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Chrysler Repair/3.8L coolant leak


QUESTION: I have been using about a gallon of antifreeze a week, I was thinking it was a head gasket, but I do not have any antifreeze in my oil, so now I am thinking it is the intake manifold. What are some things I need to look for to determine which one it is before buying the parts to fix it.

ANSWER: Hi Cynthia,
I don't believe the intake manifold gasket would be leaking coolant because no coolant flow to the intake manifold or back into the engine. More likely it is the head gasket on one side or the other and the leak is between the coolant passageway and a cylinder chamber adjacent to the leak. You would notice this as excessive smoke coming from the tail pipe when you start the engine from cold and the smoke would have an odor of anti-freeze.
Ideally you would want to know on which bank of cylinders the head gasket is leaking. So do a fault code readout to see if the engine controller has detected a 'miss' on one of the cylinders and if so which one.
Turn the ignition switch "on-off-on-off-on and leave on" doing that in 5 seconds or less elapsed time. Then watch the odometer window of the cluster to see if the mileage reading is replaced by a 4-digit number preceded by a P. Let me know the number which may tell us which cylinder is being impacted by a head gasket leak.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I do the on off on off on and it said donE.

So far the engine is not missing to cause a detectable loss of power on any cylinder.
"Done" means there are no fault codes.
Are you detecting any excess smoke coming out the tail pipe when you start the engine from cold?
Do you see any sign of coolant on the ground?
Thanks for the rating and nomination.

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Roland Finston


Free fast answer to your repair question about a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth car, minivan, SUV, or truck. Problems with electronically controlled engines and transmissions as well as body wiring problems are my specialty. This free troubleshoot advice forum helps you diagnose faults, minimize repair costs or do-it-yourself.

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