Newbie Needs Help - Coolant? Leak

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I am a newbie to this site and to Land Cruisers (actually a LX450 in my case). I recently purchased a 1997 LX450 with 58,000 miles on it and it has now started to leak what looks like coolant (flourescent green, but oily) from the front passenger side of the vehicle. I have tried to track down the leak and it looks like it is coming from the joint between the discharge hose from Condensor and the metal hose that goes back through the firewall under the coolant reservoir into the engine compartment to the A/C unit. The discharge hose is about 3/4 up on the front side of the Condensor and bends down to the joint. Could this be coolant? If not what is it? The previous owner had just had the A/C recharged prior to selling it. Is there oil in the condensor? Overnight it drips enough to make about four inch diameter spot on the driveway. I appreciate any and all help. I have done a fair bit on work on cars, mostly on numerous Saabs, but I have always avoided A/C repairs. Thanks.

Joel
1997 LX450
 
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A picture would help. You're describing 2 different systems. What color is the coolant in your radiator/oveflow reservoir?
 
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I am at work and my digital camera is being sent back for service anyway - stupid Olympus camera, but I could borrow a camera for some pictures.

There is green coolant in the reservoir - and I wish I read all the posts regarding red v. green coolant prior to buying the LX450, but the stuff in the reservoir looks alright.

I know I am mixing up the systems, but what is leaking out looks like coolant and that is what makes me wonder whether it is really coolant leaking or something else. Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the condenser sit in front of the radiator? The leak does seem to originate from the juncion of the pipe and hose that comes out of the condenser, which after passing through the firewall under the coolant reservoir to A/C compressor.

Is there a chance that the radiator has a hole in it and it is spraying forward? However, I have not noticed a drop in coolant level.

Sorry for any confusion and thanks for trying to help.

Joel
 

landtank

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The fire wall is that portion of the engine compartment right in front of the driver and just behind the engine.

I only mention this as I'm a little confused.
 

elum

 
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A picture will help tremendously.. How bad is the leak? Our Hueys leak all the time :p If you have a manual break it out and talk using specific part names/numbers... Have you checked all your other fluids for indications of fluid loss?
 

e9999

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sounds like you are describing mostly A/C components.
I guess it could be the A/C oil, esp. some that had fluorescent dye added to it during a leak-finding expedition.
 
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I've not seen green refrigerant, but I haven't seen everything. I imagine it's coolant, since the stuff in your cooling system is green. Do the drops dry up like water, or make a stain like oil?

Does your AC work?

I think the firewall comment is causing the confusion.
 
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cruiserman said:
I've not seen green refrigerant, but I haven't seen everything. I imagine it's coolant, since the stuff in your cooling system is green. Do the drops dry up like water, or make a stain like oil?
Does your AC work?I think the firewall comment is causing the confusion.
Smell it. If its green coolant, it should smell sweet. And if it were an AC leak, depending upon when you first noticed it, the whole system would have discharged and your AC wouldn't be blowing cold.
 

Beowulf

 
 
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The plastic tank on top of the radiator can develop leaks at the seams. If this is the case then it's coolant and you will want to get to know C-Dan and replace the rad. Repairs to the plastic tank are seldom successful.

-B-
 

CJF

 
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Joel,

The stuff the A/C runs on is refrigerant, not coolant. It's highly unlikely that you're seeing refrigerant; your problem likely has nothing to do with the A/C system.

Carefully try to isolate where the coolant (the stuff in the reservoir, passing thru the radiator, yada yada) is leaking from, and keep us posted. As you can see, there are plenty of people here willing to help. :)

Curtis
 
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Thanks for the suggestions. I guess firewall was a bad descriptive phrase - and innacurate. I was referring to the sheet metal wall in front of the coolant reservoir. I looked long and hard tonight and I don't think it is coolant. It is definitely not coolant, it does not evaporate like water and it doesn't smell sweet. It is fluorescent green, just like the liquid in the little window above the headlights.

The confusing thing is that the AC is working great. I definitely think the leak is coming from the L-shaped joint (I wish I knew the proper name) between the hose coming from the condenser connecting to the pipe that goes through the sheet metal under the coolant reservoir to the AC compressor. I would love to see a diagram that identified all the parts, but I haven't been able to find one yet.

I will try and get some pictures.

Joel
 
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Attached (I hope I did it right) are two photos, one from above and one from below of the joint where I think the leak is coming from. You will notice is in the one from below you can see some of the flourescent green liquid. The picture is not very good because it is dark outside. It actually looks like it is bubbling or foaming a little bit. I had cleaned it off a couple of hours ago, so that fluid is new.

I appreciate all the comments.

Thanks.

Joel
Fluid Leak 004A.jpg
Fluid Leak 016A.jpg
 

CJF

 
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:confused:

Never heard of a dripping leak from an A/C system, but maybe e9999's got it right.

Keep investigating, don't jump to conclusions, and hang in there.

Curtis
 
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Beowulf said:
The plastic tank on top of the radiator can develop leaks at the seams. If this is the case then it's coolant and you will want to get to know C-Dan and replace the rad. Repairs to the plastic tank are seldom successful.

-B-

Agreed.

Looking at the pics appears to be coolant. Thanks for clearing up the firewall comment, I think it had a bunch of us puzzled.
 
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JZenger said:
There is green coolant in the reservoir - and I wish I read all the posts regarding red v. green coolant , but the stuff in the reservoir looks alright.I know I am mixing up the systems, but what is leaking out looks like coolant.Joel
So its Green huh? Just same as little green face here :flipoff2:
 
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Not a pro or anything but it looks like green antifreeze to me. Could be leaking above and collecting on that piece before dripping down.

Also, not positive, I think that little sightglass over the light may just be a bubble level for aligning the lights? Or is that on my wifes car...

Charlie
 
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I was just referring to the sight glass more for color, but there is a sight glass on the drivers side of the car for the refrigerant line, which shows liquid that is the same color as what is leaking.

I don't see any possible way that coolant is getting to that point unless it is being sprayed, but that wouldn't be happening when the car is not running and just sitting overnight.

I looked under the vehicle this morning and there was about a three inch wet spot where it had leaked during the night.

Assuming it is a leak in the refrigerant line, I am guessing that it is more than I can repair myself. By the way, can anyone recommend a good LandCruiser mechanic in the Salt Lake City area?

Thanks,

Joel
 
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If it is A/C oil, that is a simple fix, drain the freon, remove the bolt, replace the O-ring, vac and recharge. The freon recovery/recharge and system evacuation is the part that requires some high dollar equipment and may be better done by a shop if your not equipped. Make sure it's not an antifreeze leak from the coolant overflow bottle/line, radiator dripping on the line and running down to there, but if it's bubbling at that spot, that's probably where it's leaking.
 
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