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Old 06-11-2019, 04:35 PM   #1
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Coolant leak (only) when engine turned off

Gentlefolks,

Recently I found the coolant in my 2011 Focus mk3 seriously low. I also found traces of dried coolant in the vicinity of the reservoir tank. I started following what's going on more closely and found what to me looks like an odd behavior:

I top the reservoir tank to the max mark. Drive - quite a lot, in warm weather. Stop car, keep engine running, open bonnet: reservoir seems to not have lost a drop. Now, shut down engine. Within like 5-10 seconds, pressure builds up and fluid starts leaking; at least part of it seems to be from the release cap, not sure it's the only place. In a short while, there's a big puddle of coolant on the floor under the car.

Car cools down, process repeats. Fill fluid, drive (slow traffic, should be stressful enough for the cooling system). Nothing leaks. Park car, stop engine - psssffffssssffff. Puddle, lots of fluid pours out.

All of that time, temp gauge is rock solid at a hair below half.

No water in oil. No apparent oil in coolant.

Anyone seen this? What's going on?

Thanks for any insight.


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Old 06-11-2019, 04:49 PM   #2
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Old 06-11-2019, 04:54 PM   #3
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Water pump
Thanks. How come?
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Old 06-11-2019, 04:57 PM   #4
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Thanks. How come?



Hard to say, it happens. It happened to me on my 13 MK3. I could smell coolant but see no visible leaks. Reserve tank kept loosing coolant over time. The car was still under the 3/36 so I took it into Ford & it was a faulty water pump.



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Old 06-11-2019, 04:59 PM   #5
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Possible the tank has a crack. Early models are notorious for this. I would replace the cap first.
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Old 06-11-2019, 05:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pokerrun388 View Post
Hard to say, it happens. It happened to me on my 13 MK3. I could smell coolant but see no visible leaks. Reserve tank kept loosing coolant over time. The car was still under the 3/36 so I took it into Ford & it was a faulty water pump.
Got it. In my case the leak is extremely visible (and audible...) but happens only and exactly when I turn the engine off. I can drive for hours with the tank remaining topped without losing a drop. Then engine off - wait 5 sec - turbulence, tons of pressure into the tank and tons of fluid runs out, practically emptying the res tank.
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Old 06-11-2019, 05:11 PM   #7
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There is a weep hole for the water pump. Put a piece of cardboard under the car and wait. You should be able to zero in that way.
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Old 06-11-2019, 05:47 PM   #8
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If you can drive without issues, then In would say the pump is good.

One question, is the radiator fan working? Do you hear it running after parking and switching the engine off?
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:38 PM   #9
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If you can drive without issues, then In would say the pump is good.

One question, is the radiator fan working? Do you hear it running after parking and switching the engine off?
It does. It actually runs most of the time - which might also indicate something - but it sure does.

Is there anything in the cooling system - valve, thermostat, whatever - that opens up or releases when the engine is turned off?
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Old 06-12-2019, 12:22 AM   #10
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Change the cap so that issue is gone. Then look for other leaks.

The water pump can leak at the seal weep hole and yet still not overheat in use, you still change water pump to fix it.

Every car engine on the planet gets somewhat hotter when it shuts off, that is what is known to OEMs as a heat soak. The engine gets hotter for a bit as the water pump has quit turning. Any mechanical water temp gauge that still works with power off will show it, the engine say at 220 degrees water temp running then goes up for a few minutes to say 250, the pressure comes up too. Normal, the system has to put up with it with no leaks. The cooling has the coolant at slightly cooler than engine metal is, when it quits flowing then the engine metal evens the coolant temp up to exactly what it is. In normal use coolant say at 220 but engine metal at around 250 or higher, the oil temp, which is commonly higher than water temp. Engine temp will even be over that a bit, as the oil is a coolant of sorts too. They all work to even out as soon as engine stops, then engine metal acting as a heater for a bit until even then all cools down at the same time.
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