Coolant Leak Off Engine - Jeep Commander Forums: Jeep Commander Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-24-2016, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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Coolant Leak Off Engine

Ok, this one's a doozy. Hope someone can help me narrow it down. I've got a 2006 XK 4.7L - 134K miles

Before I get started, I'll just say that there is an old thread that is almost verbatim what I'm seeing, only in that thread the guy was able to eventually see the leak at the water pump.

https://www.jeepcommander.com/forums/...ad.php?t=15782

I recently noticed coolant leaking from the bottom. It's pooling up on the bolts at the lower radiator hose connection (see image). Also, along the oil pan edge, both under the crank shaft and along the edge toward the rear of the engine. I can the block is wet above the pan edge (see image). And finally, just like on the other post, I can see coolant pooling on the bottom two bolts where the transmission attaches to the engine (see image).

It only leaks when the engine is cold; basically, I only see it in the morning. If I run the engine for a little, everything dries up. I've had the system pressure tested and no leak was found.

Based on everything I've read, I'm thinking it's the water pump, maybe the whole thing, maybe just the gasket. I certainly can't see anything coming from that area but it very well may be seeping out above the crankshaft at a point I can't get my eyes on. The weep whole on top of the pump is dry. Not sure if there is another hole/missing plug where fluid can escape but I'm thinking not.

Here's another thing. I had the water pump replaced almost two years ago by a local Midas. In November, before a long trip out of town, the coolant was low and I wanted to top it off. I wasn't sure what coolant they used only that it was orange. I call Midas and confirmed they used Dex-Cool. So I topped it off with Dex-Cool. Now I'm reading on this forum that Dex-Cool will ruin water pumps and possibly other components. Now I'm pissed. I sure hope there's no other damage done.

Well, just looking for other ideas or validation on what I've presented. Appreciate any help I can get.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-25-2016, 02:11 PM
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Coolant Leak

I just had this nightmare on my 06 5.7. It ended up being the water pump. Started as a slow leak, only when hot and cooled down. Noticed it more and more, just added water/coolant 50/50 thinking it was a trickle from the radiator having plastic endcaps. It ended up spraying coolant out of the pulley Shaft which spins the pump from the belt. $150.00 and 4 hours later had the old pump replaced. It had play in the shaft which i presume is from bad bearings/destroyed seals. Make sure you do a full flush and replace it with mopar coolant or Zerex G-05 from your local autoparts store to get the dexcool out. in the photo you can see the leak trail.

https://goo.gl/photos/FxwQck35Ws2rE1vM6

06 Commander Limited HEMI. k&n drop in with air raid M.I.T . Aeroturbine 3030xl on stock pipe . Superchips tuned 93. Bilstein 5100 front @1.5 and 5100 on rear + ARB HD coils F/R

Last edited by 06hemixk; 01-25-2016 at 02:12 PM. Reason: Edit photo link.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-25-2016, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback. Interestingly enough, I went to Midas today to speak with someone and the owner looked up the work order and says they did in fact use Mopar. Whether he's being honest or not, I have no idea. And the fact that I topped it off with DexCool, he says that would not be enough to cause any damage.

He says the water pump is under warranty but I'd have to pay labor for them to do the repair. He also says he wouldn't not charge me to diagnose where the leak is coming from. Now I have to determine whether or not I want to take it back to them or just do it myself. I just afraid that I change the water pump and/or gasket and the problem still exists.

And finally, it didn't leak this morning. Go figure.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-25-2016, 02:58 PM
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I think the leak could only be coming from a few places, to end up on those spots. waterpump. The thermostat housing in your first photo, or the block itself from the head gasket (But I believe it would be burning)? I also noticed it on the crank pulley in your first photo. I'm always cautious with free diagnostics unless I can watch. If they have nothing to hide, most shops let you watch from the bay door to prevent you from getting hurt in the garage. Their is no such thing as a free lunch.

06 Commander Limited HEMI. k&n drop in with air raid M.I.T . Aeroturbine 3030xl on stock pipe . Superchips tuned 93. Bilstein 5100 front @1.5 and 5100 on rear + ARB HD coils F/R
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-25-2016, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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I agree. The thermostat housing sits slightly lower than the block so that shouldn't be possible. If the head gasket were bad, it seems like I'd have coolant mixed with oil and my oil looks clean. Plus, you're right, it would be burning it out the exhaust. That leaves the water pump. What I don't know is if it's the pump seal or just a gasket. I suppose it should be evident by examination.

Regarding the diagnostics, trust me, I'm truly thinking twice about taking it there. The only reason I would is because they were the ones who worked on it before. But that should also be the reason not to take it there.

One of the main reasons I bought a Jeep was so I could work on these things myself. That water pump just happened at a time when I just didn't have the time to spend on it. I wish I was the only person that had ever worked on this Jeep, but nothing I can do about it now.

I'll give an update when I know more.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-26-2016, 10:23 AM
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All anti-freezes have enthenyl glycol as the "anti-freeze" additive, that doesn't wear out, the difference between the types is the anti-corrosion package that is very important because you have water under pressure and heat up against bare metal, that will make it corrode. Yea, there are propelyne glycol versions as well, those are NOT recommended for the Commander.

IAT- The old Green Anti-Freeze has Phosphates and Silicates to coat the metal in the cooling system to protect it from corrosion and fight off cavitation damage. Cavitation happens most on the water pump blades. It has to be used with pure as practical water (i.e. distilled water, NOT tap water) and must be changed every 2yr/30k miles. People didn't follow those maintenance procedures and soon the anti-corrosion was depleted causing corrosion and it would even form solids and gunk in the system.

OAT - Was designed as a long life anti-freeze that was tolerant to the minerals in tap water, as a fix for owners that did NOT properly maintain their vehicles. It doesn't coat the metal in the cooling system, it chemical reacts with the metal to make it form its own anti-corrosion layer on the surface, thus the anti-corrosion additives last much longer. They do NOT protect brass, bronze and copper in much older cooling systems.

DexCool - Is GM's version of OAT that uses a chemical in the anti-corrosion package that is troublesome with certain plastics and seals, and when mixed with other anti-freezes. Most vehicles in the last 20 years no longer have the metals/plastics/seals that are incompatible with DexCool. And Dexcool has been improved over the years so that it is no longer the nightmare it once was when it was first introduced. But you would NEVER want to use it (or any OAT) in an old classic car that has materials that incompatible or unprotected by its ingredients or mix it with other types of anti-freeze.

HOAT - Mercedes/Chrysler/Fords Hybrid anti-freeze using a little of both OAT and IAT protection package. It has chemicals that react with the surface of the metals, it also has silicates to coat metals as well. It can do a better job at protecting a water pump. It can mix with IAT easily (but you have to go with the IAT shorter change interval) and is tolerant of mixing with a little bit of OAT anti-freeze, except Dexcool. It has a long change interval, but NOT as long as OAT anti-freeze. Zerex G-05 is the aftermarket equivalent, and its dyed the FORD amber color, Chrysler/Mercedes was Pink-Orange.

IAT and HOAT start coating right away and prevent corrosion right away, OAT/Dexcool take 5k-10k miles before they have fully reacted with all the metal surfaces and have it fully protected. As well, if there are air bubbles in the cooling system, oat can't react with the surface and protect it where there is air, and corrosion starts.

Water Pumps, suffer cavitation that will erode the impeller blades on the pump, OAT and DexCool has NO additives to combat that erosion. Engines that OAT and DexCool are recommended for have had a lot of development down to reduce the cavitation the water pump suffers, so that it can last without the additives it needs, like the old IAT and HOAT anti-freezes have.

Yes, you have a right to complain if a shop put Dexcool in your Commander, they did it wrong, simple enough. Keep in mind, the Commander doesn't have any metals/plastics or seals that are incompatible with DexCool. If the system was properly drained and flushed before being refilled with DexCool, likely the only thing was a little less protection of erosion on the water pump fins, and that's it.

The Commander engines have a reputation for the water pumps developing leaks, I wouldn't be so sure someone adding dexcool to the cooling system was responsible. If you have other problems that come with adding Dexcool, like lots of rust, solids, gunks or congealing in the cooling system as well as a water pump leak, you may have a case. If the Dexcool has been in there for years, you pull the water pump and find its all eroded away and out of balance, you might have an argument the Dexcool was behind the leak/damage. Quite frankly, if you properly switch a Commander to Dexcool, you'd likely NOT have any problems, but the recommended HOAT anti-freeze is better and that is why you should use it. I'm just warning you that just because there was a switch to dexcool, that doesn't guarantee its the source of your water pump leak, especially when a commander with the proper HOAT change at the right interval develops water pump leaks at the same mileage.


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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-26-2016, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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Excellent post Mongo. I was hoping to get your feedback. Based on what you say, it’s really not worth trying to figure out what caused this and focus more on just fixing it.

After examining even closer yesterday, I think I spotted a discoloration/trail coming down the casting behind the crankshaft, presumably from the water pump. I really don’t think I’m near failure on the water pump as everything seems to be running smoothly. I’m going to monitor the situation over the next week and see what happens. Either way, after that I’m going to flush the system myself, remove and inspect the water pump and definitely put some Mopar HOAT coolant back in.

Yesterday I cleaned off the engine and underneath at the car wash so I’m dealing with some clean surfaces. Prior to this happening, I had an oil leak on the sender unit so it was quite a mess under there. Additionally, the left booth on the steering rack is leaking a little fluid. I guess this is my welcome to the 130K Club.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-26-2016, 12:40 PM
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The boot on the PS rack is vented to let moisture out. It is possible water splashed up during driving or just cleaning at the wash rack got water in the boot and its leaking out the little weep hole mixed with some dirt/grease/oil in the boot. If you're actually leaking PS fluid out of the boot on the rack, you should see fluid level dropping on the reservoir, the rack is leaking and will need to be fixed/replaced.


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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-26-2016, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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The boot leak is something I've been monitoring for a few weeks. It's definitely fluid showing up right on that metal band. If you wipe it with your finger, it's definitely fluid. I see what you're saying about water mixing with grease but it's been bone dry around here lately so there's no water to factor in.

When I took it in, all I knew was that I had an oil leak. When Midas looked at it they said it was the sender unit leaking and that it looked like the PS rack was leaking too. I just had them put a new sender unit in since they had it up and I was going to change the rack myself (they wanted $1K to change that); however, I've been monitoring it since and I would classify it as barely a leak. And that's consistent with the fluid level in the reservoir. I actually have the replacement rack and am fixing to take it back.

Last edited by tonyk; 01-26-2016 at 02:21 PM.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-26-2016, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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After reading all my comments, it just occurred to me that you all must be asking why I'd go to Midas - oil leak, PS leak, coolant leak. I've actually only been there twice. The first time they fixed the exhaust manifest bolt that broke (another known Commander problem). Regardless, I'm done with anyone looking at this thing. She's all mine now.
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