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Old 03-14-2021, 03:50 PM   #1
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Default Oil in radiator

So I just bought a 97 Nissan pickup with a d21 engine. I have to fill the radiator up every time I started. The engine starts runs and idles fine but I can't figure out where the water goes overnight it just the radiator is empty the next day and then when I refill it there will be traces of oil as the level comes up. I pull the dipstick and the oil is fine there's no water in the oil I pulled the dipstick for the automatic transmission it's fine there's no water in it either where does my water go?
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Old 03-14-2021, 05:13 PM   #2
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Welcome to the site.

1. Nissan pickup aka Hardbody aka D21 - 86.5-97 model years. 4 cyl was 86.5-90 Z24 and 91-97 was KA24E

Is your passenger floor board wet?
When the truck is running is there white smoke or steam out the exhaust?

The water has to go somewhere. Have you drained the oil and checked for any water?
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Old 03-14-2021, 06:24 PM   #3
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Dry and no smoke. It's is running really rich. Fumes burn eyes. I run it for 20 minutes and see circulation in radiator, then turn it off, and as it cool the coolant level drops. No drips or puddling underneath.
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Old 03-14-2021, 06:27 PM   #4
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Dipstick shows only oil
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Old 03-14-2021, 08:52 PM   #5
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Steve, oil change time. Remember, oil floats on water. The water has to go somewhere.


Also, can we presume you have the 4cyl? ...or the V6?
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Old 03-14-2021, 09:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 89'HBV6 View Post

Also, can we presume you have the 4cyl? ...or the V6?
96-97 only had 4 cylinder available in US.
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Old 03-15-2021, 12:31 AM   #7
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You could have a small blown head gasket where the coolant is flowing into a cylinder.

In that case, it would be burning and going out the exhaust. See if there are any white vapors coming out of the tailpipe.
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Old 03-15-2021, 01:18 AM   #8
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I'm wondering if the oil in the radiator could be from somebody touching in there with a greasy hand or something like that, but I don't know if that would be enough for you to see it each time you refilled the radiator. What if somebody added a bit of oil to the radiator by mistake? It's a long shot, I know.

I've never used it, but what about the stop leak additive, could that be oily?

I know you said there are no drips, but have you tried putting a big clean piece of cardboard underneath your truck overnight?
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Old 03-15-2021, 03:10 AM   #9
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OP: While the cylinder head is off, have it checked for cracks. And replace the timing set with a quality kit. Good time to replace the oil pump too.
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Old 03-15-2021, 10:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevesD21 View Post
So I just bought a 97 Nissan pickup with a d21 engine. I have to fill the radiator up every time I started. The engine starts runs and idles fine but I can't figure out where the water goes overnight it just the radiator is empty the next day and then when I refill it there will be traces of oil as the level comes up. I pull the dipstick and the oil is fine there's no water in the oil I pulled the dipstick for the automatic transmission it's fine there's no water in it either where does my water go?
And do you park in the same spot every day? If you do, you could try parking over a clean piece of cardboard. The next morning, look at the cardboard and see if there are any drips on it. With the amount of coolant you say you are losing, it should be noticeable if there is a leak.
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