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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry for the long post, but I'm really stumped everybody, please help if able. Here's some background: I've had my 2008 Super Bee for 10 years, since it had 18,000 miles. It has 172,000 now. I love it as much now as I ever did, although it's becoming old and crotchety.

In the spring, I did it's first cooling system flush, late I know. Following a "How To..." post on here, I put the front end on jack stands and drained the radiator but not the block, so I know it wasn't a complete flush. I was shocked at how pristine the drained fluid looked. I ran through 7 or 8 gallons of distilled water, flushed till clear, drained and used Zerex G5 HOAT to refill. I tested it and it's a bit light on the percentage, which I was going to adjust before winter. While I was at it, I changed out the thermostat and put a new coolant overflow tank from Rock Auto in to ward off any demons. I've never liked that tank. The cap and neck are cheap plastic and it never feels like it's going on properly, and it's hard to get off.

It's been running great with nothing unusual, other than some front end vibration and pulling left. I took it for an alignment about a month ago, and they rotated my tires front to back. There was still a bit of vibration at highway speed, so I assumed the tires need balancing, but I'm about to replace all of them.

After about a 30 minute drive on the highway the other night, I stopped at a store for 20 mins and came out to find a little coolant leaking under where the reservoir would be, along with a touch of steam, and that "uh-oh" smell. I only live a couple of minutes away, and the temp gauge was fine, and there were no visible leaks anywhere when I got home.

The next day, I rented a pressure tester, and while I was putting air in, I heard fluid gurgling, and was shocked to see the lower radiator hose was totally disconnected

I put it up jack stands, and pulled the bumper cover off (I had planned on repainting it this week). I also noticed while pulling the tires that a lug nut was missing from the right front (new owner's of Mickey's Suburban Alignment, I'm looking at you). I put the radiator hose back, and everything there looked well. It wouldn't hold any pressure after that, but I started it up and still saw no leaks. There's some staining up the right side of the intake manifold, but that's been there as long as I can remember, and there's no overt leaks there.

When I did the coolant flush prior, I had swapped out the existing coolant bleed plug for a brake bleeder valve. After it warmed up, I had the heater on full, and opened it to bleed the air, but got nothing but hissing and steam until the temperature gauge spiked, so I shut it down. There was also only cold air from the heater at this point. I let it sit overnight, and the coolant level in the overflow tank was only a bit lower, maybe an inch, in the morning.

I was convinced the new thermostat was a dud, the system built up pressure, but didn't overheat because I was on the highway, and that, combined with the recent vibration and pressure testing popped the lower radiator hose off. I excel at coming up with stories to explain things I don't fully understand.

Today, I put a new thermostat in and noticed there was no fluid in the upper hose or sitting in the intake. I warmed the engine up again after, and once more, got only hissing and steam, when I tried to bleed the air, and still only cold air from the heater. It started to overheat again, so I let it cool down, and tried pressure testing once more, only this time, it held pressure and I could see the upper radiator hose distend. Again, no signs of a leak anywhere. As usual, the cap for the pressure tester was a bugger to remove, and when I looked closely at the lip of the overflow container, I could now see that it was cracked.

I'm at the limit of my understanding at this point. Does anyone have any ideas before I have to have it towed to the shop? I guess it might not overheat while driving, but I have to put the bumper cover back on, and naturally, the support bracket stripped during removal, so a new one is due in tomorrow,

Thanks everyone, as always.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Update:

I replaced the overflow container today. There's no change. It's still overheating and blowing cold air from the heater. I waited for the radiator fans to come on at about 205 degrees and opened the bleeder for more than a minute. I shut it down as it went past 230 degrees.

I also put my Diablo Predator on and got code 0522: Oil pressure sensor/switch circuit. The only thing I disconnected with the bumper cover were the lights, and I found my TPMS transmitters stuffed in some unusual locations from a body shop years ago.

Should I change out the Oil Pressure Switch? Would that explain any of this?
 

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Is the water pump functioning? If it was working I would expect you would get hot air out of the heater.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, I'm embarrassed that I didn't consider the water pump. I guess it didn't cross my mind because it's not leaking or making any noises and the belt looks good, I guess 175K miles is a lot to ask of a water pump. Can our water pumps fail and still be turning ok?
 

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Can our water pumps fail and still be turning ok?
If the impeller is spinning on the shaft you won't get any flow. Seen this happen where it everything seemed to be fine, finally pulled the water pump and while the shaft would spin with the belt drive the impeller wasn't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks you guys, very much. That's got to be what it is, so i'll head that way.

I hope the oil pressure code is just a side effect, and I gotta admit, it's freaking me out knowing that the hose can just pop off like that. It sounds potentially catastrophic, but it wasn't. If that's by design, it's impressive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Here's an update if it'll help anybody.
I changed out the water pump, belt, and tensioner to no avail.
I did find sediment on the front of the block in the area of what I believe to be a lower drip chamber of the pump. I'll post a photo. The fluid paths into the block looked good.
I put some lower pressure compressed air through the radiator to make sure it wasn't obstructed.
When started it tup, it took at least 10-15 mins to warm up, but when it did, I still couldn't get heat and was unable to get anything but steam from the bleeder valve. It didn't get quite as hot as before so I let it run for about 15 mins, at which point a leak developed, which seemed to be coming down both sides of the transmission. Again, the front end is on jack stands and I couldn't find it from above.
I don't mind replacing the high mileage parts, but I'm throwing in the towel at this point unless anyone here has anything else that I might be able to handle.
 

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So odd way of doing it but works for me.


I fill my coolant system up via top hose into the radiator until coolant comes out T-stat. I then connect the hose.

I then fill the coolant reservoir 1/2-3/4 way. I attach a hand vac pump to the over flow tube. I put my hand on the top where cap goes and pull a vacuum with the pump until I see top hose start to bend in. You can hear bubbles coming into the reservoir a lot. I release pressure, add coolant. Repeat until I get no more bubble when pulling a vac.

No bleeders, no real mess. Worked flawlessly on my Charger twice and my other absolute PITA to bleed dodge (eagle vision but its a dodge)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I should've done it your way.
I just got it back from the shop. They had 3 mechanics go over it piece by piece and couldn't find a leak. The compression tests were ok.
In the end, they tightened up some things and they were able to bleed the system completely. The heat is back and it ran 30 mins without overheating so hopefully that's the end of it.
There must've been a massive amount of air in the system that the bore of the brake bleeder valve in the water pump just wasn't enough to overcome, even left open for 5-10 mins. I suppose that's why the OEM plug was designed the way it was. I can't explain where the disappearing leak came from.
 
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