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For more than a month, I have been noticing coolant leaking from the thermostat housing. This was identified by the dealer and another Mini specialist mechanic.

The dealer wanted the housing to be replaced out right ($1300 parts+labor) and the mechanic (his quote $650) suggested wait and watch.

  • I have been filling in coolant once every three days. Wondering if this OK to get by for few more months?
  • I mean should I just be filling coolant twice or thrice a week or should I get it fixed ?
  • I'm currently driving short distances and If I drive long distances, will the coolant drain lot more. Is it dependent on the length time the engine runs?
  • I have heard thermostat kicks in after a certain temp, does that mean the coolant from housing leaks when thermostat starts working?
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    With all due respect, is there actually a question here? – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Nov 11 '15 at 19:52
  • Did either shop give you an itemized list of what needs to be fixed? If so, what parts are they saying need replaced? Is it just the thermostat housing? – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Nov 11 '15 at 21:20
  • And the housing which needs to be replaced is quite ugly – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Nov 11 '15 at 21:23
  • @Paulster2 Do you know what that ugly thing is made from, plastic or aluminium? – HandyHowie Nov 11 '15 at 22:13
  • It is a composite material of some sort, but not plastic (in the regular sense) or aluminum. All I can find is that could be a fiber-reinforced composite material ... yah, doesn't say much. I always just call it a "composite material" myself (I've gotten away with it until now!). – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Nov 11 '15 at 22:45
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I have been filling in coolant once every three days. wondering if this ok to get by for few more months?

You can probably get by with this, but realize that if the thermostat housing is cracked and leaking, it could easily crack further, causing faster/greater loss of coolant at any time. By not doing the fix, you could end up trashing the whole engine if it overheats.

I mean should I just be filling coolant twice or thrice a week or should I get it fixed ?

It is always my first inclination to get something fixed, but this is completely on you.

Is it dependent on the length time the engine runs?

With the leak where it is, the coolant system cannot build pressure to ensure a higher boiling point (over boil protection). The coolant isn't going to have the efficiency it should have. The longer you run the engine at any given time, the great risk you have of overheating.

I have heard thermostat kicks in after a certain temp, does that mean the coolant from housing leaks when thermostat starts working?

It depends on where the leak is actually at, but generally, no.

  • Thanks. That tells me I should get it fixed before I go for my upcoming 1600 mile long distance drive. – cyborgt8 Nov 11 '15 at 21:35
  • You may think about purchasing the part yourself and getting some help getting it changed. I could not see paying $70 for a part and then another $550-1200 extra to have it replaced. That's just me, though. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Nov 11 '15 at 21:37
  • Read some DIY's. The Coolant pipe on my old Jetta was lovingly called the "crack pipe" by the forum crowd because of the way it looked... but mostly because they all cracked at some point. Labor was high because you had to take off so much stuff to even get to it. With a job like that, replace everything you can on the way out. – JPhi1618 Nov 11 '15 at 21:44
  • I would love to do that. My experience with auto vehicles go as far as changing brake pads and rotors. I don't have another vehicle to commute, just in case I screw up. On the other hand I could work with some independent mechanics to get it done for a lower price, but then there are instances where good vehicles got screwed for being test subject. – cyborgt8 Nov 11 '15 at 21:47
  • There are a lot of hoses hanging off of it, but realistically the replacement would be pretty straight forward. You just need to replace hose for hose (from one housing to the other). Take pictures at different angles so you can see where things go in case you get lost. If you can change out brake pads, I would bet you could do this. Looks like tools would be minimal. If you had a pair of experienced hands helping you, you could get it done in about an hour or so, I'd think ... but then my estimation skills suck (ask my wife ;-) – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Nov 11 '15 at 22:49

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