engine coolant spilled under the hood by JiffyLube

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Pat

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Joined
Mar 17, 2005
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1,234
Location
Payson AZ
I took the motorhome to JiffyLube the other day.  The JiffyLube guy said there was corrosion on the radiator cap, which indicated it might be a good idea to change that coolant, so I said OK.  When I checked out, he said to bring it back in a couple days to check the coolant.  I told him it takes me too long  to level and restore everything, so he needed to tell me what to check for.  He drew a diagram of a couple things.  When I did the follow-up, there was an oily smelling drip in the drip pan, the coolant container was quite low, and there was a greasy puddle on the slab under the mh.  Called JiffyLube.  Somebody came here and explained that the coolant spill was done when somebody missed the coolant fill opening.  It wasn't a leak.  Whoever spilled didn't clean it up, because everything's coated with the stuff.  The low coolant in the reservoir he said was due to "air pockets" that settled during the 3-mile drive back here.  He brought coolant, which he used to fill the reservoir.  He left me with the rest of the container.  He checked other things and recommended I buy a new radiator cap, which I did yeseterday.  Apparently they suggest a new cap with each coolant change.

Question:  How serious a problem is this mess of coolant under the hood?  Should I try to clean it off?  Yes, I can insist on JiffyLube coming out to clean it, but at some point I'd prefer to minimize the damage.  I'm still trying to get the greasy handprints off of everything.  They preprint that they wash windows.  Neither the mh nor the tow car was done.  I will check the air in the tires myself.  Makes me wonder what else they didn't do.

I checked the coolant level today.  It hasn't gone down from his fill the other night.  The drip on the slab has not gotten larger.  So it looks like there's no serious leak someplace.  Just the spill was dripping out of the drip pan.

I can't get the old radiator cap off to put on the new one.  It's like one of those childproof medicine caps.  Don't want to break anything, so I'll get some help one of these days.  I just need to do it once to learn how.

--pat
 

JerArdra

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Mar 3, 2005
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1,814
Pat,

Turn the cap counter clockwise BUT push down as you turn it.  Radiator caps usually turn a little bit and than stop at the point that you must push down.  By pushing down as you turn it you can finish the turning so it comes off.  Take the cap with you to the auto parts store because the cap usually has a number on it like 6 pounds or 8 pounds or ???.

No problem with the spill.  Wipe up what you can and let it go at that.

JerryF
 

Pat

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Mar 17, 2005
Posts
1,234
Location
Payson AZ
Jerry:

Thanks for the info.  That's a relief to know I don't have some serious damage.  The JiffyLube guy called NAPA and ordered the cap, so it's supposed to be the correct one.  If the new cap fits, I'll take the box and old cap to NAPA to make sure they sold me the correct one. 


--pat
 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
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24,948
Location
Davison Michigan
I would wash the coolant "puddles" away using clear water (engine off)

The air pocket explanation on the low recovery bottle level is very very possible,  It is next to impossible to eliminate all the air pockets with doing a quick flush and fill.  However an hours drive time will usually get them.  Then the radiator is refilled from the overflow/recovery bottle resulting in lower than normal levels.

However this should not need to be topped off all that often, Once after your first trip, perhaps again after the second trip and then once every few months (There is some loss via evaporation no matter how well the system is sealed)
 

Gottasmilealot

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Oct 8, 2006
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324
Location
PA
You can always wet-vac the rest of the spillage so it doesn't smell.  The radiator caps have the interim stop as a safety in case you try to take it off under pressure contrary to the warning stickers.  Instead of the cap blowing off, the pressure will be release from under the cap. After the pressure is released, you can push down and turn it to the left again to get it off. Always let the engine cool before trying to get the cap off.  Checking the number rating of the cap is a good idea just to be sure they gave you the right one (or to be sure the right one was put on the last time).
 

CurtRR

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Aug 7, 2006
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53
Location
Texas
Gottasmilealot said:
You can always wet-vac the rest of the spillage so it doesn't smell.? The radiator caps have the interim stop as a safety in case you try to take it off under pressure contrary to the warning stickers.? Instead of the cap blowing off, the pressure will be release from under the cap. After the pressure is released, you can push down and turn it to the left again to get it off. Always let the engine cool before trying to get the cap off.? Checking the number rating of the cap is a good idea just to be sure they gave you the right one (or to be sure the right one was put on the last time).

Radiator coolant is quite toxic to animals and apparently tastes very good, so pets have been killed by it.? As mentioned, it should be washed up with water.? Cleaning the engine with water to get rid of it is acceptable, too.? Just protect anything you don't want to get wet with a plastic bag over, say, the distributor, if you have one.? Rinse the driveway thoroughly when you're done.? (And if someone tells you to cover the ignition system on your diesel, he is not your friend. :))
 

Pat

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Mar 17, 2005
Posts
1,234
Location
Payson AZ
Engine is gas, and I'll clean up the coolant.  The level had never gone down in the 4 years I've been driving this, but I can understand the air pockets.  Coolant is full.  New cap is on.  I did hear a cat, climb up in there one night, so I need to get that coolant cleaned off today.

I'm probably staying here till May 1.  The coolant is new and the transmission fluid has been changed, oil has only 3 miles on it, gas tank is full and has Stabil.  Should I run the motor now and then or not?  Tires are Michelins put on new last April or so.  Does the mh have to be moved?

--pat
 

Ron from Big D

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Jan 30, 2005
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Location
Dallas, Texas
Clean up the coolant everywhere with clear water.  Dilute the standing coolant.  It is poison to any animal.  Animals are attracted to the coolant.  Very dangerous.

 
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