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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 396 in my 68 Camaro, just recently noticed a fine "mist" of some kind, on my rear bumper, especially after long drives. When I first start up the car, I see some condensation coming out of the tailpipes, but always assumed this was normal from just sitting for weeks at a time. I used to have the mufflers dumped behind the rear axle, and just recently had the tailpipes run right out of the back of the car, which is probably why now I'm noticing the "film" on the rear bumper. Car uses some water, but not much, maybe a gallon every couple hundred miles. What am I looking at here? Head gasket? Intake gasket? It's not isolated to one side either, there's an equal amount of film on both sides of the bumper, I've smelled it too, doesn't smell much like anti-freeze, or anything else for that matter? Could this me normal??? Ideas anyone?
 

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Sounds like you may have a problem. You shouldn't be having to add coolant every
couple hundred miles. Could be alot of things. Cracked head, blown gasket, cracked cylinder wall, warped block deck. I would start by doing a presure test on the cooling system and then a compression test to issolate which cylinder your dumping coolant into. Also check your oil and see if you have coolant in the crankcase.
 

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But hes loosing 1 gal of coolant in 200 miles. I think he has more than a just condensation problem from burnt fuel.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think Mr. C is right, although the gallon every 200 mile is just an estimate. I know it's not leaking from anywhere else, and this "film" on the bumper has to be coming from somewhere, I'm going to have the cooling system pressure tested, and then do a compression check, and go from there. I hope it's not a cracked block or head, that would really upset me, a head gasket I could deal with. Thanks for the help guys........Bob
 

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Just a thought:

Did anyone ever add a coolant recovery tank to your car?? If not, then the radiator is not supposed to be filled up higher than 2" from the bottom of the cap. If you fill it up to the base of the cap, then it will leak water out the overflow hose while you drive.

If your filling it to the proper level, then I agree with Mr C, you have an internal engine leak some where. Does the water vapor on the bumper feel greasy and/or smell like coolant??

Paul D.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hmmmmm. I always fill it to the top, there is not a "recovery" system perse. The tube that is supposed to go into the the recovery bottle, I have it run down into a hole, in the subframe I believe, which obviously exits under the car. Could it possibly go all the way under the car, and then back up onto the rear bumper?????
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It's funny you mention that, because the last several times I have driven it, it's been a few 100 miles at a time, all highway miles. I'll throw in a catchcan and see if it disappears! Thanks alot guys, this site is awesome!!!
 

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As already mentioned (these guys are good), when I was reading the original question the first thing I thought was if you had a catch can. Since you don't you can expect to lose water. There are two ways to run an over flow, 1: a catch can, which does just that catches the over flow. 2: A recovery tank, this allows the water to be syphoned back in as the water level drops in the radiator.

If you run a catch can, your water level will still go down and you will need to drain it periodically. The main difference is the recovery tanks have a hose/tube that goes to the bottom (or very close to it) of the tank. I modified my catch can into a recovery by adding a tube.

Some moisture in the exhaust is normal.
 

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Forgive me if this has already been mention since I didn't read every post in detail. I saw a comment about pressure testing and wanted to recommend a different approach. Some auto mechanics have a thing that bubbles radiator gasses through a colored liquid. The liquid will change colors (blue to yellow I think) if there are exhaust gases in the radiator. That is probably the test I'd do.

-dnult
 

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Discussion Starter #12
PDQuick, you hit the nail right on the head! Installed a temporary "overflow" jar (antifreeze jug), drove the car about 100 miles today, the rear bumper was clean as a whistle! What a load off my mind, this site is awesome!
 

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OK, good news!
Now you have a couple of options. Make sure you don't overfill the radiator and run about a 14-16 lb cap and use a puke tank for the occasional overflow.
Or, get a true coolant return system, some guys here make them out of old windshield washer tanks, or there are some real trick ones available at places like Summit, etc. Or your local parts store has a cheapie.
Lots of info here in the archives. Do a search.
Good luck!
 

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Call me a skeptic....and I hate to throw water (pun intended) on all you happy guys here......but the catch-can addition does NOT cover losing a couple of gallons every 200 miles unless he is checking it every day and adding more? YOur system would not push that much out. I would believe that a tired radiator cap might be to blame, but it would push the same couple of gallons out into the bottle over the same distance...right? And.....he said that he simply changed the tailpipes to the rear....would it not shown up with the tailpipes exiting anywhere? I am not convinced by the story told yet.


My point is drive on and see what happens. Monitor it closely. I hope that's all it is tho :D
 

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You can pull the plugs and see what they look like. If you have light water intrusion froma crack or bad gasket the plug will be clean.

I would also try the chemical test mentioned above to see if you have exhaust gases in the cooling system. Chaep test that you should be able to get done at most any shop.

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #16
That "couple of gallons" was just an estimate, it never got low enough on water that the car overheated, I'm guessing all that water was coming from the fact I was filling the 4-core radiator all the way to the top, I've been told by several other people to leave it down a few inches from the top. That "gallon" of water was probably causing the mist on my rear bumper, and everytime I checked it, I filled it back up to the top. The spark plugs look great, it runs like a top, the catch can eliminated the problem most certainly!
 

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Quit "topping off" the radiator all the time, and it'll stop needing coolant; just leave it alone and check it occasionally (cold), and you'll find that it will find its "happy level" by itself, about 3" or so below the cap. If you "top it off", there's no room for hot coolant to expand, and it gets forced out through the overflow hose.
 

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My 69 Z is a ralleysport and the washer resivor is nex to the battery. I simply put a closed system cap on and run a line to the resivor tank and it never needs water or spews out on those hot days
 
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