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Thread: Thoughts on my coolant

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    Thoughts on my coolant

    Well...it looks like I have something going on with my engine. However, after static timing it and adjusting the air/fuel and the idle it seems to be running pretty well. I even took it for it's first spin since 2002! Sitting on the floor wasn't too fun and the clutch is very on/off but I'm hoping after it breaks in a little I'll be able to feather the clutch a little. Anyway, after starting it a while back the coolant decided to explode everywhere so I used distilled water to top it off. As you can see in the pictures there is a film (oil I'm thinking) in my brand new radiator. Head gasket? I did a pressure check a while back but didn't have time to do one this weekend. But odd since my motor was completely tore down and cleaned, tested, items balanced, etc. Hence why I can only think it is the head gasket and that is oil coming in. I haven't drained the oil as I'm still using the break in stuff and REALLY don't want to waste it.

    Anyway, here are some pics of where I'm at and some of the coolant filler...20180107_115245.jpg20180107_115940.jpg20180107_124637.jpg20180107_124742.jpg20180107_130536.jpg
    Gary
    1962 (Nov Build) Triumph TR4 CT/16836L Restoration in process

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    Re: Thoughts on my coolant

    Looks like oil but I'd be tempted to drain, flush and refill with plain water to see if it recurs. I would think tap water would be fine until things are sorted out.

    "coolant decided to explode everywhere..." - usually that means there was an air pocket somewhere and the coolant in that area abruptly boiled. The fast rise in pressure can pop hoses loose before the cap has a chance to react.

    "Sitting on the floor wasn't too fun..." - that's why I prefer a Franks Root Beer case:


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    Re: Thoughts on my coolant

    Not sure there is cause for alarm from the pictures. Doesn't look like engine oil to me. Regular water and antifreeze will be fine. Save the distilled for the battery. Did your explosion occur with the rad cap off? Probably just trapped air at any event.
    Bob

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    Re: Thoughts on my coolant

    Quote Originally Posted by Geo Hahn View Post
    Looks like oil but I'd be tempted to drain, flush and refill with plain water to see if it recurs. I would think tap water would be fine until things are sorted out.

    "coolant decided to explode everywhere..." - usually that means there was an air pocket somewhere and the coolant in that area abruptly boiled. The fast rise in pressure can pop hoses loose before the cap has a chance to react.

    "Sitting on the floor wasn't too fun..." - that's why I prefer a Franks Root Beer case:

    Yes! That's what I need! A root beer box! Everything I have is too tall or too short.

    But as for the explosion the cap was on and like you said was most likely and air bubble. It happened again this weekend, again...cap on. I have now removed the cap when idling to let all air out. A coolant drain is a good idea and will do that this weekend. Just not sure where that oil/whatever that's in there could have come from. Maybe when I overheated the engine it cooked some particulates and that is the remnants? The engine got VERY hot the first start up as it was running far too lean. When I do the drain I'll do a pressure check as well and make sure it's good. I really want to try one of those Colortune things. Looks interesting.
    Gary
    1962 (Nov Build) Triumph TR4 CT/16836L Restoration in process

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    Re: Thoughts on my coolant

    I confess that I have little experience with oil in coolant (and I don't complain about that), but it really doesn't look like oil to me, either. It looks like something that was left in the radiator, like a sealer or such, which wasn't compatible with the coolant. I also think it would be best just to flush it and run it with water awhile. You might have to flush and run it a couple times to get all the stuff out. Then, when it's clear, return to coolant. I'll bet it doesn't return.
    Steve Maas
    1966 Triumph TR4A, undergoing restoration: http://www.nonlintec.com/tr4a
    1952 MG TD, restoration completed 2014, sold 2016: http://www.nonlintec.com/mgtd
    1960 Austin-Healey "Bugeye" Sprite, sold 2010: http://www.nonlintec.com/sprite
    1967 Porsche 912: http://www.nonlintec.com/porsche

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    Re: Thoughts on my coolant

    It just looks like rust/old stop leak film to me. I would not worry about it...yet.

    Normally the coolant is under pressure, and the oil is not in areas it is possible for them to mix, so most of the time anitifreeze transfers to the oil instead of the other way around. You will know for sure when you change your oil...soon??

    Finally, when you run with the cap off, are you running long enough to get the coolant circulating? And, can you see the circulation in the top of the radiator? If not the blowouts could be from a stuck thermostat, which is not opening.

    Congrats on getting it running again!
    John

    1955 TR2

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    Re: Thoughts on my coolant

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarastro View Post
    I confess that I have little experience with oil in coolant (and I don't complain about that), but it really doesn't look like oil to me, either. It looks like something that was left in the radiator, like a sealer or such, which wasn't compatible with the coolant. I also think it would be best just to flush it and run it with water awhile. You might have to flush and run it a couple times to get all the stuff out. Then, when it's clear, return to coolant. I'll bet it doesn't return.
    Well...the radiator is brand new and the engine was completely torn down and flushed. So not sure. It better not be any kind of stop leak as I just had to replace a motor in my 4Runner because of that crap! I'm going to drain the coolant, fill up, run it, let it cycle then drain it again and see if I can get it out.
    Gary
    1962 (Nov Build) Triumph TR4 CT/16836L Restoration in process

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    Re: Thoughts on my coolant

    Radiators are soldered using flux. If they're not boiled out afterward, you can get flux grunge like that. Surface rust in the head, block, pump can have that reddish brown color. It could be oil...but clean oil doesn't usually look like that either.
    John

    1955 TR2

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    Re: Thoughts on my coolant

    You could have a bad head gasket and be leaking combustion pressures into the water jacket. I just had this issue with a fresh rebuild, the head gasket from the far east had a void in the interior 'asbestos' sheet in between the copper layers. It lasted only a few minutes before it went. It kept blowing out frost plugs in my case. I confirmed it doing a leak down test. If you don't have a leak down tester, you can put each cylinder up to TDC, valves closed and pressurize it with ~ 40-60 pounds of air through the spark plug hole. If you get bubbling in the radiator, you know you've got a leaky head gasket. (If you hear air in the breather, intake or exhaust, you know you're leaking past valves or rings.)

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    Re: Thoughts on my coolant

    Quote Originally Posted by bvansloun View Post
    You could have a bad head gasket and be leaking combustion pressures into the water jacket. I just had this issue with a fresh rebuild, the head gasket from the far east had a void in the interior 'asbestos' sheet in between the copper layers. It lasted only a few minutes before it went. It kept blowing out frost plugs in my case. I confirmed it doing a leak down test. If you don't have a leak down tester, you can put each cylinder up to TDC, valves closed and pressurize it with ~ 40-60 pounds of air through the spark plug hole. If you get bubbling in the radiator, you know you've got a leaky head gasket. (If you hear air in the breather, intake or exhaust, you know you're leaking past valves or rings.)
    Yeah, forgot to mention...I do plan to do a leak down test to make sure it isn't a HG leaking something like you mention. But my radiator is also a Wizard Cooling Aluminum so I would have thought that it would have been flushed before shipment. And having the whole engine cleaned up (tanked), balanced, etc that no crud would have made it thru. It has all new hoses, metal pipes and reused parts were thoroughly cleaned. ONLY thing I can think of is the heater core which I flushed as well and I would need to check to see if I even have the valve open for coolant/water to flow thru that. Anyway, hoping to find out more this Sunday. Saturday is dropping the F/R diffs in the offroad 4Runner so I can have 4.56 gears and rear locker installed! Too many projects! HAHA
    Gary
    1962 (Nov Build) Triumph TR4 CT/16836L Restoration in process

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