Technician Talk

96 Ram dumping coolant

  • My truck recently overheated and while adding coolant I found it leaking near the bell-housing. I have checked the freeze plugs, hoses and gaskets for possible leak source and cannot find anything. Would appreciate any advice you guys have to offer... hoping it's not a cracked block.

  • Which engine does your truck have?

    Is it leaking on top of the bell-housing or out of the bottom?

    I would pressurize the cooling system with a pressure tester, does it leak more when the engine is cold or when it reaches operating temperature?

  • I have a 318 5.2L... it looks like its running down from the top of the bell-housing. Can I pressurize the system even though it won't hold any coolant? 

  • Fill up the radiator and install a pressure tester. If it's leaking that bad you should see it squirting out.
    Pay close attention to the intake manifold area, cylinder head gaskets, freeze plugs and the heater hoses.
    Make sure it is not leaking out of the A/C drain, that would suggest a bad heater core.
  • Problem is it won't hold water, I pour it in and within 30 seconds its leaking down the bell-housing. That tells me its not pressure pushing it out. Just got thru changing the heater core. I had my wife pour water in the rad and I checked all the gaskets, hoses and crawled underneath to check the freeze plugs.... only plugs I can't see are the ones blocked by the bell-housing. Do you think its a possibility that is where the leak is, if so what is involved in getting to them?

  • Well if it is leaking that fast it sounds like a blown freeze plug. ´╗┐For the ones on the side you may have to remove the engine mount or starter. For the ones on the back you will have to remove the transmission.

  • Thanks for your assistance. I'm going to do a pressure test tomorrow and will let you know the results. I'm thinking there might be something else as well as blown freeze plugs.

  • You are welcome.

  • I would take a close look at the entire cooling system and change the thermostat.