Coolant Leak


Capt. Mike

Moderator
15 minutes could not get the coolant anywhere near boiling for 'steam'. "Steam", wet spray from leak, or most likely vapor, like warm breath into cold air? Happens when a heater core is cold and the start-up air is warmer. Do the cooling system pressure test per Bentley 19.17 to find the leak back by the engine. The rest sound like heater issues, which have their own topic.
 

bobCamp

New member
Thanks for the quick reply. Turns out the rear heater was just the valve, which I did not know existed. Anyway, I found the leak, it was coming from a hose connected to the water pump where the clamp was loose. It was running along the hose and onto the bottom of the engine. Unfortunately, the steam issue in the front vents is still happenning. It does not happen until it has been running around 30 minutes (it smells like antifreeze). I'm thinking it's the heater core, but this is a major job. I was wondering if there is a good way to narrow it down without taking the whole dash apart. If I shut off the valve in the front and the steam does not appear, would that be enough evidence? I only see the steam out of the top vents (defrost). Thanks
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
The rear seat heater valve is clearly covered in your owners manual and in the Bentley 80.16 -- Guideline #2

Go to your dealer (Guideline #8) and look at the fiche plate 36-20. You will see the heater core connections. These are the lines that connect to the distribution unit in Bentley 19.11. Fiche 36-20 shows the connections and also T's for "auxiliary heater". (They mean the back seat heater.) You can disconnect at a couple of places to isolate and test just the front core via pressure or vacuum tests.
 

bobCamp

New member
I called the local VW dealer to see if they would test the heater core for leaks and they said they would not work on it because it has a propane tank! That's really strange and a little upsetting.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
And a load of BS! Test has nothing to do with LP system and neither would use any heat source. You've got a shyster dealer making up excuses because they either don't know what they are doing or don't want to do it. Contact VW corporate to tell them their dealer is screwing customers over and also post your experience under the appropriate MECHANICS board and locale. Include dealer name and contact info so others will know they are not trustworthy. I'd send a copy of the letter to VW and a copy of your warning post to the personal attention of their OWNER -- not manager. Often it's not top management but some jerk in the middle making up his own little fiefdom.
 

sfrost

New member
coolant leak

I have 87 westy with I think a coolant leak. About aweek ago the red light started to blink after the engine got hot ( temp guage about a quarter up). I checked both reserve tanks and levels seemed to be ok. First thought I had was that the sensors needed to be replaced. I continue to drive the vehicle and check the coolant level often and everything seemed to be ok until the other day . Driving home from work I noticed cold air coming in from the heater vents, engine temp was a little below half way so I made it home and checked the coolant levels again, both tanks were empty. I filled the tanks and ran the engine, didn't see any leaks. At that point I checked the oil to see if there was any coolant in the oil, there was not and also checked the coolant to see if oil was there , nope. I cannot find any coolant on the ground from a leak. At this point I am unsure what to do, does anyone have any ideas?
 

Backcountry

New member
Disappearing Coolant

We replaced both the water pump and the head gaskets last fall and early winter on our '84 Westy.

Since then we've twice noticed the coolant level in the reserve tank has fallen below the minimum. Also, the temp gauge shows that the engine runs hotter than it should during stop-and-go traffic and when it's just sitting at an idle.

There is no sign of coolant on the floor of our garage or anywhere it's parked.

Our VW mechanic, who is highly respected in this region and, I believe, honest, checked the situation and told us he doesn't have a clue, yet, about what might have caused the first coolant loss. He found no trace of coolant mixing with the water, gas, etc.

Does anybody think this might be a problem with our new, very expensive head gaskets? Could the heat issue be a simple thermostat problem, a sending unit problem or what?
 

have2camp

New member
Coolant Pouring from the Passenger Side w/ Engine Off

I have a 1985 Westy that I've shipped from SoCal to Seattle. I've only started it once in the past 2 months for 20 minutes. The engine ran a bit rough, but I attributed that being cold in a colder wetter climate. The van is parked on an inclined driveway with the nose up higher than the engine.

Today, when I rolled the van down off the inclined driveway (with the engine off) to a level surface, coolant began pouring from underneath, near the slider door, infront of the rear, passenger-side wheel.

There was no noticable leakage when the van was parked on an incline. There is no noticable leakage under the engine or radiator now that the van is parked on a level surface. The expansion tank is full, there is no noticable leakage under the rear seat near the heater-core and I've never smelled coolant from the ventalation system. It's almost as if the coolant drained out and pooled someplace and drainded when the bus leveled.

Any ideas on what the source of a coolant leak would be if coolant pours from the middle-passenger side of the bus ?
(I've not started the van yet because the battery is dead)
 

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