure in the line then just take a line wrench and break each side of the filter loose. Have a rag handy and possibly a small bucket cause there will be a good amount of gas come out but it'll stop after a min.

Remove the old filter from the clip (just pulls right out) then just go in reverse to install Simple.

Oh and make sure to install it with the arrow on the filter pointing towards the front of the truck.
Old 02-12-2012, 01:17 PM   #11
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Re: Coolant Sitting on Top of Engine

Quote: Originally Posted by jedgell233
Super easy indeed! Just follow the frame underneath on the drivers side. You'll find the filter in a clip. You should take the gas cap off to release any pressure in the line then just take a line wrench and break each side of the filter loose. Have a rag handy and possibly a small bucket cause there will be a good amount of gas come out but it'll stop after a min.

Remove the old filter from the clip (just pulls right out) then just go in reverse to install Simple.

Oh and make sure to install it with the arrow on the filter pointing towards the front of the truck.
unless you find out that the fittings are rusty...couldn't get them broken loose from the old filter on mine, not to mention the crossmember is right in the way (ext. cab)....had one mechanic take a look, & he stopped trying to break it loose once the line started twisting....gonna have a second opinion, but it looks like the line might have to be replaced....that's my luck though...what should be simple turns into a headache

btw, i had some coolant on my intake...after visually checking, looks like the intake gaskets might be the culprit...but like yours, the coolant also disappeared....i assume it evaporated from engine heat....but i checked the radiator, & it's full, along with the overflow having coolant as well....so, i dunno....i just decided not to worry for now, but definitely keep a check on it
Old 02-12-2012, 01:33 PM   #12
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Re: Coolant Sitting on Top of Engine

mine has/had the same coolant pool on the intake. No biggie. Same for the heater core.

as for the fuel line... Use a small tubing cutter to cut Before/after the twist and pick up a little line at the parts store as well a flare tool and some fittings. Basicly cut that bitch out and put a new one in with a new section of fuel line. It ain't that hard to do... No need for mechanics there. Shouldn't take but 1/2 hr - 1 hr. At most
Old 02-12-2012, 05:50 PM   #13
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Re: Coolant Sitting on Top of Engine

Quote: Originally Posted by likaroc13
unless you find out that the fittings are rusty...couldn't get them broken loose from the old filter on mine, not to mention the crossmember is right in the way (ext. cab)....had one mechanic take a look, & he stopped trying to break it loose once the line started twisting....gonna have a second opinion, but it looks like the line might have to be replaced....that's my luck though...what should be simple turns into a headache

btw, i had some coolant on my intake...after visually checking, looks like the intake gaskets might be the culprit...but like yours, the coolant also disappeared....i assume it evaporated from engine heat....but i checked the radiator, & it's full, along with the overflow having coolant as well....so, i dunno....i just decided not to worry for now, but definitely keep a check on it
The filter came off quite nicely, and went back together just the same. The only bad thing that happened was I crawled underneath at the worst moment and a drop of fuel went straight into my right ear. That burned. I got it flushed out with some cold water and now it's fine.

I did notice that I was low on coolant this morning so I'll be keeping an eye on it; it's not too easy to track down.
Old 02-13-2012, 08:14 AM   #14
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Re: Coolant Sitting on Top of Engine

Quote: Originally Posted by likaroc13
unless you find out that the fittings are rusty...couldn't get them broken loose from the old filter on mine, not to mention the crossmember is right in the way (ext. cab)....had one mechanic take a look, & he stopped trying to break it loose once the line started twisting....gonna have a second opinion, but it looks like the line might have to be replaced....that's my luck though...what should be simple turns into a headache

btw, i had some coolant on my intake...after visually checking, looks like the intake gaskets might be the culprit...but like yours, the coolant also disappeared....i assume it evaporated from engine heat....but i checked the radiator, & it's full, along with the overflow having coolant as well....so, i dunno....i just decided not to worry for now, but definitely keep a check on it
Doesn't sound like a good mechanic Any time in the future you run into any type of nut, bolt, or fitting that won't budge buy some PB Blaster and soak the area really good. Wait about 30 mins to an hour and spray again. Then try to break it loose. If it doesn't give with adequate pressure then reapply the PB Blaster again and maybe wait over night.

I've had the toughest rusted up bolts and fittings break free with PB Blaster and some patience.
Old 02-13-2012, 11:56 PM   #15
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Re: Coolant Sitting on Top of Engine

Quote: Originally Posted by jedgell233
Doesn't sound like a good mechanic Any time in the future you run into any type of nut, bolt, or fitting that won't budge buy some PB Blaster and soak the area really good. Wait about 30 mins to an hour and spray again. Then try to break it loose. If it doesn't give with adequate pressure then reapply the PB Blaster again and maybe wait over night.

I've had the toughest rusted up bolts and fittings break free with PB Blaster and some patience.
yeah, don't think i'll be using him again...used him for some work on my VW before i sold it, just because he had cheaper rates...he did a fair job, so i thought i'd give him another try

as for the fittings, i did spray them with PB Blaster when trying to remove it myself...maybe i need to keep soaking it as you mention and then try to break it loose...on a side note, any idea what size wrench is needed for that fitting? my adjustable isn't ideal
Old 02-14-2012, 12:07 AM   #16
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Re: Coolant Sitting on Top of Engine

Quote: Originally Posted by likaroc13
yeah, don't think i'll be using him again...used him for some work on my VW before i sold it, just because he had cheaper rates...he did a fair job, so i thought i'd give him another try

as for the fittings, i did spray them with PB Blaster when trying to remove it myself...maybe i need to keep soaking it as you mention and then try to break it loose...on a side note, any idea what size wrench is needed for that fitting? my adjustable isn't ideal
The guide I used said 21mm on the filter and 16 on the fuel line. I used adjustable and they worked ok, but it was a tight fit.
Old 02-14-2012, 12:40 AM   #17
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Re: Coolant Sitting on Top of Engine

Get a set of line wrenches for the job. They have a better grip than an adjustable. I forget the size though as its been awhile since I changed that filter.
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