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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 1995 Chevy K1500 Suburban, and there's always been a slow leak somewhere since I bought it used. I would just put water in the radiator before I drove anyplace. About a gallon or so. Never had the funds to take it to a mechanic for a diagnosis. I suspect the water pump, as it's been making that kind of noise the past year.

Anyhow, I went to put in water recently, and one gallon didn't help. A second gallon, and still not full. Then I heard water leaking under the engine, all over the ground. About as fast as I put the water in the radiator, it came out below.

I know there is a bearing in a water pump that can fail - but the hole is relatively small - when water comes out from a bad pump. Also, my engine was not running.

Here's my question... might it just be the lower hose? Without getting up under the vehicle, the water appears to be flowing out near where the hose meets the engine. But as we know - water can flow down other objects to the lowest point, and then onto the ground.

There is a repair shop around the block from me, luckily, but I am not driving the vehicle with an empty radiator! The Suburban is not in my driveway, it is parked across the street, making repair work less easy. And the leak is curbside.

Before I crawl under there, can we rule out worse scenarios? Like a cracked block (yikes) or a blown freeze plug? Based on the water flow literally flowing out like it was a running garden hose. I'm thinking a cracked block is a much tighter opening. Not sure about a freeze plug though. I don't want to get a new hose if that wasn't the problem.

Has anyone had a similar experience?

Thanks,

Mike
 

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Mike, we've all had a similar experience.
If they're original, it's probably a hose.

Take this for what it's worth, we've all crawled under our trucks to look for a leak.
Sorry if this offends you, get under the truck and look for the leak.

By the way, driving it across the street to your driveway will not hurt the motor
 

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Here's my question... might it just be the lower hose?
Yes it might be.

However there is no way on earth you can rule out anything from bloggers a thousand miles away. If you wanna rule out stuff lay under there and have someone pour 3-4 gallons into the radiator and you watch to see where it comes from.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Well... it's not the lower hose or the water pump. The water is coming out of the engine block (or cyl head) on the passenger side. With the motor off, and just pouring water into the radiator. And as I mentioned previously... not dripping or trickling. But emptying out. Can't pinpoint for sure where - but looks like between the pan and the exhaust manifold, just behind the suspension. Freeze plug...?

I think I'm toast. The motor has over 200,000 miles on it. Probably not worth the repair cost at this point.
 

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It could be a head gasket; but head gaskets don't leak that amount that fast.
It could be a crack in the block; but again cracks don't leak that fast.
It is probably a hose, maybe not one of the big ones, but a small heater hose, or a hose fitting

Before you write off the engine, have someone with some engine experience take a look at it.

Try posting some pictures of the leak
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
It could be a head gasket; but head gaskets don't leak that amount that fast.
It could be a crack in the block; but again cracks don't leak that fast.
It is probably a hose, maybe not one of the big ones, but a small heater hose, or a hose fitting

Before you write off the engine, have someone with some engine experience take a look at it.

Try posting some pictures of the leak
Thanks Ray.

I do faintly recall a small noise like a bicycle tire blowout a day or two before the leak occurred. When I was driving to the store. The fender well was dry today during the leaking. So, I'll look for hoses down in the leaking vicinity of the motor.

I put in over a gallon of water... and everything was quiet until over half the water went in. Then I heard the water hitting the ground. I poured it all in, and got down and looked up through the fender opening (behind the tire I had turned to the left). Water was cascading down over 2-3 surfaces (on the side of the motor), and I couldn't see up to where it began. If freeze plugs are typically down by the pan - this was higher.
 

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The only hoses you will have will be the 2 going to the firewall where the heater connections come through the firewall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The only hoses you will have will be the 2 going to the firewall where the heater connections come through the firewall.
Right. So in terms of physics... the water I'm pouring into the radiator (which is near empty)... goes down the lower hose up to the pump, and into the block. Correct? (Engine off, still). But at a certain level, it's emptying out someplace else. And the radiator never fills. How does a gallon of water go from that level, to up along the heads? Maybe water that's already sitting in the block?

The upper radiator hose, if I'm not mistaken, is the return line from the engine. At this time, no water is going through the upper hose, since the radiator won't fill up.
 

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In terms of physics, as you know "water seeks its own level".
The radiator cap is the highest part of the system, the bottom hose is the lowest part of the system.
The leak is somewhere between, and the water level will stay at the level of the leak.
You pour water into the rad, it pushes the existing water out of the leak.
If you pour water in faster than it leaks out you will raise the level a bit above the leak; but stop pouring and the leak will lower the water to the level of the leak.
 

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The side freeze plugs are about about where the engine mounts sit so it could be one of them.
 
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Pinpoint it for sure and report back
 
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