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Thread: The case of the missing coolant

  1. #1
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    The case of the missing coolant

    2012 500C with 40,000 miles and its losing coolant.




    Hello Fiat owners, I have a bit of a mystery with the cooling system.

    At first my girl said the heat wasnt working well so I added some coolant.

    The next day it was down again and no leaks anywhere.

    Its been pressure checked and the Mechanic said that that wasnt the problem.

    Today the mechanic let it idle for along while and it didnt lose any coolant but it seems when the car is driven that its losing the coolant.

    I filled it the other day, put a mark on the coolant tank and my girl took it to work (about 6 miles ) and back home and it was down a pint.

    Ive checked the oil and it was changed about 4 weeks ago and its still nice and clean, not at all like chocolate milk so I imagine that its not a head gasket.

    I tried to check the transmission fluid(in case its a tranny coolant line) but there is no way to look at the tranny fluid.

    Would you folks have any ideas at what to look for next?

    Thank you,

    Smitty

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty Smith View Post
    2012 500C with 40,000 miles and its losing coolant.




    Hello Fiat owners, I have a bit of a mystery with the cooling system.

    At first my girl said the heat wasnt working well so I added some coolant.

    The next day it was down again and no leaks anywhere.

    Its been pressure checked and the Mechanic said that that wasnt the problem.

    Today the mechanic let it idle for along while and it didnt lose any coolant but it seems when the car is driven that its losing the coolant.

    I filled it the other day, put a mark on the coolant tank and my girl took it to work (about 6 miles ) and back home and it was down a pint.

    Ive checked the oil and it was changed about 4 weeks ago and its still nice and clean, not at all like chocolate milk so I imagine that its not a head gasket.

    I tried to check the transmission fluid(in case its a tranny coolant line) but there is no way to look at the tranny fluid.

    Would you folks have any ideas at what to look for next?

    Thank you,

    Smitty
    If it's not leaking on the ground, then it's either leaking into the cylinders or the transmission.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ice445 View Post
    If it's not leaking on the ground, then it's either leaking into the cylinders or the transmission.
    My first thought also but losing a pint in just six miles would make the car smoke like a chimney!
    ken
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    Quote Originally Posted by LA2019 View Post
    My first thought also but losing a pint in just six miles would make the car smoke like a chimney!
    Its definitly not smoking but she did say that a check transmission message came on 2 days ago and hasnt come back on since.

    How would the coolant get into the transmission?

    I just checked rock autos pictures of the radiators and it doesnt look like it has transmission cooling lines going into the radiator.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty Smith View Post
    Its definitly not smoking but she did say that a check transmission message came on 2 days ago and hasnt come back on since.

    How would the coolant get into the transmission?

    I just checked rock autos pictures of the radiators and it doesnt look like it has transmission cooling lines going into the radiator.
    You are correct. The automatic transmission oil cooler doesn't run through the radiator. (see diagram of cooler)Fiat 500 Automatic Oil Cooler.jpg

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    Now I think that we're getting somewhere KellyfromVA, I was looking at part number 2 at rockauto but they called it an oil cooler but thats fine. So parts 4 must be the supply and return of the coolant I imagine?

    So if there is a leak in part number 2 then it would definitly get into the transmission that way.

    I'll have the garage take the cooler off and have it tested.

    Thank you and fingers crossed that that is the problem.

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    Look at the intake manfold the gasket is leaking

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty Smith View Post
    Now I think that we're getting somewhere KellyfromVA, I was looking at part number 2 at rockauto but they called it an oil cooler but thats fine. So parts 4 must be the supply and return of the coolant I imagine?

    So if there is a leak in part number 2 then it would definitly get into the transmission that way.

    I'll have the garage take the cooler off and have it tested.

    Thank you and fingers crossed that that is the problem.
    Since there is little chance of the coolant getting to the transmission, I would consider doing the basics first:

    1. Stop by the auto parts store and purchase a coolant test strip kit. This will give you a pretty good indication of whether combustion products are getting into your coolant, or vice versa. That will eliminate things like a blown or leaking head gasket.
    2. Coolant Dye. Some auto parts stores have a dye that goes into the coolant which shows up under infrared light. Pour the dye into the coolant reservoir, drive around for a week or so to circulate the dye and hopefully allow it to leak out. Then you can turn out the lights and using one of those infrared flashlights, shine the light all around the engine to hopefully identify where the coolant is leaking from.
    3. Pull the spark plugs out and look for strange green or blue color around one or more of the plugs. These cars have a plastic intake manifold, and I don't see where a leaking intake gasket would allow coolant into the intake charge, but ID-ing which cylinder (if any) is getting coolant, might help you narrow-down if coolant is part of the combustion process. If all the plugs look fairly equal in appearance, then chances are you don't have a blown head gasket, cracked block or head, or some other instance where coolant is getting into the combustion chamber(s).

    Good luck!

  9. The Following User Says Thank You to KellyfromVA For This Useful Post:

    Smitty Smith (05-09-2019)

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    KellyfromVA,
    I'll try your methods on sat as thats the next day that I'll be able to get my hands back on it.

    Thank you.

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