over filled my coolant reservoir tank. now its leaking - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-27-2010, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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over filled my coolant reservoir tank. now its leaking

so a couple weeks back, i noticed my coolant tank to be low so i filled it up. but i think i filled the reservoir tank too much. now i noticed little coolant spots on the top of my radiator which looks like little leaks coming out of the top. Im thinking its from too much pressure from over filling. my temp gauge doesnt say im overheating nor do i notice any decrease in performance.

ok so my question is, do i need to replace the radiator or is there a way to seal up these leaks?

and if i do need to replace the radiator... how important is it to get the 300$ alluminum one vs the basic 140$ one? does it make a difference in performance? will one last longer than the other? any help/ suggestions would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-27-2010, 09:31 PM
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What year? The worst that should happen from overfilling the plastic expansion tank is that it overflows and goes on the ground when it gets hot. If that's what you did, I doubt it caused your problems.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-27-2010, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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the only other thing i did with the radiator was put some generic coolant to top it off when i first acquired the car back in december 2009.. could it be a bigger problem that caused it?
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-28-2010, 03:23 AM
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if you fill the expansion bottle too full when COLD then when the system gets up to operating temperature it can/will blow coolant out of the bottle.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-28-2010, 03:45 AM
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Im thinking its from too much pressure from over filling.
lol. No, you are fine. There is no such thing as over-pressurizing the coolant system by overfilling your over-flow coolant reservoir. Simply take off the two 10mm bolts that hold it in place, take it out and drain a little if it concerns you that much. What I'm thinking that happened is that when the car warmed up, the coolant expanded, causing the over-flow bottle to become full, and it squirted out the top and sprayed onto the radiator, causing those "little leaks" you mentioned.

Just wipe off the radiator (because it's fine, nothing's wrong with it), drain some fluid from the reservoir and get it to the correct level.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-28-2010, 05:09 AM
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The above posters are right in that 'excess' coolant will just be pushed out of the reservoir tank when the system expands. But there should always be some left in it, even when the engine is cold (say a couple inches of coolant in the bottom). If the reservoir keeps emptying then you might have a coolant leak out the top of the radiator where the plastic top tank meets the aluminum. That is why your coolant was low in the first place. Do you smell coolant while you are driving?

You should get the engine warm and look under the hood with a flashlight while the engine is idling and the system is at pressure. Look for any places where coolant is leaking. (Be very careful - don't go prodding any hoses or take of the rad cap as the coolant is very hot and could scald you.)

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-28-2010, 05:39 AM
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All the replies have posted the correct answers, but what would have really helped is knowing your year and model, which would have likely elicited different possibilities. I had to search through some of your earlier posts to find that you have a 2004 FXT from parts that you were selling.

Take some time and add some vehicle info to your Signature. Use the pull-down menu in Quick Links, Edit Signature and add basic info like, year/model/transmission this will show up every time you post and will usually help people better respond to your questions without repeating yourself or leaving info out.

You might have gotten responses like this Cracked Radiator seems it's fairly common on the earlier XT's as additional threads show.

Hope this helps you, if this could be the possible cause.

Cheers

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-29-2010, 12:37 AM Thread Starter
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it did overflow in my reservoir. so i cleaned all the coolant that got into the engine.but, after a few days, i noticed that the top of the radiator where the plastic meets the metal brace, there is coolant seaping out of the cracks. so does this mean i just need a new radiator? im just afraid because i drove the car like this for over 2 weeks. could this have caused a blown head gasket?

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-29-2010, 12:52 AM
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it did overflow in my reservoir. so i cleaned all the coolant that got into the engine.but, after a few days, i noticed that the top of the radiator where the plastic meets the metal brace, there is coolant seaping out of the cracks. so does this mean i just need a new radiator? im just afraid because i drove the car like this for over 2 weeks. could this have caused a blown head gasket?
First, if you had a blown head gasket, you would have known already. An no, driving around with a small leak in the coolant system doesn't cause head gasket failure. (unless your temp gauge was pegged out at HOT and you continued to drive), but if your temp gauge was showing fine, you have nothing to worry about.

If it's seeping out from between the plastic and the aluminum, then yes, you're radiator might possibly need to be replaced. You can get an OEM one or do what I did and find a local shop that might have one. I found a replacement in my town for $128 bucks, and it's been going strong for the past 10,000 miles of abuse.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-29-2010, 03:11 AM
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b4 you do anything drastic make sure the ex bottle is not too full. Have just 2 inches or so cold and then get the engine up to temp. Also take a look at the rad cap.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-29-2010, 05:00 AM
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Make sure your rad cap is good.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-29-2010, 02:33 PM
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Pick up a turkey baster (spelling?) at the supermarket for around $1.50. Really handy for undoing overfills of most anything.


NO...do not use the one from the kitchen drawer!!!

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-29-2010, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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thanks guys! so do u think i should replace the radiator cap too? im getting my oem replacement radiator in tomorow

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-30-2010, 12:26 AM
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If I were replacing my radiator, I'd replace the cap as well.

What part of the Bay Area are you from? I grew up in Los Altos (a very long time ago.)
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-30-2010, 05:05 AM
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So, you are replacing the radiator b4 you know for sure that the coolant you saw was not from an improperly filled coolant reservoir?

Well then, you might as well get all new hoses, belts etc while you're in there. Then you won't have to mess with it for 50k miles.
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