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Vauxhall Combo 53 plate oil and water leak

Discussion in 'Car Repairs / Maintenance' started by burts, 23 Dec 2018.

  1. burts

    burts

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    I have two ongoing problems with my van. An oil leak that stops and starts. It went away for 4 months and then came back. I have located it to be leaking down on to the water pump so must be coming from above somewhere. Any ideas?

    Also I’m filling my van up with water after every long journey. I had a radiator replaced about 2 months ago but it was happening before that and no signs of water leakage. I did notice it bubbling out the expansion cap when finishing a journey once but is there not an overflow pipe on the tank for that? Also would a poorly fitted cap allow you to loose an entire expansion tank of water? The van never over heats so I’m sure it must drop to a certain level and then hold?
     
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  3. Burnerman

    Burnerman

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    Oil leaks from that area are either from the cylinder head gasket ( most likely) or the camshaft oil seal......
    Can you remove the timing belt covers for a look see?
    There should be no bubbles of gas from the expansion chamber bottle - although a dud cap could well help it to empty!
    John :)
     
  4. burts

    burts

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    John you must have replied before when I had the oil problem.
    I couldn’t get the timing belt covers off before, and no mechanic wants to do it. Then I jet washed it down to see where the oil leak was coming from and then it just magically stopped until last week

    I changed the cap on the expansion tank, it doesn’t appear to still go on great. There was definitely water bubbling up, I once had an oil cooler split and cleaned the water waus as best as I could, recently used steel seal to see if that stopped the water leak but it had a reverse effect and must have dislodged lots of old hardened oil.

    Is the oil leak a big job either way? Am I better cutting my losses? Or is there something I can put in the oil to maybe seal where it’s seeping through
     
  5. Burnerman

    Burnerman

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    For sure, there are solutions that are claimed to work, you just pour the stuff into the cooling system.
    Bars Leaks is one, there are sure to be others.....Ive never used it before so I cant comment on their performance.
    Certainly it looks like your head gasket is suspect - there shouldnt be any bubbles of gas visible at any time, and also no oil in the cooling water......the oil shouldnt be milky either.
    Why the leak should come and go is a bit of a mystery to me - maybe you washed most of the last evidence away!
    Anyway, so long as the van has coolant in the engine it shouldnt come to any harm.
    John :)
     
  6. burts

    burts

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    John I’m fairly sure the oil, well almost sludge Only surfaced when I used one of these head gasket sealers, and that it was the left over build up from a couple of years back when my oil cooler split. There is no milky residue in the oil. Temperature of the van never goes above 90, not even when I find the tank empty of water. I’ve noticed my fan never seems to come on either but someone said this will only operate if the Van reaches around 90 degrees.
    In terms of gas.... I don’t know what you mean, if an expansion tank cap is removed when bot it will hiss and bubble, therefore if my cap is not sealing properly would it not bubble up?
     
  7. Burnerman

    Burnerman

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    The fan will come on when the engine temperature reaches 95 deg - but only if there is enough coolant in!
    The purpose of the expansion bottle cap is to increase the temperature at which the coolant boils by keeping it under pressure....about 14 psi is right. If the coolant is hot and the cap removed it could immediately boil and thats obviously a safety issue.
    If the head gasket has failed or is failing there should be gas visible as the engine warms up, cap off.
    I think Id go for the correct cap - from a main dealer if need be - then top the coolant and oil up to the exact correct levels and go from there.
    Whatever you do, keep the coolant topped up!
    John :)
     
  8. burts

    burts

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    The cap was a genuine cap from a Vauxhall dealer.
    So if I run the van from Cold, cap off and get no bubbling or gas then that is ok. If I get bubbling then it’s not?
     
  9. Burnerman

    Burnerman

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    Thats a pretty good test but not absolutely foolproof. A tiny amount of ‘fizz’ is ok for the first few moments.
    Its perfectly ok to run the engine with the cap off, eventually the engine will get very hot though and the cap will need to go back on to prevent the coolant boiling.
    In this weather its debateable if a diesel engine will ever heat up enough on tickover as the heat will dissipate through the radiator even if the vehicle isnt moving.
    A suitably equipped garage can also do a ‘sniff’ test to determine the prescence of exhaust gas in the vapour above the coolant...liquids used in the system change colour when exposed to exhaust fume.
    John :)
     
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  11. burts

    burts

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    I did fill the expansion tank, removed cap and ran the engine. There was bubbling, the van was on for a good ten minutes and temp gauge didn’t move and continued to bubble, not excessively. Also fan wasn’t blowing warm air.

    I did have a new radiator about a month ago as it was leaking out the bottom. Is it possible it’s air locked? Or pointing to Head Gasket. When replacing a head gasket, do many other things have to be changed at the same time?
     
  12. Burnerman

    Burnerman

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    Jumping into the deep end once more...:cry:
    For the heater, check the temperature of the top and bottom hoses by hand.....after a run they should be as hot as hell. If the top one is cool then an air lock is likely - sometimes there is a bleed point nearby, or maybe on the thermostat housing.
    Again, after a run the front radiator should be hot from top to bottom. If it isnt then its usually a thermostat issue.
    Regarding the head gasket, if it was replaced due to the engine being fried then it needs a slight skim to bring it flat again. Unfortunately some modern engines cant be skimmed but yours can.
    Apart from this, I hope youve had a pleasant Xmas day!
    John :)
     
  13. burts

    burts

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    Yes John
    Xmas day has been good seeing family. Hope the same for yourself.

    I’ve not been trying to fix the Van today ! Just had some spare time to post when all the madness had calmed
     
  14. burts

    burts

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    John, so I’ve had a look at this water problem again today.

    So, the main radiator hoses feel slack as if not fully loaded with water, matrix pipes not hot. So.... took the expansion tank off quick used a hose to spray down hoses. All seemed clear with water running through, so thought the thermostat might not be opening..... removed thermostat and fitted housing back without it to see if made a difference. It didn’t.
    With engine running, water wasn’t being pumped up to the heater matrix as I pulled the inlet hose off, boiling water was however going back up the radiator overflow hose and back in to the expansion tank. Therefore when it’s under pressure for a period of time it loses water out the top.
    Does this sound like it’s a water pump issue?
     
  15. Burnerman

    Burnerman

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    Wow.....
    I’m assuming your van doesnt have a heater control valve, a 3 hose connection jobby somewhere?
    For sure there is a circulation problem - those heater pipes need to be stiff with pressure and piping hot.
    Can you flush out the heater matrix with the hose, both through the matrix and through the heater hoses themselves?
    I’m not really happy that the water pump is performing correctly.....how old is it?
    John :)
     
  16. burts

    burts

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    I could run a hose spray gun through all hoses and heater matrix. Fairly slow through the matrix but I’m guessing like a boiler heat exchanger water ways are only thin. All water clear.

    Thermostat currently removed and in a tub of boiling water and not opening.

    Yeah there is a 3 way connection near thermostat
     
  17. Burnerman

    Burnerman

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    The thermostat is clearly a dud but as removing it to no effect, we need to look elsewhere.
    Its worth looking at the water pump but I do have a gut feeling that the head gasket has failed.
    How about the exhaust gas in the air above the coolant in the expansion bottle.....maybe you could look into that?
    John :)
     
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