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Old 03-17-2015, 08:57 PM   #1
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intermittent coolant leak

Last year, early fall, my 2012 Focus SEL sat for 2 weeks. After driving car approximately 1 mile, coolant temp soared. Checked tank, bone dry. Added coolant, and car was fine until Sunday, March 15. Again, tank was dry with coolant dripping from under right headlight. I couldn't find any obvious locations of leak. I refilled tank, put an empty 1 gallon milk jug cut in half. In roughly 12 hours, again, tank dry. Was going to take car to dealer, filled the tank, and no leak. Car has been sitting for approximately 1.5 hours since filling tank and running engine to get it warm, and it's still full. I've read about the infamous thermostat housing issues. Is the housing in that area? Any ideas?


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Old 03-17-2015, 09:19 PM   #2
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You've got a '12, better known here as a MkIII version. The Last model with the thermostat housing issues was built in '04 with the Zetec engine.

MkIII coolant loss problems are primarily from seepage at a hose connection, with a few having more major issues with tanks splitting off the ends of the radiator.

You can find more on those issues in the MkIII section, as most were still in warranty & were taken to the Dealer for repair rather than posting in this area for do it yourself help.
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Old 03-18-2015, 12:13 AM   #3
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While I do not know the specifics of the 2012+ Focus, but if you have radiator fluid dripping under the passenger side headlight then I would look for either a crack in the side tanks of the radiator, a leak at where the radiator hose meets the radiator, or at the hoses themselves perhaps to the radiator or at another hose or somewhere else in the vicinity of the leak, it should be apparent where it is coming from.

If your car is not under warranty you may just have to tear into things to find the leak to see what needs to be fixed or replaced. If it is still under warranty then take it to a dealer and have them fix it and report back here what they find so other people know what to perhaps look for.

Sometimes vehicles only leak radiator fluid when hot, sometimes when cold, or sometimes both, depends on how the leak opens up. On my old 93 Escort it would leak radiator fluid after it warmed up from where the lower radiator hose meets the water pump. I never got around to fixing that as I ended up parking the car as it was "BER"/beyond economic repair due to it being a 20+ year old vehicle having 220K+ miles on it and a bad transmission which couldn't justify putting the money into it to have the transmission rebuilt or replaced (for the 2nd time).
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Old 03-18-2015, 06:41 AM   #4
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An update. After refilling tank last night, only to have it start leaking once engine had cooled off, I go out this morning and it had leaked to just a hair below the max line on the tank.
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Old 03-18-2015, 01:23 PM   #5
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Remember that the coolant level in the tank changes with engine temp.

Filled to the top, it'll puke out coolant as it warms up then the level will drop as it cools down. Don't fill beyond "max" or you'll be chasing a false leak & missing the real problem.

Many have had a small leak from a hose connection on these resulting in a slow loss of coolant over time. Residue from leakage at a connection is the only easy way to see where that's been happening.
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Old 03-18-2015, 05:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Focussel4 View Post
Last year, early fall, my 2012 Focus SEL sat for 2 weeks. After driving car approximately 1 mile, coolant temp soared. Checked tank, bone dry. Added coolant, and car was fine until Sunday, March 15. Again, tank was dry with coolant dripping from under right headlight. I couldn't find any obvious locations of leak. I refilled tank, put an empty 1 gallon milk jug cut in half. In roughly 12 hours, again, tank dry. Was going to take car to dealer, filled the tank, and no leak. Car has been sitting for approximately 1.5 hours since filling tank and running engine to get it warm, and it's still full. I've read about the infamous thermostat housing issues. Is the housing in that area? Any ideas?
I recommend heading to your dealer to have this looked into. Once you have an appointment set up, please let me know along with your mileage, and I'll check out some options.

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Old 03-18-2015, 09:31 PM   #7
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Car sat at work for 7 hours and didn't leak a drop. Maybe this was my cars way of saying that it wanted new coolant in it.
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Old 03-23-2015, 03:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Focussel4 View Post
Car sat at work for 7 hours and didn't leak a drop. Maybe this was my cars way of saying that it wanted new coolant in it.
Glad to hear it was a one time event! :) I'll be around if you have any questions.

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