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Oil in coolant tank
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kevinhinny
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:32 pm    Post subject: Oil in coolant tank Reply with quote

Hello sambanistas,

I need some advice on an engine problem I am having with a new Gowesty engine I have just installed in my vanagon.

After installing a new Gowesty 2.45L WBX engine and driving about 100 miles I noticed oil in the coolant reservoir. I have removed the oil cooler and pressure tested it under water to 60 psi and it has no visible leaks.

When running their is no bubbling in the coolant tank which might mean a head gasket had failed.

Given the above tests, I'm not sure what to test next or what could be the potential cause.

Any helpful advice would be appreciated.
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dobryan
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Oil in coolant tank Reply with quote

If it is under warranty I would call Gowesty before doing anything else.
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kevinhinny
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Oil in coolant tank Reply with quote

The engine is new and I have contacted Gowesty so they are awaiting information back from me on what I found after the oil cooler test.

I have a Gowesty 2.3 in another vanagon and its great.

I would like to find a solution without having to remove and send the engine back, that is big hassle regardless of who is paying for it.

My experience with Gowesty has always been very good and I have no doubt that they will stand behind their products I would like to sort it out myself if possible.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Oil in coolant tank Reply with quote

I mean the only way oil gets in the coolant is via oil cooler (assuming it's an oil-to-water cooler) or head gasket.

then you also gotta watch out for coolant in the oil.
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kevinhinny
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Oil in coolant tank Reply with quote

I've checked the oil and its clean, no trace of coolant at all.

I must agree this one baffles me.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:10 am    Post subject: Re: Oil in coolant tank Reply with quote

How much oil are you talking about?
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:00 am    Post subject: Re: Oil in coolant tank Reply with quote

it's really hard to pressure test an oil heat exchanger in the proper direction to simulate oil pressure. while putting 60psi on the coolant flanges MAY reveal a leak, there can be a 'duckbill' crack that seals when pressure is from one direction and opens from the other.

were i GW, and i'm not, i'd start with replacing the heat exchanger and see what happens while frequently monitoring the oil for any presence of coolant.
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kevinhinny
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:01 am    Post subject: Re: Oil in coolant tank Reply with quote

I would estimate about half of a quart. I cleaned the coolant tanks out and topped of the oil level and drove the van about 10 miles and again about 1/4-1/2 a quart was in the coolant bottle.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:09 am    Post subject: Re: Oil in coolant tank Reply with quote

kevinhinny wrote:
I would estimate about half of a quart. I cleaned the coolant tanks out and topped of the oil level and drove the van about 10 miles and again about 1/4-1/2 a quart was in the coolant bottle.


holy smokes!! the head gasket is just holding back a passive return of oil from the rocker train, non-pressurized. you'd think coolant would also show up in the oil if it was from this location.

my money would be on the OWHX. anything else is going to be very nefarious.

this isn't an automatic by any chance, is it?
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kevinhinny
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:40 am    Post subject: Re: Oil in coolant tank Reply with quote

No itís a syncro. So I replaced the oil cooler with a new one and flushed the coolant system. Iíll keep my fingers crossed and check it again. If oil shows up again in the coolant then Iím stumped.
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markswagen
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:32 am    Post subject: Re: Oil in coolant tank Reply with quote

No water in the oil filter ?
Just oil in the water, if the cooler pressure tests OK, then it was likely the seal, between the cooler and the block, hopefully you replaced it with a different one.
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:43 am    Post subject: Re: Oil in coolant tank Reply with quote

^^Uhhh, no, leakage at the OWHX to case seal has only one result, oil leaking externally. There's no way for coolant and oil to mix if that seal was bad.

Apart from the OWHX leaking internally, there's only one area in the engine proper where it's even remotely possible for pressurised oil to leak into the coolant envelope, and that is inside the left water jacket. There's two possible ways for it to happen there, first being the small galley plug at the bottom of that enclosure, the second being a crack in the crankcase itself. In either case there would likely be some coolant going into the oil as well here since after shutdown oil pressure is gone but coolant pressure remains for a time until the engine cools down. I have never witnessed either of these problems, though, both are exceedingly unlikely.

The OP's observed rate of leakage sounds extreme and if what he is seeing is truly oil I would have trouble believing the mixing is only one way, oil into coolant, although it's not impossible, perhaps a leak pathway into the left water jacket enclosure at this time requires pressures over 10-15psi to allow liquid to pass. That said, all of the above pathways, including the OWHX, are statistically quite unlikely, whereas there is another explanation which has a far higher likelihood of being present.

Fire ring leaks will contaminate coolant with a lot of greasy carbon residue that will accumulate in the pressure tank. It won't actually look just like oil, though, and won't emulsify the coolant either, but quite a bit can collect there, and there will be no trace of coolant in the oil. But, if it's that bad, coolant flow in the radiator will be interrupted due to gases accumulating in the top of the radiator and the engine will start to overheat. Fire ring leaks on rebuilds are quite likely. Here's an article explaining in a bit more detail:

https://intrepidoverland.com/bad-coolant-pressure-cap-or-bad-head-gasket/
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:18 am    Post subject: Re: Oil in coolant tank Reply with quote

It would be easy enough to cap off the hoses running to the oil cooler. You could then watch the cooler to see if it was puking oil out the coolant ports or not.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:25 am    Post subject: Re: Oil in coolant tank Reply with quote

tencentlife wrote:
^^Uhhh, no, leakage at the OWHX to case seal has only one result, oil leaking externally. There's no way for coolant and oil to mix if that seal was bad.


My (departed) VR6 Jetta had that seal go bad during a freak snowstorm while out of town. Reason I knew: Oil on the ground. But no mixing of oil/coolant occurred.

My inline-4 Cabriolet had oil in the coolant (not nearly the amount the OP experienced though), but no visible external oil leak. Replaced the oil cooler (heat exchanger) and problem solved.

Side note: Yes, VW used that stupid little cooler on multiple engines over several decades!🙈
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erste
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:29 am    Post subject: Re: Oil in coolant tank Reply with quote

kamzcab86 wrote:

Side note: Yes, VW used that stupid little cooler on multiple engines over several decades!🙈

Yes, I've been through 2 on my 12v VR6. And not many miles on the second one... What causes the oil cooler to fail?

What's the proper way to flush and clean the cooling system after the OWHX fails? I sprayed a bunch of water through the radiator with a hose and until it came clean. Took the reservoir off and cleaned it out as best I could. Then ran some coolant flush from the auto parts store with distilled water and flushed it again before filling with coolant/water.
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kevinhinny
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Oil in coolant tank Reply with quote

I drove the van home tonight about 12 miles after changing the oil cooler. It appears that there was only about 10-15ml of royal purple oil in the coolant bottle.

FYI even a small amount of oil in the coolant system seems to coat the coolant level probe causing it to give a false low coolant level blinking led. Had to remove it and clean it to return to normal operation.

Fingers crossed it was the oil cooler and I had a "duckbill" leak in the old oil cooler.

Thanks I appreciate all of your help!
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Oil in coolant tank Reply with quote

FWIW I run my 2.1 with the cooler removed. I figure the little bit of added engine life one might get running the cooler it more than offset by the likelihood the cooler will cause a catastrophic engine failure.

The 1.9L ran without a cooler and is not known for having bottom end problems, so I think I am very safe with the cooler gone. I do run synthetic oil which should easily handle the heat.
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