Coolant loss when A/C is on - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 09-30-2006, 08:41 PM   #1
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Default Coolant loss when A/C is on

On my 95 SE, I have a coolant drip when I put the A/C on. It'* coming out underneath the firewall behind the accumulator.

I had run both the heater and A/C today. I ran the A/C because the evaporator has a tiny leak and it needs a recharge in the spring and a can later in the summer or fall. I added a can today.

I saw the leak on the ground. To see what was going on, I parked the car and ran it for 20 minutes with the heater on to check if it was the heater core. Nothing, fine.

Then I ran it for 20 minutes with the A/C on, and it did drip. It looks almost where the drain tube would be. I can't get a good look at it, so tomorow I'll take of the wheel well covers out.

Can anybody help me with some ideas as to what this might be, or anything I should check? I searched, and I'm going through the FSM for my '96, but I'm not picking up where the coolant and A/C would cross.

Thanks!
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Old 09-30-2006, 10:57 PM   #2
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Are you sure that is coolant you are seeing dripping? You said it DOESN'T drip with the A/C off, but it does when its on. This leads me to believe that its only water. Your A/C removes moisture from the air and spits it out the drain tube on your firewall. Dab your finger in it and taste it, does it taste sweet or stale?
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Old 10-01-2006, 12:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1995
Are you sure that is coolant you are seeing dripping? You said it DOESN'T drip with the A/C off, but it does when its on. This leads me to believe that its only water. Your A/C removes moisture from the air and spits it out the drain tube on your firewall. Dab your finger in it and taste it, does it taste sweet or stale?
it'* bright yellow green. I have been looking with a flashlight. I think I know what it is, but I don't know what it is. I kept reading the FSM and another book I have. I have to have 2 things going on. From above I think I see antifreeze on the control arm which is under the drip. So, I think the drip is water. But it'* hitting antifreeze that is leaking and collecting from somewhere else. Still looking down, I think I see antifreeze on the boot of the steering arm (I don't know what it'* called).

If I look up from underneath there is an elbowed thin tube coming out of the engine connected to a hose, just above that boot. i can't see in the dark where that hose goes, but I can't see any antifreeze above that, there is antifreeze on the hose.

I'll get back to the book so I can explain it in English. If you have some idea what that hose is to, let me know.

Thanks.
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Old 10-05-2006, 03:09 AM   #4
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By any chance did your AC shop put some dye in the system to find your leak? That, mixed with the condensate from the AC can sometimes look like coolant.
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Old 10-05-2006, 09:20 AM   #5
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That sounds much more like a stop leak for AC or tracer dye to find the leak.

You recently charged up the system with a can from local autoparts place? They put this dye in there.
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Old 10-05-2006, 10:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charliemax
Still looking down, I think I see antifreeze on the boot of the steering arm (I don't know what it'* called).

If I look up from underneath there is an elbowed thin tube coming out of the engine connected to a hose, just above that boot. i can't see in the dark where that hose goes, but I can't see any antifreeze above that, there is antifreeze on the hose.
How thin is that elbow? Is this the coolant elbow from the LIM?

And yes, A/C refrigerant leak dye mixed with condensate can look like antifreeze.
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Old 10-05-2006, 08:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charliemax
Still looking down, I think I see antifreeze on the boot of the steering arm (I don't know what it'* called).

If I look up from underneath there is an elbowed thin tube coming out of the engine connected to a hose, just above that boot. i can't see in the dark where that hose goes, but I can't see any antifreeze above that, there is antifreeze on the hose.
How thin is that elbow? Is this the coolant elbow from the LIM?

And yes, A/C refrigerant leak dye mixed with condensate can look like antifreeze.
Thanks for everyone'* thoughts. I am afflicted at work for planning to go to Myrtle Beach in 2 weeks. I literally have not been home in the daylight to pull everything to get a good look, and give you guys informed symptoms to aid in your much appreciated assistance.

For full disclosure, I have two achilles heels in the car.

1) I haven't put dye in the A/c in 3 years. We found the tiniest leak in the evaporator. I have been living with it for the past 3 seasons by putting in a 2 stage leak stop and charging it. i have been lucky as it has held through the seasons with an addition of one can of al34a in Aug or Sept in each year. Odds are it is pretty close to being below useable level by now.

I'm as certain as i can be that I'm seeing coolant. And it only looks scary when the drain tube dumps water on itand dilutes it into a bigger puddle. I have had neither the heat or A/c on for a couple of days, and find barely a drop or two on the ground, if any.

2) I had the plenum and the upper gasket replaced about 30k ago. I wasn't here yet, so I didn't know to go after the LIM at the same time. At 165k, and from what I have collected here, we can be pretty sure that thing is mush by now. I have wanted to go through the process of replacing the 2 gaskets and plenum with the recent GMs and a Dorman. I'm just not comfortable doing it without informed supervision. I have approached the Philly legend 95naSTA, and he'* agreeable. I just haven't put us together yet.

So, it'* a coolant leak that is showing itself on the rear, lower, passenger side of the engine, ie the line described above. The water pump, and the LIM, present themselves as prime suspects. A living-in-denial possibility could be a coolant hose leak to the heater core.

I have to get my FSM, and pull what I need to pull, to get a good look. Short term ,I think I'm OK. Operating temperature is normal, coolant level hasn't visibly changed, I'm getting no white sweet exhaust, and no Hershey milk in the oil.

Didn't mean to be so wordy. I just want to respect you guys' help with a full picture. And in the next day or so, some definites on where this bleeder is.

Any thoughts are still welcome, I'll keep an eye out. And I'll pop this thread to the top, when I figure out what I can.
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