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22RE using lots of water; can't find leak

2091 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  mooseketer
My 1993 22re (416k miles) is using lots of water. 50 miles will use a pint+ of antifreeze. I can't find a leak. The exaust was driping so we rebuilt the head, new gaskets, checked for cracks, etc. No water on the carpet from the heater core, no water in the oil (before or after the rebuild). Any suggestions as to where it might be going?
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Did you check the block for a crack into one of the cylinders?
We did look it over and didn't see anything. I would think if the block were cracked the water would be going into the oil or out the exaust and it isn't showing up either place.
time to check ALL the hoses around the intake.

had a similar problem with my '85. finally ruined one head by erosion. loss of water promoted erosion of the aluminum head, leading to a major failure and a new head

problem ultimately turned out to be a water hose that loops around the thermostat housing.

never could see any leak, just the occasional two drop spot on pavement after short run.

finally took 10 day vacation and let it sit. when I came back, ran the truck around the block (half mile), then popped the hood. Saw a steady stream of drops underneath. bear of a time to actually pinpoint the source of the leak. caught a glint of sunlight in a tiny arc of water coming up out of that hose and landing a ways back on the intake and dripping down from there.

anyway, check your hoses.

do NOT let the engine run low at all. it may not over heat, but hot spots can develop, and that can lead to erosion.

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Thanks for the ideas. We will check them out. Another thought is the Timing Chain Housing. The guides are shot. Is there any way of telling if the water is leaking from the Timing Chain housing?
Hey moose...I have an 86 22R. If the water was leaking from the timing chain housing, "where" would it go? I'm really surprised replacing your head gasket didn't fix the problem. I'm no mechanic but I'm a little surprised you didn't replace the guides (and maybe the chain) when you did the head. Don't you have to remove them when you do the heads?

Anyway, I've been losing water for years! Mind you, I don't drive it much, and I never take it out of town...but 2 years ago I noticed i was blowing great gobs of steam out the tailpipe. I thought my goose cooked...but then...I threw some more Barrs Leaks in the rad, replaced the thermostat and rad cap, and I've been OK ever since. Except once when I noticed the head gasket was spurtin' coolant and then I simply plugged it with epoxy putty.

oh, and BTW, my TOY has been suffering from what I believe is chain "chatter" for years. I've never had it officially diagnosed
but I noticed a lot of slop in the chain when I adjusted the valves a few years ago. I suppose it could self destruct at any time...but then these motors are somewhat indestructible...
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Hi Rogerd
I should have replace the timing chain when I did the head. At the time, I didn't know that the "clatter" I have been hearing was from the chain and it was eating away at the cover.
The timing chain only has to be removed from the cam shaft when the head gasket is replaced. I didn't have to touch the housing. However, since my chain clatter is wearing out the timing cover because the guides are long gone, I will be replacing the timing chain, guides and cover next weekend. Maybe that's where my leak is.
If it is leaking, the water goes into the oil. I have started watching the oil level to see if it fills with water.
I just wish I could see any signs of antifreeze ANYWHERE!
Frustrating. If this doesn't work I'll try the overnight pressure test. The local Autozone rents the tool. Right now I don't think it holds any pressure.
Thanks for everyone's ideas.
afraid to know how much has to be unbolted in order to get to the timing set, got 127k on my 87 22RE

Hi Fast68,

Well, the manual says to remove everything...the head (and all that implies...), the radiator, and the oil pan. Then on to the fan, crank nut, water pump, oil pump and finally the timing cover.

I have found an article at:

It shows how to do it without removing the head and the oil pan.

So, I am going to try not touching the head again (since that was last weekends project). But I have spare gaskets, just in case the shortcut doesn't work.
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