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Where did it go? A who-done-it mystery!

RDKeysor

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A couple of weeks back I put about 110 miles on my BN7 to attend a Healey club event here in north Florida, having the pleasure of driving home in the dark with the top down for the first time. Very refreshing. The following morning I happened to check my coolant expansion jug (truthfully, a large plastic ketchup bottle) and found it dry as a bone. The radiator coolant level was normal. The expansion jug was not leaking. The car never ran over 190 degrees during the drive, and the engine with a 160-degree thermostat gave no indication of being hot when I pulled into the garage. The oil level was normal. The car has a new water pump that isn't leaking and a rebuilt radiator. There was no visible coolant leakage on the floor. Neither coolant valve, the one on the radiator and the one under the manifolds, was leaking. Just for the record, I've since changed both the coolant and the ketchup bottle. So, where did the coolant go?
 
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You don't say whether there is a hose leading to the bottom of the Ketchup bottle or whether the jug is fed via some fitting on its bottom. If so then what you call the expansion jug would actually be a recovery tank and when you shut down your engine and the coolant in the system cools it contracts producing a vacuum that would draw any liquid in the ketchup bottle back into the radiator.

If you merely have a hose that fills the jug from the top with no fitting in the bottom or a hose down into the jug I have no explanation.
 

Keoke

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So, where did the coolant go?

Out the tail pipe,bad head gasket maybe???

I Think Oritt nailed it-----:applause:
 
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RDKeysor

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Typically, my puzzler left out some pertinent information that Obi Wan notes would be helpful. My coolant vessel had the hose from the radiator cap neck running through a hole in the top--the ketchup bottle--and extending essentially to the bottom of the container. A relief hole was also drilled in the top. I kept this vessel slightly more than half full--the hose thus submerged--and had the radiator filled to the bottom of the radiator neck. The bottle was mounted on the right side the radiator, with the top maybe four or five inches lower than the top of the radiator. I haven't seen a hint of anything suspicious out of the exhaust, and the car's engine seems to be exceedingly strong. The North Carolinian who had the car restored (not the PO) told me the engine was rebuilt at a race engine shop, though not suggesting it was given any enhanced performance. Since we are having a club tech session near St. Augustine Saturday, I will be closely observing my newly installed coolant coolant expansion/recovery vessel as I make the run down there and back.
 

HealeyRick

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Probably best to keep an eye on it for now and don't get too concerned. Check the oil for signs of coolant and coolant for signs of oil just to be safe, but if it's running well probably nothing serious. If you recently replaced the coolant maybe you had an air pocket that got bled out once it was run up to temperature. Perhaps replace the ketchup bottle with something more appropriate like an HP Sauce or Old Speckled Hen bottle. :jester:
 
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RD--

As I said above: "...what you call the expansion jug would actually be a recovery tank and when you shut down your engine and the coolant in the system cools it contracts producing a vacuum that would draw any liquid in the ketchup bottle back into the radiator."

Whatever fluid that was in the ketchup bottle is now mixed into your cooling system and if this was a 1/2 full 8 oz bottle then you are only concerned with a few ounces of liquid which for whatever reason disappeared during your several hour ride. Whether due to steaming off, a slight leak somewhere or simply a paranormal experience I really wouldn't sweat the small stuff.
 
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Rick suggested replacing the bottle with something more appropriate. I'd recommend going to an aluminum recovery tank which you can buy online from a number of sources. Aside from looking a lot better than a ketchup bottle it will not allow you to see small differences in fluid levels and eliminate one more thing about which to obsess. Instead you can enjoy your drive--both while you are on the road and after you return to the garage.

FWIW my temperature gauge has been inoperative for more than a year and not once during that time did I have a worrisome time as a result of seeing the needle climb past 190 degrees. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, though I am going to remove it and send it off to be repaired so I can again begin thinking about being stuck in traffic, etc. etc.
 
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RDKeysor

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Further to Michael's comment on obsessing over engine temperatures, etc., I'm happy to say that I have solved the problem of not being able to see my instruments because of the fat leather LeCarra (sic) steering wheel with its three supporting arms (think Motta Lita) that came on my car. Seeing the instruments is a particular challenge to me, as I have but one eye after two injuries, 12 surgeries, infections, etc. I recently undid the nine screws that retain the steering wheel on the hub, replacing the wheel with the single supporting bar at the top center and the other two at say 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. I now can see both the speedo and tach on either side of the central bar, and if I think it worth looking, I can see the only thing central on my Series 1 BN7 instrument panel, the turn signal light. I can see the oil pressure/temp gauge on the left and the hopelessly inaccurate fuel gauge on the right. I make a fairly lengthy club run tomorrow and will report back on how my new recovery vessel works. I think the only plausible explanation for my empty ketchup bottle was Rick's, there was enough of a void in the cooling system that the content of the bottle was sucked back into the radiator after I stopped the car. How I had a void in there is puzzling to me, as I drive the car frequently. Maybe I wasn't driving it far enough to expose the void.
 

LarryK

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Coolant recovery would need a radiator cap that allows for the overflow to return to the radiator. Possibly the bottl never got anything as sysrem was filled properly. With a stock cap nothing would return to system and since anything going to bottle would be hot may have vaporized thru hole in top. Coolant recovery bottles have no relief hole.
 
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Larry--

I think it is safe to assume that the original cap on Keysor's car has been replaced, probably more than once, and since the great majority of applications have coolant recovery systems it would probably be a difficult task to find a cap without a top seal and vacuum relief valve, though anything is possible.

You are correct in stating that "coolant recovery bottles have no relief hole"--or at least not in modern OEM systems--for the environmental and "pet-safety" reasons stated in Dave Dubois' excellent article:

https://homepages.donobi.net/sufuel...ANSION_TANKS_COOLANT_RECOVERY_SYSTEMS_AND.pdf

The systems you see in modern cars utilize custom-designed plastic tanks that have a capacity of at least one and usually several quarts of liquid. Also the header tank/pressurized radiator has pretty much been done away with and the tanks themselves have pressurized caps so the entire system is pressurized, thus with no vent.
With cars such as ours the header tank/pressurized radiator cap is retained and there is no reason not to vent the recover bottle. Due to space restrictions and esthetic considerations my choices were limited to one of the small AL cans commonly found at Jegs, Speedway, Canton Racing, etc. and I chose a bottle with a top vent as well so that in case of a major overheat I would not burst a hose or fitting somewhere. Thankfully that has not happened and I have yet to see any coolant on my garage floor.
 

glemon

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I used one of these in my 100, straight from the overflow pipe on the side of the radiator fill tube. https://m.advanceautoparts.com/mt/s...s-mcr-3/6010229-P?searchTerm=coolant+recovery I mounted it on the inner fender above the wheel well, you really can't see it, it actually would push some coolant into the tank when it got hot, and, to my surprise, suck it back into the radiator when it cooled off. Though not designed as a modern sealed system, it worked as one by simply fitting the cheap expansion tank to the overflow tube.
 
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I'm committing apostasy here, but have to ask why anyone needs a coolant recovery system on a Healey. The coolant capacity is sufficient--2.5g IIRC; my 4.6 liter Mustang engine only needs 3g (it's over 50% larger)--and I don't think the half-quart or so you lose by leaving sufficient headroom in the tank is gonna make all that much difference to overheating. I've got no problem with it; but if your engine is in good nick and clean, the stock system with a recored radiator and a better fan is sufficient for all but the most extreme conditions (like pulling the westbound grade up the Panamint Mountains from Death Valley at 115degF, and we still held 212 with the heater on).

Romex suit on ... fire away.
 

glemon

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I'm committing apostasy here, but have to ask why anyone needs a coolant recovery system on a Healey.

I had a wonderful lab mix who died from drinking antifreeze, I am not sure where she got it, my garage was kept clean, we didn't let her run free, but regardless that was the vet's diagnosis. I don't want to have that happen to someone else because of my rad overflowing into a puddle on the street. https://www.humanesociety.org/anima...ifreeze.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/ I am not really trying to start a big discussion on this, just pointing out there are other reasons than cooling.
 
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I had a wonderful lab mix who died from drinking antifreeze, I am not sure where she got it, my garage was kept clean, we didn't let her run free, but regardless that was the vet's diagnosis. I don't want to have that happen to someone else because of my rad overflowing into a puddle on the street. https://www.humanesociety.org/anima...ifreeze.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/ I am not really trying to start a big discussion on this, just pointing out there are other reasons than cooling.

Fair enough; I hadn't considered that angle. However, if you leave a couple inches of headroom in the radiator tank there should be no overflow.
 
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There a movement afoot to put ingredients in propylene/ethylene glycol antifreeze products that would make them less or unattractive to animals--see:

https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/21/making-antifreeze-less-deadly-for-pets-and-people/?_r=0

According to this site as of last year there was mandatory legislation in 17 states though as the writer points out there is much of the old stuff sitting on shelves not to mention in the cooling systems of cars. BTW I wonder happens to coolant when one takes it to the local dump? I guess it must be recycled but I have never seen a sign on the barrel asking if it is the old style or new.

BTW propylene glycol is used in lots of the food we eat--unless your food is organic you are probably getting your dose of it from numerous products on your friendly supermarket's shelves. Read the ingredients....
 
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