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Trying to trace coolant leak

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  • Trying to trace coolant leak

    I've got a coolant leak on the drivers side towards the back of the head in the general area above the starter. I can't see where the coolant is coming from because the intake manifold is in the way, but, I can see that it is wet at the rear, drivers side where the lower head meets the block. The leak appears to be just towards the front of the engine from this corner.

    I can see the top of the heater core return hose connnection to the hard pipe return to the water pump and have been able to reach under the manifold to feel this connection. It does not appear to be the source of the leak (fingers were dry). I've looked at my ETK and do not see any other connections between rubber and hard pipes.

    At this point, the only thing I can think of is to pull the plenum to get a better look. If I pull the plenum, do I need to replace gasket(s)?

    Anyone have any thoughts???

    Damon in STL

    BTW....the car has not overheated. I initially smelled a slight scent of antifreeze, the last two times I drove it and realized I had a leak somewhere. I didn't see any signs of coolant leaking until the third time I drove it after smelling the coolant. This time it was a significant leak and caused the low coolant level light to come on.
    Damon in STL
    '99 e39 540 Sport 6spd (DD), '88 e30 M3 - GTS2 #72 - Motorcraft Ignition, Volvo Injectors, Thrush Turbo Muffler, Open Source ECU, Aerospace Connectors, Lowes' Polycarbonate, Alumacore Front Splitter and Rear Diffuser, Racer's Tape.

  • #2
    you should take off the air plenum, you dont need new gaskets for this.

    Maybe the clamps have come loose around the suspected areas, and when the pressure builds up they can tend to leak a bit.

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    • #3
      The diagnosis does not look good. It looks like I blew the head gasket. I pulled the plenum and was able to get a better look. At the back of the block on the drivers side there is a coolant drain plug/bolt. Directly above this location is where the head gasket apears to be leaking. And, from the looks of it, it must have had a small leak for a while. The engine was rebuilt 6k to 7k ago and the block was painted at rebuild. There is a small, maybe 1/8" wide vertical rust spot where the coolant must have gotten underneath the paint. It was a small leak because in the last copple of thousand miles plus a DE, I haven't had to add any coolant.

      Funny thing is, I'm not too surprised. After hearing a number of horror stories about the s14 and s38, I was thinking my days were numbered anyway. Oh, well. Looks like I get to pull the head and learn a little more about the s14.

      Damon in STL
      Damon in STL
      '99 e39 540 Sport 6spd (DD), '88 e30 M3 - GTS2 #72 - Motorcraft Ignition, Volvo Injectors, Thrush Turbo Muffler, Open Source ECU, Aerospace Connectors, Lowes' Polycarbonate, Alumacore Front Splitter and Rear Diffuser, Racer's Tape.

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      • #4
        Bummer. Do you have any kind of warranty from the engine builder?

        Comment


        • #5
          Bummer. Do you have any kind of warranty from the engine builder?
          Mick, unfortunately the previous owner had the engine rebuilt and I don't think the warranty is transferable.

          Does any one know who has the best price for a head gasket kit?

          TIA

          Damon in STL
          Damon in STL
          '99 e39 540 Sport 6spd (DD), '88 e30 M3 - GTS2 #72 - Motorcraft Ignition, Volvo Injectors, Thrush Turbo Muffler, Open Source ECU, Aerospace Connectors, Lowes' Polycarbonate, Alumacore Front Splitter and Rear Diffuser, Racer's Tape.

          Comment


          • #6
            try

            http://www.bavauto.com

            but I am sure there are probably cheaper places in America

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