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Thread: Expansion bottle overflow and water loss

  1. #1

    Default Expansion bottle overflow and water loss

    Hi,

    Hope the experts can help me. I have two problems. One should be fairly trivial and I'll put it in a separate post, the other could be more serious.
    Bit of history - I've had the Freelander 1.8 petrol (53 plate) for two years. Prior to buying it I found out about the HG failure issue and made sure that the one that I bought had been sorted. Got the receipts, talked to the mechanic, even had it checked out by a reputable mechanic at its next service, just to be sure. The HG work was done with 110k on it. I bought her with 123k on the clock. She now has 128k on her. Had a couple of drive train issues since I bought her, but nothing wrong in the engine compartment.

    Until now.
    I recently had the clutch go. Big job, lots of replacements bit & bobs, not good for the bank balance. That's not the problem though. Since the replacement clutch et al, she's lost all her coolant twice. I took it back in to the garage after the first time as it was only a day or two after the clutch. The cam belt, water pump and 2 ? alternator belts were replaced. I drove her a short distance and she appeared to loose all her coolant again, so I topped back up with fresh clear water and overnight the water mixed with whatever was left in the system and I had coloured coolant back again. But no loss of fluid volume while the engine was cold.

    I drive her again today (another two days down the line) and the expansion bottle overflowed. No sign of trouble on the temp gauge. It rose nicely to half-way and stopped there. I can't see any significant gunk on the dip stick. What the f*** is going on with the cooling system ? I can't afford to keep taking to the garage. Do I need to risk it and give her a good 50 mile run in, rather than the 5-10 mile testers that I've been doing ? Is this the beginning of the end ?

    Any advice is truely welcome.

    Cheers

  2. #2

    Default Re: Expansion bottle overflow and water loss

    I would say that if your losing coolant so quickly and there was on loss before the work was done them the garage have either left a pipe loose or split one. coolant must be pouring out whilst running if its going after just a few miles. check round the back and under the engine for dripping whilst cold and steam when hot . chris

  3. #3

    Default Re: Expansion bottle overflow and water loss

    Quote Originally Posted by horse280372 View Post
    I would say that if your losing coolant so quickly and there was on loss before the work was done them the garage have either left a pipe loose or split one. coolant must be pouring out whilst running if its going after just a few miles. check round the back and under the engine for dripping whilst cold and steam when hot . chris
    Thanks for the quick reply Chris,

    First time around (straight after the clutch) there was a puddle that gathered overnight, but that was before the water pump was changed. I did challenge the mechanic on that and he waffled something about belt wear meaning that the pump broke. That didn't really convince me at the time, after all it wasn't leaking before the clutch, but by then we were looking at parts that had already been swapped out and its difficult to argue that the garage caused the failure. I left that time with a 'Hope never to see you again' and I won't be going back to them.

    Second go around, yes, its boiling and causing the bottle to overflow, so conceivably on another day there would be steam. I'm surprised that I didn't see any given the shortness of today's trip. By the time I had parked up there wasn't much coolant left, but it had obviously overflowed.

    Any thoughts about what could be happening to cause the coolant to boil ?

    Cheers
    Ian

  4. #4
    Trainee brian263's Avatar
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    Default Re: Expansion bottle overflow and water loss

    hi there if they replaced the water pump due to leaking there might be an airlock in the cooling system. that can cause it to boil quickley and lose a lot of water may possibley have a foult with expansion tank or both

  5. #5

    Default Re: Expansion bottle overflow and water loss

    Quote Originally Posted by brian263 View Post
    hi there if they replaced the water pump due to leaking there might be an airlock in the cooling system. that can cause it to boil quickley and lose a lot of water may possibley have a foult with expansion tank or both
    Thank Brian,
    How would I get rid of the air lock ?

    Cheers
    Ian

  6. #6
    Trainee brian263's Avatar
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    Default Re: Expansion bottle overflow and water loss

    undo all bleed screws in the coolant pipes normaly one or two fill cooling system with coolant/antifreeze untill a flow of coolant comes out of bleed screws with no air replace screws put heater fan on full speed temp on hot and vents on face or demist so you can check temp. run it up to temprature keeping an eye on gauge position and temprature of heater. you wont the temp gauge to read normal and heater to be warm with expansion tank cap on do that untill the cooling fan cuts in that shoud do it turn engine off leave a while then check coolant level and top up be awere it will be hot tho so go carfull. dont let the temp gauge run in to the red tho as you run the risk of damaging gaskets if it gets to hot
    if not you may need to get it vacum filled at a garage with that sort of equipment
    would also be worth getting the expansion tank cap pressure tested these can fail allowing excape of steem lowering coolant level

  7. #7

    Default Re: Expansion bottle overflow and water loss

    Quote Originally Posted by brian263 View Post
    undo all bleed screws in the coolant pipes normaly one or two fill cooling system with coolant/antifreeze untill a flow of coolant comes out of bleed screws with no air replace screws put heater fan on full speed temp on hot and vents on face or demist so you can check temp. run it up to temprature keeping an eye on gauge position and temprature of heater. you wont the temp gauge to read normal and heater to be warm with expansion tank cap on do that untill the cooling fan cuts in that shoud do it turn engine off leave a while then check coolant level and top up be awere it will be hot tho so go carfull. dont let the temp gauge run in to the red tho as you run the risk of damaging gaskets if it gets to hot
    if not you may need to get it vacum filled at a garage with that sort of equipment
    would also be worth getting the expansion tank cap pressure tested these can fail allowing excape of steem lowering coolant level
    Brilliant,
    I'll give that a go tomorrow.
    Thanks Brian

  8. #8

    Default Re: Expansion bottle overflow and water loss

    just to add also that in the sealed system the water can get to temps well above boiling point but due to the closed pressure it doesn't boil. only way it can is if there is air locked or that the cap is failing or leaking somewhere.the link pipe round the back of the engine under the inlet manifold only seals with o rings into the water pump housing (at least on the mark one) and there do fail and need replacing if removed for any reason. chris

  9. #9

    Default Re: Expansion bottle overflow and water loss

    Quote Originally Posted by horse280372 View Post
    just to add also that in the sealed system the water can get to temps well above boiling point but due to the closed pressure it doesn't boil. only way it can is if there is air locked or that the cap is failing or leaking somewhere.the link pipe round the back of the engine under the inlet manifold only seals with o rings into the water pump housing (at least on the mark one) and there do fail and need replacing if removed for any reason. chris
    So putting it all together;
    the fact that coolant is definitely forcing its way out of the expansion bottle cap may be a 'good' sign since the option would be the hose/seals/O-rings and mean (for a relative novice such as myself) a definite trip back to a garage. I still need to check to make sure that nothing is coming out of the bottom end of the system as well, but since that was just 'fixed' I have a reasonable shout at getting that done for free if I can pin any leak down to that area.
    This is all starting to make sense to me. Thanks Chris.
    I'll have a go at it today and post any progress.

  10. #10
    Trainee woolly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Expansion bottle overflow and water loss

    What I would try, just to put your mind at rest, is to start it up, and whilst it's still cool, rev it up with the cover off the expansion bottle and see if you're getting any bubles coming out - do this on a regular basis until it's getting hot. If you're getting bubles, but the coolant is not boiling, then unfortunately HG time again.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Expansion bottle overflow and water loss

    Oh no your putting the fear of God into the guy but it is possibly the fault. If steam/water is bubbling up in the bottle and escaping from the cap then the first thing to change is the cap as this does allow the pressure to drop if ******ed and allow the water to boil. However it shouldn't account for the shear amount of coolant loss (should it??). I recently carried out the upgrade to the remote pressure relief thermostat which is standard in the newer model. However I bought the Thermostat blanking plate but not the new o rings which seal it to the water pump housing and link pipework. The system just leaked a rediculouse amount until I replaced the o rings a few days later. So the fault here sounds to me like a similarly large leak of coolant but not necessarily due to HG failure which you might expect to lose coolant more gradually and worsen over time.
    Hope you sort it out, frustrating when you have stuff fixed and it leads to other problems.
    Cheers Chris

  12. #12

    Default Re: Expansion bottle overflow and water loss

    Thanks Gents,

    Unfortunately it rained here overnight so any evidence to help locate the problem by puddle size/place was wiped away.

    I opened the bleed screws on top of the radiator this morning (I'm assuming those are the right ones ones) and topped up the coolant in the expansion tank as suggested by Brian. Didn't manage to get it to overflow though, so I don't know if there was, or is, an air lock in there.
    Struggling to replicate the issue since then though. Had some leakage/overflow around the expansion tank after a 5 mile run, but nowhere near enough to empty the tank. It could have been left overs from my slight overfill because I saw no change in level either side of the trip.

    I'm seeing no evidence of coolant in the oil. The dip stick is clean and the level has been constant throughout, so at present I'm reasonably sure that the HG is still OK.

    I think I'm going to go around the cycle again. Let her cool down, maybe put a tray under the drivers side to catch anything overnight. Try again tomorrow with fingers crossed that it was an air lock that is now gone.

    Thanks again. I'll update on any progress.

  13. #13
    Trainee woolly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Expansion bottle overflow and water loss

    My HG has just gone, and there was no coolant in the oil at all, but plenty of oil in the coolant - the cam space was incredibly clean, and the oil level just dropped slightly . . . .
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Expansion bottle overflow and water loss

    Quote Originally Posted by woolly View Post
    My HG has just gone, and there was no coolant in the oil at all, but plenty of oil in the coolant - the cam space was incredibly clean, and the oil level just dropped slightly . . . .
    Sorry to hear that Woolly, for both of us
    I'll keep an eye out for any oil in the coolant too, but I haven't seen any yet.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Expansion bottle overflow and water loss

    The final result of this issue was that the previous owner had replaced the old thermostat etc when he replaced the head gasket, but hadn't removed the old thermostat housing. This had cracked at one end and its O-ring had displaced at the other leading to most of the coolant emptying when the system was cold. When it had warmed up all the gaps sealed back up and it was fine.
    The old thermostat housing has now been removed and replaced with a blank as it should have been originally.

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