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Rear heater, RAM 1500 Van, Coolant leak stopped automatically! What next?


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unn
Novice

Mar 29, 2021, 1:56 PM

Post #1 of 13 (578 views)
Rear heater, RAM 1500 Van, Coolant leak stopped automatically! What next? Sign In

Hello, I don't normally fix my vehicles. 1999 Ram 1500 Van (conversion). Last few times I drive it, I noticed watery liquid dripping from the back end of the van below where the rear AC unit is. I thought it is just condensation water until (even though I had not run the AC) the engine flashed a red light and I saw the temp was high. I immediately turned the vehicle off. There was no further drip (the radiator was empty). Let it cool down and discovered that the radiator fluid was almost empty. That is when I realized that it was a coolant leak. It is not easy to access the rear unit in this vehicle. The paneling is custom fitted and I can't even figure out how to remove the panels. So I thought that I will just bypass the rear heater hoses under the hood. Put new coolant in (50:50, and no additives). Started the engine. No more leak. I did not take it out on the road but I have turned the engine off on several times. Rear heater on, blower only on, AC on etc. I could not make it leak again and the engine did not overheat.
Now the question is: 1. Why did it stop leaking? Will it start leaking again just when I am out in the boondocks? Do I still do the bypass or wait for a leak again? Thanks for the help.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Mar 29, 2021, 2:19 PM

Post #2 of 13 (568 views)
Re: Rear heater, RAM 1500 Van, Coolant leak stopped automatically! What next? Sign In

It may be puddling up in the housing or it may not have built up enough pressure yet but leaks don't disappear on their own. You may find it easier to bypass from the rear, under the van. Both hoses are easily accessible to join together.

You can even do it without having to drain all the coolant by pinching off the hoses a couple feet ahead while you are connecting them. There is a good chance the hoses are 2 different sizes so you may have to buy a connector that reflects that.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



(This post was edited by Hammer Time on Mar 29, 2021, 2:22 PM)


Tom Greenleaf
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Mar 29, 2021, 4:26 PM

Post #3 of 13 (553 views)
Re: Rear heater, RAM 1500 Van, Coolant leak stopped automatically! What next? Sign In

That's a practical thing to do as Hammer said. Hoses may be part metal, part rubber do check for rust or rubbing if making a "U" turn under or at the back.
They almost have to be two different sizes so be creative there's plumbing items to make it a "U" turn skipping the heater core.


Pressure test it when done. It may take several cycles warmed up, cooled down to purge out air. Carry spare pre-mixed coolant and check it a lot till stable.
If you want to fix it it's probably the heater core. Custom Vans and things are usually easier to find hidden screws and fasteners if nothing OE made.
It's a '99 if you don't really need the heat it shouldn't do any harm get a 12v fan for a cig lighter blow front heat back there :-)


T



unn
Novice

Mar 30, 2021, 1:55 PM

Post #4 of 13 (530 views)
Re: Rear heater, RAM 1500 Van, Coolant leak stopped automatically! What next? Sign In

Thanks guys. Yes, there is continuing leak. So I bypassed the hoses under the hood. I put a plugs in the dead ends of hoses just to keep bugs and stuff from going in just in case I want to ever fix it and put hoses back together.


Tom Greenleaf
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Mar 30, 2021, 2:09 PM

Post #5 of 13 (526 views)
Re: Rear heater, RAM 1500 Van, Coolant leak stopped automatically! What next? Sign In

You really should make a "U" turn so flow is thru both hoses not just plug them off even up close.


I plead that I'll never know which engines (none said so far) use heaters for a "by-pass" system meaning it's part of mixing all coolant in engine to warm up uniformly. I doubt it for just the rear in this case that was optional TMK to have at all.


It's not that hard to get barbed copper one the larger size and solder them together. Two elbows if you want connect those with rubber hose. If not barbed I suggest double clamping this creation.


Your still better off now than running out of coolant and overheating it just could be made better IMO so coolant flows however it was designed for this,


Tom


Hammer Time
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Mar 30, 2021, 2:39 PM

Post #6 of 13 (520 views)
Re: Rear heater, RAM 1500 Van, Coolant leak stopped automatically! What next? Sign In

I hope you found the right place to bypass this and didn't disconnect the front also. These front and rear systems make it difficult with all the piping. That's why I suggested doing it in the read where they are more accessible.

The parts store sells plastic connectors specifically designed for this purpose. They have them that are 5/8" on one end and 3/4" on the other.







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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



unn
Novice

Mar 31, 2021, 4:24 AM

Post #7 of 13 (498 views)
Re: Rear heater, RAM 1500 Van, Coolant leak stopped automatically! What next? Sign In

Thank you every one. I think I cut the correct hoses. What I did is locate the hoses from the back under the chasis. There were 4 hoses zip tied together. Followed them to front under the hood, where two hoses are going into the aluminum freon pipes and the other two go to the back wall through a T- connector. There is also a valve in one of the hoses. I cut this hose distal to the valve so the valve would still be effective. The other hose at the same level. First I was going to use a U-shaped hose Dayco 87653 with a brass straight connector Dayco 80422. But then I saw this elbow Dayco 80763. So I connected it directly with the elbow only. The two ends I plugged are the cut end going to the back. With the engine running I can feel the looped part of hoses getting warm. So, it seems to be working.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Mar 31, 2021, 4:42 AM

Post #8 of 13 (494 views)
Re: Rear heater, RAM 1500 Van, Coolant leak stopped automatically! What next? Sign In

Sounds like you found better stuff than I can that fast! You checked it was warm then it really should be fine. By now if some problem it was from overheating in the first place IMO, T


unn
Novice

Mar 31, 2021, 8:30 AM

Post #9 of 13 (482 views)
Re: Rear heater, RAM 1500 Van, Coolant leak stopped automatically! What next? Sign In

Thank you Tom. Did you mean the leak was the result of overheating? I don't think the leak resulted because the engine overheated because I have never had that gauge show it. This was the first time I have ever seen it overheat and that was simply because coolant was all gone. Thanks.


Hammer Time
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Mar 31, 2021, 8:56 AM

Post #10 of 13 (480 views)
Re: Rear heater, RAM 1500 Van, Coolant leak stopped automatically! What next? Sign In


Quote
I don't think the leak resulted because the engine overheated because I have never had that gauge show it. This was the first time I have ever seen it overheat and that was simply because coolant was all gone.


I agree



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Mar 31, 2021, 10:16 AM

Post #11 of 13 (474 views)
Re: Rear heater, RAM 1500 Van, Coolant leak stopped automatically! What next? Sign In

OK, 1st post you said temp was high. It was out or so low on coolant sensors may not work so I worried for you. Next to running out of oil, or oil pressure, overheats are the most damaging to an engine you can do IMO that's all, Tom


unn
Novice

Apr 1, 2021, 7:11 AM

Post #12 of 13 (461 views)
Re: Rear heater, RAM 1500 Van, Coolant leak stopped automatically! What next? Sign In

Thank you Tom. I understand what you are saying. Some where in my conversation I must have missed. When the red light warning came on, that is when I looked at the gauge and temp was in the high. Luckily I was able to pull over within a minute or so and shut the engine off. After this episode I did check all the other fluid levels also and they are all ok, no oil burn off. Also I did not see any smoke under the hood or from tail pipe. I appreciate you all's advice.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Apr 1, 2021, 8:15 AM

Post #13 of 13 (459 views)
Re: Rear heater, RAM 1500 Van, Coolant leak stopped automatically! What next? Sign In

It only takes seconds when no liquid to cool a liquid cooled engine to get out of control hot. Don't always rely on warnings, many are late.
Think of water alone @ just 125F is so hot you can't touch it long! Don't try either. But cook something wave your hand over air way up there - 250F for a second doesn't burn you so fast - don't try that either.
Dumping engine heat is hard to do they work so hard you don't realize. Push this van on level ground + appreciate how hard it's working to do highway speed or a dang thing.


The key is all items same temp as close as possible from cold starts thru all phases of running with "dis-similar" metals used expand and contract at very different amounts or speed to do so. Crack, bang - game over in no time hope nothing and it's a maybe? You'll know but just keep checking coolant and oil for anything wrong,


T







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