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Thread: Turbo Diesel coolant leak

  
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    Hedgelayer's Avatar
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    Turbo Diesel coolant leak

    My father in laws Astra 1.7 diesel year 1996 looses coolant from the front of the engine compartment but only when the car has been stopped and left for a minute or so. It also runs hot - regularly running around 95-100 degrees on the gauge. When I loosened the reservoir cap there was some evidence of pressure build - up and the coolant level rose a bit but not like it was a head gasket issue. Would this indicate a blocked radiator or problem thermostat ?.

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    Its normal to have pressure build up because obviously water expands as it heats up also causing the coolant level to rise a bit.

    Its probobly one of the 3 (I think its 3 on yours) pipes connecting to the radiator loose/corroded/damaged.

    if its loosing water and the engine is running just slightly hot the thermostat is probobly fine and its be causecold water from the right side of the radiator is being lost (giving a reduced flow of chilled water to the engine).

    Check your pipe work mate. Remember the fan will take your fingers off so dont poke around too much with the engine running.

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    paul.spencer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hedgelayer View Post
    My father in laws Astra 1.7 diesel year 1996 looses coolant from the front of the engine compartment but only when the car has been stopped and left for a minute or so. It also runs hot - regularly running around 95-100 degrees on the gauge. When I loosened the reservoir cap there was some evidence of pressure build - up and the coolant level rose a bit but not like it was a head gasket issue. Would this indicate a blocked radiator or problem thermostat ?.
    I drive a 1996 Astra with the X17DTL engine. The thermostat temp rating is 92 degrees. A lot of heat is generated when at high revs and the turbo is going flat out. In the summer it often seems to run rather hot, and you can certainly tell that a lot of heat is genrated when powering up steep hills. The temp gauge would often head towards the red until over the hill, then the temp would drop back down to rest at 92 degrees. At cruising speed on a flat motorway the temp should rest at about 92 even on a rather warm summer day.

    Wintertime down here right now, although Auckland temps not too bad. I have noticed that the temp is now routinely well below 92 degrees unless racing up hills etc.

    In theory the radiator fan is supposed to cut in at low speed when the temp reaches 95 and switch off at 90 (high speed fan kicks in at 105 and off again at 100 degrees). In practice (and using a new thermo switch) the fan turns on at low speed at more like 97-98 and flicks off about 95. I checked that while it sat idling in the driveway. It never got hot enough for the fan to come on at full speed.

    Anyway, with regard to coolant loss you will off course have to keep searching until you find the source of the leak. As noted above check the rad hoses (top, bottom and the small one that goes back to the expansion tank, and also around the thermo switch itself). Also as noted, some pressure in the expansion tank is normal. If your car is running well, the oil looks good (not like chicken corma) and the coolant is free of emulsion or oily stuff hopefully the head gasket is OK. Probably just a coolant leak.

    Assuming you find the leak and plan to drain coolant to fix it, it would probably be a great time to flush the rad and cooling system, then use new 50% coolant....nice knowing you have fixed the leaks, cleaned out the system and are using new antifreeze/coolant.

    Cheers, Paul

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