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Old 07-02-2006, 09:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Coolant Emptying Fast

Silver is drinking a lot of coolant. The coolant container was completely empty 2 weeks ago so I filled it. This weekend it was completely dry again and I refilled it again. No puddles of leaks that we know about. AC use is pretty high because it's summer in 'Bama. David says the temp gauge is around 6 or 7 bars. He noted the IMA battery seems sluggish to recharge.

IC Search said that changing out the coolant requires a precise set of steps. The coolant was changed at the dealership in January this year. The tech said they service two Insights that use a shorter duration Typ2 Blue coolant (Silver and another Insight from Scottsboro). Why would Silver use a different coolant from most others?

What could cause the coolant to empty so fast? Thanks for any help.
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Old 07-02-2006, 10:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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blown head gasket.
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Old 07-02-2006, 11:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Willie Wilford had a problem with his head gasket.

http://www.insightcentral.net/forum/vie ... &start=255

In his post he refers to another owner that had a problem with the head gasket as well. It's good that you noticed this. Regardless of your actual problem this is something you should have checked out as soon as possible.
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Old 07-03-2006, 12:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Coolant Emptying Fast

As the others replied a blown head gasket would be one of the more expensive possibilities.

However, there are several other possibilities.

First off IIRC (and its in the owner's manual) the original coolant was Honda long life Type II. If somebody's changed it to something different (unless its an improved Honda replacement for) then make them change it back.

Incorrectly purging the air from the cooling system will eventually cause it to burp it out the overflow jug. A couple of jug refills is about right. But it should have happened within a couple of weeks of the service. Been checking the coolant that frequently

Any small leak(s) will easily evaporate and not leave an easily locatable trace. Pin holes in hoses or radiators are not uncommon. Pressure testing the system will reveal such leaks. And can also be used to diagnose a blown head gasket if _carefully_ interpreted.

A failing or damaged radiator cap can cause coolant loss. I'll save you the read (and my fingers the wear) of all the "technical" details. You'd need someone in the know to quickly and easily inspect the cap for these type problems. Also any damage to the mating surfaces for the cap inside the radiator can cause the same thing.

A leak in the overflow jug itself is also easy to overlook. Cracks or pin holes that would cause a slow, small steady loss.

Damage or restriction to the overflow jug's _hose_ can cause this too. Look carefully.

AFAIK that's about it, short of something much worse or obscure that is so rare its not worth mentioning. A pressure test after all the basic inspections needs to take most of a day (test with the engine cold then hot and leave it under pressure between a couple of re inspections) should reveal the source if none of the above are found to be the culprit.

Please let the group know the ultimate outcome (in this thread). Your good "record" of this extra effort has also motivated me for this reply.

HTH!
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Old 07-03-2006, 01:49 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Check the oil, if it is milky then you have a blown head gasket as others have stated. If the oil is fine in color then you have a coolant leak somewhere else.
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Old 07-03-2006, 09:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Good one Resist.

And is another potential symptom of a blown head gasket. But, (and you knew this was coming ) in the early stages (small leak(s) ) there's insufficient coolant to contaminate the oil this way. So it _may_ not visibly show in the oil. And there are other points that the coolant _could_ enter the lubrication system, but they tend to be rare, cracked castings etc.

If I'm reading Sputnik's coolant "consumption" correctly she's used less that 1qt in one month. With other Honda's and IMO its borderline that it would show in the oil. However, given the Insight's smaller oil quantity it is more likely to be visible, if it's getting in there.

Somebody's that knows what to look for is just gonna have to check it out (And I like the chocolate milk analogy better).
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Old 07-03-2006, 02:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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My first thought was since the car's coolant was changed at the dealership, was that they didn't burp it properly(this happened to me by a dealership). But since that was done in January and is still running low of coolant then a leak is more probable.
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Old 07-03-2006, 09:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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But if Sputnik is just now getting around to checking the coolant level...
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Old 07-03-2006, 10:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Insightful Trekker
But if Sputnik is just now getting around to checking the coolant level...
Yup, she was out there checking it... It's dropped down a quarter of the amount placed 2 days ago.

Before noticing all this, I last checked the coolant in all 3 vehicles in March, part of "spring tidying". They were OK. Silver's oil (the bit on the dipstick) looks pretty dark but not milky. I wiped a paper towel under the coolant container and looked for tubing kinks, but didn't see anything strange. Tomorrow when the light is better I will check the radiator cap...thinking of comparing Silver's cap with Papaya's cap for differences, since I'm not sure what to look for.

We planned a long drive tomorrow. Papaya can go, but we'll keep Silver's excursions close to home till this sorts out. It's looking like a visit to the mechanic should be scheduled soon. Thanks all for the helpful information.
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Old 07-04-2006, 10:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Another possibility exists that is unique to the Insight. If memory serves, the Insight circulates coolant through the exhaust manifold to speed the engine's warmup time. A coolant leak into the exhaust is possible and wouldn't be easy to track down since the coolant would be turning into steam as fast as it can leak.
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