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Hey guys and gals I am in need of some help. I have a 2004 F-350, 6.0 Power Stroke Diesel with 101,000 miles on it. It has been completely bulletproofed with new head gaskets and ARP studs installed at around 50,000 miles. Now it has a damn coolant leak that appears in the driver side front wheel well. The thing is, it only leaks when I am pulling a load with it. Without pulling a trailer, I could drive across country and it wouldn't leak a drop.
I took it to my mechanic for Round 1 and he found a cracked hose. Damn I was happy it only cost me $37. Until I hooked up my trailer..... and it leaked again.
Round 2 he replaced the coolant reservoir. It wasn't as cheap as Round 1 but still only around $250. That wasn't bad either, but pulling a load it continued to leak.
Round 3 and the most recent, he said that he believes it's the head gasket and leaks when the engine is under the pressure from the load (trailer).
This is like hearing that your kid isn't athletic. It's hard to accept with the ARP studs and no water in my oil.
I am open to any suggestions before I spend $4000 replacing the head gaskets.
Thank you in advance for your input.
 

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Hey guys and gals I am in need of some help. I have a 2004 F-350, 6.0 Power Stroke Diesel with 101,000 miles on it. It has been completely bulletproofed with new head gaskets and ARP studs installed at around 50,000 miles. Now it has a damn coolant leak that appears in the driver side front wheel well. The thing is, it only leaks when I am pulling a load with it. Without pulling a trailer, I could drive across country and it wouldn't leak a drop.
I took it to my mechanic for Round 1 and he found a cracked hose. Damn I was happy it only cost me $37. Until I hooked up my trailer..... and it leaked again.
Round 2 he replaced the coolant reservoir. It wasn't as cheap as Round 1 but still only around $250. That wasn't bad either, but pulling a load it continued to leak.
Round 3 and the most recent, he said that he believes it's the head gasket and leaks when the engine is under the pressure from the load (trailer).
This is like hearing that your kid isn't athletic. It's hard to accept with the ARP studs and no water in my oil.
I am open to any suggestions before I spend $4000 replacing the head gaskets.
Thank you in advance for your input.
I chased a similar water leak at about 280,000. Mine ended up being the wye fitting under the degas tank. It only leaked when I drove it hard. One day I was pulling the hoses around and the wye broke in half. Finally, a smoking gun. Hopefully, yours is something inexpensive. To check for head gasket, rig a tee into the small line at the top of the reservoir, and put in a 30lb water gauge. If pressure spikes when you drive aggressively, and doesn’t come back dow rather quickly, it is your head gasket. Mine would spike up to 13 when I throttled it hard, and would drop to around 8lbs when I wasn’t accelerating hard. Bad gaskets will spike, and not drop much, but keep building each time you accelerate hard until it vent through the cap at about 16-17.


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Definitely check that degas bottle Y fitting stated above! Also, start small...check all your hose clamps and make sure they're snug. If you can't find it, pressurize the cooling system with ~10-15 psi of shop air to help you find your leak. Look for white residue trails to help you find it.

-jokester
 

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I put a schrader valve (all fittings from Home Depot or ACE Hardware) into the vapor hose to the degas bottle (from the radiator nipple) so that I can add 15 psig of air the same way you fill a tire. You can use a simple stick type tire pressure gauge also (just find one that is accurate to a couple of psi in the 0-30 psig range).

Watching the pressure and doing a system pressure test doesn't get any easier than that.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I chased a similar water leak at about 280,000. Mine ended up being the wye fitting under the degas tank. It only leaked when I drove it hard. One day I was pulling the hoses around and the wye broke in half. Finally, a smoking gun. Hopefully, yours is something inexpensive. To check for head gasket, rig a tee into the small line at the top of the reservoir, and put in a 30lb water gauge. If pressure spikes when you drive aggressively, and doesn’t come back dow rather quickly, it is your head gasket. Mine would spike up to 13 when I throttled it hard, and would drop to around 8lbs when I wasn’t accelerating hard. Bad gaskets will spike, and not drop much, but keep building each time you accelerate hard until it vent through the cap at about 16-17.


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Thank you for the input, I will tear into it this weekend and let you know how it goes.
 

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A bunch of us on another forum removed the plastic "Y" under the degas bottle and installed a stainless one (just crush the hose that is formed around the plastic - being careful not to let plastic pieces fall down into the hose). You can re-use the hose.

 

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A bunch of us on another forum removed the plastic "Y" under the degas bottle and installed a stainless one (just crush the hose that is formed around the plastic - being careful not to let plastic pieces fall down into the hose). You can re-use the hose.

Awesome! Thank you for the Y-fitting link.
 

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Studs.....mean nothing.
 

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Is there any signs of a leak? It should leave a chalky residue as it evaporates. If its the head gaskets, the leak is probably coming from the degas bottle and leaving a chlaky residue there. Also could inspect the hoses on that side real good.

If you still have an EGR, this could also have a leak causing overpressure in the Degas bottle.

The oddest leak I had, I traced back to the “blue” hose by the EGR, but when I turned the engine on, it was actually coming from the metal tube it attached to on the EGR. It was physically cracked. I found that with a chalky residue.

I bought an $80 pressure test kit at harbor freight to pressurize my degasbottle to test the system for leaks at 15 PSI. I had already spent $50 to put together a coolant pressure tester and wished I’d thought of that much cheaper Schrader valve option.
 

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First thing to do when worried about coolant loss is to make sure that the coolant system actually holds pressure at 15 psi. As you pointed out, it doesn't take a lot of money to accomplish this!
 
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