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HELP -- coolant leak.


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Hey guys....
I’ve just returned from my first long drive following a repair – about 18 miles.

As I arrived near my home, I notice that the front cooling system blowers were running long and hard (this rarely happens but on the hottest summer days). The temperature gauge was running a little hot which struck me as odd, because again — I’ve only seen it rise on peak summer days here in Chicago.
I'm also smelling an electrical burning smell coming from the left-hand engine cooling vent. I noticed this smell occasionally throughout my drive home, but I was sitting in Chicago traffic and didn’t think it was coming from my car.

When I popped the rear trunk, there is clearly something wrong with the cooling system. Antifreeze is leaking from the filling point (see photos), and also leaking from the bottom of the car.

I’ve received no warning/CEL dashboard lights.

Your thoughts? Many thanks.
-Dan

[www.dropbox.com]
a) there needs to be excess pressure or b) a faulty cap. Sounds, somehow, like a).

Could it be as simple as a cap that was not put back on properly?

Could the leak from the bottom simply be dripping from the top?

Now, you mentioned a repair, but did not elaborate. That sounds awfully suspicious. What did they do?

Grant

Grant gee-lenahan-at-vee-eff-email-dot-net
Many thanks guys.

Apologies for not including the recent repair. It was for the secondary air pump.

I've ordered a new tank cap and will hope it's that easy to solve this issue.

Thanks again,
-Dan
Cap part #?
Boxsterra - 3 weeks ago
It looks like the last two digits of the cap are 01. If that's the case, get a newer cap ($15 at AutoHausAz)
Not sure what work was done but if they did any coolant system work make sure the system is properly 'burped' and make sure the manual coolant vent under the oil/coolant cap housing cover is snapped down. It could be up allowing coolant to escape.
That said I'll take odds that it is the coolant cap. The spring gets week with time and releases well below the pressure it is designed for. This pressure release issue is only made worse if air is in the system. It also explains the over heating. Get the latest cap ending in '04' and top up your coolant.
... you had work done then your coolant leaks.
Although you don’t specify the work that was done, my guess is that the cooling system had a bubble of air either because it wasn’t bled correctly or because the coolant cap was cross threaded.
As soon as the car warms up the air inside the system expands and forces coolant out through the pressure valve and or the cross threaded cap.
Check those things and also purchase a new coolant cap. Pressure test the system and if it tests right, bleed and install new cap.
The left side engine inlet is not for cooling. It’s the actual air intake that passes through the air filter and straight into the throttle body.
I don’t understand how you would get an electrical smell through there unless the Mass Airflow Sensor’s wire harness is messed up.
Make sure you test that as well.
Happy Boxstering
Pedro



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/22/2017 10:08AM by Pedro (Weston, FL). (view changes)

Pedro Bonilla 1998 Boxster 986 - 280,000+ miles: http://www.PedrosGarage.com
PCA National Club Racing Scrutineer - PCA National HPDE Instructor - PCA Technical Committee (Boxster/Cayman)

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DanV
Hey guys....
I’ve just returned from my first long drive following a repair – about 18 miles.

As I arrived near my home, I notice that the front cooling system blowers were running long and hard (this rarely happens but on the hottest summer days). The temperature gauge was running a little hot which struck me as odd, because again — I’ve only seen it rise on peak summer days here in Chicago.
I'm also smelling an electrical burning smell coming from the left-hand engine cooling vent. I noticed this smell occasionally throughout my drive home, but I was sitting in Chicago traffic and didn’t think it was coming from my car.

When I popped the rear trunk, there is clearly something wrong with the cooling system. Antifreeze is leaking from the filling point (see photos), and also leaking from the bottom of the car.

I’ve received no warning/CEL dashboard lights.

Your thoughts? Many thanks.
-Dan

My limited experience is that's a lot of water from just a bad cap. And to see signs of water outside of the fluid access bay for instance water on the trunk weather stripping and to see coolant hitting the ground is not just a leaking cap symptom.

But get the new cap. That's good advice. And be sure the new cap is properly threaded and tightened securely. That's good advice too.

I suspect though you'll find the coolant tank leaking.

Once you get the new cap and before you install it top up the coolant level with distilled water. As you have been advised be sure the cap in threaded on the tank properly and the cap it tightened all the way. This takes more force than one might believe. But of course don't overtighten the cap either.

Then take the car out and drive around the neighborhood until the engine is hot enough to trigger the radiator fans to come on. Head home and on the drive way then raise RPMs to around 1K until the radiator fans come on. Shut off the engine. Wait. The heat load of the engine will raise the coolant temperature and pressure and if the tank is leaking I think you'll soon have clear sign of this. In my car's case I did the above and as the hot engine sat the coolant tank split opened up and gushed hot coolant right to the ground around the passenger rear tire.

If the tank does have a leak when the tank is replaced this is probably a good time to have the coolant drained and replaced with fresh.

The electrical smell is probably just coolant contactng the hot exhaust. But with the benefit of having read the car was just in for secondary air pump work there is always the concern about some electrical wiring problem. You might consider bringing the car back to where you had it worked on and report the odor and have the car checked over. The shop should know this but for your benefit the engine access cover will need to be removed to expose the top of the engine so a careful check can be made of all the wiring for any signs of hot wiring or wiring that is loose, not properly secured or routed.

The car should be lifted in the air and a check made of the wiring from underneath the car too.
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