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VW T5 1.9 2006 desperately need help. Coolant loss

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heskethlmu View Drop Down
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    Posted: 26 Jul 16 at 19:48
Hi guys Im new to the VW world and am having what could be described as a nightmare.

I know there are several topics on coolant loss but Ive even been to a VW specialist with this one.

Here we go.
I bought a 2006 T5 T28 1.9 engine van with the intention to convert for me and the missus to get out on road trips.

Since week one it lost water on a motorway run every 30miles or so. Its been pressuring out of the header tank and down right side of engine bay.
In addition it held pressure the morning after when cold. Several people on forums etc point towards the head gasket with it holding pressure.

Tried a new header and cap. Nothing.
Presssure test revealed no external water loss.

Reluctantly the head came off.
It was skimmed and an uprated gasket put on. Whilst they were at it had a new water pump and new cambelt put on.
Back it came. For 350 miles it was fine then I went on a longer journey to try her out. Coolant light on again. Exact same symptoms as before. Water all over right side.
Back it went to the mech. Head went back to be re checked for level and crack tested again. Both were fine. The gasket looked to have failed so putting it down to a bad gasket a different type was put on.

I got it back again and again for 350-400 miles was fine on short motorway journey. No pressure the following day and no water loss.
Ive recently been on a long journey and 145miles in coolant light came on.
Back to square one. Water in all the same places.
My mech is stumped and Ive been to VW who havnt heard anything like it.
My mech and VW are talking down the lines of cracked blocks/head. The head has been checked and comes back fine.

The temp has never gone 90 and the van drives perfectly otherwise. Its only done 73k.

Any help would be massively appreciated.Please...
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gregozedobe View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gregozedobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jul 16 at 03:19
Hmmm, possibly a porous casting ? (and I'd be suspicious of the head or head gasket still, or the top of the block where the head gasket goes, as it does sound like combustion pressure is getting into the coolant system somewhere).  

And it must be getting towards time to take it to someone else to look at the problem as your current mech isn't able to find the source of the problem, despite several (expensive) attempts.

Given the history, I'd be very tempted to try a stop leak type product.  I'm not a fan of these types of goops, but "desperate times call for desperate measures".

Please let us know how you get on (it can be frustrating to respond to requests for help if the person asking for help never comes back to tell us what the end solution was)


Edited by gregozedobe - 27 Jul 16 at 03:21
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heskethlmu View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote heskethlmu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jul 16 at 06:20
Hi mate thanks for taking the time to reply. I will certainly put an end result on here if I get one.

Re the gloop. Before taking the head off the second time we did drop some solx or similar in. This didnt touch it. Just blew out of the top again making the engine bay area brown. I have also dropped a different kind in whilst I was in Wales Ironate or similar. This one again still blows out the top nut does seem to have increased my MPLiter of water.

Its frustrating as when he re did the gasket the second time he was certain he had seen where the gasket had faulted and to be fair it drove fine for a bit.
Its like the gasket can hold the pressure for a certain amount of time then it goes back to square 1.

By bad casting do you mean the block?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gregozedobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jul 16 at 09:53
Originally posted by heskethlmu heskethlmu wrote:

..... By bad casting do you mean the block?

I would be looking at the head first (around the combustion chamber in particular, a porous casting has small imperfections in the metal that allow leakage, and is quite different to a crack). If it is a fault in the block I'd expect it to be in the area near where the head bolts on (as lower down there isn't the same pressure in the cylinder).  

Is it possible to get a leak-down compression test done ?  And a parallel check of the pressure in the coolant system while you do it so you may be able to isolate which cylinder is leaking into the coolant.  Of course just to make things difficult your engine may only leak when it is hot and running under heavy load.


If you still can't find it then maybe a s'hand head or complete engine maybe more economical than continuing to chase something that can't be found.


Edited by gregozedobe - 27 Jul 16 at 09:56
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote T5 TDI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jul 16 at 12:44
I know you said it always runs at 90 degrees but I would still eliminate everything else I could before going expensive!  

If it hasn't been done already, replace the thermostat.  I think I'd run it for a week or so without the thermostat fitted.  It should still be loosing water if it is the head or block.

I don't have pay labour so it's easy for me to say but get the radiator flow tested in case it's blocked.  It doesn't happen much these days but it's good to eliminate it.  You can do a basic test with the radiator in place by checking for hot/cold spots where you can reach the fins.  Keep your fingers away from the fan.  If you have access to one of those infra-red thermometer guns you can run that over the radiator as a rough check.  

As a rule of thumb, once the engine is fully warm the top hose should be too hot to keep hold of for more than a second and the bottom hose slightly cooler.  If this is the case and there are no isolated cold areas on the radiator it's less likely that the radiator is a problem.

Make sure there are no obstructions (old bin liners etc) in front of the radiator. 

Check that the top and bottom hoses aren't collapsing internally or bent flat on the outside.  

Make sure the cooling fan is cutting in and out.  If you have A/C, both fans should be on all the time the A/C is switched on.

Get someone to drive it logging the coolant temp with VCDS or similar.  Diagnostics shows the real coolant temp whereas the gauge doesn't show normal small variations as long as it's within the normal range.

Have a look at the condition of the secondary coolant pump (under the floor) I can't see it causing your problem on it's own because they have often failed electrically on vans with no problems but you never know.

Make sure your new cap functions correctly, it should tighten to a stop and then turn slightly more preferably with a positive click.  Otherwise the safety vent device is still open and the bottle is not sealed.

Have you had a test for combustion gasses in the coolant?

Of course replace the water pump but you have already replaced that.

Good luck!


Edited by T5 TDI - 27 Jul 16 at 15:42
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heskethlmu View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote heskethlmu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 16 at 21:43
Hi thanks for your response I will get onto these things on my next days off.

I dont think the gases in coolant check has been done but again I will have someone do this.

Ive tried a couple of things to see if it means anything to anyone on here.

The cap does turn to a click at the end.

Ive run it tonight with the cap off well loose and it went from max to coolant sensor in 3 miles. 2 were motorway at 50mph.
Put the cap back tight and ive got to work a other 7 miles its currently parked up but its probably lost a little looking at it.

I did go to the shop earlier and its not far enough there and back to get the heat up to more than 70. When I lifted bonnet immediately after getting home I could hear the header bottle hissing so it appears to be pressuring up without being at full temp.

Also with van at full temp I put heater on full heat and on 4. The heat coming out was so hot I couldn't keep my hand on it for long. Again needle showed 90.

I will have a go at getting the stat off and testing it that like suggested.

I really do appreciate it and I know there are always risks to buying second hand but I never thought it would get this much of a pain.

Other than the head gasket is there anything on these that would cause it to hold pressure the following morning like it is.
Because both times Ive had it back from having the head gasket replaced its not held pressure the following day. Until of course its gone again on the motorway.

Cheers

Neil
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heskethlmu View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote heskethlmu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jul 16 at 21:04
Evening guys.
The plot thickens with this thing.

Tonight for the forst time the needle went over 90 on temp guage and the coolant light came on a few seconds later.
I pulled onto the hard shoulder and needle dropped instantly. As i pulled off.
I slowly released the cap and all the water had pressured down. It came back up to the max line as it should.

Due to having to get to work I set off again. 3.miles on needle moved over again so I dropped my speed yo 50 from 60. The needle went back to 90 but coolant light came on again.

Ive nursed it to work and am on days off from tomorrow.
Ill be trying to get some work done on it.

Im worried either a problem
A got worse or like suggested
B I need to be looking elsewhere like suggested.

This is becoming a right debacle Ha.

Cheers

Neil
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boiler mike Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jul 16 at 22:09
Did you stat out and run
Sounds like blockage you need to make sure all water ways are clear
Has it all ways had coolent in
Product on market called mirical seal
Use it on boilers to seal exchange units will do head gaskets you will probably need two cans
Regards Mike
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote heskethlmu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Aug 16 at 00:57
Hi not had stat out yet but will try do it this week.

Its always had coolant in and Ive always stopped wothin a few miles of the coolany light coming on.

I will have a look for a blockage.

Cheers
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote heskethlmu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Aug 16 at 08:00
Hi
Just got home from a night shift. Pulled up on the drive to do some checks suggested.

At normal running temp as suggested the top pipe is red hot but the bottom pipe is pretty much cold. Not slightly cooler than top one. The bits of the rad I can touch hot at the top and cold at the bottom like a house radiator gets.

Does this mean anything?


The water presssured down but no sign of it coming out of the header tank.
I did drive it home differently though due to the overheat last night. I went back roads much slower.
No over heat and made it back without a water refill stop.

Im going to have a go at draining the systems. Taking out the stat and checking for blockages over the next couple of days. Im a novice but Ill muddle my way through with the power of the Internet......

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boiler mike Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Aug 16 at 08:28
Good start
Sounds like a big air lock / stat not opening
Remove radiator cap run engine see if it bubbles back up
Regards Mike
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote T5 TDI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Aug 16 at 08:53
It just proves that the flow isn't working correctly.  It still could be any of the problems mentioned but you have to start with the thermostat.  When you get it out, you should be able press the centre section open with your thumbs.  Otherwise stick it in a cup of boiling water and make sure it is fully opens. If it doesn't you're on a winner!  You should pre heat the cup so it doesn't cool the water.  I'm surprised they didn't check the thermostat first.  

  


Edited by T5 TDI - 01 Aug 16 at 08:59
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote heskethlmu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Aug 16 at 09:02
Thanks guys Ill get onto the stat later today or more likely tomorrow once Ive caught up on some sleep.

Cheers
Neil
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote heskethlmu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Aug 16 at 17:55
Hi guys the stat is out and Ive suspended it in a pan of water.
It opens slowly from just under 90c onwards give or take on my meat thermoeter in the water.
The stat keeps opening over 100c.

My intention today was to run it with no stat in but getting the housing to seal is proving to difficult. I think im not getting it to seal square on with the O ring and block. Bit of an awkward place to get to.

Ive flushed the block and radiator so water is clear coming out of them.

By doing the rad I put a hose into top right as I look at van and water come out of the bottom right as we look at the van.

The flow seems to be going in and out of the bottom fine.
Is the water just flushing down the right hand side or going through the rad?

Ill be back to fight with the van tomorrow.
Cheers

Neil
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote T5 TDI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Aug 16 at 18:53
Shame the stat turns out to be working. Cry   

No you can't test the rad like that.  It has to be flow tested by a rad firm.  The water just finds a route that isn't blocked.  I haven't seen one blocked for donkeys years but it is still possible.  

If you start the van cold with the cap off what happens?  You might see the water pumping in to the bottle from the small pipe but if you see the surface bubbling up immediately the engine fires that is not good news.    
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote heskethlmu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Aug 16 at 19:05
I cant say Ive checked the water when its running cold but I will check that when I refill it and run it.

Is there anything to gain now from running with out the stat in? Or should I stick it back in when I get back onto it.
The van is currently sat drained on my drive ready for the housing to go back with or without the stat.

How/Who does flow tests on the Radiators?

Cheers
Neil

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote T5 TDI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Aug 16 at 23:05
Originally posted by heskethlmu heskethlmu wrote:

I cant say Ive checked the water when its running cold but I will check that when I refill it and run it.

Is there anything to gain now from running with out the stat in? Or should I stick it back in when I get back onto it.
The van is currently sat drained on my drive ready for the housing to go back with or without the stat. 

To make any flow or airlock issues less likely if you can leave the stat out it will make things easier.  Under normal circumstances you would expect the coolant temp to run very low and the heater to be barley warm without the thermostat fitted.  You mentioned about the the hot temperature of the air from the heater but that is normal, T5's have very good heaters!   

Originally posted by heskethlmu heskethlmu wrote:

How/Who does flow tests on the Radiators?  
 
Only the specialist radiator firms (google car radiators and discuss it with them).   It would be unusual these days but it can't be ruled out. 

I feel your pain but a head or block crack is still a possibility.  But given the cost of a new head or complete engine you might as well eliminate as much as you can especially if you can do most of the testing yourself.

You can use plain water for now for all this messing about by the way.  

     






Edited by T5 TDI - 02 Aug 16 at 23:08
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote heskethlmu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Aug 16 at 23:34
Thanks mate. Ill try get the housing back on without then and check for bubbles once I refilled it.

According to the mech who did the head gasket, the has been for a skim and crack test twice.
1st time they took some off the second time it was still flat they just cleaned it. Both times it came back it ran fine and didnt lose a drop for the firdy 350-400 miles. Then all of sudden back to square on.

Hey ho I will press on. This week.

Yeah read about just using water for now.

Cheers
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote heskethlmu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Aug 16 at 23:36
Originally posted by Boiler mike Boiler mike wrote:


Product on market called mirical seal


Ive had 2 types of sealant stuff in the coolant system. Its doesnt even touch it. Pressures it all out of the top just like the coolant.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote heskethlmu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 16 at 18:00
Latest update.

Got the stat housing back on and have refilled her with water for a run. Ive given it more than it would normally take to bring the coolant light. Not come on.

Ive lifted the bonnet and the water has pressured down to just below the minimum line. It was dead on the max line. Turned the van off. Slowly opened the cap and it came back up.

Set off for another run and put it under more pressure. No coolant light.
As mentioned it struggled to get to near 90 temp. But it did get nearly there when back home.
Opened the bonnet couldn't hear the cap hissing like before.

The water has pressured down as before and looking through the bottle it seemed to be rippling sat idling on the drive.
Also the top pipe was very hot and the bottom one similar. Not practically cold like the other day.

I have not opened the top cap yet I was going to let it cool down under pressue.
Tomorrow morning I intend on firing up the van cold with the cap off and look out for bubbles.

Could it still be the stat even though it did open slowly when brought up to the boil in a pan.

Neil
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