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Cooling System Leak Test
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Cooling System Leak Test

Nick Czerula

Time:

1.5 hours

Tab:

$20

Talent:

**

Tools:

Cooling system pressure tester

Applicable Models:

Volvo V70 (1998-01)
Volvo V70 2.4T (2001)
Volvo V70 AWD (1998-99)
Volvo V70 GLT (1998-00)
Volvo V70 GLT SE (2000)
Volvo V70 R (1998)
Volvo V70 R AWD (1999-00)
Volvo V70 T5 (1998-01)
Volvo V70 X/C (2001)
Volvo V70 X/C AWD (1998-00)
Volvo V70 X/C AWD SE (2000)

Parts Required:

Engine coolant. Additional parts will be determined once leak is found.

Hot Tip:

Check for leaks with engine warm and cold

Performance Gain:

Repair coolant leaks

Complementary Modification:

Replace associated hoses and cooling system seals

The Volvo V70 cooling system is filled through the plastic coolant expansion tank (or coolant reservoir) at the right front of the engine compartment. There is no cap on the radiator. Other components of the cooling system consist of:

A timing belt driven coolant pump bolted to the right side of the engine block.

An electric cooling fan attached to the rear of the radiator. The cooling fan is controlled by the engine control module (ECM) via an output final stage.

Thermostat.

Automatic transmission cooler (heat exchanger).

Coolant level sensor inside expansion tank.

Coolant temperature sensor at cylinder head.

Coolant hose and lines.

Pressure testing your V70 cooling system is the best way to find leaks. However, not everyone has a pressure tester. I would suggest owning one if you plan to maintain your own vehicles. It can save quite a bit of time when locating a cooling system leak. You can also check for leaks without a pressure tester, but results are less accurate and the procedure is time consuming. I will cover pressure testing in this tech article, as well as some tips on checking for leaks without using one. Always start with a cool engine. If you do not find the leak, warm the engine with the pressure tester installed. At times, leaks will surface as parts expand from engine heat. Look for leaks at and around all the components listed above.

A cooling system pressure tester is used to pressurize a cooling system and hold it at a specified pressure while looking for leaks. Coolant leaks can be internal (i.e., head gasket) or external (i.e., radiator). It is important to take these things into consideration when looking for a coolant leak. If you are losing coolant, but not seeing any on the ground, this would likely be an internal coolant leak. Puddles of coolant found under your vehicle would be from an external leak. Remember to properly clean any coolant that gets on the ground and properly dispose of it. Place a drain pan under suspected areas of leaks to minimize coolant spills. A pressure tester is the quickest way to find these leaks.

Do not remove the expansion tank cap to install the pressure tester while the engine is hot. Coolant or hot steam may escape and will scald you. To do any work on the cooling system, wait until the engine has cooled off.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

When pressure testing a cooling system, be sure the vehicle is cool and lacks pressure.
Figure 1

When pressure testing a cooling system, be sure the vehicle is cool and lacks pressure. Then, remove the coolant expansion tank cap (green arrow).

Once the cap is removed, siphon some of the coolant out of the reservoir.
Figure 2

Once the cap is removed, siphon some of the coolant out of the reservoir. This prevents spills.

Once the coolant level is lowered, install the pressure tester adapter (green arrow) to the coolant expansion tank.
Figure 3

Once the coolant level is lowered, install the pressure tester adapter (green arrow) to the coolant expansion tank.

Pressurize the system to 1.
Figure 4

Pressurize the system to 1.5 bar (21.8 psi). Pressure should not drop more than 10% over a two minute time period. If the pressure drops right off, that is a sign of a leak. Look for coolant on the ground. If no coolant reaches the ground, you could have an internal leak. If you suspect a head gasket leak, you need to test cylinder sealing via a leak down test. If the coolant leaks externally, use a flashlight and follow the coolant to its source.

Coolant leaking down the right rear of the engine (red arrow) could be from the water pump (green arrow) or coolant pipe.
Figure 5

Coolant leaking down the right rear of the engine (red arrow) could be from the water pump (green arrow) or coolant pipe. These are the two most common areas. The left side of the engine also has coolant pipes and hoses that leak. Look for coolant leaking near the transmission to indicate an issue in that area.

Coolant leaking down the radiator could be from the radiator or a radiator hose.
Figure 6

Coolant leaking down the radiator could be from the radiator or a radiator hose. When looking for leaks at the radiator, inspect the side tanks (green arrow) on the radiator for signs of leaks or fresh coolant. Use a mirror to inspect the bottom of the hoses and connections at the radiator.


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