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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #9
Insightful Trekker said:
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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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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Discussion Starter #11
It was difficult to see any differences visually in the two radiator caps, so I just switched them between cars through today. Silver's coolant continued to drop (down another 1/2" from the pencil mark placed after switching caps) and Papaya's coolant level stayed steady.

It's looking like pin hole leaks, a busted head gasket or evaporating manifold conditions are most likely causes. Poor Silver, she could really use a good long run of healthy motoring. Will plan to schedule with the mechanic tomorrow. I'm not sure what he will discover, but I appreciate the helpful background information...I hadn't a clue when first posted this question. Thanks again.
 

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Just to get the last "i" dotted as far as what has been posted...

There is no coolant flow in the exhaust "manifold". fscott was travling up the right road though. ;) The exhaust manifold is "built-into" the cylinder head for faster warm-up's. So indirectly he's right. There is coolant flow nearby. :) SM pgs. 6-22, 23 & 10-4,5 (exploded diagrams)

There is however coolant flow in the intake manifold (and its plastic :( ). Plus several other possible points too. So don't dispare yet :)

HTH! :)
 

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Check near the coolant temp sensor area as well. I'm fighting a leak in that area for a few months. Changed gaskets, but still leaking. For me, the leak is more prevalent in colder temperatures.
 

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Resist said:
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.
This happened to me, too. I brought it back to the dealer who did a pressure test and told me they couldn't find any leak. They didn't think it was relevant that they had just replaced the coolant during the previous visit. I topped off the overflow tank about four times, and it's been fine ever since.

I had just taught the dealership how to not overfill the oil, so I guess they had to compensate by underfilling the coolant!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Silver was pressure-checked for leaks and none were found. The oil was changed and tech said the oil had a normal appearance. The dealership emptied out the coolant jug that I'd been re-filling with Prestone 50/50 "ANYCOLOR Antifreeze" and replaced it with a very dark green coolant.

Tech said that a blown head gasket will not only empty the jug but will also empty the radiator (both were dry when I first noticed the problem). His diagnosis was that our blistering hot weather had evaporated the water faster than normal. I mentioned that the Ford and Papaya were also enduring blistering hot weather and they weren't evaporating.

The oil change was $38 dollars and the pressure-testing was done at no charge. David has been checking the coolant consistantly three days now and no drop. Hoping the problem is solved, but there's still some puzzlement about the cause.
 

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Gremlins perhaps?

:idea: Your experience is another good reason to use synthetic oil in your engine. (In the case of engine coolant loss such as recently happened to Willie Wilford and yourself, the high temperature breakdown characteristics of the synthetic oil give you an extra margin of protection.)
 

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Kathleen,

Thanks for your post in summary. (I knew you would :) ) If you saw rslatkin's earlier post in this thread then its apparently possible that several "top-offs" are required should the cooling system have sufficient air trapped inside from a coolant change.

Although the months that had passed since your service makes this one still suspect for other sources of the loss. :doubt:

When the engine is sufficiently "cold" enough to the touch such that any possible spray of coolant cannot burn then its safe to open the radiator cap and also refill there. And should you be dealing with any leaks simply topping off the overflow will usually not be sufficient to replenish the coolant and immediate overheating is a probability.

HTH! :)
 

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Million dollars!

I bet you a million dollars that your dealer just didn't bother to do any burping and/or way underfilled.

When our wonderful turbo installer who shall be nameless did Edwin's turbo installation one of the 'whooooooops' errors was that he apparently didn't bother to fill the coolant he drained out and most certainly did not burp it at all.

I was having panic attacks thinking the turbo had done something bad as the coolant kept going down as I drove. However, after some burping myself and just adding more as it 'self-burped' during driving it has been stable for thousands of miles.

Moral: Dealers and others will NOT burp properly. Proper burping is hard to achieve. If you have no coolant in your oil or exhaust, just be patient and keep topping it off.

All my worries turned out to be nothing. Not to say that this is always the case, but for me it was true.
 
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