Hello! Log in or Register   |  Help  |  Donate  |  Buy Shirts New!  See all banner ads | Advertise on TheSamba.com  
TheSamba.com
 
Cooling System Issue
Page: 1, 2  Next
Forum Index -> Vanagon Share: Facebook Twitter
Reply to topic
Print View
Quick sort: Show newest posts on top | Show oldest posts on top View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
mountaingirl
Samba Member


Joined: February 05, 2011
Posts: 1
Location: Oregon
mountaingirl is offline 

PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 4:22 pm    Post subject: Cooling System Issue Reply with quote

I am looking for possible solutions to an ongoing issue that is making me lose it.
91 VW automatic...
Temp sensor blinks. Check coolant. Large res. is low. Fill it. Drive miles more. Happens again. And again.
I just spent $2000 on repairs. new radiator, cooling fan switch, rear heater core, coolant temp sensors, #2 cylinder water outlet flange and coolant hose, new coolant pipes,.
Drove 120 easy miles and again happened! Temp light blinks. Check coolant, large res. need fill up (just liek a cup or two though) but one behind plate is okay.
Mechanic is stumped.
Any help out there?!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
Westendwulf
Samba Member


Joined: December 01, 2008
Posts: 42
Location: 907
Westendwulf is offline 

PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm gonna say ....... hmmm check the functionality of the expansion tank cap and check all of thr coolant system connections at operating temperature .....

around 2 cents worth!
_________________
85 1.9 with a 2.1 exhaust
86 Westfalia Weekender Wolfsburg Edition
EJ25 DOHC RJES Bellhousing Auto -> Manual
87 2.1 Wolfsburg Edition

Damn that syncro lust!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
randywebb
Samba Member


Joined: February 15, 2005
Posts: 3815
Location: Greater Metropolitan Nimrod, Orygun
randywebb is offline 

PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

check the connections & wires for integrity
_________________
1986 2.1L Westy 2wd Auto Trans.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
funagon
Samba Member


Joined: March 09, 2006
Posts: 1305
Location: SLC, UT
funagon is offline 

PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1) The pressure cap--that's the blue cap on the pressurized tank on the left--might be bad. But if so you would likely see some overheating and see the license plate tank level rising. Replace that cap anyhow, if the mechanic didn't do it. It's a cheap part and the rest of the coolant system won't work if the cap's not working.

And, You might have a leak elsewhere in the system.

And, you might have coolant leaking into the combustion chamber, and exiting the exhaust pipe as vapor.
_________________
1990 GL 7-passenger
2.2 liter WBX


Last edited by funagon on Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Wildthings
Samba Member


Joined: March 13, 2005
Posts: 44595

Wildthings is offline 

PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Time for a pressure test of the system. You may have an internal leak into the combustion chambers. When the engine is hot do you see bubbles in the expansion (pressure) tank?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
camerahunter
Samba Member


Joined: July 23, 2009
Posts: 567
Location: Tacoma
camerahunter is offline 

PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My 91 automatic ad the same problem. There was an internal leak that went on for a very long time before the heavy white smoke appeared. The smoke got so bad that after running for a few minutes I could not see the back of the van if I was standing 5 ft behind it. I had bubbles in the tank behind the plate and lots of air going into the pressurized tank.
Is yours doing this as well? Air bubbles coming up?
If so I can tell you how I fixed mine without replacing a single part.
Not a normal fix that any normal person or mechanic would do but it worked and I am happy!

Thank you,

David
_________________
1984 - Daily driver
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
funagon
Samba Member


Joined: March 09, 2006
Posts: 1305
Location: SLC, UT
funagon is offline 

PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Huh? Is that the vinegar fix David? I think that was a different one. I want to know about all these "unauthorized" renegade fixes you do to your vans!
_________________
1990 GL 7-passenger
2.2 liter WBX
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
camerahunter
Samba Member


Joined: July 23, 2009
Posts: 567
Location: Tacoma
camerahunter is offline 

PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, in the end it was 3 gallons of Vinegar. I went around and around with the blasted thing. I burned through at least 14 gallons of antifreeze and countless hours and gallons of gas fooling around trying to get it to cool down. I spent many nights reading though information on this site.
1st I did the Subaru coolant conditioner, 3 bottles, really knocked down the white smoke.
Still bubbling a bit, running hot, heat up front very short lived unless I ran it up over 3,500 rpms.
2nd was some over the counter flush stuff, gunk or something like that. I put in 2 bottles thinking I would just leave it in for a while, drive it around with it in and see if it changed anything. It didnít after a week so at that point I just snapped.
I had all these crazy thoughts running through my head, change the radiator, what if itís still hot? Heater core, and on and on through the parts and then what if it was still screwed up? I just had it with the piece of shit.
3rd I it ad boiled over into the expansion tank, coolant shooting out the top like a geyser. I shut off the engine, opened the cap on the pressurized tank and just let it boil over thinking maybe it souls blow some junk out or something. Then it dawned on me. Vinegar, lots of Vinegar. I use it to clean camera electrical contacts and last summer I was convinced it was a great weed killer (it isnít) so I had a bunch of gallons of it sitting around. Once I cooled down I just started pouring it in, smiling and saying to myself lets see you stay clogged now you piece of junk. The Vinegar will clean out EVERYTHING and maybe more. We will see what happens.
Well, after driving it around with the concoction in and he heat on full blast the temp started dropping, white smoke completely stopped, I was happy.
I was just getting ready to drain it all out, it stinks so bad you would not believe, when he oil pump blew a seal. I am going to pull the oil pump apart tomorrow after church.
Thatís my story, Itís worth just what you paid for it, nothing!
Some say there could be some kind of trouble caused by the Vinegar and the seals, I donít think so but time will tell.

Thank you,

David
_________________
1984 - Daily driver
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
funagon
Samba Member


Joined: March 09, 2006
Posts: 1305
Location: SLC, UT
funagon is offline 

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

camerahunter wrote:


Thatís my story, Itís worth just what you paid for it, nothing!



I love it!

I'm not sure it's a good idea, but I'm enjoying the ongoing story. Please post again after the van is in use to let us know how it worked!
_________________
1990 GL 7-passenger
2.2 liter WBX
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
DAIZEE
Samba Member


Joined: January 26, 2010
Posts: 7552
Location: Greater Toronto Area Ontario West Side
DAIZEE is offline 

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I LOVE Vinegar. I use it for lots of things. I'll be following your story, altho I am putting in a new rad BUT if I keep getting the boiling then I'll consider. How does Vinegar get along with 50/50 antifreeze Question Smile That is a question. As for smell, well I don't have a sense of smell!!!!
_________________
'09 2.5L Jetta 5 cylinder, 5 spd, super turbo, see thread in H2O Cooled Jetta, etc...
83.5 Vanagon L Riviera Model with 98 1.9L TD AAZ 4 speed Daily Driver 3 out of 4 seasons (sold)
84 Vanagon GL Wolfsburg Westy WBX 4 speed (sold)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Facebook Gallery Classifieds Feedback
camerahunter
Samba Member


Joined: July 23, 2009
Posts: 567
Location: Tacoma
camerahunter is offline 

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was going to drain it out completely today and start the refill/oil pump repair. BUT the blue van blew it's water pump last night and I had to finish the white van so it can be driven tomorrow. Now I need to get parts ordered and I thin I will go with the red van repair before fixing the blue van.

I anticipated reporting in here if it works. If it doesn't I will now have to report back on the failure. As it sits now though it's a winner all the way.

The stench is unreal, worse when it's hot. It kind of smells like this...
Put some pickles inside a tire full of air for a month, take them out and set the tire and pickles on fire burning them to ashes, mix the ashes with antifreeze and spread it on a piece of burnt toast and take a big whiff.

I saved the antifreeze I took out in the beginning for pictures.
Once it's drained I will take another photo of the aftermath of what is going to be about 4 months inside the coolant system. It's very dark green/brown color.

Thank you,

David
_________________
1984 - Daily driver
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
Joe VW
Samba Member


Joined: January 02, 2005
Posts: 134
Location: Vermont , Okemo
Joe VW is offline 

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:32 am    Post subject: Re: Cooling System Issue Reply with quote

mountaingirl wrote:
I am looking for possible solutions to an ongoing issue that is making me lose it.
91 VW automatic...
Temp sensor blinks. Check coolant. Large res. is low. Fill it. Drive miles more. Happens again. And again.
I just spent $2000 on repairs. new radiator, cooling fan switch, rear heater core, coolant temp sensors, #2 cylinder water outlet flange and coolant hose, new coolant pipes,.
Drove 120 easy miles and again happened! Temp light blinks. Check coolant, large res. need fill up (just liek a cup or two though) but one behind plate is okay.
Mechanic is stumped.
Any help out there?!

Sounds like you need a new mechanic. You are loosing coolent and parts are randomly being changed without finding the source of the problem.
Did the radiator leak? Did the rear heater core leak? Was the fan not coming on at correct temps according to the manual?
If the engine is not boiling over than the leak is internal. The only internal places that the coolent can go are out the tailpipe, into the engine oil or the automatic transaxle through the tansmission cooler. Checking the oils will determine quickly if the last 2 are the case. So that leaves out the tailpipe- this would be due to cracks in the heads or bad head seal rings.
Shotgun mechanics will avoid the difficult repairs and "try" the easiest fix, meanwhile your repair bill racks up and the problem is not resolved.
For what you paid you could have almost had new heads installed which is more likely the problem- but it may not, this is why you need a correct DIAGNOSIS which is difficult over the internet and the job of a real technician.
I won't even discuss what I think of adding vinager to the cooling system Rolling Eyes
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
funagon
Samba Member


Joined: March 09, 2006
Posts: 1305
Location: SLC, UT
funagon is offline 

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for getting this thread back on track Joe. If mountaingirl is still out there, please pay attention to Joe's advice.
_________________
1990 GL 7-passenger
2.2 liter WBX
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
pushkick
Samba Member


Joined: August 09, 2007
Posts: 1314

pushkick is offline 

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:31 am    Post subject: Re: Cooling System Issue Reply with quote

Quote:
Did the radiator leak? Did the rear heater core leak? Was the fan not coming on at correct temps according to the manual?
If the engine is not boiling over than the leak is internal. The only internal places that the coolent can go are out the tailpipe, into the engine oil or the automatic transaxle through the tansmission cooler. Checking the oils will determine quickly if the last 2 are the case. So that leaves out the tailpipe- this would be due to cracks in the heads or bad head seal rings.
Shotgun mechanics will avoid the difficult repairs and "try" the easiest fix, meanwhile your repair bill racks up and the problem is not resolved.
For what you paid you could have almost had new heads installed which is more likely the problem- but it may not, this is why you need a correct DIAGNOSIS which is difficult over the internet and the job of a real technician.
I won't even discuss what I think of adding vinager to the cooling system


i assume you are talking about the transmission fluid and engine oil? what would they look like if they had coolant in them or how could you tell
there was coolant in the fluids. shouldnt a pressure test when the engine is cold and warmed up tell you where the leak is if it is external?
_________________
i see said the blind man to his deaf dog
i am going to quit smoking and drinking and die a healthy man. gotta laugh
there is no deed to the planet earth
1990 vw automatic camper
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Saguache
Samba Member


Joined: December 28, 2009
Posts: 360
Location: Gunnison, CO
Saguache is offline 

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The system is pressurized and you may have a pin hole leak that only shoots fluid out when your engine is under load. I just had this issue. Small, hairline crack in the coolant expansion tank would drain the coolant level down to where the level sensor would trigger a fault on the dash, but when I looked under the hood I didn't see anything at first. Coolant still flowing throught the system and engine was a good temp.

Look for coolant collecting on or under the system. Its there you just have to find it.
_________________
Matt Thyer
http://zenoswagen.wordpress.com/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Twitter Classifieds Feedback
pushkick
Samba Member


Joined: August 09, 2007
Posts: 1314

pushkick is offline 

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:34 pm    Post subject: coolant leak Reply with quote

you dont always see the leak on the ground i had a pinhole leek in the hose that exits cylinder #1 to the coolant distribution pipe. the leak was right next to the clamp and hard to see. the leak would drip down on the exhaust pipe and evaporate so you would never see the puddle. when i pressurized the coolant system after the engine was warmed up and rev up the leak became obvious. i actually had to over pressure the system a little till the leak showed up.

mountaingirl i would ask you mechanic his purpose for charging you for something he hasnt fixed. is he trying to gouge you for money? is he incompetent? does he want you to get frustrated and get rid of the vehicle. does he like you and want you to keep coming back? or is he truly stumped.
ask him who his other customers are and what vehicles they have. talk to some of them and see if they think he knows what he is doing. make him give you one satisfied and one unsatistied customer to contact.
_________________
i see said the blind man to his deaf dog
i am going to quit smoking and drinking and die a healthy man. gotta laugh
there is no deed to the planet earth
1990 vw automatic camper
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
jkidd152
Samba Member


Joined: June 09, 2009
Posts: 394
Location: Portland, OR
jkidd152 is offline 

PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting thread.

Mountaingirl, did you ever get this solved?

Did you get a pressure test? Do you want a reference for a better mechanic?
_________________
'85 Syncro Westy Wink
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
sarahdan
Samba Member


Joined: November 13, 2010
Posts: 14
Location: Peterborough, Ontario
sarahdan is offline 

PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:56 am    Post subject: coolant issue, need a quick fix, in a pinch! Reply with quote

We are travelling through the US and its a Sunday (nothing is open) and after driving a couple of miles our thermo light started blinking (without overheating, temp gauge is at a good level).

We have noticed throughout the trip that there is a small leak...there are usually 2 or 3 drips of coolant on the ground where we have parked (and coolant is collecting just to the rear of the radiator). After reading a few topics on the issue it seems we probably have a small leak somewhere in the system (or the expansion cap is bad). We think perhaps the coolant level in the expansion tank has been decreasing slowly over the entire trip and now got to a critical level which triggered the light.

We also notice that the level in the reservoir (overflow tank) always goes right to the top after driving (even when we've only filled it to halfway between the min and max lines).

We have an appointment at a VW mechanic tomorrow (but it is a 5 hour drive away [we made it for shock replacement prior to this current problem])...we are wondering if it would be okay to take the cap off the expansion tank and add some coolant just to get us the 300 miles? We are fairly new and are worried about introducing air etc., after reading directions for bleeding the system etc. We know this won't fix the problem, but are under a bit of a time pressure and need to get from Albuquerque to Flagstaff, Az by tomorrow if possible.

If someone could give us a heads up about adding fluid to the expansion tank (if necessary) we would really appreciate it...if not, I guess we'll just try evening out the levels in the two tanks and driving the 300 miles.

Thanks!
_________________
1989 Vanagon 2.1L Automatic
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
Ahwahnee
Samba Member


Joined: June 05, 2010
Posts: 9062
Location: Mt Lemmon, AZ
Ahwahnee is offline 

PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:58 pm    Post subject: Re: coolant issue, need a quick fix, in a pinch! Reply with quote

sarahdan wrote:
...we are wondering if it would be okay to take the cap off the expansion tank and add some coolant just to get us the 300 miles?...


That's what I would do, with the engine cold nothing much will happen when you remove that pressure cap.

You seem to realize that although this buys you some time & miles you have a problem that needs to be addressed -- whether that is soley attributable to some minor leaks or the symptoms of something more significant, a competent Vanagon mechanic should be able to tell.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
funagon
Samba Member


Joined: March 09, 2006
Posts: 1305
Location: SLC, UT
funagon is offline 

PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When the engine is cool, you can add coolant or water to the expansion tank.

The first thing you should do is put a new pressure cap on the expansion tank. It sounds like it's not holding pressure, the coolant is getting too hot, expanding, and flowing into the overflow tank. Try a new cap first, and see what happens.
_________________
1990 GL 7-passenger
2.2 liter WBX
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Forum Index -> Vanagon All times are Mountain Standard Time/Pacific Daylight Savings Time
Page: 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

About | Help! | Advertise | Donate | Premium Membership | Privacy/Terms of Use | Contact Us | Site Map
Copyright © 1996-2020, Everett Barnes. All Rights Reserved.
Not affiliated with or sponsored by Volkswagen of America | Forum powered by phpBB