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New to me truck leaves puddle in front of bumper


Lil'Red1997

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I just bought a 1997 Ranger. I've only had it about a week and a half and only driven it maybe 40 miles. I used it to move into my new place and it has been sitting for 4 days. I've got several things to do to it to make it "perfect" but one has me perplexed. The appearance of a spot in the driveway... in front of the front bumper. Any ideas what the heck is going on? It was definitely not there when I parked the truck and has grown.
34364
 


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4.0blue98

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It was like that when I found it.
Anything wet on the underside of the truck? Fluids all full?
 

Lil'Red1997

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Coolant is low but all the stuff that lines up with the puddle is dry. There's a lot of "wet" coming down from the power steering and all over everything below it but that's got it's own little red puddle. The guy swore up and down it didn't leak but I guess he's a liar. Don't tell my wife my new truck put spots in her new driveway!
 

4.0blue98

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It was like that when I found it.
Put a piece of white paper down (weight it down with something) so you can get an idea of any color to the fluid. Do you have an extra cooler out front for the PS? My 98 does.
 

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I would suspect the Radiator has a leak. Top off the antifreeze and bring it up to temp and look all over the rad to see if it is wet or a slight spray. If you have A/C the condenser will be in front of the radiator so this part will be harder to inspect. If it doesn't have A/C then just look through the grill area to look for leaks.

Possibly the lower radiator hose is leaking so be sure to check here also.
 

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Lil'Red1997

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The liquid is sorta brownish and feels slightly oily but dries. Makes me think it's old coolant that needs to be changed. I've had leaks on cars before but all of them were under the vehicle. This puddle is literally in front of the truck. I'll try filling, running, and looking for leaks but how do I have a puddle that's not UNDER anything?
 

4.0blue98

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It was like that when I found it.
Yeah, that's definitely weird that its way out in front. Anyone whose ever had a leaking house roof knows that fluids often don't fall straight down but yours seems to defy physics.
 

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Yeah, that's definitely weird that its way out in front. Anyone whose ever had a leaking house roof knows that fluids often don't fall straight down but yours seems to defy physics.
Leaking out front" is a guy thing...we don't leak straight down, why should his Ranger?
:icon_rofl:
Grumpaw
 

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Probably a pin hole in the radiator that sprays a small stream of coolant when the system is under pressure.
 

Lil'Red1997

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I bought a gallon of universal coolant (surprised it was orange) and topped up the radiator and overflow tank. I drove around the neighborhood a few miles and got the engine up to temperature according to the gauge on the dash. I didn't see anything spraying out when I parked it, but there was a slight bit of dampness on the driver side of the radiator where the metal fins and the plastic tank meet. I'll check it again tomorrow but I think we may have found the problem, this one anyway.
 

Lil'Red1997

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Whilst looking under the hood I leaned on the front of the truck and it moved backwards. I'm thinking my parking brake doesn't work very well. Perhaps the truck rolled backwards a bit when I was getting in-and-out trying to find the exhaust leak (top of the cat/resonator that is between front wheel and the cross member). I didn't really pay attention to the spot to notice that it was in front of the truck until after I investigated the exhaust. ?‍♂
 

Lil'Red1997

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So the truck has been sitting for 3 days. Looks like the leak has "stopped." It doesn't leak when it's not under pressure. That means it's a small hole, right? What do all of you think about some sort of stop leak product? Any recommendations on products that are better than others or terrible ones to stay away from? I'm looking for suggestions other than "replace the radiator" which I know is really the only right answer. This is an old, inexpensive, high mileage vehicle that was purchased as more of a play thing than a commuter vehicle so I don't want to put a bunch of money into it.
 

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I'm looking for suggestions other than "replace the radiator" which I know is really the only right answer. This is an old, inexpensive, high mileage vehicle that was purchased as more of a play thing than a commuter vehicle so I don't want to put a bunch of money into it.
You said it... we don’t need to suggest it.
You can buy a radiator for about $75 on eBay.
 

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It would suck to take it out to play on a weekend... and it actually pukes and leaves you stranded.
 


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