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Vitesse — Coolant Escaping When Hot Print
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Jason C
April 24, 2017, 8:24am Report to Moderator


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Update! Car back from the mechanic, went for blast -- coolant system looking good. Planning to clean remains of pressurised coolant spray from everywhere to ensure it's all sorted. Did noticed some antifreeze coming from the overflow bottle on my return, wondering if perhaps the seal isn't too good around the cap of the bottle. Tightened a little. Also noticed the engineered hole on the aluminium lid. Will clean and take for another drive.
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daver clasper
April 24, 2017, 6:40pm Report to Moderator
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Hi Jason

The Mk1 overflow bottle isn't pressurized as far as I know, it's a loose fit (mine is, though would be interesting to know it it shouldn't be).

Dave
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RobPearce
April 25, 2017, 8:08am Report to Moderator

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Dave's right. The "desertising" bottle is purely a reservoir for coolant that is ejected past the pressure cap on the radiator. It is not pressurised and should not be kept full; rather, when cold, the level should be just enough to ensure the end of the pipe is submerged.


Current fleet
1967 Vitesse 2L conv "Tessa"
1970 Spitfire Mk3 (project) "Toby"
1972 GT6 Mk3
Not enough time or space
Recently sold:
1972 2.5 PI estate "Harry" (gone to russell on here)
1973 Toledo 2-door "Spike" (gone to a club official)
Used to have:
1968 Vitesse 2L saloon
1980 Dolomite 1500
1977 Dolomite 1850
1980 Dolomite Sprint
1982 TR7 DHC Sprint
1975 2500S saloon
1971 Herald 13/60 Estate (with 1500 Spit engine)
1975 Stag
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Jason C
April 25, 2017, 8:09am Report to Moderator


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Maybe I spoke too soon! Went for a drive today, pushing it a little harder in 4th on the open road to see how the engine temp went. Opened the bonnet to inspect and uh oh have coolant again on the inside of the bonnet and carbs... pretty certain it's coming from the overflow bottle this time. Appears to be coming from around the rubber grommet and even leaking from the threaded cap. The cap is tight, but note perfect, I added some insulation tape to help tighten the thread. Opening the bottle the coolant looked like a milkshake. Initially thought, when the system is hot and pressurised and with the previous water pump leak fixed, it's found the next weakest link. No coolant was inside the overflow tube. The water pump itself does look to be fixed, nothing in that region. Little disappointed it seems the mechanic didn't check the system after the repair, although it seems the engine needs to be hot and driven (maybe laboured) for it to leak.

From what I remember when the engine cools the excess fluid in the overflow bottle should be drawn back into the system. Is the system now too full, pushing the coolant out of the overflow bottle when the engine is hot? Should I replace the overflow bottle? Something else I'm missing?

Another disappointment from my trip to the mechanic, as I drove off I lost my hub cap and surround - rolling away and dented by a curb due to not being attached properly.  



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RobPearce
April 25, 2017, 11:43am Report to Moderator

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That overflow bottle is too full. It is not intended to be sealed - it NEEDS to be able to breathe - so any fiddling with trying to "improve the seal" is a waste of effort.

Does it draw the coolant back into the engine as it cools?


Current fleet
1967 Vitesse 2L conv "Tessa"
1970 Spitfire Mk3 (project) "Toby"
1972 GT6 Mk3
Not enough time or space
Recently sold:
1972 2.5 PI estate "Harry" (gone to russell on here)
1973 Toledo 2-door "Spike" (gone to a club official)
Used to have:
1968 Vitesse 2L saloon
1980 Dolomite 1500
1977 Dolomite 1850
1980 Dolomite Sprint
1982 TR7 DHC Sprint
1975 2500S saloon
1971 Herald 13/60 Estate (with 1500 Spit engine)
1975 Stag
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Jason C
April 26, 2017, 8:05am Report to Moderator


Posts: 75
Posts Per Day: 0.09
Thanks Rob! Makes sense, the coolant does seem to draw back into the engine as it cools down. Reduced the coolant in the bottle to a little less than 1/2 when cold basically to where it sits in the bracket, then went for another run. Drove fine, nearly home noticed temp gauge noticeably rising up a bit, then smelt strange smell - pulled over, more coolant escaping from the bottle. It seems maybe I only need around quarter fluid in the bottle when cold, or it's not fully drawing back into the radiator as it cools...

Planning to leave overnight, check bottle level and radiator in the morning and go from there. Definitely something connected when engine is getting hot, only appears then. Today I did check the radiator after leaving the car to cool down for around 2 hours (coolant was traveling up overflow tube to radiator) — noticed radiator was low, could see the top of the core. But wasn't sure if it was because it hadn't been enough time for the coolant to travel back into the system? Regardless topped radiator to be safe. Mechanics mentioned he tested the radiator cap, but test is only for it opening, not retracting.
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RobPearce
April 26, 2017, 9:38am Report to Moderator

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One common problem is that a lot of aftermarket radiator caps only have the sprung seal - the one that keeps coolant in the radiator until the pressure is reached. For the overflow bottle to work, you also need a seal between the cap and the latching ring, to keep air out so that as the engine cools down the radiator refills from the overflow.


Current fleet
1967 Vitesse 2L conv "Tessa"
1970 Spitfire Mk3 (project) "Toby"
1972 GT6 Mk3
Not enough time or space
Recently sold:
1972 2.5 PI estate "Harry" (gone to russell on here)
1973 Toledo 2-door "Spike" (gone to a club official)
Used to have:
1968 Vitesse 2L saloon
1980 Dolomite 1500
1977 Dolomite 1850
1980 Dolomite Sprint
1982 TR7 DHC Sprint
1975 2500S saloon
1971 Herald 13/60 Estate (with 1500 Spit engine)
1975 Stag
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glang
April 26, 2017, 12:04pm Report to Moderator

Posts: 626
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Quoted from Jason C
Thanks Rob! Makes sense, the coolant does seem to draw back into the engine as it cools down. Reduced the coolant in the bottle to a little less than 1/2 when cold basically to where it sits in the bracket, then went for another run. Drove fine, nearly home noticed temp gauge noticeably rising up a bit, then smelt strange smell - pulled over, more coolant escaping from the bottle. It seems maybe I only need around quarter fluid in the bottle when cold, or it's not fully drawing back into the radiator as it cools...

Planning to leave overnight, check bottle level and radiator in the morning and go from there. Definitely something connected when engine is getting hot, only appears then. Today I did check the radiator after leaving the car to cool down for around 2 hours (coolant was traveling up overflow tube to radiator) — noticed radiator was low, could see the top of the core. But wasn't sure if it was because it hadn't been enough time for the coolant to travel back into the system? Regardless topped radiator to be safe. Mechanics mentioned he tested the radiator cap, but test is only for it opening, not retracting.


Jason, it sounds like your car is overheating or at least the rad cap is lifting too early as there should be no coolant overflow from a bottle if it was 1/2 full when cold. I calculated the volume produced during a normal warm up to be about 1/4L or about a couple of inches rise in the bottle.
Also if the system is working correctly the rad will always be full when removing the cap no matter what its temperature. If not it means air has been drawn in somewhere instead of coolant back from the bottle OR you started with an air pocket in the system.....
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Jason C
April 26, 2017, 12:46pm Report to Moderator


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Hi Glang & Rob, thank you for your thoughts. I think you're correct, it could be overheating. When I opened the radiator cap today I could see the top of the core, it was down considerably - being a novice, I explained this away to myself thinking it hadn't drawn the coolant back yet - which makes no sense, the radiator would need coolant inside at all times to do it's job. I called into the mechanic this afternoon he advised to keep an eye on it over the next couple of days. I wondered if it could be an airlock, but think if I'd topped up the radiator and ran would have eventually gone...?

The temp gauge needle moved up quite a bit, a touch over the mid way mark - but enough to be noticeable (no where near the red or even half way to danger zone), I mentioned to mechanic he said even with slow driving/idle it shouldn't be perceptible of an increase on the gauge. The temp gauge did come down when speeding up on the open road.

Currently cold overflow tank less than 1/4 full, and overflow hose full (seems to be drawing back into the system)

Any ideas on what to do next? Thank you
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glang
April 26, 2017, 1:08pm Report to Moderator

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What about running the engine stationary with the bonnet/hood open until you get to the normal temp as indicated on the gauge to see exactly whats happening in the overflow bottle and when?
I would also be tempted to replace both thermostat and rad cap to discount them as problematic cos theyre relatively cheap and its always handy to have spares.....
As far as temperature gauge movement goes I think our cooling systems are pretty much at their limit especially after 50 years and in a warm climate so its inevitable to see the needle fluctuate - mine does and the important thing is that it comes back down before passing the 3/4 position which is when it starts to boil over
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nang
April 27, 2017, 3:50am Report to Moderator

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Sorry, but it looks to me if the system is over pressurising , either blocked bits somewhere, blown head gasket, thermostat jammed closed etc.
Hope I'm wrong.  
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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Jason C
April 27, 2017, 7:36am Report to Moderator


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Hi Glang and Nang,

Sounds like the first step is to replace the thermostat and radiator cap, to rule these out. To be honest I think radiator cap is in pretty good condition.. but better to start with the cheap and easy things first. Checked the overflow this morning and radiator — radiator was full and had drawn coolant into system from overflow bottle, so this looks to be working. Starting to point as you mentioned to the system over pressuring as the heat builds up. Fingers crossed that it's not a blown head gasket, the oil looks good which is something. How to check if other pieces are blocked in the system, and radiator. What would be the next steps to run through after thermo and cap...

On another front noticed a definite smell of petrol in the boot.   First place that fails to check? Petrol tank or fuel line.

Thanks chaps
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glang
April 27, 2017, 8:33am Report to Moderator

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As I say Jason before anything else I would run the engine to see at what point you get over pressurisation of the cooling system. Try to tell if it really is overheating (you cant really rely just on the temperature gauge but should know from the running of the engine if its genuinely hot)....
Petrol smell in boot is very common and if not from pinhole in tank (corrosion from water inside), leaking hose or sender unit it could be from the reserve selector lever seal. Can be difficult to find because any small leak evaporates very quickly but smells strong so all you can do is cross each thing off the list easiest things first.
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Jason C
April 28, 2017, 8:39am Report to Moderator


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Hi Glang, tried running today with bonnet up and watching the engine... watched for a long time, tried revving the engine... didn't see anything unusual. Temperature gauge still looked good after a long time, didn't seem like the engine was overheating, no visual signs - anything in particular to look for if it is overheating? No leaks spotted anywhere etc. After quite some time of this, I thought maybe it was okay, then flew down the road and low and behold stopped and opened the bonnet and fluid was flying out of the overflow bottle like a fountain of green soda. Even more pressurised than previously — almost like someone had added detergent to it.

I removed the thermostat and inspected. Appeared to be in open position. Tested thermostat with boiling hot water, didn't seem to open. Thought maybe could be an issue with thermostat, then thought an idea to rule at the thermostat not working (maybe dumb idea) - assembled without the thermostat, topped up radiator etc and let it idle for a little — coolant again started flying out of the overflow bottle.  :/

Also drained some coolant from radiator and refilled with heater switch open as wondered if it had air blocks, or wasn't filled correctly. Didn't seem to have an effect. Before giving up, when engine half cooled slowly released radiator cap to check radiator level and coolant jetted out hole in overflow bottle. Weird. Something blocked somewhere?
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glang
April 28, 2017, 8:52am Report to Moderator

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No I would expect coolant to go to coolant bottle when undoing the cap on a half hot engine as probably there was still some pressure in the system.
Believe it was a good idea to test without thermostat as we can now discount it as being the problem although its not something recommended to do continually as apparently the restriction of the thermostat is needed to correctly control the coolant flows.
Next step is a new cap as yours could be lifting early. There are two different pressures available and yours should be the lower one but Im now using the higher pressure in an attempt to reduce boil over when I stop.
Is the coolant milky at all cos, as discussed previously, it could be head gasket which will need a compression check on all cylinders to check....
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