X485 losing antifreeze
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    X485 losing antifreeze

    Hello - I have a 2004 X485 with about 680 hours on it. I have owned the tractor since new and have no real issues with it. That is until last fall I started to notice an antifreeze smell while cutting the grass and the overflow tank level was dropping. Not able to find any type of leak over the winter the next problem was reached after going to the garage and finding a pool of antifreeze on the ground. I could clearly see antifreeze and residue below the overflow tank vent and also antifreeze covered the radiator and was dripping heavily by the drain valve on the radiator.

    The dealer picked it up and stated the water pump was leaking so that is where the smell was coming from. They stated that the pool of antifreeze along with the radiator covered in antifreeze was from a faulty radiator cap. They fixed both of those to bring it back to only have more antifreeze on the ground which clearly came from the overflow vent on the overflow tank. The dealer picked it back up (Same day it was delivered stating it was fixed) and said the system had air in the lines and it just burped causing the antifreeze to come out of the vent on the overflow tank. The also lowered the antifreeze level in the overflow tank to the low mark.

    Fast forward a couple weeks and a couple hours of cutting grass and the level in the overflow tank dropped 3". The dealer picked it back up, did their tests and said the only thing they could find was a loose hose clamp. This is after they let the tractor idle putting about 5 hours on the clock and using a half tank of gas in it. They brought the tractor back.

    Again fast forward about 3-4 hours of use cutting grass and once again the level in the overflow tank has dropped an inch during this time.

    I spoke to the dealer yesterday and they will send a tech out this week to pressure test the system but I'm starting to hear over and over from them now that the level of the tank doesn't matter as long as there is antifreeze in the radiator. I disagree with this since I have owned the tractor since new and the level in the tank has always remained at the same level. At worse I would lose a 1/2" or so after putting 60-70 hours on during the summer/winter.

    I will add the dealer has been great at stepping up to get it fixed but they are at a loss. They can find no leaks and state the pressure test is good.

    Suggestions?

    Is this true the level in the overflow tank doesn't matter and losing an inch every 3-4 hours is nothing to worry about? The past typical pattern is that you see the level in the overflow tank go up when the tractor is warm but then when it cools down it returns to it's normal level.

    The antifreeze level is set to the low mark on the overflow tank. Those that know what the overflow tank looks like towards the top of the tank there are two marks. One I assume from when it's hot and the other for when it's cold.

    The temperature gauge on the tractor is where it always is so it's not running hot.

    After each use I use a leaf blower and remove all the side screens and the screen in front of the radiator to blow out any grass etc.

    We are now going on the 4th time this will be looked at in the past 3 months so I'm looking to get this resolved.

    Thanks for your time
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    arlen's Avatar
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    I started a thread here a few years back. I have the same problem with my X748. I’m 100 % sure it’s the radiator itself.
    I can pressure check it and everything holds pressure great, but things must change when it heats up.
    It’s been doing it for at least 7 years, and I still haven’t bought a radiator. I just add a few ounces here and there.
    I would have a hard time doing without it long enough to swap out the radiator!
    Last edited by arlen; 06-10-2018 at 07:37 AM.
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    Zebrafive's Avatar
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    I think I would rig a catch container on the overflow line that comes out of the over flow tank and see if coolant is being pushed out of it and lost.
    If that is not the case, next I would remove the over flow tank and check it for leaks (maybe a pin hole or worn spot above the cold line and when the coolant level raises it leaks out.)??

    Finally I would pressure test the system, do this with the coolant hot if at all possible. As Arlen stated, things that don't leak cold, can leak when hot.

    I doubt my first two suggestions are the problem, but I do the easy/cheap things first
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    I know it's not safe to assume but wouldn't the dealership do the pressure test with the engine warm and running? I know your guess is as good as mine but I would hope they know that.

    It's not being pushed out the overflow vent on the tank. In the past when that happens there is always signs of white residue on the fuel filter etc below and it's all clean.

    I'm tempted to have them replace the radiator, hoses and clamps but I'm looking at probably $600 for that. I just dumped $1300 into it this spring. new muffler due to hole in it, throttle body was leaking so they rebuilt that, the water pump, radiator cap and a new seat. Granted $600 is cheap compared to a new one and like I said this one has been solid till now.

    They are coming out this week to the house and will do a pressure test when I'm there. I will learn more later in the week when they come. I just want to be prepared in case they go oh this is normal.
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    Before I replace the radiator, I would remove it and take it to a dedicated radiator repair shop and have them test it and confirm it needs to be replaced and can't be repaired.
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    04x485 (06-10-2018)

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    Quote Originally Posted by 04x485 View Post
    I know it's not safe to assume but wouldn't the dealership do the pressure test with the engine warm and running? I know your guess is as good as mine but I would hope they know that.

    It's not being pushed out the overflow vent on the tank. In the past when that happens there is always signs of white residue on the fuel filter etc below and it's all clean.

    I'm tempted to have them replace the radiator, hoses and clamps but I'm looking at probably $600 for that. I just dumped $1300 into it this spring. new muffler due to hole in it, throttle body was leaking so they rebuilt that, the water pump, radiator cap and a new seat. Granted $600 is cheap compared to a new one and like I said this one has been solid till now.

    They are coming out this week to the house and will do a pressure test when I'm there. I will learn more later in the week when they come. I just want to be prepared in case they go oh this is normal.
    My money is on the radiator expanding when hot and causing the loss of fluid. I would agree with Zebra Five, I would pull the radiator and take it to a local radiator shop. Better yet, I would stop by and speak with a good local radiator shop and ask them is they would repair the radiator out of the tractor just to make sure. Chances are they will, but I would want to hear what else they say like "Oh yea, we see these all of the time" or other such input.......Plus they might have a suggestion for you before replacing the radiator with the dealer.

    Generally, but not always, once a radiator starts losing coolant, they continue to. Sometimes, they will just drop off a few ounces, but often they will keep losing coolant. Have you noticed the machine running any hotter than normal? Can you still smell the coolant?

    Keep in mind that your hydro fluid is also using the radiator as a cooling source, in the lower part of the radiator. So, it does make the replacement of the radiator a little more involved because of the hydro fluid lines at the bottom of the radiator.

    FYI, the radiator for your tractor depends upon your machine's serial number. But the one I looked up was $555 at Green Parts...just for the radiator kit, which came with the radiator, etc. as shown in this illustration.... So if your serial number is under 40,000, the radiator you need is part number AM129926 and over 40,001 the part number is AM134274........
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    Quote Originally Posted by 04x485 View Post
    Hello - I have a 2004 X485 with about 680 hours on it. I have owned the tractor since new and have no real issues with it. That is until last fall I started to notice an antifreeze smell while cutting the grass and the overflow tank level was dropping. Not able to find any type of leak over the winter the next problem was reached after going to the garage and finding a pool of antifreeze on the ground. I could clearly see antifreeze and residue below the overflow tank vent and also antifreeze covered the radiator and was dripping heavily by the drain valve on the radiator.

    The dealer picked it up and stated the water pump was leaking so that is where the smell was coming from. They stated that the pool of antifreeze along with the radiator covered in antifreeze was from a faulty radiator cap. They fixed both of those to bring it back to only have more antifreeze on the ground which clearly came from the overflow vent on the overflow tank. The dealer picked it back up (Same day it was delivered stating it was fixed) and said the system had air in the lines and it just burped causing the antifreeze to come out of the vent on the overflow tank. The also lowered the antifreeze level in the overflow tank to the low mark.

    Fast forward a couple weeks and a couple hours of cutting grass and the level in the overflow tank dropped 3". The dealer picked it back up, did their tests and said the only thing they could find was a loose hose clamp. This is after they let the tractor idle putting about 5 hours on the clock and using a half tank of gas in it. They brought the tractor back.

    Again fast forward about 3-4 hours of use cutting grass and once again the level in the overflow tank has dropped an inch during this time.

    I spoke to the dealer yesterday and they will send a tech out this week to pressure test the system but I'm starting to hear over and over from them now that the level of the tank doesn't matter as long as there is antifreeze in the radiator. I disagree with this since I have owned the tractor since new and the level in the tank has always remained at the same level. At worse I would lose a 1/2" or so after putting 60-70 hours on during the summer/winter.

    I will add the dealer has been great at stepping up to get it fixed but they are at a loss. They can find no leaks and state the pressure test is good.

    Suggestions?

    Is this true the level in the overflow tank doesn't matter and losing an inch every 3-4 hours is nothing to worry about? The past typical pattern is that you see the level in the overflow tank go up when the tractor is warm but then when it cools down it returns to it's normal level.

    The antifreeze level is set to the low mark on the overflow tank. Those that know what the overflow tank looks like towards the top of the tank there are two marks. One I assume from when it's hot and the other for when it's cold.

    The temperature gauge on the tractor is where it always is so it's not running hot.

    After each use I use a leaf blower and remove all the side screens and the screen in front of the radiator to blow out any grass etc.

    We are now going on the 4th time this will be looked at in the past 3 months so I'm looking to get this resolved.

    Thanks for your time
    While the level in the over flow tank will vary as the coolant expands and contracts with heat, I personally would want fluid in the overflow tank at all times. The level could vary, but as long as there was always coolant between the low and high marks, I would be satisfied.

    I would not accept an "Empty" over flow tank as an acceptable situation. After all, in a pressurized system, the point of the overflow tank is to provide the room for expansion and to permit the coolant to be drawn back into the radiator as needed. In fact, on some vehicles, the overflow tank is actually called "The expansion tank"............

    Just to be clear about the current situation with your tractor, are you having to continuously add coolant every so many hours? If so, how much coolant and how many hours?

    You are not noticing any white smoke out of the exahust are you as if the engine might be "burning" some coolant from a bad head or gasket or similar issue?
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    Quote Originally Posted by SulleyBear View Post
    While the level in the over flow tank will vary as the coolant expands and contracts with heat, I personally would want fluid in the overflow tank at all times. The level could vary, but as long as there was always coolant between the low and high marks, I would be satisfied.

    I would not accept an "Empty" over flow tank as an acceptable situation. After all, in a pressurized system, the point of the overflow tank is to provide the room for expansion and to permit the coolant to be drawn back into the radiator as needed. In fact, on some vehicles, the overflow tank is actually called "The expansion tank"............

    Just to be clear about the current situation with your tractor, are you having to continuously add coolant every so many hours? If so, how much coolant and how many hours?

    You are not noticing any white smoke out of the exhaust are you as if the engine might be "burning" some coolant from a bad head or gasket or similar issue?

    When they brought it back after the first time I still smelled antifreeze and the radiator was full of antifreeze (on the outside) as well. When I asked why they didn't rinse it off I was told it was due to being winter and water freezing. I think they either forgot or didn't want to get water all over their shop floor.

    When they brought it back after the first repair I smelled antifreeze after shutting the unit down each time but not during use. Once it was shut off and let sit for 5-10 min in the garage I could really smell it. After this last repair when they brought it back if I stuck my nose by the driver side front tire I could smell antifreeze with the unit off. Since then I have put approx 4 hours on it and have no smell during use or after shut down. I just went out now and smelled around and I smell nothing.

    I have not noticed any white smoke coming out of the exhaust.

    I do not know ounces or how much but after the first repair the antifreeze level dropped 3" from the low mark over the course of 3-4 hours of use. After the last repair and tightening of the hose clamp they said was loose I lost 1" from the low mark again over the course of 3-4 hours of use. I haven't been filling it back up since I want them to see how much it's losing.
    Last edited by 04x485; 06-10-2018 at 10:04 AM.

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    When the put in the water pump did they change all three gaskets. There is a cover with a gasket for the water pump, then a gasket between the water pump and the front engine cover and then another between the front engine cover and the engine block. My bet is that that last one they did not change even though it is not that hard. You would know from the receipt because they would’ve more than likely change the crank seal at the same time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SulleyBear View Post
    My money is on the radiator expanding when hot and causing the loss of fluid. I would agree with Zebra Five, I would pull the radiator and take it to a local radiator shop. Better yet, I would stop by and speak with a good local radiator shop and ask them is they would repair the radiator out of the tractor just to make sure. Chances are they will, but I would want to hear what else they say like "Oh yea, we see these all of the time" or other such input.......Plus they might have a suggestion for you before replacing the radiator with the dealer.

    Generally, but not always, once a radiator starts losing coolant, they continue to. Sometimes, they will just drop off a few ounces, but often they will keep losing coolant. Have you noticed the machine running any hotter than normal? Can you still smell the coolant?

    Keep in mind that your hydro fluid is also using the radiator as a cooling source, in the lower part of the radiator. So, it does make the replacement of the radiator a little more involved because of the hydro fluid lines at the bottom of the radiator.

    FYI, the radiator for your tractor depends upon your machine's serial number. But the one I looked up was $555 at Green Parts...just for the radiator kit, which came with the radiator, etc. as shown in this illustration.... So if your serial number is under 40,000, the radiator you need is part number AM129926 and over 40,001 the part number is AM134274........

    Thank you for the information. I think that is around the price they quoted me but of course I'm sure that doesn't include labor. I'm OK with tools as I do my own maintenance of oil, tire rotation etc. On the tractor I do the yearly maintenance and changed the hydro fluid etc. Over that basic stuff I'm out of my league as I haven't worked on car for over 30 years....
    BigJim55 likes this.

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