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Vitesse — Coolant Escaping When Hot Print
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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
77 CZ 125 Sport - 70 miles on the clock
77 Kawasaki KM90 - Shop hack
81 Yamaha DT125 - Many bits
88 Ginetta G4/4 - Dead
88 BMW E30 320i - For Sale
89 Citroen AX GT - Rally car!
90 BMW E30 318iS - Building to FIA spec
90 Mazda Eunos 1.6 - 'Popeye'
93 BMW 530i - Donor
95 BMW E34 540i - 4L V8
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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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Jason C
April 12, 2017, 7:46am Report to Moderator


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Thanks guys!

Will try and carry out a coolant pressure test. Shame the tools look expensive for this. I'll try and connect compressor with a tyre inflator that I have (has a pressure gauge) and be careful not to push over 15psi.

@Nang — yes has rubber seals on radiator cap.

Will keep you updated.
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Jason C
April 12, 2017, 7:59am Report to Moderator


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Quoted from glang
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...


Hi Glang,

Interesting! Have noticed these air cleaner hoses in some pictures on-line, were they originally standard on the Vitesse? Noticed yours has a bracket on the radiator, my bracket looks to be missing... is this bracket just bolted to the radiator? The hoses help collect cooler air from outside, away from the hotter engine bay?  
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glang
April 12, 2017, 8:22am Report to Moderator

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yes came as standard but I believe they were made of a sort of paper material which rapidly fell apart so very few original ones remain. My bracket was missing as well so I bent a small thin piece of steel to shape, painted it and fixed it to the right hand valance top stud. I cant say there has been a drastic improvement but it must help to get cooler air especially on hot days.
With the pressure test it shouldnt be expensive as you already have a compressor. Remember that after the test, if there are no leaks, the system will still be pressurised until you undo the rad cap....
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Jason C
April 12, 2017, 8:48am Report to Moderator


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Quoted from glang
yes came as standard but I believe they were made of a sort of paper material which rapidly fell apart so very few original ones remain. My bracket was missing as well so I bent a small thin piece of steel to shape, painted it and fixed it to the right hand valance top stud. I cant say there has been a drastic improvement but it must help to get cooler air especially on hot days.
With the pressure test it shouldnt be expensive as you already have a compressor. Remember that after the test, if there are no leaks, the system will still be pressurised until you undo the rad cap....


Nice, wondered if it increased performance much. On manuals it seems to show this pipe on the GT6. Came across some "high tech" pipe; https://www.merlinmotorsport.co.uk/p/revotec-black-single-layer-neoprene-ducting-per-metre-rev-blk and looking around spotted heat jackets, claim to reduce under bonnet temp; https://www.merlinmotorsport.co.uk/p/thermo-tec-4-6-cylinder-exhaust-jacket-kit-ex-jacket Wonder if the jackets help much to reduce engine temp when idle. Ha, first things first: find the leak.

Good point regarding pressure, noticed on the professional tools they have a valve to slowly release pressure before removing... just slowly unwind radiator cap do the trick?

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glang
April 12, 2017, 11:10am Report to Moderator

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Yes its not dangerous as no steam will be produced because the rads cold.
That pipe does look good certainly better than the cheaper corrugated fish pond pipe Ive used However dont think I need the jackets as I control my under bonnet temperature with the monster rad fan Ive managed to squeeze in. You can see it in the photo and its so powerful that it not only cools the radiator but also blows air through the entire engine bay!
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Jason C
April 19, 2017, 5:06am Report to Moderator


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Hi there,

An update! Tried a DIY coolant system pressure test with the compressor and tyre inflator and couldn't find the source of the leak. Decided to take the Vitesse to the mechanic to see if they could uncover the problem. The mechanic tried a pressure test, everything held up well under pressure - also no luck. After running the car, he was able to determine the leak coming from the hole beneath the water pump housing. The mechanic (owned a 1600 Vitesse in a previous life) recommended reconditioning the water pump (unable to source a new part in NZ) from a local store specialising in "vintage" car part repairs of this nature. I'm thinking while we're at it to replace the thermostat and do a good flush of the system. Assuming it's a good course of action to recondition the water pump? Noticed Canley has a fancy lighter alloy engineered replacement.

Thank you GLang and Nick Jones and all for the help, spot on with the potential leak source!
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glang
April 19, 2017, 6:33am Report to Moderator

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Good news Jason and at least its a relatively easy fix (could have been a core plug!).
Ive never heard of spare parts for the water pumps being available and when we buy a new one over here they dont even ask for the old part in exchange. If you can find a spare seal then theres nothing to prevent a refurb but it will require the use of a hydraulic press....
Luckily new pumps arent too expensive at under 40 pounds but I suppose your problem would be cost of delivery Once done I recommend running the engine or at least rotating it by hand once a month to prevent it sticking again.
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Jason C
April 19, 2017, 7:57am Report to Moderator


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Thanks Glang! Hopefully the refurbishment works out well. To be honest I rolled the dice on it, at $170 NZD it didn't seem "cheap" but wasn't to sure of new part replacement cost. Off topic but how do you find the quality of replacement parts, obviously depends on item, for example I have found some new rubber items to deteriorate very quickly even away from sunlight with the car garaged. Had this feeling of, would a new water pump just be a junk part. I asked if it was just the gasket between the water pump and engine, but sounds to be inside the water pump itself, looking at an exploded diagram not too sure which parts they service...

Good point regarding usage, I'm finally looking to get everything ship shape and was advised by the mechanic to take the car for a run once at least once a month.
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glang
April 19, 2017, 12:58pm Report to Moderator

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Yes that price is quite high but hopefully it'll come with a lengthy guarantee. Theres a round rubber ring seal that must be replaced and also the two bearings.
Dont forget that when you have it all back together you could do another pressure test just to confirm that its tight and the pressure doesnt drop.  
Quality of parts is a problem although I havent suffered it much but then I dont think we can complain cos for our cars we have excellent availability at pretty low prices. I would be really sore if I was buying bits for something exotic at extortionate cost and they didnt last 5 minutes....
I found the replacement wheel arch to bulkhead rubber seal strips dont last long so bought some EPDM sheet to cut my own and it is much better.
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Jason C
April 19, 2017, 1:21pm Report to Moderator


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Quoted from glang


- Don't forget that when you have it all back together you could do another pressure test just to confirm that its tight and the pressure doesnt drop.  
- I found the replacement wheel arch to bulkhead rubber seal strips dont last long so bought some EPDM sheet to cut my own and it is much better.


Very good point, must mention to carry out another pressure test to confirm the workmanship. Ha, you read my mind the wheel arch/bulkhead rubbers have deteriorated very quickly. Opening the hood so often, they're my biggest frustration. Was thinking to ask community what a better solution is. I'm not a fan of the metal clips that hold the rubber in place (scratches the metal and come undone) and when closing my rubber catches the bolts on the bulkhead, requiring a finger to pull the rubber over. Seems like a key part to reduce dirt inside the engine bay, with poor design - previously I used a slip on rubber, with a longish flap, but obviously doesn't look great bending around the wheel arch curve.
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glang
April 19, 2017, 8:14pm Report to Moderator

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Well you'll know if theres any leaks in the cooling system because the level of liquid in the overflow bottle will keep on going down and if not refilled the interior heater stops working
With the wheel arch seals you can cut them out as big as you like so that they dont fold up as you close the bonnet. I use the original metal clips which stay in place ok but do take off the paint - maybe they could be glued or screwed in place.....
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Dogsbody47uk
April 20, 2017, 7:50pm Report to Moderator
1971 13/60 saloon and 1971 vitesse mk 2 saloon
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Wheel arch seals? I have not bothered fitting them for years. They are more trouble than they are worth.


First Triumph: 200cc Tiger Cub. Followed by in no particular order, 350 and 500 Royal Enfield Bullet, Herald 1200, Herald 13/60, Mini 1275 GT, Vitesse 2L convertible, Audi 80, Audi 80 Sport, Fiat 124 Sport Coupe, Triumph 2000, Mk 2 Estate, Fiat Tipo, Fiat Stilo, Fiat Uno, Peugeuot Turbo Diesel(yuk), Lancia HPE 2000ie (wow! a dream!) So far 3 Heralds and My fourth Vitesse in the garage. I may have forgotten some... It's my age.. Oh , Honda 400 four.. Terrifying! And the 2 Renault 5s. Oh, and the Ford Granada 3 litre estate..I think that's the lot.
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Jason C
April 21, 2017, 5:29am Report to Moderator


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Quoted from Dogsbody47uk
Wheel arch seals? I have not bothered fitting them for years. They are more trouble than they are worth.


Interesting! Do you find you get more dirt inside the engine bay without?

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Dogsbody47uk
April 21, 2017, 3:56pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Jason C


Interesting! Do you find you get more dirt inside the engine bay without?



Not really. Some dirt gets a little further up the front of the bulkhead but I don't find it a problem.


First Triumph: 200cc Tiger Cub. Followed by in no particular order, 350 and 500 Royal Enfield Bullet, Herald 1200, Herald 13/60, Mini 1275 GT, Vitesse 2L convertible, Audi 80, Audi 80 Sport, Fiat 124 Sport Coupe, Triumph 2000, Mk 2 Estate, Fiat Tipo, Fiat Stilo, Fiat Uno, Peugeuot Turbo Diesel(yuk), Lancia HPE 2000ie (wow! a dream!) So far 3 Heralds and My fourth Vitesse in the garage. I may have forgotten some... It's my age.. Oh , Honda 400 four.. Terrifying! And the 2 Renault 5s. Oh, and the Ford Granada 3 litre estate..I think that's the lot.
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daver clasper
April 21, 2017, 5:47pm Report to Moderator
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I wondered about how much those seals do. Bought some recently, but can't be arsed fitting them if they don't protect the lower bulkhead/front outrigger/body mounts.

Dave
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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


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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

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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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Jason C
April 28, 2017, 9:08am Report to Moderator


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Agree, won't be planning to permanently run without a thermostat. There must be a few different temperature ranges for thermostats? Mine 82 C / 180 F. Sound correct? With the radiator cap pressure rating of 0.5. Coolant definitely not milky, solid bright green in consistency. Will form bubbles from air when squirting out bottle, then settle to normal looking coolant.
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Davemate
April 28, 2017, 12:22pm Report to Moderator


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Engine cold
Remove rad cap
Run engine
Look into top of rad and see if you can see bubbles continually appearing in the rad.

If you see bubbles I'd suggest you either buy a "sniff" testing kit or take it to a garage who will do a sniff test
This will tell you if you have a blown head gasket or not


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glang
April 28, 2017, 6:40pm Report to Moderator

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Quoted from Jason C
Agree, won't be planning to permanently run without a thermostat. There must be a few different temperature ranges for thermostats? Mine 82 C / 180 F. Sound correct? With the radiator cap pressure rating of 0.5. Coolant definitely not milky, solid bright green in consistency. Will form bubbles from air when squirting out bottle, then settle to normal looking coolant.

Looks like youve got a midrange thermostat fitted, there is a 74deg summer one but your engine isnt getting too hot so cant see that being the problem. The cap is the correct lower 7lb rating one (13lb also available) but could be lifting early so a replacement could be worth a go or try Dave's suggestion.....  
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Jason C
May 5, 2017, 5:17am Report to Moderator


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Had some time today to investigate coolant issue further;

- Tested thermostat outside of car, looks to be opening/closing correctly.
- Replaced radiator cap with Tridon cap
- Refitted thermostat

From cold start, as Dave suggested ran car with radiator cap off checking for air bubbles. No air bubbles visible. From cold start with 1/4 fill overflow bottle, ran until hot. Overflow bottle rises till about 1/2 way when the engine is hot, engine temp remains midway on needle. Left idling for around 30mins, revving engine off and on, temp and engine don't look to be overheating. Decided to take the car for a run, periodically stopping to check overflow. Idled car again, temp needle now moving to 1/2 way between the middle and HOT range... looked to remain there (assume just due to idling stationary with hot engine, without electric fan tech?). Drove the car a little more, (once on highway engine temperature via gauge quickly cooled down to midway) and sure enough overflow bottle started spraying. Appears the reason it looked to be working OK longer was because the overflow bottle was less full when started.

Also, when starting cold today wondered if it was running on one less cylinder, rough idle for a while then smoothed out.
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nang
May 5, 2017, 5:25am Report to Moderator

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Next suggestion... engine compression test on all cylinders.....should all be similar.
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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Pete Lewis
May 5, 2017, 6:24pm Report to Moderator

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Def has the sound of head gasket  letting combustion pressures into the water jacket
Being high pressure , then parked over  night  the water pressure lets some into a  bore and you get the tell tale   short period misfire on start up

pete


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
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Nick Jones
May 5, 2017, 7:24pm Report to Moderator

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HGF very rare on the Mk2s (nice fat head studs and real torque on the head nuts), but rather less rare on the Mk1........

If you are getting water into a combustion chamber when hot this will show up as a very clean (steam cleaned) spark plug, though if it's only getting in as the engine cools this may not show up.

Only other thought is that if you have poor coolant flow for some reason (clogged waterways, corroded pump vanes/housing, partially blocked radiator), you might be getting localised boiling in the head, which tends to spit water out.

You can get various test kits that claim to detect combustion products in the coolant.  Not used them myself.....

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.
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Spitfire6
May 5, 2017, 8:54pm Report to Moderator


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Hi Jason C,
Not a fix to your problem, but, as your engine is unlikely to experience freezing conditions, reduce your "antifreeze" to 25%. You will still have the anti-corrosion properties you desire but gain on heat reduction.
What strength of anti-freeze are you running anyhow as its a poor conductor?

Cheers,
Iain.


Me in Burnley, GB
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Jason C
May 6, 2017, 7:05am Report to Moderator


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Thank you all for the suggestions! Warmed the engine and tested the compression. The compression looks OK:

1: 100
2: 105
3. 95
4. 100
5. 100
6. 95

Doesn't seem anything out of the ordinary? Only slight variation. Turned over 3 times each cylinder with fully charged battery with throttle open and cycled back to the first two to check, results similar. Gauge moved upwards quickly. Inspected spark plugs, a little oily on the threads and a little black carbon build up. Wire brushed spark plugs clean and refitted.

Nick Jones: Removed spark plugs recording position, no sign of any spark plug looking different or steam cleaned.
Iain: Regarding antifreeze current ratio is 50%.

Hmm, what next... I'm wondering if I should be looking towards the radiator? It seems the only other area where the coolant system could be clogged? Water pump has been serviced, radiator cap replaced, no sign of leaks in heater system. Also tested with heater system on. Or should I be looking towards a 'sniffer test'?

Thanks for the help, most appreciated.
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cliftyhanger
May 6, 2017, 7:33am Report to Moderator

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Your rad cap is0.5 bar? that is low about 7psi. I thought Vitesse used a 13lb cap (same as most minis etc) and worth a try.
Next question, can you check the actual temp of the coolant? If you can borrow a capillary gauge that would be handy as they can be checked for calibration in akettle of boiling water. Or buy a cheap digital thermometer, I recently bought one of these and it seems pretty accurate (mead 99.7 in boiling water)

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LCD-.....2:g:zggAAOSwv0tVKIlB

The leads are pretty thin, so you could poke it in the radiator by loosening a hose.

getting an actual temperature would help, if it genuinely is too hot then either rad is blocked or engine is running too hot
If not overheating it must be the radcap (or HGF, which seems unlikely at the moment)

Have you flushed the engine out? including clearing out via the block drain plug? (located under the manifolds near the rear of the block) Usually requires a good poke about with wire and so on. A length of handbrake cable is good as it is flexible enough, but take most of the engine hoses off including the heater ones, and use a hose to flush everything backwards and forwards. Amazing what comes out, especially the heaters. I tend to then add some radflush type cleaner to get rid of any more stuff, and then flush that out before refilling with coolant. Apols if this has already been done.

Rads can be checked by a specialist. And if clocked but otherwise good condition, can have the header tank removed, the tubes poked clear and tank refixed, much cheaper than a rebuild. If you can find somebody to do it.


Clive Senior

Location-Brighton, East Sussex
Foxy is here, 1500od tax exempt Toledo. Now has the decent engine back in Slant 4 engine bolted in, sprint box and axle.Now has fresh MoT. Needs paint though.
Spitfire Zetec project is started work progressing slooooowly on the road!
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Jason C
May 6, 2017, 9:01am Report to Moderator


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Thanks Clive,

Haven't tried flushing the system out, sounds like the next place to have a go. In terms of radiator cap *think* I have the correct one, from what I can determine from the manual;

"Reject the cap if it will not register and maintain 7lbs./sq.in (…)"

Looks like the GT6 Mark 3, maybe Vitesse Mark 2 have the 13lb?

"Note: GT6 Mark 3 models are fitted with a 13lb./ sq in pressure cooling system."

To clarify you mean gently slide thermometer inside radiator, via cap hole (try and slide between cores, deeper down) to see if it's boiling/overheating?
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cliftyhanger
May 6, 2017, 9:22am Report to Moderator

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Rethermometer, yes. The probe is on pretty thin wire, and certainly is OK in boilingwater. That way you would get an idea of actual water temp. It would help see if temperature was the issue.And those thermometers are so cheap. I bought it to calibrate some sensors on my new engine.


Clive Senior

Location-Brighton, East Sussex
Foxy is here, 1500od tax exempt Toledo. Now has the decent engine back in Slant 4 engine bolted in, sprint box and axle.Now has fresh MoT. Needs paint though.
Spitfire Zetec project is started work progressing slooooowly on the road!
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Pete Lewis
May 6, 2017, 1:20pm Report to Moderator

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certainly if rad tubes are capped on the top the air trapped inside expands when the rad gets heated and the change in air volume pumps out a lltre or so, it cools and all returns to seemingly normal

rads should feel hot at top and cool at bottom with cooling as the coolant drops through , if its hot at top and down some sides but cooler in the centre  than the bottom tank its likely got blocked tubes


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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