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Discussion Starter #1
So when I bought my 02 I was told it leaked coolant, I never paid much attention to it though as it leaked very slowly and I barely used the truck anyway. Then my brother used it to jump start another truck (unfortunately I wasn't there so I only have a sketchy idea) a couple months ago and said that while running the stereo, heat, etc on the other truck the Dakota starting spurting coolant from somewhere around the two caps straight up in the air. He shut it off but didn't look into it any more.

So ever since then I've been keeping an eye on the coolant, and I test drove it around the property a bit to see if it made a difference. I wasn't able to figure much out by checking the coolant daily, as it seems to be very unpredictable. When I checked it after it was apparently spurting coolant, it was still at the top, just how it was before. A week later it was down one dot on the dipstick. (since I park it outdoors, my attempts at putting cardboard under it to find out where it was leaking just got either soaked with rain, or it didn't happen to leak then) I checked it daily for several weeks, and it would go down a dot per day, then stay the same for a week, down a dot, up a dot, and so on. I couldn't make any sense out of it.

I realize it might be impossible to tell from the little I know, but does anyone have any ideas as to what it could be? Any tips on what I should do to try to find out when/where/how it's leaking? I'll keep checking it daily and post again if I find something out.
 

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Going up and down a dot might have to do with thermal expansion/contraction. Before starting the truck, have a look above and below for any moisture. If you find some, make a note of its location and wipe it off, regardless of whether or not you think it's coolant. Start the engine and let it warm up to operating temperature, until you are sure the thermostat is opening to let coolant circulate, then start looking for steam or drips (or geysers). Run your interior heater full blast for a couple of minutes. Smell the exhaust for a sweeter than normal smell, which would indicate a head gasket leak. Shut it off and watch/listen/smell for leaks.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the idea, I'll make sure to try it out!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Going up and down a dot might have to do with thermal expansion/contraction. Before starting the truck, have a look above and below for any moisture. If you find some, make a note of its location and wipe it off, regardless of whether or not you think it's coolant. Start the engine and let it warm up to operating temperature, until you are sure the thermostat is opening to let coolant circulate, then start looking for steam or drips (or geysers). Run your interior heater full blast for a couple of minutes. Smell the exhaust for a sweeter than normal smell, which would indicate a head gasket leak. Shut it off and watch/listen/smell for leaks.
So I did this today (with some extra complications lol, battery was dead on the Dak and 1500, had to get out the Cummins to jump start them), and from what I could tell and from what a mechanic buddy told me, it looks like it's probably the water pump. Got one pretty cheap on RockAuto, I sure hope that's the issue and nothing more!

I also got a cheap exhaust tip I'll put on when I get the manifold leak welded and the glass pack put on. I discovered a misunderstanding with an eBay seller last night, turns out my tinted taillights and mesh for the grille project are from China and will literally be shipped on a ship, estimated delivery January 2021 sigh at least them were cheap and not too important, I can get along without them for a couple months. I'm not sure when the level will be here hopefully soon though! New drilled and slotted rotors from Rockauto, are on the way and I got the master cylinder in, next I have to get it over to a lift to get the new brake lines in. I'm getting closer anyways!
 
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