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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a new Champion aluminum radiator with one of their puke tanks bolted beside it. If I fill the radiator and the puke tank, then I find a huge pool of coolant under the car when it sits overnight after driving it, and the puke tank is dry. If I leave the puke tank empty and just fill the radiator, then after a few drives, the puke tank is empty and the radiator is an inch or two below full, and there's a little coolant under the car, again when sitting overnight after driving it.

Engine is an LS2.

Why would I keep losing coolant? Seems like if the radiator is going to push out coolant, I would find it in the puke tank. And it seems if the radiator is low, it would have tried to pull coolant in from the the overflow tank. Shouldn't this operate more or less like a closed system?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
i would post some pictures do you have the steam ports hooked up to the radiator these motors are bullet proof my LS 1 running a stock f-body radiator NO overflow take never leaks / pushes out coolant.

How does your oil look Milky?
Thanks for the reply. The oil was changed less than 1000 miles ago and still looks light brown. The engine only has 38k miles on it, so the likelihood of a head gasket problem is small.

Here's a link to the puke tank installations from the manufacturer, and my setup is just like what is shown. The hole at the bottom of the puke tank loops back up into the radiator neck, and the tube at the top of the puke tank, empties to the ground.

https://www.championradiators.com/overflow-tank-instructions

I didn't do the radiator install myself, so I'm not certain about the steam holes, but I don't think it has them because the only connections to the radiator are the main inlet/outlet lines and the two auto trans lines. I seem to recall reading somewhere some controversy over whether or not to hook up steam ports.

In any case, a little more information - after looking at the installation diagram and examining my setup, it seems impossible that the problem could be the puke tank unless it has a hole in it (unlikely since it's new). The only way I can see for the puke tank to be empty is if the radiator is drawing all the coolant out of it, and then losing it elsewhere in the system. Because the overflow tube sits high in the tank, there should be no way to lose fluid from it.

I may need to fill the tank and radiator again, drive it and get it hot, then let it sit outside and just watch and see what happens. Since I see fluid going to the ground, it's got to be coming from somewhere other than the heads.
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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Looking at the instructions I'm betting the hoses to the puke tank are reversed.:yes:
Possible... but if that was the case, I would think the OP would notice coolant leaking from the overflow (puke) tank as soon as coolant was added to it.

The symptoms described by the OP leads me to believe that the coolant leak is coming from somewhere else in the system...or even a bad radiator cap... or maybe a loose hose clamp.

Luckily (... or unluckily :( ) there is a puddle of coolant under the car, so the OP should be able to spot where the fluid is coming from. Best way to troubleshoot is to pressurize the coolant system (either by driving the car until hot or using a coolant system pressure tester).

If you are having trouble pin-pointing the location of the leak, there are UV dyes that can be added to the coolant and then visible by using a black light (in a dark area).
 

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I'm betting the puke tank is too small for the amount of coolant expansion.
If that's the case then driving it without adding any coolant should not let it overflow. If it doesn't overflow and the engine is running at it's desired temperature then leave it. The steam hose can run into a different location than the rad. Some have drilled and tapped there water pump for a location. Not perfect but it works. You should have a steam port at the front top of each head. A steel line connects the two and one line comes off the one head for the release of steam(or coolant) to the rad(ideally).
If you continue to lose coolant then I suspect a head gasket leak and combustion gas is entering the coolant and causing the coolant lost yet not effecting the oil. There is a dye you can use with a tool to check that.
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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I'm betting the puke tank is too small for the amount of coolant expansion.
I agree and think this is another possibility.
I quick test would be to connect the overflow (puke) tank as instructed and fill the radiator with coolant... but leave the puke tank empty.

Next, add a piece of rubber tubing that would connect to the "Loss" port of the puke tank and run this tube into an other container (a quart milk/juice/etc container) so that the opening in the container is pointing up and temporarily secure this extra container somewhere in the engine bay - so it will not lose any fluid while driving.

Now go for a couple of long drives to get the engine hot and then park your car and let it sit for a while. If you notice that there is coolant in the extra container... but the puke tank is empty (and there are no signs of coolant leaks under your car), your puke tank capacity is too small.
NOTE: You can also remove the lid to your puke tank while your car is sitting (after a long drive) and observe what is happening within the puke tank. The puke tank is not under pressure... even when the radiator is hot, so removing the lid is not an issue. BUT DO NOT remove the the radiator cap while the engine/radiator is hot.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I *may* have found it. And surely someone will wonder why I didn't notice this before, but sometimes the evidence is gone by the time I start looking. This time I found something...

There was a small wet spot on the frame, which is several inches away from the puke tank. I looked all around but didn't see any evidence of where the wet spot came from. Then I started feeling around and I found a drop of coolant under the lower radiator hose where it goes into the engine. I checked the hose and it wasn't obviously loose, but I was able to make several turns of the screw on the clamp that holds it on. I'm hoping that's all it was. I also tightened the clamp at the other end of the hose for good measure.

And before anybody raises the stupid flag, I didn't install the radiator or the hose - a custom shop did. And there was no obvious signs of leakage around the hose without actually feeling around for it.

Anyway, time to fill the radiator and puke tank and run it for a while and see what happens.
 

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