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Thread: Detroit leaking water out overflow tube

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    number9 is offline Member
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    Default Detroit leaking water out overflow tube

    Okay, DDS60 (1996 model) in FLD120 with 702k. First driver said it lost about 9 gallon all together on about a 2000 mile run in the southeast. Changed radiator cap - old one looked bad - and now driver says truck is loosing about 1-2 gallon over about 2500 miles or so. We took it into the local Freightliner shop and they "couldn't see a problem" - they let the truck idle for a while and no leaking, put the overflow hose in a jug and drove it around for a 30min test run and no water leaked into the jug. The tech said he felt for sure the head gasket was not an issue and mentioned that the valve for the bunk heat could have been "sticking" and pumping some air into the coolant system and pushing some water out - but "must have fixed itself?" cause he couldn't reproduce the issue.

    Driver says the truck never gets over about 180-190, but is still leaking water. Any ideas where to look next? I am also thinking of having a more capable shop / tech take a look at it as well.

    Just as a side note incase it is relavent - recent oil samples showed 1.5 to 2% fuel in oil, had local Freightliner shop check injectors with dye test and found nothing - chalked it up to excessive idle. Haven't had the next oil sample done yet.

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    heavyhaulerss's Avatar
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    at that particulair mileage.. i would say it's a head gasket. i know of a lot of det ser 60 that had same prob & at that same mileage area. that is my best guess. keep us posted as to what you find.

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    the heater valve is the first check. the air compressor can also cause the problem. leaking cylinder head gasket, warped/cracked head, liner, block, etc. most shops now use a test fluid to determine if exhaust gases are entering the cooling system
    Bob H

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    Quote Originally Posted by heavyhaulerss
    at that particulair mileage.. i would say it's a head gasket....
    i wish engine diagnosis was that simple : (
    Bob H

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    hey i'm justy trying to sound experienced here. lol. i asked my magic 8 ball if it was a head gasket leak & it said ... most likely.. :lol:

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    number9 is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob h
    the heater valve is the first check. the air compressor can also cause the problem. leaking cylinder head gasket, warped/cracked head, liner, block, etc. most shops now use a test fluid to determine if exhaust gases are entering the cooling system
    Heater valve = valve in the bunk, right? I read on here somewhere that to check if that is the cause to put a jug of water on the frame and run the overflow hose into it and see if it is blowing bubbles - if so, pinch off the air line going to the valve and see if the bubbles stop - this make sense? If it does, I will check it like that this weekend.

    The air compressor was replaced on July 5 with a Detroit reman unit - the original compressor let go out on the road. Not saying the reman unit can't be bad tough.....

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    When you say you are losing coolant, are there any puddles anywhere? That would narrow it down to a internal or a external leak. I hope you can find a puddle :wink:
    "Professional stake killer with ability to operate heavy equipment"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blind Driver
    When you say you are losing coolant, are there any puddles anywhere? That would narrow it down to a internal or a external leak. I hope you can find a puddle :wink:
    Title of thread:
    Detroit leaking water out overflow tube
    :lol: :lol:
    If you can't shift it smoothly, you shouldn't be driving it.

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    My DD50 (500hp) has done this twice. Load her up, you lose water. Run at high idle, whatever you want to do to make it leak at the shop, no way. Never heated at all. Both times, we pulled the head and found a leak between 3 and 4. I'm told this does not happen, but when you remove the head from my detroit, the block sags about .011" in the middle. We have to remove the pan and jack it up in the center when doing the head. That's my experience with the same symptoms. Oh, the last time it did finally get bad enough that it would bubble some in the radiator tank at high idle. We used the fluid and the suction pump thing that you put in the radiator and NEVER detected combustion gasses in the cooling system, but the head gaskets were bad nevertheless.
    1999 FL Classic, N14+ 525 hp, RTLO16-9-13A
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    Eh....... so driver called last night about mid-ways into his first run this week and seems it's getting worse - but he had just crossed Jellico Mt. a bit before with a load, so........... oh, AND the fact that it hit me to ask and he had been putting straight water in to fill it back up all this time :shock: Told him to BE SURE and get several gal of antifreeze at next exit and start topping it off with that until he gets back from the run and we are going to take it straight to a different shop that is known to be pretty sharp (and charges a little more for it :roll: )


    Ah, keep the suggestions coming and a BIG THANKS for the ones that have came so far.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandit102
    My DD50 (500hp) has done this twice. Load her up, you lose water. Run at high idle, whatever you want to do to make it leak at the shop, no way. Never heated at all. Both times, we pulled the head and found a leak between 3 and 4. I'm told this does not happen, but when you remove the head from my detroit, the block sags about .011" in the middle. We have to remove the pan and jack it up in the center when doing the head. That's my experience with the same symptoms. Oh, the last time it did finally get bad enough that it would bubble some in the radiator tank at high idle. We used the fluid and the suction pump thing that you put in the radiator and NEVER detected combustion gasses in the cooling system, but the head gaskets were bad nevertheless.

    we'll assume you mean series 60 as this engine has 500hp

    so...., how much sag was there after jacking up the block? ... the head DOES NOT hold the block up, despite what you've been told

    there must be exhaust gases in the coolant for the blok-chek to work. it can be helpful ....... there is no 'see-all, tell-all' tool for this problem, it's a process of elimination
    Bob H

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    You're right, Bob. It's a 60, I made a typo there. With the jack in the center, the sag is .015". I know it shouldn't do this as I've run out and straight edged everyone's engine around here that has had the head off and mind seems to be the only one to do it that badly. I inframed it back in May but don't think she'll go again. The block was eaten up around the lower sleeve o-rings and the counterbores didn't look the greatest. Think I'll just repower it next time it gives me a hard time. Only spent $2k on the inframe, doing everything (pistons, liners, bearings, bull gear, etc. did the head myself with new valves, guides and springs) Used Clevite parts, as I've had good luck with them in the past. Had a hell of a time getting the gear backlash right on the bullgear. Ugh.
    1999 FL Classic, N14+ 525 hp, RTLO16-9-13A
    1997 Van's Aircraft RV-6, IO-360

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    number9 is offline Member
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    Still planning to take the truck to the other shop when he gets back from this run and have them check it out. Seems everything I search on and read - ask it seems to be coming back to the head gasket though.

    To add a little icing on the cake, driver called this evening half way home and said the turbo let go. Eh.........tow bill, hotel, parts & labor....... my wallet seems to be burning more than it is taking in lately.......... SOOOO glad I took the GREAT advice from a lot of you guys when I was deciding whether to get into this trucking deal and setup a maintenance fund for such times as this........ :cry:

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    Bandit102's Avatar
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    Most of those 500 Detroits seem to have a really small turbo on them, with a small shaft. I've seen lots of them twist the shaft. Mine has a big turbo, no wastegate; bigger than I've ever seen on a Detroit. Maybe someone changed it out at some point, but I've never had a problem with mine and 30-35psi manifold pressure is what I get. Dunno about the others.
    1999 FL Classic, N14+ 525 hp, RTLO16-9-13A
    1997 Van's Aircraft RV-6, IO-360

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    allan5oh is offline Senior Board Member
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    depends on the year as well, newer turbos are much larger.

    The new holset(cummins) turbo for 2008 is even bigger.

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    Mine's an older one -'99
    1999 FL Classic, N14+ 525 hp, RTLO16-9-13A
    1997 Van's Aircraft RV-6, IO-360

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandit102
    Most of those 500 Detroits seem to have a really small turbo on them, with a small shaft. I've seen lots of them twist the shaft. Mine has a big turbo, no wastegate; bigger than I've ever seen on a Detroit. Maybe someone changed it out at some point, but I've never had a problem with mine and 30-35psi manifold pressure is what I get. Dunno about the others.

    the older detroits (ddec 1 & 2s) had a larger turbo w/o a wastegate... that's probably what they've swapped it out with..... "a detroit's a detroit", right?!? No wonder they didn't try to tie a blower to the exhaust manifold ; ) the non-wastegated turbos are generally slower to spool up at lower rpms, but 30 - 35 pounds should be safe enough anyhow
    Bob H

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    Right, as usual, Bob. She's very slow to spool at lower rpm's. But, after all, it is a Detroit. What do you think about my block sagging? Junk?
    1999 FL Classic, N14+ 525 hp, RTLO16-9-13A
    1997 Van's Aircraft RV-6, IO-360

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    number9 is offline Member
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    Got the truck to the "other shop" (that everyone in the business says is THE BEST place to take it) on Friday evening and they ran a quick test of some sort (I wasn't there) and said they are almost certain it is the head gasket. They are going to pull the head tomorrow morning and give me a call to tell me what they find, how it looks and where we need to go from there. Will let you guys know how it goes........

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    Well, ended up being the head gasket for sure and unfortunately the head was damaged from running it for a few weeks that way. SO........ replacement Detroit head, new cam bearings and head gasket job and we are back on the road. Wallet sure is lighter though.

    Thanks for all the help and input guys. That is what makes this forum valuable.

    Dang, I'll tell ya owning this truck has been an experience for sure, but am learning a lot....... since getting it with 500K on it it has had.....

    water pump
    air to air
    A/C compressor
    Air Compressor, air dryer
    turbo
    king pins, wheel bearings, drag link, tie-rods
    steer tires
    front shocks
    fan clutch
    head, gasket and cam bearings

    and it is / was in REALLY good shape to be a 96 model (miles were ECM verified). Hopefully, we can run for a for a good long while

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