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Jason C
April 11, 2017, 7:58am Report to Moderator


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Hi folks!

Just went for a run in my Mark 1 Vitesse after having last been fired up over a year ago. Engine seemed to be running well until I lifted the hood on return from a 10min joy ride and noticed coolant over the inside of the bonnet and engine.  

Wondering if someone can point me in the right direction to diagnose the problem? Initial detective work thus far:

- Overflow bottle cold, has less than quarter fluid inside.
- Checked radiator cap, appears to be ok - rubber not perished, mild surface rust
- Radiator has fluid, antifreeze looks ok in appearance
- Engine Oil looks black (although with a slight smell of petrol)
- Further concern -- noticed oily appearance to coolant in overflow bottle when cold, with black metallic looking grime floating around bottom of bottle (attached photo of the substance on my finger)

Took the car for another drive from a cold start and repeatedly checked under the hood to determine where the fluid may be escaping. Temperature gauge remains in the middle, will creep up slightly after idle for some time once hot. Noticed once the engine is hot and pushed a little, coolant spray appeared inside the bonnet potentially coming from what seems to be below the thermostat housing (perhaps the section beneath mounting the component to the engine block) -- including visible spray on the inside left of the radiator. Once driven further the overflow bottle slowly increases in coolant, becoming fill then flows through the overflow tube itself and I believe escape in a secondary place around where the tube meets the radiator being pressurised with no place to go.

Any ideas?

Thank you in advance.





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Neil Swift
April 11, 2017, 8:18am Report to Moderator

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I once had this, and it was the hose between the radiator and the expansion bottle. The pipe had cracked, so when under pressure and water came down the tube it dripped onto the fan. Obviously the fan made water go everywhere and the appearance was that it was a lot of water.


Vitesse 1970 MK2 - RBRR 2016
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Jonny-Jimbo
April 11, 2017, 8:22am Report to Moderator

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I take it your car has the later radiator, not the one with the separate header-tank over the inlet manifold?


62 Vitesse 1600 - Slammed & modified
67 2000 - Fitted with 2.5 o/d - 2012 RBRR, 2015 Essex Rally, 2016 HCR, 2016 RBRR
67 2000 Estate - Dormant
70 Herald 13/60 - First car, many bits
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90 Mazda Eunos 1.6 - 'Popeye'
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Jason C
April 11, 2017, 9:06am Report to Moderator


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@Neil Swift

Think the clear PVC looking tube connecting the bottle and the radiator is ok, however this has been wired on rather than clipped, maybe something?

@Jonny-Jimbo

Believe a later radiator, 1968, please find attached a couple of photos.

Thank you



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Jason C
April 11, 2017, 9:07am Report to Moderator


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Overflow bottle and radiator.



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Jason C
April 11, 2017, 9:10am Report to Moderator


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@Neil Swift

Thinking about the tube connecting the overflow bottle, not sure if it's the primary leak as there was spray on the inside of radiator/bonnet before the overflow bottle and tube become fill.
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Jason C
April 11, 2017, 9:21am Report to Moderator


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Wondered if this gasket could be the cause...



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glang
April 11, 2017, 10:52am Report to Moderator

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Hi Jason, heres a few points:
First the overflow bottle should always have enough coolant in it when cold to cover the end of the tube going into it (1/3 to 1/2 full) then this level will rise as the system heats up.
The overflow pipe should always be full of coolant so that the system draws back coolant as it cools down not air. This is why the end of the overflow pipe has to be immersed in coolant in the bottle and must be well sealed to the radiator.
Our coolant pumps unfortunately dont have modern graphite seals so when left for long periods the seal faces can stick. Then when you start the engine the faces tear apart which damages them and they then to leak. Sometimes this leak is only under pressure and the rotating pulley throws the leaking coolant all over the place.
You can pressure test the coolant system with a foot pump that has a pressure gauge attached. With the engine cold all you do is make up a connection from the pump to the overflow pipe and with the system still full of water pump air in. However dont take the pressure much higher than 1bar/15psi as the radiator cap wont lift to protect the system. When its pressurised you should be able to see any leaks which will be water rather than the steam produced under normal conditions.    
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Jason C
April 11, 2017, 11:24am Report to Moderator


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Hi glang,

Thank you for your pointers! Interesting, to confirm the overflow tube should always have coolant present to function correctly? Currently on cold start the overflow bottle is very low (only say 2-3cm) with no coolant in the overflow tube. Do you think with the overflow bottle low/none in tube that I'm getting air trapped within the system?

Also, any idea what the sediment in the overflow bottle could be/caused by? Read somewhere this could be from old or mixed antifreeze?

Best place to start, clean overflow bottle and try pressure test.

Thank you
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Pete Lewis
April 11, 2017, 12:00pm Report to Moderator

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a dust of talc powder around the thermo hsg will give away the tell tale leak it will show a track from the source.

the tube will only stay filled if the connections are air tight and the seal on top of the rad cap is making good contact, any small leak here will let the tube level drop
its a crude set up dont expect rocket science ,  in general any big changes in expelling coolant or sucking it back is as good as a bit of tube a bottle and wing and a prayer inside the rad cap

it works but dont expect too much from it.

that debris could be just  years of never being flushed out


1964 1600 Vitesse 6 Cactus and Black , now  sold
now have T2000   Mk2 saloon in French Blue/grey trim  been  restored without running since 1997
now has power steering ,poly bushed and Alfa 156 seats
location  Luton
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Jason C
April 11, 2017, 12:32pm Report to Moderator


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Hi Pete,

Nice idea with the talc, will try this idea first. Are there any methods to improve the likelihood of the radiator cap making good contact? Perhaps a very light sand of radiator seal area? Should I also be testing the radiator cap itself?

Once the leak is found is there a best practise for flushing the cooling system including the radiator? Sorry and also any advice on replacing the antifreeze to avoid airlocks? Someone mentioned to be careful what type of antifreeze is used (think "long life" wasn't good for older cars) otherwise the antifreeze can 'seek' holes in the radiator and find new leaks...

Lastly, new rubber hose quality any good? Found recently purchased rubber items have perished quickly from the car simply sitting in storage with no exposure to the sun or use.

Thank you all!
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glang
April 11, 2017, 6:11pm Report to Moderator

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Quoted from Jason C
Hi glang,

Thank you for your pointers! Interesting, to confirm the overflow tube should always have coolant present to function correctly? Currently on cold start the overflow bottle is very low (only say 2-3cm) with no coolant in the overflow tube. Do you think with the overflow bottle low/none in tube that I'm getting air trapped within the system?

Also, any idea what the sediment in the overflow bottle could be/caused by? Read somewhere this could be from old or mixed antifreeze?

Best place to start, clean overflow bottle and try pressure test.

Thank you


Usually what happens is that steam/water is lost from a leak while driving the car then when it cools coolant is drawn back into the rad from the bottle. This happens every time until theres no coolant left in the bottle so air gets taken in and the rad liquid level drops which is when your heater will stop working.
Everything in your photos looks relatively new and in good condition including the radiator and hoses. I wouldnt worry about the sediment as it seems to be quite common even on cars that have been flushed but do recommend the pressure test as it will also show if your radiator cap top seal is good.

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nang
April 11, 2017, 6:13pm Report to Moderator

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Do you have a rubber seal/washer between the top of the cap and radiator top? Without this you will have no vacuum to fill overflow bottle.
Tony.


If all else fails-Read the Instructions! ��Wairoa
New Zealand

1976 2500TC (converted to S spec) owned since 1998.

1999 BMW 2800 cc Z3 Convertible.
 
2003 BMW 525i Touring.
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Nick Jones
April 11, 2017, 7:37pm Report to Moderator

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Quoted from glang

Our coolant pumps unfortunately dont have modern graphite seals so when left for long periods the seal faces can stick. Then when you start the engine the faces tear apart which damages them and they then to leak. Sometimes this leak is only under pressure and the rotating pulley throws the leaking coolant all over the place.


^^^ This!  Most likely scenario after standing idle.  Check the tell-tale hole on the bottom of the pump housing.

Nick



Nick Jones
Somerset UK

Vitesse Mk 1.5 Convertible EFI, Survivor of RBRR 2008, HCR & 10CR 2009, HCR 2010, 10CR2011, HCR 2012, 10CR2013, 10CR2015, HCR 2016 & HCR 2017.
GT6 Mk3 Roto - project in progress
Spitfire MKIV son's project now on the road as a daily driver
2.5 PI Saloon now EFI (PIe?), Engine rebuilt and running sweet.  Diff howling...... Survivor of HCR 2013 & 2014 Gone to live in Swansea

http://www.tengaston.plus.com
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glang
April 12, 2017, 7:42am Report to Moderator

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Jason, I noticed from your pics that you havent got air cleaner hoses fitted on your car. They help to draw cooler air in especially during slow driving. I used plastic fish pond hose and a hair drier to get them to fit then made up a small bracket to hold them in their original position on the side of the radiator...



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