The penguin's motorcycling and Jeep blog

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Where's my coolant going?

I'm baffled. My coolant tank was down to the "Min" mark. I'd filled it up to the "Max" mark maybe 10,000 miles ago. My oil has no water in it -- I'd notice when I dumped it. I don't see any leaks anywhere. I don't smell anything inside the Jeep. Should I take it to the dealer under warranty and have them do that black light thing?

Now, my brake fluid and my clutch fluid, I can see why they went down. My front brake pads are about half worn out (at 30,000 miles!), assuming they started out at the same thickness as my rear brake pads (which look barely worn). They're about a quarter inch thick now, which is a fair amount of fluid. I assume my clutch has worn some too. So I poured a bit of DOT3 fluid into both from a fresh container of brake fluid (unopened until I did this), and they should be good for a while. But there ain't no wear parts in my cooling system!

Oh yeah, finished greasing my zerks, and rotating my tires, and changed out the air filter while I was at it too. I'm not going to change the oil right now because it only has 2,000 miles on it, so I'll check the rear diff fluid (#$!@ diff seeps fluid despite my best attempts to seal it with black RTV after the last diff oil change, I'm going to have to go to the aftermarket gasket to see if that works), put the (new, formerly passenger front) spare back on the back of the Jeep, and then I'm done for the 30,000 mile service. The next "big" service will be at 36,000 miles, when I change the diff fluid again, 33K will just be an oil change and zerk puffer.

Last thing: I put anti-seize on the wheel studs. The threads were feeling mighty sticky, which is a bad thing, but this is the first time I've rotated the tires myself since the 6,000 mile rotation (which was the first -- and last -- with the original tires). I suspect the tire shop of not using anti-seize on these things and now they're a bit galled from the rotations every 5-6K miles. At least the tire shop didn't use an air wrench to put the lug nuts back on, I watched'em torque them down right, but I didn't think to check behind them on stud wear caused by galling. Oh well, when I do the brakes in 20,000 miles or so (based on current wear patterns) I'll see about whacking some new studs in. It's really easy to do on a Jeep, just take the caliper off, knock the disk off with the rubber mallet, and then you can whack the studs right out and knock new ones without having to take the axle end off and put it in a hydraulic press. We've done it on the trail before, when a guy who had his studs overstretched by morons with an air hammer had the studs break on the trail and we had to round up some studs from people's spare tire carriers and whack'em in to get him on four wheels again... crap, you can just about fix a pre-2007 Jeep Wrangler with a rock tied to a stick, when it comes down to it :-).

-- Badtux the Wrenchin' Penguin


Gordon said...

Maybe your radiator was a little low and refilled itself from the reservoir. Keep your eye on it, but if the temp is right, I wouldn't worry about it.

If you want to ease your wheel stud threads a little, slather a lugnut with valve grinding compound and work it back and forth a buncha times and then clean the compound off and use the anti-seize. This assumes you don't have a die that size.

BTW, you can make a serviceable one-time die by hacksawing slots inside a nut.

Gordon said...

Oops. That kind of die is useful for restoring threads, not cutting new ones.

BadTux said...

I definitely have a full set of taps and dies, Gordo. I have Jap bikes, remember, where the bolts are made of compressed oatmeal and screw into aluminum engine blocks, LOL!

I think my wheel studs are okay for now. They screwed back okay, so I'll leave the compound trick for later. Just chaps my ass that the assholes who rotate and balance my tires didn't use anti-seize on the dadburned things... goddamned tires weigh 60 friggin' pounds with the steel wheels (they're 32x11.5x15 tires, big beefy offroad mothers), so I really prefer having someone *other* than me manhandle those bastards, but if the assholes ain't gonna do it right... crap.

- Badtux the Wrenchin' Penguin

Gordon said...

Did those Canadians who built yer Jeep make it metric? Oh, the horror...

BadTux said...

Gordo, my Jeep was built in Toledo, Ohio, by Americans gosh durn it. And my tires are inches -- 32 inches tall, on 15 inch wheels, and 11.5 inches wide. What is this "metric" that you are talking about? LOL!

Well, actually, since like all Jeep Wranglers it's "Just Everyone Else's Parts", it has that German transmission in it (metric) and a few other Kraut innovations here and there that are metric too, like the bolts for the coil-over-plug rail. Then there's all the stuff that's unchanged for the past forty years that's all inches, like every bolt on those good ole' Dana axles. Kinda weird working on the thing, you can tell the vintage of the part by whether it's fastened with metric or standard bolts, it's like a history lesson in Jeep evolution via socket wrench :).

- Badtux the Wrenchin' Penguin