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 Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...

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Xcalak
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Location: New Berlin, WI
Joined: 2009-01-16
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PostSubject: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:34 pm

The low coolant light first comes on once the car is warm and it cycles on and off every few minutes. Radiator is full and has been replaced within the past 3-4 years. I do remember having some weird fitting replaced, something the radiator place had never seen before, I think at the bottom of the radiator.

When I first turn the car on and drive, in the first minute or two I hear a loud slaushing sound as if in the dash and then that sound goes away.

No drips under the car.

Noticed my hood was open once I got to work today, latched but ajar, I know my husband took a peak under the hood last night, but is he trying to kill me?

P.S. I love this car and if I had room, I'd buy a whole herd to keep me in Rivs for the rest of my life.
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Rickw
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Name: Rick
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Location: Lancaster, MA
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:41 pm

First, the weird fitting was an adapter installed by the factory in the lower radiator hose. Unique to these cars and not needed when replacing hoses.
Nothing to do with current problem and nothing to be concerned about.
It sounds like you have air trapped in the cooling system that needs to bleed out.
There is a bleeder screw in the thermostat housing for this purpose.
Bleed air out and add anti-freeze to top off system. Sloshing noise should go away.
If light continues to flicker change / replace the coolant level sensor.
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deekster_caddy
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Location: Reading, MA
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:40 pm

I agree with Rick here - sounds like air in the system and you need to bleed it out with the thermostat housing air bleeder.

With the engine cool, you might want to open the bleeder and rad cap at the same time and top off the radiator slowly, so some air has a chance to bleed out of the tstat housing at the same time. Sounds like there is a good amount of air trapped in there.
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Xcalak
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Location: New Berlin, WI
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:55 pm

deekster_caddy wrote:
I agree with Rick here - sounds like air in the system and you need to bleed it out with the thermostat housing air bleeder.

With the engine cool, you might want to open the bleeder and rad cap at the same time and top off the radiator slowly, so some air has a chance to bleed out of the tstat housing at the same time. Sounds like there is a good amount of air trapped in there.

Would I find the location of the bleeder screw in my manual or could you help me locate it?
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Rickw
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Name: Rick
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Location: Lancaster, MA
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:10 pm

Follow the upper radiator hose on the drivers side of radiator to the engine. It will connect to the thermostat housing. On top of that housing you will see a brass screw sticking straight up, that the bleeder screw.
Turn counterclockwise to loosen and purge air out. When done, tighten but don't over tighten as it is only brass and you can damage it.
To purge air make sure radiator is full when cold, then warm engine and open bleeder screw to release air. When a steady stream of anti-freeze comes out close screw.
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Mr.Riviera
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Name: Matthew
Age: 27
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:46 pm

i agree with what has been stated so far, but i'll add that you should run the heat on high when you do this to ensure the coolant is running through the heater core and rear hoses.
i'm sure you would have the heat on anyways seeing you are in WI, but it's 80* here.

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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:50 pm

If you also have a musty smell from the AC vents, most likely your AC drain tube is clogged. It's on the passenger side firewall, pretty low. A long pipe cleaner stuck up in it will probably work to get it open, don't tear it though.

There is a write up about this problem elsewhere on this Editboard.

Albertj


Last edited by albertj on Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Xcalak
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Location: New Berlin, WI
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:28 pm

Thanks to all for the advice. We did bleed a lot of air out. The low coolant light comes on less frequent and I think we'll try to elevate the front end and bleed some more.

Besides tightening up the hose clamps, just wondering what might have caused excess air in the coolant system. I'd rather head off any issues sooner than later.

Thanks again.
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deekster_caddy
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:33 am

How long ago was that piece replaced at the bottom of the radiator? Did they drain the whole system? These engines are supposed to have the air bled out when filling, if it wasn't filled properly could cause the air pockets.
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'96reese
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Name: Reese
Age: 31
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Fri Jan 30, 2009 1:29 pm

check out your low coolant sensor. i know mine has been trying to go out on me a for while now. it kept cycling on and off. i was never low on coolant either. i have yet to replace mine because of the price of the sensor(about $150 dealer only, '96 riv sucks)
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Mr.Riviera
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Name: Matthew
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:23 pm

few things are dealer only.
$54 at rockauto
http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/x,carcode,1022038,parttype,2184

$61 at the local auto store
http://www.autozone.com/N,16301719/shopping/partTypeResultSet.htm

but if the sensor is broken, the light will not be on. if you unplug the sensor the light will not come on saying low coolant.
therefore you may just have an air bubble on the sensor or in the system.

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Rickw
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Name: Rick
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:37 pm

The sensors get dirty and an intermittent light problem can sometimes be resolved by removing the sensor and cleaning it.
Providing you have purged all air from the cooling system.
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Xcalak
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Location: New Berlin, WI
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:00 pm

The light still cycles on and off. I'm down a gallon of antifreeze since I first started this topic. I see no signs of a leak, but I can occasionally smell antifreeze. No liquid comes out anymore when the system is bled. Sloshing noise continues. Temperature gauge continues to read a steady 200 as it always has. Could I have a hose leak and the antifreeze just burns off?
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Rickw
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Name: Rick
Age: 55
Location: Lancaster, MA
Joined: 2008-09-13
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Merit: 100

PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:08 pm

You need to pressurize the system and look for leaks. If you don't have a pressure tester, then have a shop do it and pray that your not burning it internally.
But first you need to find the leak. Hopefully its a hose or something simple, maybe behind the engine where you can't see it. That's where the pressure tester comes in handy.
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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Low Coolant light comes on and off and on and off...   Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:19 pm

Hey RIck is it still the case that you get white residue inside the tailpipe if you're burning antifreeze (even with a catalytic converter)?

Albertj
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