How to pressure test an automotive engine cooling system?

How to pressure test an automotive engine cooling system?

It’s best to start with the engine cool and the car parked on dry ground so you can more easily see where the leak is coming from. If the cooling system is low or empty refill it with water before the test begins. Fill the system carefully as not to spill any water so it will be easier to detect the leak.

How do you attach a pressure tester to a coolant reservoir?

Choose the correct adapter for your application and attach it to the radiator or coolant reservoir. The pressure tester connector will be spring loaded so push downward before you start twisting the connector and lock clockwise. You should feel a click as the tester secures itself to the adaptor or radiator.

How can you tell if coolant is leaking from Radiator?

Grasp the pressure tester and pump the plunger rapidly to build pressure inside the system, much like you are pumping air into a tire. You will notice the needle on the pressure tester gauge start moving upward as it measures the pressure inside the system. At this point you may see coolant leaking from the engine, radiator or hose.

How does a pressure test work on a radiator?

How to Pressure Test a Radiator. A radiator or cooling system pressure test is useful when finding a radiator leak or a blown head gasket. This tool attaches to the top or the radiator or coolant reservoir and enables air pressure to be pumped into the system including the engine block, cylinder heads, coolant hoses, heater core and radiator.

What are the symptoms of a bad coolant reservoir?

Coolant leaks. Another symptom of a potential problem with the coolant reservoir is coolant leaks. If the coolant reservoir cracks or breaks due to old age or overheating it will leak. Small leaks may produce steam and drips, while larger leaks will produce streams and puddles, as well as an obvious coolant odor.

How to check coolant pressure on a Chevy Silverado?

Place white paper under the engine area when the truck will sit overnight. Then use the drip locations on the paper to narrow down where coolant may be running off the engine. Look in the most likely places above the white paper locations.

Is it OK to use water to test coolant?

If you intend to drain the system after pressure testing, then it is not necessary to waste good coolant topping up for pressure testing. It is OK to use water. Observe the pressure limit printed on the expansion tank cap; for example, 15 psi on the Vortec 5.3 liter. Do not pressurize the system over 15 psi.

Can a blown head gasket cause coolant to leak?

If the head gasket fails, coolant, and engine oil may mix. You may also notice that coolant is leaking from the bottom of the engine and dripping onto the ground. Either way, a blown head gasket can be disastrous for your engine.

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