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Coolant leaking from head bolt.
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westina
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:52 pm    Post subject: Coolant leaking from head bolt. Reply with quote

Hi. I have been reviving this 84 1.9WBX manual. About 109k on the clock. There are some running issues. Cooling system needs some work etc.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Today i noticed the slight coolant leak from one of the bolts. Its the one near the thermostat next to the spark plug on the driver side.
I figured, i may just apply a bit more torque and leak would stop. It did not. Then i decided to learn a bit more before i try something else and cause a major screw up.
Looking at the diagram on bentley page 15.22, it looks like number 5 stud.
It appears that it is normal for coolant to leak from there , if the nut is not sealed right. I am asking this because with my limited knowledge, i first thought its a sign for dooms day and there should be no coolant there but i guess studs are swimming in coolant so its normal.
Now, the solution....
I am thinking about removing the cap nut. For this, should i use regular bolt removing techniques, such as lots of lubrication, some heat perhaps?. The cap nut is moving but making sure if he decides to get stubborn.
After the removal of the cap nut(if i can succesfully do it) how can we achieve secure sealing? It appears that we need a sealing compound. Is it something i can buy off the shelf from auto stores like autozone and such or is it something needs to ordered via internet?
If all that sounds good, i would put my digital torque wrench in action and torque to the specs and hope that the leak would stop. What do you guys/gals think?
Also, i have read that it is a common spot to have a crack. It looks like there is no crack but i ll further investigate(probably i need to get one of those telescopic mirror tool). Once the cap nut is removed i should be clearly see it if there is any crack developed.
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mikemtnbike
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Coolant leaking from head bolt. Reply with quote

This is my opinion only.

The head nut leaking is not necessarily a simple remove apply sealant bolt down situation. Furthermore it is likely indicative of other stuff needing refreshing and you said youíre in the middle of renewing the van- meaning I assume you donít need it for travel soon.

Iíd go ahead and pull the motor, buy the reinz gasket kit, pull the heads and do a ďbasicĒ reseal. Itís not that hard or expensive,youíll learn what literally everything thing is and where it goes, and itíll be done.

Also you have to use an old school beam style torque wrench on the head nuts. You have to be able to lean into the sealant/ head stud flex combo (thatís how I describe it read up more if you want more explanation).
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 4:21 am    Post subject: Re: Coolant leaking from head bolt. Reply with quote

I worked for VW when Vanagons were new. Under warranty we were seeing leaking head nuts. The factory fix was to remove one at a time, clean the cap nut and the sealing surface on the head, and reinstall to proper torque. VW supplied their sealer.

So you are on the right track. I donít know that you could find a sealer at the local auto parts place. VW, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan have some really good sealers, that should work.
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mikemtnbike
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 4:33 am    Post subject: Re: Coolant leaking from head bolt. Reply with quote

Would the Right Stuff work as a sealant in this application? That'd be available from a FLAPS.

That's good to know that was the factory fix, Mark- thanks as always for sharing your experience.

OP, doing it this way will most likely fix this leak, agreed- my suggestion is an "ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure" kind of thing.
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westina
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 5:40 am    Post subject: Re: Coolant leaking from head bolt. Reply with quote

mikemtnbike wrote:
This is my opinion only.

The head nut leaking is not necessarily a simple remove apply sealant bolt down situation. Furthermore it is likely indicative of other stuff needing refreshing and you said youíre in the middle of renewing the van- meaning I assume you donít need it for travel soon.

Iíd go ahead and pull the motor, buy the reinz gasket kit, pull the heads and do a ďbasicĒ reseal. Itís not that hard or expensive,youíll learn what literally everything thing is and where it goes, and itíll be done.

Also you have to use an old school beam style torque wrench on the head nuts. You have to be able to lean into the sealant/ head stud flex combo (thatís how I describe it read up more if you want more explanation).


Thanks. I was mentally past the stage of being in the middle of renewing the van. I guess you never out of it when you deal with a 30+ years old vehicle. I just started to drive around, usually doing small distances, running errands . I am still trying to understand, get the know the engine. As i said earlier there are some issues and i am making slow progress due to the fact that i don't know much and i don't want to take it to a pro mechanic and drop big chunk of dough and miss on the learning experiences.
Your route is probably the best since there are some stuff going on in that engine. It might be the best to remove the heads, inspect. Honestly, i might even have a blown head gasket. I just can't pinpoint what problem i am having relates to what. Its still like a puzzle to me. I am a bit short on time cause i have a sailboat with a diesel engine that i am doing work on it too.
At this point i think its best for me to go to the easy way and try to reseal it keep observing what is going on, and try to cure things.
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westina
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:24 am    Post subject: Re: Coolant leaking from head bolt. Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
I worked for VW when Vanagons were new. Under warranty we were seeing leaking head nuts. The factory fix was to remove one at a time, clean the cap nut and the sealing surface on the head, and reinstall to proper torque. VW supplied their sealer.

So you are on the right track. I donít know that you could find a sealer at the local auto parts place. VW, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan have some really good sealers, that should work.


Thanks , i have ringed the local vw dealers parts dept. The sealant being mentioned at bentley is NLA. He had no other suggestions.
I also have checket ti right stuff made by permatex. Very promising mambo jambo on the web site. One of the earlier topic on samba shows that Ben's place been using the right stuff on the cap nuts. Another thing to add is that even if that vw magic sealant was available, it is about $80 for a small tube???
I am not sure if i should try some other dealers like honda, toyota or just go with the right stuff.
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mikemtnbike
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:31 am    Post subject: Re: Coolant leaking from head bolt. Reply with quote

I'd trust ben that'd it work on the cap nuts.

tencentlife has recently posted about using this instead of the yellow sealant that comes in the gasket kit.

https://www.amazon.com/VICTOR-REINZ-Sealing-Compound-003989982010/dp/B00O35STTC
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The Carrot
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:05 am    Post subject: Re: Coolant leaking from head bolt. Reply with quote

I used right stuff when I did the head reseal on my motor. The sealing surfaces of the Nuts were flattened on a knife sharpening stone. No leaks so far.

This sealing junction amazes me, it seems like it should need more than just a thin film of sealing compound to do the job. I wondered about adding extra sealant around the threads of the head stud where it passes through the head to create more of a plug below the base of the nut. In the end I followed factory procedure and as mentioned, no leaks so far.

If I did this again, I would be tempted to use a sealant with more ďopen timeĒ than the right stuff because torquing the head Nuts takes a bit of time and I worried about the sealant hardening while torquing.
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westina
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:08 am    Post subject: Re: Coolant leaking from head bolt. Reply with quote

I bought the victor reinz product. I have to wait for it to be shipped.
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Igeo
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:13 am    Post subject: Re: Coolant leaking from head bolt. Reply with quote

I know you've already chosen, but Dirko Grey is an excellent product. It has a longer skin time that most.

https://gzhls.at/blob/ldb/c/7/e/4/0d1d4076c0eaa596b8835735b5f5aa6d9159.pdf
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westina
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Coolant leaking from head bolt. Reply with quote

Igeo wrote:
I know you've already chosen, but Dirko Grey is an excellent product. It has a longer skin time that most.

https://gzhls.at/blob/ldb/c/7/e/4/0d1d4076c0eaa596b8835735b5f5aa6d9159.pdf

Thanks. Looking good.
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jlrftype7
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Coolant leaking from head bolt. Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
I worked for VW when Vanagons were new. Under warranty we were seeing leaking head nuts. The factory fix was to remove one at a time, clean the cap nut and the sealing surface on the head, and reinstall to proper torque. VW supplied their sealer.

So you are on the right track. I donít know that you could find a sealer at the local auto parts place. VW, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan have some really good sealers, that should work.

This is reminiscent of BMW having us renew head bolts on the M20 engine, one at a time due to them snapping. They were replaced by Torque to Yield bolts.
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Last edited by jlrftype7 on Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:01 am; edited 1 time in total
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Abscate Premium Member
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:29 am    Post subject: Re: Coolant leaking from head bolt. Reply with quote

westina wrote:
mikemtnbike wrote:
This is my opinion only.

The head nut leaking is not necessarily a simple remove apply sealant bolt down situation. Furthermore it is likely indicative of other stuff needing refreshing and you said youíre in the middle of renewing the van- meaning I assume you donít need it for travel soon.

Iíd go ahead and pull the motor, buy the reinz gasket kit, pull the heads and do a ďbasicĒ reseal. Itís not that hard or expensive,youíll learn what literally everything thing is and where it goes, and itíll be done.

Also you have to use an old school beam style torque wrench on the head nuts. You have to be able to lean into the sealant/ head stud flex combo (thatís how I describe it read up more if you want more explanation).


Thanks. I was mentally past the stage of being in the middle of renewing the van. I guess you never out of it when you deal with a 30+ years old vehicle. I just started to drive around, usually doing small distances, running errands . I am still trying to understand, get the know the engine. As i said earlier there are some issues and i am making slow progress due to the fact that i don't know much and i don't want to take it to a pro mechanic and drop big chunk of dough and miss on the learning experiences.
Your route is probably the best since there are some stuff going on in that engine. It might be the best to remove the heads, inspect. Honestly, i might even have a blown head gasket. I just can't pinpoint what problem i am having relates to what. Its still like a puzzle to me. I am a bit short on time cause i have a sailboat with a diesel engine that i am doing work on it too.
At this point i think its best for me to go to the easy way and try to reseal it keep observing what is going on, and try to cure things.


God help you, a Vanagon And a sailboat

You can pour money into holes on land and sea

I have 8 boats in various stages of repair. Ontario, Cape Cod, Hudson
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:00 am    Post subject: Re: Coolant leaking from head bolt. Reply with quote

i've been dissatisfied with the yellow Reinz goo that comes with the gaskets... when i've gone back into heads i used it on, it was dried and breaks off in chunks, tho the nuts were not leaking.

i've gone to using Curil T. it is a green goo that remains plastic, absorbing thermal expansion and contractions without cracking or tearing. my head nut drill is to true the bottom surface of the nut using fine wet sandpaper on a flat granite slab, lube the stud threads with moly anti-seize, and use the Curil T.

Ben has great success with The Right Stuff, which is an RTV compound that will cure to a resilient but non-plastic state. i don't believe this as closely matches the design intent of the yellow goo but it works very successfully so it can't be argued it is wrong.

i like to do another re-torque on a new head several hours after the head is initially torqued. seems the nuts are quite loose after things rest/compress a while. in theory, the Curil T would withstand this retorque better that an RTV but only the outer skin of RTV would have cured in that time frame, and the sealing occurs under the nut so i think TRS can withstand a retorque if done within several hours.
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westina
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:06 am    Post subject: Re: Coolant leaking from head bolt. Reply with quote

Abscate wrote:
westina wrote:
mikemtnbike wrote:
This is my opinion only.

The head nut leaking is not necessarily a simple remove apply sealant bolt down situation. Furthermore it is likely indicative of other stuff needing refreshing and you said youíre in the middle of renewing the van- meaning I assume you donít need it for travel soon.

Iíd go ahead and pull the motor, buy the reinz gasket kit, pull the heads and do a ďbasicĒ reseal. Itís not that hard or expensive,youíll learn what literally everything thing is and where it goes, and itíll be done.

Also you have to use an old school beam style torque wrench on the head nuts. You have to be able to lean into the sealant/ head stud flex combo (thatís how I describe it read up more if you want more explanation).


Thanks. I was mentally past the stage of being in the middle of renewing the van. I guess you never out of it when you deal with a 30+ years old vehicle. I just started to drive around, usually doing small distances, running errands . I am still trying to understand, get the know the engine. As i said earlier there are some issues and i am making slow progress due to the fact that i don't know much and i don't want to take it to a pro mechanic and drop big chunk of dough and miss on the learning experiences.
Your route is probably the best since there are some stuff going on in that engine. It might be the best to remove the heads, inspect. Honestly, i might even have a blown head gasket. I just can't pinpoint what problem i am having relates to what. Its still like a puzzle to me. I am a bit short on time cause i have a sailboat with a diesel engine that i am doing work on it too.
At this point i think its best for me to go to the easy way and try to reseal it keep observing what is going on, and try to cure things.


God help you, a Vanagon And a sailboat

You can pour money into holes on land and sea

I have 8 boats in various stages of repair. Ontario, Cape Cod, Hudson


8 boat is just insane. I barely handle a small 27 footer. A best return i have from a toy is motorcycle. Change oil once a year, start and go. 40+K miles with very basic effort, never stranded anywhere.
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westina
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:11 am    Post subject: Re: Coolant leaking from head bolt. Reply with quote

DanHoug wrote:
i've been dissatisfied with the yellow Reinz goo that comes with the gaskets... when i've gone back into heads i used it on, it was dried and breaks off in chunks, tho the nuts were not leaking.

i've gone to using Curil T. it is a green goo that remains plastic, absorbing thermal expansion and contractions without cracking or tearing. my head nut drill is to true the bottom surface of the nut using fine wet sandpaper on a flat granite slab, lube the stud threads with moly anti-seize, and use the Curil T.

Ben has great success with The Right Stuff, which is an RTV compound that will cure to a resilient but non-plastic state. i don't believe this as closely matches the design intent of the yellow goo but it works very successfully so it can't be argued it is wrong.

i like to do another re-torque on a new head several hours after the head is initially torqued. seems the nuts are quite loose after things rest/compress a while. in theory, the Curil T would withstand this retorque better that an RTV but only the outer skin of RTV would have cured in that time frame, and the sealing occurs under the nut so i think TRS can withstand a retorque if done within several hours.

Thanks. I have noticed the Curil T as well. If reinz fails, i would try it. Is the complete draining of the coolant necessary or possible to get away with draining just enough to let the head nut area to be dry and clean for better result?
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DanHoug
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Coolant leaking from head bolt. Reply with quote

the nut land must be dry, otherwise the sealant doesn't 'smear' properly leaving gaps. so only drain down until the seepage stops and then wipe it dry. a clever person might apply slight vacuum to the system to keep the air flowing into the block from around the stud, maybe enough to dry and install.
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He who knows he knows, doesn't know. But he who knows he doesn't know, knows.

'87 Westy, ratty but drive anywhere.
'89 Westy, gorgeous but hasn't been gone thru to drive anywhere.
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