'96 Saturn SL2 Leaks Coolant from reservoir Cap, Why?

Discussion in 'Saturn S-series' started by Play4aBuck, Jul 27, 2004.

  1. Play4aBuck

    Play4aBuck Guest

    Hi All,

    What is the most common reason for coolant to leak out of the reservoir Cap?
    The car does not over heat yet, but looses coolant from time to time. I'm
    not sure but I think it may leak the most when cooling off.

    Do the caps go bad? (It's a 15lb plastic pressure cap).

    Could I have a blockage in the hose that runs from top of the the reservoir
    tank to the top of the engine?

    Play4aBuck, Jul 27, 2004
  2. Play4aBuck

    Bob Shuman Guest

    See comment on radiator cap below.

    I've often seen radiator caps that go bad over time. The symptom would be
    what you have described: loss of coolant. If the cap no longer holds the
    full 15 pounds per its original design, then the coolant will fill the
    recovery tank sooner and be pushed out the overflow while the vehicle is
    running (or when it has just been shut down since the engine is very hot and
    the coolant is no longer circulating.) Once the engine cools, the recovery
    tank fluid gets sucked back into the radiator resulting in the low fluid
    level when you check it when cool.

    The simplest thing here is to replace the cap with a new one (they are
    fairly cheap and easy to replace) and then refill the radiator to the full
    cool line. With any luck this will solve your problem. If not, then you
    will need to look for the real source of the problem (plugged radiator or
    leaking heater core, failed cooling fan, bad coolant temperature sensor,
    defective fan relay, leaking/defective hoses or water pump) keeping in mind
    it could be a blown head gasket and you might be buring the coolant.

    Good luck!

    You could, but not likely given that you said the vehicle is not
    overheating. Try squeezing the top radiator hose when the engine is cool
    and see if you can see result in the overflow reservoir. This should verify
    there is no blockage.
    Bob Shuman, Jul 27, 2004
  3. Play4aBuck

    Play4aBuck Guest

    Bob Shuman wrote in message ...
    Thanks for your suggestions.

    It is only leaking at the reservoir cap (I can see it run out), the cap for
    the reservoir is a 15lb pressure cap.

    The hose I speak of is not a radiator hose, this hose is more like an over
    flow hose about 1/2" O.D. and 5-6' long, but unlike an overflow hose it
    cycles back to the top of the engine from the reservoir tank.

    Play4aBuck, Jul 27, 2004
  4. Play4aBuck

    Ritz Guest

    I agree with Bob. It's more than likely just a bad cap. They're dirt
    cheap at your local parts store. Just wait until the car has cooled
    down before you replace it. If that doesn't solve the problem, then
    you're generating excess pressure in the system or the system is overfilled.
    Ritz, Jul 27, 2004
  5. Play4aBuck

    Blah Blah Guest

    While its being discussed, whens the last time you changed your coolant?
    Blah Blah, Jul 27, 2004
  6. Cap went bad on my 97 earlier this year. It used to throw up in the
    driveway occasionally after shutting it down.
    Jonnie Santos, Jul 29, 2004
  7. Play4aBuck

    LHCB Guest

    I remember some times like that, but it was me throwing up just before
    shutting down. <G>

    LHCB, Jul 29, 2004
  8. Assuming you're talking about too much beer, etc. Been there too.
    Contrastingly on vacation a couple weeks ago I had a single Mai Tai on the
    plane and got lit, then had heartburn and had to take a zantac. I've become
    a total lightweight.
    Jonnie Santos, Jul 30, 2004
  9. Play4aBuck

    Napalm Heart Guest

    I don't know where that old tag came from!

    Same here. My consumption has gone so low as to be, for any practical
    purpose, zero.

    Napalm Heart, Jul 30, 2004
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