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Old 04-29-2017, 10:01 AM   #1
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Default Coolant usage and pressure in system.

I noticed over the past 6 months or so my om612 has been "using" about 500ml of coolant every 2000km or so. Also, even when the system is stone cold, removing the expansion tank cap results in a burst of pressure being released. Its not looking good. Nothing notable happened like overheating or anything out of the ordinary that could have caused this.

I also notice, now that I'm more aware of what's probably going on, that I can hear coolant bubbles/cavitations kind of whistling through the coolant pipes around the heater core in the dash. This happens when accelerating.

So I'm guessing I've got a head gasket leak or cracked head that's letting combustion gasses into the coolant system. And the coolant loss is due to the continuous flow of gasses which must be being released through the radiator cap breather.

Engine has done 416,000km, so I'm not sure if its worth saving. Eric has a spare very low km engine available that needs 1 new piston (due to a bad injector). If I was going to spend any money, I would rather it went towards that engine so I could get a lot more mileage out of any investment. Would be doing it all myself.

Is there any easy tests I can do that could determine if what I'm diagnosing is correct? I think there are test kits you can use to see if you've got hydrocarbons in your coolant, are they any good?

Last edited by owner; 04-29-2017 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 04-29-2017, 12:39 PM   #2
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Default Re: Coolant usage and pressure in system.

Probably something like this available in OZ:
https://www.amazon.com/Lisle-75500-C.../dp/B0007ZDRUI
My son used it successfully to diagnose a head gasket leak in his Subaru engine.
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Old 05-02-2017, 07:48 AM   #3
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Default Re: Coolant usage and pressure in system.

I've just done the standard check for small bubbles in the coolant expansion tank when running, and there are none. Even when revving the engine I don't get a single bubble. I was expecting to see at least some tiny bubbles or foam forming but no. Not sure if doing the hydrocarbon test would even reveal anything now?
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Old 05-02-2017, 11:00 AM   #4
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Default Re: Coolant usage and pressure in system.

Do you have an EGR cooler? If so it is not unheard of for them to fail internally and the pressure in the cooling system forces coolant into the exhaust. If possible try bypassing the EGR cooler for a short while.

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Old 05-02-2017, 02:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: Coolant usage and pressure in system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by owner View Post
I've just done the standard check for small bubbles in the coolant expansion tank when running, and there are none. Even when revving the engine I don't get a single bubble. I was expecting to see at least some tiny bubbles or foam forming but no. Not sure if doing the hydrocarbon test would even reveal anything now?
When I've noticed the loss of coolant, it's always (3x) been due to the failure of the water pump shaft seal. I never saw any actual drips, but I did see white deposits collecting on parts around the cooling fan - probably due to dried coolant. If I had your problem, I'd keep looking for evidence of an external leak AND do the radiator headspace test (since sounds can be heard from the heater), but, that's me.
PS - I'd also attach a small plastic bottle to the radiator overflow tube to see if the increased pressure pushes coolant out there.
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Old 05-02-2017, 11:54 PM   #6
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Default Re: Coolant usage and pressure in system.

No EGR on this one, good point though.

I am due to change the fan belt, so I will have a good look at the water pump then. Yep I will try catching any coolant from the overflow if the pump checks out OK. Yes the pressure and audible air in the system is a worry. I guess it's possible the gasses are collecting and forming big trapped bubbles somehow in the system and thats why I can't see them at the cap.
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Old 05-12-2017, 10:52 AM   #7
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Default Re: Coolant usage and pressure in system.

Well we decided to to a pretty basic test yesterday... We taped a plastic bag onto the filler cap when the engine was totally warmed up and running. After about 10 minutes of idling and a few bursts of 100% load against the stalled torque converter, the bag had filled to about 1 litre of "air". So it must be a small pinhole of a leak/crack. I will keep running it for now and keep a close eye on coolant levels and temps. I am in the process of lining up a spare engine, so that I can swap this one out and be back on the road quickly. Then I can look into repairing/rebuilding this original engine as and when the need arises again.
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Old 05-13-2017, 02:54 AM   #8
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Default Re: Coolant usage and pressure in system.

I have had same problem at same 400k on my 05 Sprinter.At that time I use K-seal to cooling system and truck allow me to drive another 150k.After that ,asked me about new head,head gasket,new timing chain new injectors and other stuff.Let say,$2,5k later.Short block stay same and truck on road still running on road with new owner and get about 570k.
Don't use Combustion Leak Detector , it not designed for diesel engines.
Good luck.
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Old 05-13-2017, 03:31 AM   #9
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Default Re: Coolant usage and pressure in system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim42 View Post
Don't use Combustion Leak Detector , it not designed for diesel engines.
Not so, look here:
https://www.toolsource.com/combustio...l-p-93946.html
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Old 05-30-2017, 06:42 AM   #10
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Default Re: Coolant usage and pressure in system.

Well I've decided to give K-seal a go, put a bottle in today. I will continue to build-up a replacement engine ready to slot in for when this one dies.

Best case scenario the K-seal gives me another hundred k or more like above. I think the bottom end would well and truley be ready for rebuild then anyway, its already down below 10psi at hot idle.
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