Jay HalfDork
May 26, 2008 6:35 p.m.

So this past weekend I took the Lotus out for a small cruise (around 100 km) with the German Lotus Club. It was the first time I'd really had the car out for a good boot, and it was mostly behaving well.

After parking it (warm) for a while I came back and found a big puddle underneath. Maybe a litre of coolant had come out from somewhere after I'd shut the car off. First time I'd ever seen it happen. I couldn't find anything immediately wrong so I drove it an hour back home where it did the same thing. (It's not condensation from the A/C before anyone asks - it's antifreeze.)

There are no drips or squirts when the motor is running and I stayed and watched for a few minutes after I'd shut it down, but I didn't see it come out right immediately. It looks like it all came out in one big go because the whole crossmember was wet underneath.

The temperature is fine when driving (according to the gauge which may or may not be accurate - some of my other gauges aren't working right at the moment), the fans come on normally, I don't HEAR the coolant boiling or anything to indicate I'm overheating. No idea what's going on here.

Some suggestions of things to look at would be much appreciated!

: J

wlkelley3 Reader
May 26, 2008 6:54 p.m.

Check the hose clamps. Orginal spring type? I had a leak there when the coolant warmed up (pressure in the system?). A real hose clamp fixed it.

porksboy HalfDork
May 26, 2008 7:58 p.m.

Check the water pump. some times they leak when they are not turning or only in certaim positions. Try this, pressurize the system with a tester. Remove or at the least loosen the belt til you can turn the pump shaft. As you turn the shaft move it side to side and see if it leaks. try it with the engine warm if you can get in there without frying your arm. :nice:

internetautomart SuperDork
May 26, 2008 8:15 p.m.

my gut is saying it's something with the radiator cap, but i forgot what the problem was. I had the issue once before

Jack SuperDork
May 26, 2008 10:10 p.m.

Is there an overflow tank? Was it completely full?

Coolant gets much hotter after stopping and will expand. If I fill my TR3 radiator up (no overflow tank) it'll dump coolant the first few times out. Even with an overflow tank, if there isn't enough room for the expansion, it's going to overflow.

Then again, it could be another issue.


joshx99 New Reader
May 26, 2008 10:51 p.m.

Maybe there's a crack in your radiator that is swollen shut while the system is under pressure.

amaff Reader
May 27, 2008 7:35 a.m.

I'm with porksboy. About a year ago I had coolant leaking from the front of the engine. Replacing the water pump fixed it.

mad_machine SuperDork
May 27, 2008 8:30 a.m.

I have to ask the same question as Jack. I have dealt with cars that do not have an overflow tank. Hate those cars as they always seem to "barf" coolant after a run.

iceracer New Reader
May 27, 2008 9:07 a.m.

Radiator cap would be the first thing to check. I asume it doesn't have a catch can/overflow tank.

Jay HalfDork
May 27, 2008 9:58 a.m.

It does actually have an overflow tank, which has a sealer cap and pressurizes. In fact, it doesn't have a rad cap as the normal way to top off the coolant is to fill it up through the overflow tank.

> J

joshx99 New Reader
May 27, 2008 10:47 a.m.

My rx7 did this for awhile. It turned out to be a crack in the radiator that would start to drip after the car was shut off.

Jack SuperDork
May 27, 2008 10:48 a.m.

Now I think you need to drive it a bit, pop open the bonnet and watch for a drip. It could be a lot of different things. Then again, since it's British, isn't it supposed to leak something?

Jack TR's 3 & 8

mad_machine SuperDork
May 27, 2008 2:01 p.m.

just so long as it is not leaking smoke from the wires

May 18, 2010 1:35 p.m.

Hi, Did you come to know the cause i have exactly same issue in my car.

Powar Dork
May 18, 2010 1:44 p.m.

rahul... My girlfriend's '93 900S did this last weekend. The coolant reservoir cap was bad. Hasn't lost a drop since. I can't speak for the OP, but that fixed the similar (same?) issue for me.

Jay Dork
May 18, 2010 2:29 p.m.

Woah, back from the dead thread. Nope, never did find any obvious problem. It's been forever since the car's done that, but I still have to top up the coolant once every couple months, no idea where it's going. Overflow cap seals well (I have a pressurized reservoir anyway, no rad cap, like a 944.) I did replace a couple dodgy hoses but they weren't bad over the spot where I'd occasionally find water. I dunno.

kb58 Reader
May 18, 2010 4:46 p.m.

I had that happen... it was a pinhole leak in a hose, which would leak only after it sat turned off for a minute or so.

NGTD HalfDork
May 18, 2010 8:34 p.m.

My Passat is doing this now. Appears to be coming from the water pump. Only happens once in a while.

Jensenman SuperDork
May 18, 2010 9:11 p.m.

The Trooper's water pump did this recently. It would only puke coolant when the ambient temp was below about 50 degrees and the car sat overnight. I'd wak into the garage and there would be a 4 or 5 inch puddle. The worst part: onthat engine the T belt drives the water pump and it was damn near impossible to see exactly where the leak was coming from because of all the covers etc.

I have also seen hoses do this. The Oetiker and spring type clamps were designed to fix that; as the hoses heat cycle they swell and shrink along with the nipple (heh heh he said nipple) meaning the clamp needs to be able to do the same to hold the hose tight. Screw type clamps have to be retorqued, spring and Oetiker do not.

Oetiker clamp and installation tool:

Spring clamps:

Plastic and aluminum radiators have been known to do this as well. The plastic tanks have a gasket, then there are tabs on the radiator core which are crimped to hold the tank to the core. Over time, the gasket will extrude away from the seam area and the result is a cold coolant leak.

VW had problems with hoses that had a porous inner liner; coolant would wick its way through the liner then follow the reinforcing threads to the end of the hose and drip out. No amount of clamp torquing would fix this, only new hoses. The funny thing: VW knew about it for a while because the crappy hoses had a yellow paint dot and the good hoses had a white one.

ShooterMcGavin New Reader
Aug. 8, 2014 6:15 p.m.

Bumping an old thread, my buddies 03 Dodge Caravan van is leaking coolant and when I got there it was dry. I drove it for about 30 minutes, stopped it, and no leak. I'm wondering if it's just water from when he's running the AC, but he swears that it has the coolant coming out. He also says it's coming from the back passenger side of the engine bay. Doesn't that mean it's a leaking heater core?

Edit: back lower side of the engine bay, potentially underneath the car.

ShooterMcGavin New Reader
Aug. 14, 2014 2:24 p.m.


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