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Old 12-30-2016, 11:48 AM   #1
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Coolant is leaking, any advice to pinpoint?

2013 Ford Focus Se Hatchback
118k miles

Hey I'm usually a pretty hands on girl, I try and do everything myself for the most part. Mainly because i'm usually always broke :)

So far I change my own oil, replaced my own brakes and rotors, helped a friend put in a cold air intake, replace pvc valve, and replaced a head gasket seal on a toyota...

I'm not a car person but I try and do as much research as I can watch youtube videos ect and try my best...

Well I live in Breckenridge,CO we are at 10k feet elevation where it cost $200 to just look at your car and the ford dealership can never remember to reset your change oil light when they change your oil... or lie about rotating your tires when I clearly mark them with a sticker before I always go in...

Hence why I do everything myself now.

It has been extremely cold and snowy lately and I do not have a garage so it would be nice to get some pointers and advice before I stand out there freezing my ass off looking at something I have no clue about.

I actually have been noticing that in the fall my coolant was slowly leaking, I would have to top the coolant off every 3 weeks or so ( it would be almost empty ). The AC also started crapping out around that time too. Well Yesterday we were driving around and I started noticing that my heater does not work unless I am hitting 3-4k RPM ....

This morning driving to work the same thing happened again... I would not get heat unless im at 3-4k RPM and the moment I was stopped I would get cold air.... Than all of a sudden my car started to overheat... I pulled over immediately and noticed I had no coolant... I opened the reservoir and it filled up with Coolant all the way to the max line and than slowly it started drinking it again as I sat there and waited until it was all gone.

I filled her back up, turned the car on and the heater started working again immediately blowing very hot air even in park and I drove it an additional 30 minutes to work and had no issues at all.....

Im hoping its not a heater core because I feel that would be a pain to replace from what people tell me.... We always track snow into the car so I can't tell if my floor is wet because of snow or because of a leak....

Hopefully it is a hose? or something easy? Anybody here with any experience on this that can help?

Also whats a coolant that you guys can recommend ? I have about 2/10 of a gallon still left of the motorcraft orange coolant and Ford is closed until next week



Last edited by MiaHahn; 12-30-2016 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 12-30-2016, 11:53 AM   #2
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only thing i can comment on is that my water pump was leaking and my coolant was leaking from there.. that would be a good spot to check. seemed like i wasnt alone in that issue so could be more a more common thing
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Old 12-30-2016, 01:25 PM   #3
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Thanks for your response, anything helps. We have some snow storms coming in this weekend so I would like to gather up as much info as I can so I can pinpoint some locations and not miss anything.

I did not think about the water pump, thanks for bringing that to my attention
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Old 12-30-2016, 02:57 PM   #4
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Probably the gaskets on the water pump leaking. One of the natorious spots where the mk3 has been known to spring a leak. Mine were replaced at 35k under warranty.
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Old 12-30-2016, 03:54 PM   #5
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Check also the bottom of the radiator... many had leaks on failed radiators too!
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Old 03-17-2019, 02:08 AM   #6
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Hi MiaHahn

Whether this issue has been resolved or not!

Check under the Carpet Passenger and Driver side - it could relate to an issue with a leak from the Interior Heater Core Inlet\Outlet, this also has Coolant flowing through it as part of your heating (Hot Water from the Radiator).

I have this issue as well.


Good Luck
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Old 03-17-2019, 04:19 PM   #7
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Here is a diagram of the system. Hopefully this will help you locate the areas that could possible leak.

Also is there any puddling under the car that can help in locating the leak?

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Old 03-17-2019, 07:37 PM   #8
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Had the same issue with the car overheating and the reservoir being completely empty. Mechanic originally thought it was a thermostat issue causing all the fluid to be dumped out the overflow in one go. This fixed the dumping of all the coolant but then exposed the fact that the heater core was leaking coolant into the footwell. Rub the carpets and feel and smell the liquid, you will be able to see if its coolant or just water. It turned out for me that some O rings had failed behind the dash and pipes had separated causing the leek. Mechanic couldn't source replacements so replaced the connectors and sleeved the pipe with another hose then clamped either end which ended up saving me about $1300 versus a full heater core replacement.
Don't forget to shampoo the carpets or your car will stink like coolant forever.
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Old 03-18-2019, 07:32 PM   #9
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Mine had a slow leak from the passenger side of the radiator shell. Hard to spot, other than a bit of coolant periodically showing on that end.

It's a bit involved to change out, so I lived with it for a few months.

Then i started having a massive coolant leak, which was the water pump. Ended up replacing both on the same day.

If you do the water pump I'd recommend replacing the top engine mount at the same time, as it needs to come off to get to the water pump anyway.
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