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Coolant disappearing but no visible leak, engine overheating

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New User

Nov 27, 2008, 5:43 PM

Post #1 of 2 (2770 views)
Coolant disappearing but no visible leak, engine overheating Sign In

I have a 2003 Kia Sedona. It's been working fine until today when driving home we noticed the heater blowing cold air in the rear of the van, then the engine temp started to redline. We pulled over and turned off the car for a few minutes. When starting up again, noticed the engine was running loud but the temp. gauge went back to normal. Then heat stopped working completely and air conditioning fan and light would not turn off. After driving a few minutes the gauge stared to redline again. The air turned off and the gauge came down a little but not much. When we arrived home (which was only 5-6 minutes after this started happening), we checked the coolant levels (even though we check and fill these regularly and had just done so a couple of weeks ago) and noticed the engine coolant is very low. Strange, because it was just done and we haven't noticed any leaks. Topped up the coolant and started up the van again, same things happening and the coolant disappeared by 1/ visible leaks anywhere! Radiator is cool, no smoke, no discharge anywhere....HELP! My warranty just ran out last month, of course!

Loren Champlain Sr
Veteran / Moderator
Loren Champlain Sr profile image

Nov 27, 2008, 6:37 PM

Post #2 of 2 (2754 views)
Re: Coolant disappearing but no visible leak, engine overheating Sign In

With that much water/coolant disappearing, there almost has to be an external leak somewhere. Hopefully, it's not an internal leak. Check the oil for moisture. That much coolant would make the oil look like a chocolate milkshake.
If it is going through the head gasket, out through the exhaust, you surely would have noticed a huge cloud of steam/smoke coming from the tail pipe. When you mentioned that the coolant dropped 1/4 after filling it, sounds like just air being worked from engine. After checking the above, and every thing is okay, get the radiator full and let it run up to operating temp, watching the temp so as not to let it overheat. You may have a stuck, or at least, sticky thermostat. The electric cooling fan may not come on until the engine temp reaches 230F. You can put the heater control into the A/C mode which should turn the fan on if your temp starts getting out of control. Once up to operating temp, radiator full, everything looking good, put the raditor cap back on. Shut the engine off and start looking for leaks. A weak radiator cap can allow coolant to prematurely go into the coolant overflow reservoir causing it to overfill and out onto the ground. When the engine cools, it pulls the coolant out of the reservoir back into the radiator. Eventually, you run out of coolant if this happens too many times. Just food for thought.
SW Washington

(This post was edited by landdchamploren on Nov 27, 2008, 6:39 PM)

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