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Anyone try this Bar's Leaks Radiator Stop Leak on their car?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Don2222, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Hello

    Recently I had a New head gasket start leaking in the 1999 Subaru Legacy Wagon!

    So far one bottle helped but still loosing water and no external leaks according to the mechanic.

    So has anyone tried this for $3.50 a Bottle? It is recommended by Subaru!

    Attached Files:

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  2. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    It can/does work on some leaks. But I hate the thought of mixing in a powdered "fix" with the engine coolant. I've seen the powder collect in some off the coolant passages of the engine.

    If you're not seeing white smoke on start-up then you most likely have a warped or cracked head. Pull the spark plugs if you get a chance, if one or more of them is bright white then you know you have coolant leaking into the cylinders. The head should be pulled off the engine and milled flat again by a machine shop after they check it for cracks. I don't know if the stop leak will work well with such a dynamic leak (works better with poorly seated gaskets or thin sealing areas, things that don't change with engine temperature.) but if the car isn't worth the expense of repairing the head then it might be worth a shot.

    Had a Mustang at one time that exhibited similar symptoms. Would pass a cooling system pressure test with flying colors, no external leaks, and no tell tale smoke. But it would drink coolant, like 1 gal every 2 weeks. Cylinder leakdown and compression checks were all good as well. But the warped cylinder heads would only leak when the engine was fully up to operating temperature and combustion chamber temps were high, like Wide Open Throttle. Not that I ever had the throttle pinned on that car. :rolleyes:::-)
  3. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the info.
    I did already spend $1500 for a new head gasket! ! !
    It is my new Gasket that is leaking now! If this is a thicker Gasket, then why is it leaking?
  4. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Because the head is probably warped. You ALWAYS check the head and block sealing surfaces for warpage when replacing a head gasket. I had 2 heads for a V8 completely stripped, cleaned, rebuilt with the valves reground, and milled for $500. Just milling an otherwise good head shouldn't add more than a couple hundred to a head gasket replacement job.

    If you're up for it, I'd pull the plugs and see what color they are. If any are bright white then I'd ask the shop if they checked the head/block for warpage, cracks, and pressure tested the cooling system. Unless the shop that did the work can prove they checked the block/head for warpage, (did they document it on the work-order/invoice?) I'd make 'em redo it right.

    EDIT: Hey Don, just curious but why was the head gasket replaced/how did it fail originally? Was there smoke, water in the oil, or loss of compression? Did the engine overheat?
  5. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    No warranty at the shop that did the work?
  6. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I agree with what MasterMech says regarding the warped heads resulting in leakage past the gasket. Definitely the most likely cause.
    There's also a chance that the head or block is cracked.
    I'll thought I'd point out also (because the mechanic doesn't seem so hot by your desription) that certain types of head bolts require replacement when the head is removed and the new ones have a very specific tightening procedure that results in stretching of the bolts into steel's yield strength region where they act lke springs. I'm not sure your Subuaru is like that or not. If it is and you mechainc didn't replace the bolts or didn't install the new ones correctly, this could result in head gasket leaks. You know your engine has this type of bolt if the tightening procedure includes instructions to rotate the bolts a certain number of degrees after a specific torque value has been reached.
  7. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    The reason that the Head Gasket was replaced is due to the overheating and loss of radiator fluid with no visible external leaks.

    The Radiator, Thermostat, Water Pump and a few hoses were already replaced prior to the head gasket.
    The head gasket was replaced less than 5 months ago. I just had a mechanic check for any external problems the other day and he could not find any.
    So I brought it back into the shop that replaced the head gasket today.

    Originally, this shop did a good job on the head gasket replacement, see repair below. click to Enlarge
    I made a PDF incase you cannot read the jpg. :)
    It does appear from the invoice that new bolts were used and the head was re-surfaced!

    Also to aid in finding the latest problem I wrote down this account of what happened yesterday.

    To aid in diagnosing the current overheating problem in my 1999 Subaru Wagon. Here is an account of what happened.

    As you know, back in late January I brought the car in for a new head gasket. It already had a new radiator and there were no external leaks in the coolant system.

    So the job went well and I did bring it back to have it checked a few days later to make sure the temp gauge fluctuation was ok.

    We also kept an eye on the water in the coolant system adding some whenever needed. It seemed lately we had to add more and more. Finally on my trip up to Lancaster NH it went crazy. The temp guage was fine on the way up and we did closely monitor this gauge. Then we came back to Rt 93 exit 32 and had some supper. We got back on the highway and soon noticed the temp gauge pegged at HOT! So we took an exit and put more than 2 gallons of water in the radiator and still no visible signs of any external leaks. We drove around and the temp went back up to HOT. Luckily I found one of the best garages in the White Mountains! (Campton Mobil LLC 254 route 49 Campton, NH 03223) I purchased a bottle of Bar’s Leaks – Radiator Stop Leak that Subaru recommends and put it in the coolant system. I drove down an exit on the highway and back and the temp gauge pegged at HOT again. Since it was getting late, we left the car for George to look at in the morning. Getting stuck on Rt. 93 at night was not a very good option! George has many years of experience and in fact he has changed a Subaru Outback head gasket in the past! So he added antifreeze and a quart of oil and drove the car and checked for any leaks. He found no external leaks. So we picked up the car that afternoon and attempted the approx 90 mile drive home from Rt 93 exit 28 to Rt 93 Exit 1. After only one exit or so the temp guage started climbing above half way and then go back to half way. A couple of times it went to just under HOT and back down. Then when we hit the Hooksett tolls it went to HOT and stayed there. We pulled over and added a gallon of water after the car cooled down and drove it back to Salem. This temp gauge again started fluctuating going toward Salem and when we took Exit 1 after about only 40 min on the highway, it went to HOT and stayed there as we just barely got it home! After the car cooled down for 4 or 5 hours it needed another gallon of water!

    I believe the Bar’s Leaks Radiator Stop Leak helped us get the car home safely but did not fix the problem and something needs to be fixed to drive without overheating.

    Attached Files:

  8. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Is there any chance that the coolant is blowing past the radiator cap and out the overflow bottle or are you sure its going out the tailpipe?

    I ask becuase there's a dye test that can be done at hte radiator fill port to check for combustion byproducts in the cooling system.

    I assume that radiator cooling fan is working properly?

    One other thought, if this engine has a throttle body heater (where coolant circulates past the throtte body) coolant could be leaking into the engine intake there.
  9. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Yes, the electric radiator fans are working correctly. The overheating happens more on the Highway then around town.
    I checked it many times and there is way too much air deep in the radiator for it to be blowing out the overflow. Thanks for the suggestions!
  10. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Does the throttle body heater heat the air going into the Engine? Not sure if I have one. How can I tell?
  11. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    One head gasket replaced? Isn't this a v4 engine?
  12. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Hi Smoke

    I believe it is a single overhead cam and one head gasket. Not 100% sure but if there were 2 heads then they should replace both gaskets!
    I also believe the issue is Internal Head Gasket Leak, right?

    From http://users.sisna.com/ignatius/subaru/headgasket.html
    Phase 2 engines:
    * Phase 2 engines are SOHC (Single Overhead Cam), were used from 1999 or 2000 to present depending on model, and typically experience an "external" head gasket leakage if it happens. This problem, while pretty widespread, does not seem to be as damaging in nature to the engine. It has been acknowledged by Subaru in the form of a "Service Campaign" #WWP-99 which applies to certain '99 to '02 cars. It involves adding a "Coolant Conditioner" to the coolant and if this is done the owner's head gaskets are covered against external coolant leaks for 8 years or 100K miles.
  13. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    That Felpro number is a "set" of gaskets.
    A throttle body heater is located between the throttle body (where the air enters) and the intake manifold. It will usually have at two small coolant hoses running to it. I'd guess they're about 1/2 in diameter.
  14. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Hello semipro

    Ok, so I do have a double overhead cam. Good catch! They must have changed both head gaskets.

    Fel-Pro HS26167PT2 Cylinder Head Gasket Set

    http://www.amazon.com/Fel-Pro-HS26167PT2-Cylinder-Head-Gasket/dp/B001C98G5O

    Thanks, I will check on the throttle body heater.
  15. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    Ahh makes sense.

    One or two cams overhead has nothing to do with cylinder configuration.
  16. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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  17. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    I believe it's a boxer type engine; an opposed 4 banger. Two heads.
  18. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Any internal leak has to exit by the exhaust pipe whether head gasket, cracked head, cracked block, throttle body heater, or whatever (assuming your oil pan is not filling up with coolant anyway).

    Since you hadn't mentioned white smoke earlier that's why I asked about your radiator overflow. That's another way to lose coolant without it appearing to leak from the engine or exhaust pipe.
  19. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Hello Semipro

    Yes, I do not see alot of white smoke so I am baffled! The car looses more water on the highway faster but still looses it around town!

    One gallon in 1/2 hour of driving 55 on the highway. The radiator is low with alot of air bubbling up. It even shoots water like a volcano if that is any indication of what is wrong!

    Also do aluminum blocks crack just as much as cast iron blocks?
  20. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Based on your description of lots of gas moving through the radiator I'd recommend you have a shop do the dye test to see if combustion byproducts are coming out of the radiator. I' suspect they are. This is the type of kit they use to do this.
    http://www.autozone.com/autozone/ac...-25dh?itemIdentifier=391378&_requestid=667036

    I believe that aluminum blocks/heads are much more susceptible to cracking when overheated but I can't back that up. That's certainly what I observed anecdotally as a mechanic for over 15 years.
  21. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    My money is on either something is cracked or the head gasket job was botched.
  22. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    So you are hinting there is a crack in the block and combustion gases are getting into the coolant system?
    There is no good permanent fix for that. Even though aluminum blocks can be welded it may not hold when the heads are tightened down?

    From http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/aluminum-block-cracked-deck-220392.html

    The temp fix is:
    A temporary fix for say a year or so, I would buy some liquid sodium silicate grades 40 and 42 (waterglass). This stuff has been used to seal engine issues for many moons (along with other things). I use to buy it at the local pharmacy. I would stay away from the similar stuff you can buy at Wal-Mart. You will need about 1 quart of waterglass. The best way to treat your system with it is to drain the cooling system. Disconnect your heater hoses as the waterglass may clog up your heater core. Fill the system with clean water. Start the engine and bring up to operating temperature. When the temperature is say 180-190, add the waterglass to the radiator and replace the cap. Let it idle for 1-2 hours and then drive it around for about 30 minutes, park it and let cool enough so you can safely drain the system again. Drain the system again and fill with the proper antifreeze/water ratio. Reconnect the heater hoses and you're done.

    If your cooling system is fairly clean, you can just drain about a quart of coolant, start the engine and let it get warm and add the waterglass to the anti freeze and just leave it in the system. I believe that some anti freeze manufacturers use sodium silicate in the manufacturing process.

    Waterglass at 1 quart for $10.00 is a real cheap temp fix!
    See > http://shop.chemicalstore.com/navigation/detail.asp?id=SSN

    More Info
    http://catalog.miniscience.com/Catalog/Sodium_Silicate/Default.html

    [​IMG]
  23. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    Aluminum heads and blocks warp badly when oveheated. Did the shop check the block for straightness where the heads bolt on?
  24. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Well it did work fine for a few months, so everything seemed fine until the last week or two. We used it mostly around town. Taking it on the highway makes it worse so I hear!
  25. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Pull the spark plugs. That'll tell you real fast if you're getting coolant in the engine before you move on to any complicated testing. Should tell you which head is leaking and which one is healthy.

    Heet Seeker's comment about this being a boxer 4 (two banks of cylinders 180deg oppsed to each other, a "flat" four.) is bang-on. So now you gotta figure out which head is leaking.

    This poor engine has been overheated a lot unfortunately by the sounds of it. Pegged the gauge 5 times? :eek:

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