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Discussion Starter #1
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.

http://www.jeepcommander.com/forums/showthread.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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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
 

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Discussion Starter #3
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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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
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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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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Discussion Starter #7
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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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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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
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.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
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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Yea i would just me cautious and keep an eye on your Cold coolant level, both in the reservoir and in the radiator (Check when cold) . Mine didnt show any signs except for the small leak, that week i took it out to lunch and was overheating( 3/4 ths on the gauge) in the drive through with the Hydraulic fan on max... Another note, if you have the Hydraulic cooling , (Comes with tow package 5.7/4.7, someone correct me if im wrong) to use the correct power steering fluid, as its shared with the cooling fan. Mopar ms10838 i believe is the spec fluid.
 

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Well you should use the correct PS fluid regardless of what options you have on the vehicle. All Commanders use the Mopar Hybrid PS and Hydraulic Fluid MS10838 (not sure on spec number). I suspect it is recommended because of the Hydraulic Powered Fan option in some Commanders, that is powered off the PS pump, and simply to avoid owner/dealer/shop mistakes they simple recommend one fluid for all Commanders. BUT, I don't know that, all references simply state the MS10838 is recommended for all Commanders, do NOT use any other fluid.

I agree with you, if I had the hydraulic fan I wouldn't even consider anything else but the spec MS10838. But I don't know for a fact the Hydraulic fan is the reason that higher spec PS fluid is recommended, so to be safe, I would use MS10838 in all Commanders regardless, which is what is recommended in O.M.

Power Steering, like Automatic Transmissions, have been refined and pushed to higher and higher demands in vehicle designs over the years. Which require the use of higher quality, more durable fluids, more tailored and "SPECIFIC" to the individual equipment. Unfortunately, there are too many people out there that think, motor oil is motor oil, atf is atf and ps fluid is ps fluid, and just pour in any old bottle that says its for PS, Automatic Transmissions, etc. They pour in the wrong stuff, and then wonder why they suffer failures in the equipment. PS is no exception. Put Dexron II in your trans, expect it to fail early. Put a bottle of fluid that just says PS fluid in your PS system, expect it to fail early.

Even if the fine print on the bottle says, "Meets all manufacturer's specifications, even Chrysler" likely it just meets a Chrysler spec from 1984 and NOT any of the newer specs.

Only if the bottle says its meets Chrysler Spec MS10838 should you use it, so far, I have only seen bottles from the Dealership that says it meets MS10838.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks guys. I completely agree. I'm a stickler for specs. I'll drive all the way across town for a bottle of Mopar anything. Most people won't drive further than their local auto parts store. BTW, my book does state MS10838, so I had to go to two dealerships to get some. How a Jeep dealer runs out of their own PS fluid is beyond me.

BTW, while I got you here and since we are talking about fluids, what oil are you guys using and what interval are you changing it?
 

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Mobil 1 full synthetic 5w-20 every 9k with a mobil1 extended interval filter. I usually check the level around 6k and add any if necessary. Not a fanboy, i just like that i can get a full synthetic at wallyworld for much cheaper than auto stores. Usually about 50$ total .
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Update:

Well, after watching my coolant leak all week in the morning hours, I finally decided to change the water pump.

All well so far. The fan clutch was a bugger to get off but it finally came off. I ended up using a strap wrench I bought from Sears to hold the pulley while I tugged on the nut with a big crescent wrench. I also decided to remove the electrical fan/shroud to make more room for me to see. Not completely necessary it seems but it sure is nice to have all that room when you're new at doing something.

All going back together today. i started too late yesterday and wasn't in a big hurry to finish.

I do have one question if anyone happens to be reading this morning. Should I use threadlocker on the water pump bolts? If so, any particular brand or kind? High or medium, etc.

I'll send another update later.
 

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I personally did not but i know some users who have, I believe you would want the Semi Perminant. Encase you need to pull it out.
 

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Why NOT use Loctite on the Fan bolts as well? They may have spring washers to help prevent them backing out, but the rotation of the fan will put torque on the bolts and work to loosen them, a little Loctite in addition to the spring washer won't hurt at all.

Red Loctite is considered "permanent" and "High Strength", on normal to small bolts exposed to moderate heat, you will NOT be able to remove them in the future with hand tools alone. You will need to heat them considerable or use a very high power impact wrench to break them free.

Blue Loctite is considered "a loosening preventative" and "Medium", on normal to small bolts exposed to moderate heat, you will be able to remove them in the future with hand tools alone, it will just be some extra torque initially to break the seal of the Loctite.

Some of the low strength Loctite's are more specialty thread locks for things like penetrating already assembled bolts, or for sleeves and press fits, etc. They may be for unusual sized bolts as well, both larger and tiny, again I may have that backwards.

Most of the alternative brands also mimic the color indicating the strength.

Loctite will cure to be solid and seal out moisture from the threads, helping prevent corrosion and seizing of the threads. So it can also make disassembly easier in the future, by the preventing the bolts from seizing together from corrosion.

Personally I use blue Loctite on everything, very rarely I use Red and only on items I worry about loosening, and willing to put up with the hassle of overcoming the Red Loctite if I every have to take it apart again. I'm thinking inner tie rod ends on rack & pinion, a few models actually stipulate to use Red Loctite, because they don't have any other positive lock features (I don't think that is the case with Commander).

Remember, high heat (like exhaust) will burn away thread lock, regardless what strength it is, that is why they make high temperature Loctite (which happens to be red BTW, but after being exposed to high heat it will degrade to the same strength as blue, that doesn't mean you can use red hi-strength Loctite in extreme heat and think it will still be working a few weeks from now. Hi-Strength and Hi-Temp Loctite are totally different materials, they just happen to be the same color). Anti-Seize won't burn away as readily as Loctite in hi-temp situations, and the anti-seize will actually work to keep the bolts from loosening and/or snapping.

Large bolts, like 7/8" heads or bigger, have a much larger surface area on the threads than smaller, the rules change for the Loctite. I "think", I may have it backwards, you want to use weaker Loctite on big bolts to get the same effect as smaller bolts. Again I may have that backwards.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I appreciate the feedback. I completed the job on Sunday and with the information I had at the time, I ended up only using Anti-Seize on the bolts. I did not use blue threadlocker as the consensus I found at the time was half people suggested to use it and the other half said not necessary. Had I used it, I would have gone with the blue (medium) kind.

On a positive note, I haven't had any leaks this week so far. Keeping fingers crossed. I hope to power wash my driveway this weekend to get rid of the evidence.

I'm also planning on updating my original post with all the information I learned and things I found while working on this project.
 

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I'm sure you'll be fine with anti-seize. The problem I have found, doing lots of work on cars over the years, is the bolts corroding and seizing, very rarely do I encounter bolts that are tightened down properly, loosening up. So, anti-sieze or blue Loctite, either one will benefit you.

Anti-seize lubes, but the lube dries up, especially with heat, in a matter of days to weeks. It leaves behind the heavy metal suspended in the lube that act as a sacrificial anode to prevent the threads from corroding together. I have NOT seen bolts loosen or back out after using anti-seize.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Update

So here's my final summary for this thread.

Equipment

2006 Jeep Commander, 2WD, 4.7L V8

Symptoms

Small coolant leak from around engine block. Noticed coolant beading up and dripping from a) bottom side of thermostat housing (low point), b) front of engine block below crank shaft, and c) bottom two bolts on bell housing (low points). Leak would only happen in the morning once outdoor temperatures would start to increase.

Diagnosis

Thought I could see moisture running down spines on water pump casting. No coolant escaping weep hole on water pump. Most like a bad seal or gasket on water pump. Determined I should replace water pump and, while I am it, thermostat. Both were only two years old and done by a third party.

Repair Notes

Hardest and longest part is removing the fan clutch.

1) Drained coolant using petcock valve and finally removing lower radiator hose and removing thermostat. Don't forget to drain your overflow reservoir.

2) I removed serpentine belt. I was told leaving the belt on might help add tension to fan clutch pulley so it won't turn as much when trying to unbolt the fan clutch. That didn't help me at all. I also tried using the holes in the pulley to lock the pulley but I didn't have a tool to help me with that. Finally, I reverted to another method I read online which worked like a charm. I bought a strap wrench from Sears, wrapped it around the pulley, and the wrench handle bit on that long bolt above the water pump, thus holding the pulley tight. Used a crescent wrench on fan nut. Needed a cheater bar to get ample torque.

3) Next, I removed the electrical fan/shroud because I wanted more remove to work and it's only four bolts. Kinda hard to get out. Requires some angling and forcing. Removed upward. Must remove upper radiator hose to make room.

4) Removed water pump. Bolts came off easy (almost too easy).

5) Cleaned mating surface for pump. Cleaned bolts.

6) Jacked rear of car up to get more coolant out of engine block. I even blew air in upper radiator hose housing (using radiator hose) and watched coolant fly out of engine where water pump connects.

7) Attached new water pump and thermostat. Used Anti-Seize on all bolts. Debated using blue threadlocker but ultimately did not.

8) Attached electrical fan/shroud. This is important. It won't go in if the fan clutch goes in first.

9) Attached fan clutch. Used strap wrench once again to hold pulley but this is more difficult than when I was removing the fan. IMPORTANT: Do not allow your tools to make contact with other pulleys. The pulleys on the alternator and the power steering pump below it are very brittle and can break. My strap wrench grabbed an outside edge on my power steering pump pulley and part of the edge cracked off. Seems to be working just fine. The belt and pulley have grooves and will stay in place but I'm still ticked that I did that. This was the only casualty in my repair project.

10) Attached radiator hoses, closed petcock. Flushed coolant system with plain distilled water running engine for ten minutes with heat on high. Make sure you completely fill the system and bleed any air. Squeeze upper radiator hose to assist in removing air pockets. I didn't get enough water in and my car started to overheat before I shut her down. Also, if you have the tool to remove the bleed nut on the upper radiator hose engine housing, I would do this to assist in bleeding air. It looks like a torx fitting but not sure what size.

11) Flush water and redo with coolant. See Mongo's post on this thread on coolant type. I went to dealership to get Mopar 5 Year HOAT coolant. I ended up with the concentrate but I've seen from others that they also sell it diluted (50/50).

Hope this helps. By the way, no leaks so far. Think it's safe to clean my stained driveway.
 
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