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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Yesterday I was changing my oil when I noticed a calcified pink blob hanging from the plastic bottom pan immediately in front of the engine. I was prepping for a 2-week road-trip in early Sept and had already voiced my concerns to the boss (wife) about POTENTIAL water pump issues. So I feared the worst. I couldn't see much except crusty barnacles clinging to a large hose. But then is occurred to me - the water pump is on the other (passenger) side of the car and all the crustaceans seemed to of formed where the hose attached to the black plastic connector pipe.

Today, I removed the bottom pan to get a better look (just a couple torx screws and 10mm nuts. After knocking off a few barnacles, I decided to get some pics:
IMG_1375.jpg IMG_1368.JPG IMG_1369.JPG IMG_1373.JPG

It has been about 1 yr since my last oil change and I always do an inspection while under the car. I don't know how long this has been leaking, but there was considerable build-up. I have occasionally added coolant over the years and haven't noticed any recent change. After cleaning the hose/connector with a warm rag, I was able to see better how the hose was attached. The hose had a metal collar that was inserted into the black plastic connector tube that ran-up the front of the engine. The hose collar was held to the connector by a metal clip (as opposed to the good-old band-clamp).

I removed the clip and attempted to re-seat the hose (almost getting a face-full of coolant). Then I ran the engine to operating temp and rev'd it up many times. I didn't notice any fresh leaking so, after about 45 minutes, I shut it off and let it cool. Later I checked again and found a very slight amount of slippery coolant - not even a whole drop.

I was able to read the part-number off the hose (98710650131) .Looking-up that part # I also found there are replaceable o-rings. The hose itself seems fine. I am trying to decide whether to just replace the o-ring ($5), or the whole hose ($50). In either case, it is fairly easy. The real work involved will be replacing the lost coolant and bleeding the air out. If I just replace the o-ring, I might be able to clamp/plug the lines to avoid major coolant loss. Then I could just top-up the reserve (a few times) until the level stabilizes. My feeling is that with all the dozens of coolant hoses in these cars, replacing just one doesn't add much value. As I've said - this one seems fine and is still very flexible.
 

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My vote is for replacing just the o-ring and keeping an eye on it. At least that's what I'd do. Good luck.:cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Update: I replaced the o-ring on the end of the hose that inserts into the bottom of the vertical plastic connector tube on the front of the engine. That fixed my slow leak.

Once the car rear-end is raised on jack-stands and the bottom panel is removed the process is very easy - it took only a couple minutes.
  1. place a pan under the work area (to collect lost coolant)
  2. remove the wire clip on the plastic connector
  3. pull the hose out of the connector
  4. slip the old o-ring off the hose end
  5. replace the new o-ring
  6. re-insert hose end back into plastic connector
  7. replace wire clip
  8. test that the hose is held in place by the wire clip
  9. replace lost coolant via iterative burping process

It would of been much easier if I had 3 hands. One to plug the connector end (to stop the coolant loss), and two to remove and re-install to o-ring on the hose. A lot of coolant is lost from the vertical black connector. Not much came out from the loose hose - maybe because I had the car raised high in the rear. This hose is the return side from the front radiators.

I ended-up loosing about 1/2 gallon of coolant which I captured in a pan under the work area. If I had been quicker to plug the connector tube (and had some kind of stopper (tapered plug) ready, I might of lost less than a pint.

It took a couple days to get the cooling system bled/burped. I used a process as described in the water-pump replacement threads. I just kept repeating the cycle of topping-up the coolant to MAX, running the engine for a while (with heater & fan ON full). Opening the bleeder valve to release trapped air.
Note: I tried using a vacuum bleeder tool but my tiny air compressor couldn't supply enough sustained CFM to get a good vacuum. So I resorted to the manual method.

Connector tube (#12) and spring clip (#13)
987-2 cooling 1.JPG
Hose (#18) and o-ring (#40) - note that the hose has o-rings on both ends but the diagram only shows the one I didn't replace.
987-2 cooling 2.JPG
 
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