The Legend of the Missing Coolant

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LaramieLegend

New Member
May 7, 2019
4
0
1
Truck Year
2015
This is an ongoing story about my clueless dealer. As fellow RAM enthusiasts/masochists, I imagine you all will find it entertaining.

In December, my 2015 RAM 1500 threw a "Crankcase Breather" code, I believe it was P04DB. I took it to the local (~2 miles) RAM dealer and they replaced it. (Apparently the breather is considered a wear part and not covered under warranty. Whatever...)

On May 29th, I brought my truck to the same RAM dealer to diagnose a leaking coolant issue. My truck leaks about a quart of coolant INTERNALLY a month (even if its not being driven) so I took it to my dealer thinking it was the EGR cooler. In addition to this, the P04DB code came back. I only use it to pull trailers, so it doesn't get used as my daily driver. It had been sitting for ~2 months before I started it, and I was alerted to this issue when a mixture of coolant and oil popped off the oil cap and sprayed the underside of my hood. Drivability and engine noise etc was not affected (as far as I can tell). I also need the AEM update for the settlement, so I figured they could do this in one trip. I lay this all out for the service writer and ask to see what he's writing to the mechanic. It looked good.

On June 7th, the dealership called me to say the cause of the problem was during an oil change (of which, THEY performed) the tech simply forgot to replace the oil cap, causing the spillage and there's no coolant leak and I can pick it up at any time. Wut?

I called and BEGGED the service writer to do an oil analysis. He stated since there's no coolant leak under the truck, no coolant could be in the oil. Double wut?

I asked him to please take the valve cover off and check for coolant if he won't do an oil analysis yet. He said he would.

On June 13th, the dealer called me again and said since the oil isn't milky, no coolant could mix. I ask him if there's no coolant under the truck, where could it go? He advised me that the coolant system may eject coolant when under extreme load. I asked him if sitting in a driveway, not started for 2 months is extreme load. He denied this, but stated that coolant leaking at that rate is a normal operating condition.

At this point, I requested an oil analysis from the dealer and I am doing my own independent oil analysis. I also called FCA and they didn't give me much resistance before assigning me a case number.

This story is still ongoing and I will keep you guys in the loop in the hopes that my experience could help others.

Thanks,
LaramieLegend
 

cs in Alabama

Active Member
Feb 21, 2019
522
129
43
Truck Year
2015
"My truck leaks about a quart of coolant INTERNALLY a month"

(dealer says) "coolant leaking at that rate is a normal operating condition"


Ha ha! I think the EGR cooler is leaking too. Remove the EGR diffuser tube and see if it is all sticky / sloppy. If it is, use a flashlight to look into the intake and see how bad it is in there as well. The coolant can destroy the intake and the intake valves. It covers the swirl valves and ruins the intake. Demand a new intake and an engine inspection with photos at that point.

Eco diesels that become diesel / steam hybrids have lots of problems and don't live long.
 

LaramieLegend

New Member
May 7, 2019
4
0
1
Truck Year
2015
Got a call back from the dealership. Now they are confirming the presence of glycol in the oil after the analysis from the lab came back, which means they have to tear down the truck after lifting the cab up to find the leak. They also said they won't get a diesel tech until Thursday because the previous tech is no longer with the dealership. Not sure if my issue is related to that...

To be continued!
 

LaramieLegend

New Member
May 7, 2019
4
0
1
Truck Year
2015
Welcome most likely the egr cooler. How many miles?????
~80600, just enough to make me worry about them telling me to pound sand since it was out of emissions warranty for 600 miles. Haven't seen any literature that says the EcoDiesel settlement warranty is retroactive, so I will be keeping an eye on that as well.
 

cds13ca

Active Member
Jun 19, 2019
113
43
28
Truck Year
2016
Got a call back from the dealership. Now they are confirming the presence of glycol in the oil after the analysis from the lab came back, which means they have to tear down the truck after lifting the cab up to find the leak. They also said they won't get a diesel tech until Thursday because the previous tech is no longer with the dealership. Not sure if my issue is related to that...

To be continued!
Sounds like your dealer is not a diesel specialist!

Mine knew exactly where to look as soon as I was loosing coolant. First thing he took off was the EGR diffuser tube (4 bolts). Instantly, he could tell me that the EGR cooler was leaking (a very common issue under warrantee) based on the tip of the diffuser - covered in wet soot (looks like tar sticky goo). Antifreeze gets sucked into the intakes and does more damage!

Sounds like you need to take it to a different dealer that has worked on Ecodiesels and knows that the common problems are.. I wouldn't want just anyone "guessing" at problems at your expense!

Your options are replace the cooler ($3000) if you have warrantee, or consider GDE and delete it... if you don't have warrantee left.

Sorry to hear that, all this emission crap they put on these trucks are causing us nothing but problem after problem! $$$$
 
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cds13ca

Active Member
Jun 19, 2019
113
43
28
Truck Year
2016
Here's a good video on where to look:

 
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relkunk2

New Member
Apr 6, 2018
6
0
1
Truck Year
2016
I have a 2016 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel with 37000 miles. For the first time I looked at my coolant level prior to taking close to a 2000 mile trip, truck was at 35200 miles. The coolant was low so I picked up a gallon of 50/50 coolant at dealership( note, I have not observed any coolant leakage on the floor of my garage where I park) I poured the whole thing in and it still did not reach the full mark but was at the seam of the reservoir. I called the dealer about the strangeness of pouring in 1 gal. and that they would do a look, just have have it scheduled to be brought in. Well, since I was heading off for a 2000 trip the following day I declined. I drove the 1000 mile one way in to days, helped sister in-law and husband load up the 10ft utility trailer I pulled down. Started way back home but had to turn around after 5 miles as truck was starting to over heat. I dropped the trailer and took the truck to a local Ram dealer. They added 1/2 gallon of concentrated coolant, performed a static pressure test of 20 psi on the coolant system and stated it held pressure. They test drove and found no issues. Next day started back all temperatures were holding normal. After 450 miles I stopped for the night and after allowing 3 hours to cool I checked the coolant level, it was low. Added 1/2 gallon of concentrated coolant. Next day, left on last leg of trip, 450 miles; temperatures of engine remained normal, like day before. Parked truck in garage and looked at coolant level the next morning, it was low again. Added 1/2 gal. of water(recall I used concentrate before this addition). I now have a time scheduled to have truck looked at, at my local Ram dealer. I'm hoping to steer the technician to the EGR as it sounds as though it may be an issue and I'm dumping antifreeze in the exhaust system. Does anyone have additional thoughts as to where I can steer the technician that will be looking into this issue?
 

cs in Alabama

Active Member
Feb 21, 2019
522
129
43
Truck Year
2015
have him pull the EGR diffuser tube and look at that and in the intake. It will be a sticky, gooey mess in there. Try not to drive much anymore - diesel - steam hybrids don't do well.
 

cds13ca

Active Member
Jun 19, 2019
113
43
28
Truck Year
2016
have him pull the EGR diffuser tube and look at that and in the intake. It will be a sticky, gooey mess in there. Try not to drive much anymore - diesel - steam hybrids don't do well.
Agreed 100% with CS In Alabama. That's a serious problem if it's leaking that bad, you'll do a lot more damage to the engine. If you see no leaks, then it's your EGR cooler, a very common problem on these, so it's being sucked right into your intakes.

I also have a 2016 and I noticed this around 33000 miles.

Happened to me, I noticed my coolant was down an inch, no puddles anywhere. The first thing my dealer (who only works on diesels and he is a diesel instructor to many other mechanics in different cities) did was take off the EGR diffuser right in front of me, and showed me the gooey sticky TAR mess that was getting sucked into my intakes, worse than the youtube video link I posted above. NOT GOOD. it took him 5 min to give me the diagnosis. IN fact you can do it yourself at home if you know where it is, just take off the air box, and some of the tubing, see the foam padding, lift it off, and you'll see the diffuser tube, wrapped in a sock like insulation. It has 4 bolts, (2 on each end) remove them and lift it out of the intake and you'll see either dry soot (normal, still not good), or very wet sticky tar (wet tar is bad). Looks like asphalt. (see the video above)

Antifreeze going into the pistons can do damage.

If it's still under warantee, get it done, luckily I was one month prior to my warantee passing due so I had it done, it's a $3000 part! in Canada,

If you're out of warantee, consider getting a TUNE, shut off EGR, and buy yourself an EGR cooler and EGR delete kit unless you want to fork out that kinda money for a new egr cooler that may or may not last...
 
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cds13ca

Active Member
Jun 19, 2019
113
43
28
Truck Year
2016
It's sad how so many people on these forums know more about our Ecodiesels than some of the dealership mechanics...

If I were you, I wouldn't let them lift my truck yet until there's a qualified diesel mechanic on site!! I don't know the internals well enough, but I'd be willing to bet that if the egr cooler is leaking into the intakes, that oil would get contaminated with glycerol. It sounds like your dealership really has no clue where to start and they are going to rip things apart without looking at the easiest fix first. If they are this inexperienced, do you really want the tearing apart your truck and risk them not putting it back together properly...

When does the qualified diesel mechanic arrive? I'd tell them not to touch your truck until the diesel mechanic is there, you don't need guinea pigs playing around with things they don't know anything about...
 

relkunk2

New Member
Apr 6, 2018
6
0
1
Truck Year
2016
Thank you dcs13ca. I'm am covered as I have an extended warranty. Talking with Service Coordinator the diesel tech in my home town is pretty good, but we'll see about that come Monday 7/8. I now have done a write up and have included some clips of these threads and will hand over that to the diesel technician. Note: I'm unsure if I take a look at it if I'll void the warranty, which I don't want to do. I have a couple remaining thoughts, what is the root cause and is there a countermeasure for it? Lastly, what long term effects will this have on my truck, i.e. main bearing issues, connecting rod issues, cam issues, piston and piston ring issues and...etc. Oh, clearly the diesel tech at the dealership at sister in-laws was not aware of this; I had no other choice, however I wanted to make sure I got in for documentation purposes only and for hopeful that the tech was good.
 

cds13ca

Active Member
Jun 19, 2019
113
43
28
Truck Year
2016
How would he know if you removed it, I doubt it'll void your warantee. You're not changing anything, simply checking it. It's up to you and your comfort level. It's a very easy job, about 20 min. It's 4 little bolts, take them off, remove the egr diffuser tube, check it out, take some pictures, put it back the way you found it. Just be careful, the two bolts at the intake side are pretty small, make sure you are ready to catch them so they don't fall down someplace you can't reach.

I take mine off to clean it now every oil change, now that I'm aware how easy it is. Although I just got GDE so I shouldn't have to worry anymore.

And there's a MAP sensor in there too that gets totally covered in SOOT and will throw codes if it's contaminated. I gently cleaned my MAP and so far no issues.

Here's how tiny the fins are inside the EGR cooler, doesn't take much for these cheap cheap things to break a tiny pin hole, and then you get soot and glycerol into your intakes.
 

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relkunk2

New Member
Apr 6, 2018
6
0
1
Truck Year
2016
Were there any gaskets that may tear when removing? Also, I'm not up on what the acronyms, GDE and MAP mean.
 

cds13ca

Active Member
Jun 19, 2019
113
43
28
Truck Year
2016
I didn't remove my egr cooler, my dealer did, yes, on my invoice there are 3 O-rings, 3 gaskets, and bushings.

MAP is Manifold Absolute Pressure. There's a MAP sensor just above the turbo attached to the intake. Takes one bolt to take it off and see how dirty it is... If you fast forward the video above, at 3:15 he shows the top of the MAP sensor. He shows you what a clean one looks like.


GDE is Green Diesel Engineering - they do ECU tunes that help solve a lot of these issues. Like shutting off the EGR, cleaner burn so there are much less REGEN's, cleaner oil as a result of less REGENS, less regens = better for the diesel particulate filter (DPF) and better for fuel economy, better take off (no lag). I just had mine done in May, I am happy with it.

Here's a really dirty MAP sensor and what it should look like.
 

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cds13ca

Active Member
Jun 19, 2019
113
43
28
Truck Year
2016
Here's a list of what was replaced for the EGR Cooler replacement on my invoice..

From the diagram:
20 x 2 - Gasket
36 x 1 - Gasket
17 x1 - Gasket
25 x 2 - O-Ring
23 x 2 - Bushings
22 x 2 O-Ring
31 x 2 - O-Ring
21 EGR Cooler
 

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LaramieLegend

New Member
May 7, 2019
4
0
1
Truck Year
2015
M-M-MEGA BUMP

So the trucks been in since 5/29. Just got a call today after all the delays. Needs new engine under warranty. Tech recommends replacing turbo coolant lines as well (not under warranty).

I'll get her back in 2 weeks they reckon.

I'm trying to get more information about it, hard to do since it was towed out of state to the "parent" dealership ~60 miles away.

Allegedly they pulled the EGR diffuser tube and it was dirty but it was dusty and not gooey and clumpy, which is why they performed an extended diagnostic.

So sorry, but this is still a mystery.

To be continued...?
 

cs in Alabama

Active Member
Feb 21, 2019
522
129
43
Truck Year
2015
If they replace the engine I would argue part of it is the turbo being installed and not pay for it.
 

cds13ca

Active Member
Jun 19, 2019
113
43
28
Truck Year
2016
wow... hey, if you can get a new engine under warantee, may as well do it! as for the lines? I know when I look under my truck, there's a bunch of lines at the back of the engine way up, maybe that's the turbo lines, but mine are starting to rust... I tried cleaning them a bit and tried to spray a bit of high heat paint on them just to prevent it from getting worse, but if that's the lines you're dealer is talking about, I'd say replace them, cause they do rust out, and it's a bitch of a job to get them out after the fact to do the job, if they already have it all apart, get it done so you can have the peace of mind that it'll last a few good years. by the time it starts acting up again, you may have already traded it in for something newer lol...