Losing Coolant

Non ACVW models.
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Edmond
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Losing Coolant

Post by Edmond » Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:01 pm

Hi All

I know this is an aircooled vw forum but I need some advice on my 2011 Nissan Grand Livina 1.6

The engine coolant level drops over a weeks period every weekend i have to full up the reservoir totally and topup
the radiator. There are no external looks, checked all the hoses, radiator and water pump.
The only thing I can think of now is a leaking head gasket, if I drive the car then park it and restart it
after about 15mins it runs rough for a few seconds then evens out almost like there is water in the
cylinders that burns off quickly, also sometimes noticed a sweet smelling coolant smell.
The engine does not overheat but then I wouldn't know better as it has no temp gauge just a coolant light
that is blue when the engine is cold but goes off when its up to temp, it's meant to illuminate red if it
overheats.There is a slight milky froth on the oil cap and a little on the dipstick see pics, also filler neck on radiator
has a greasy film around its opening, does this look like a blown head gasket
The car only has 89000km on it, only had it 4 months, bought it to replace my 2002 Opel Zafira
I need to sort this out as I am going on a 4000km plus trip to the inlaws over December and would hate
to be stranded on the side of the road with a goosed engine
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Re: Losing Coolant

Post by buggyfan » Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:36 pm

Follow your own advice..... Drive it and park it fot 15min but instead of starting it ;remove the sparkplugs and check for water/moisture on the plugs
http://www.aircooledvwsa.co.za/viewtopi ... tt#p269451" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Losing Coolant

Post by Edmond » Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:12 pm

Unfortunately removing the sparkplugs is not that easy it has those 100 000km iridium tipped spark plugs that require the intake manifold to be removed as they are buried under the runners of the manifold. The intake manifold runs over the top of the engine effectively blocking easy access to the plugs kak design in my view.

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Re: Losing Coolant

Post by Terry Phillips » Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:25 pm

Take it to Silverton Radiators they should have a gas and pressure tester they can tell you whats going on.

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Re: Losing Coolant

Post by Chucker02 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:37 pm

Sure sounds like a blown headgakset to me, follow the above advice. Easy to do and then you know for sure if its blown or not. The rough idle on startup is a good indicator that something is wrong inside the motor. My friends corsa bakkie did the same and it ended up being a blown headgasket

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Re: Losing Coolant

Post by buggyfan » Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:38 pm

As Terry says take it to Silverton. They will analize the water to see if theres any exjaust gas entering the coolant system
http://www.aircooledvwsa.co.za/viewtopi ... tt#p269451" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Losing Coolant

Post by Tony Z » Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:47 am

Check your oil by doing the crackle test
Amazingly, this is a proper test.
Get a hot plate and make it really hot. Drop a drop or two of oil onto it. If it crackles, you've got water in it.

I would fill up the radiator and the expansion tank as it should be filled. Then on the overflow pipes, run them into bottles and tie them somewhere. So if you have any overflowing, it will go into the bottles. Drive somewhere or maybe even just leave it to idle and see where the coolant comes out and if it pushes past the bottles. Any coolant coming out is either due to over-pressure, too full or something else taking the place of coolant (over full situation, except the new item is displacing the coolant).
Water coming out is likely due to a leaking head. Water level dropping without anything coming out is possibly a leaking oil cooler (if watercooled) as this is the only spot where oil and water should come (almost) in contact. But if the engine has sleeves in the block, you might find that the O-rings are leaking and coolant is dropping into the sump.

As you've only got a month, I'd hurry this one and get it to a dealer. I wouldnt do 4000km on an engine that is having those issues, you are going to end up needing a new engine if you push your luck and thats more cash than fixing it beforehand.

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Re: Losing Coolant

Post by Edmond » Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:39 am

Thanks guys all solid advice. The engine runs well though with no loss of power or no overheating but I have gotten to know when the coolant level is low as the fan comes on sooner on my daily drive to work.

Tony Z yes it has an all aluminium engine with wet sleeves but has no oil cooler and the coolant doesn't appear to be pushed back into the reservoir it just seems to disappear without a trace but will run the car up to temp and check with the pipes in a bottle

The car has a 2 year mechanical warranty so will phone the warranty people tomorrow about it, I fear I might have bought a lemon of a car but it ran fine when i bought it, it has low mileage as well for a 7 yr old car only 89000 km and was given a major service by the dealer before I bought it

I will take it to Silverton tomorrow to get a block and pressure test, i had this test done on the Opel after it overheated

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Re: Losing Coolant

Post by AlanH » Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:01 pm

Replace the radiator cap with a new one and test. Very often the same symptoms.

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Re: Losing Coolant

Post by slak » Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:38 pm

Go to any agent as the car should have a service history on file and they can pull it up
for U don't ever believe in what it says on the clock if U did not buy it new yourself
and because of dealing with the same issue just a month ago on my chev spark , yes i believe
your headgasket has blown between the water jacket and cylinder it just gets worse as you
go on driving it until one morning U try to start it and your engine does not want to turn over
as your cylinder gets filled with water overnight
i would not even think of driving 4000km with a motor i can't trust
what a worryfull holiday U will have

hope U get it sorted soon
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Re: Losing Coolant

Post by Terry Phillips » Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:57 pm

When and who did you get the car from.

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Re: Losing Coolant

Post by Edmond » Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:17 pm

Drove the car to work this morning, it seemed to go fine but smelt hot when i parked it so called Mccarthy and they towed to the Nissan Dealer, they confirm it has a blown head gasket but will cost R8000 to strip it to assess it properly, waiting for the warranty people to give the go ahead but it looks like a major expensive job

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Re: Losing Coolant

Post by Tony Z » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:57 am

that sucks, hope they pull through for you

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Re: Losing Coolant

Post by Edmond » Tue Nov 20, 2018 9:54 pm

Looks like the dealer is going to sort this one out, nice that they stand by the products they sell, they are a big nationwide group so will sort out the car at their regional workshop.
Nissan done a thorough inspection including pressure testing the cooling system and removing the plugs, they noticed the cooling system does not hold pressure and the spark plugs had water on them.
Will let you all know the outcome

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Re: Losing Coolant

Post by Terry Phillips » Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:06 pm

Thats a happy story,so some times it does pay to buy from the big boys.

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