147 2.0ts boiling coolant help!! - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 16 Old 08-09-16 Thread Starter
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147 2.0ts boiling coolant help!!

Hi folks
Just bought a lovely looking 73,000m 2002 147 2.0TS Lusso Manual 3 door and I LOVE it - had it for just a week and in first few days temp was sitting at 70-80 degrees and running fine - now temp sits at 90 but its started boiling the coolant on even short journeys. Parked it up and got bus to work today ! The coolant pipes are squishable and not hard, it doesnt seem to have lost any coolant liquid - oil is good no yuk in there or under cap - car runs beautifully no smoke and great performance - cant tell if fan is working as I'm scared to run it up to temp now but checked fuses by battery and they are fine. Coolant looks a little brown and rusty but no thick or sludgy residue. Planned to drain and replace coolant and flush radiator tonight when I get home but any advice would very much appreciated - wondered if thermostat may be the cause?
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It can happen (hot running) when the fan's low speed resistor fails. Check it for continuity.
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Yes - would suspect the fan. If it happens when you are going slowly (around town, traffic etc) but not on the open road - it is almost certainly the fan.

Start it, run it up to temperature - when it gets properly hot, does the fan come on?

Thermostats normally fail open (car runs cold) but they can fail closed.
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stats on these tend to fail open, so you would not get the symptoms you describe..

I think dropping the coolant and replacing is a good starting point to diagnose your issue, but there are basically two things that could be happening..

1) the system has a leak somewhere that is resulting in the system not being pressurised, this would cause the coolant to kettle at lower temps, as most cars coolant systems run at around 25 psi, each PSI above atmospheric increases the boiling point of the coolant by roughly 1 degree. so when you are at 90 on the temp dial you should be actually around 35 degree lower than boiling point...if its boiling earlier then its not pressurised or being over pressurised by exhaust gases.

you can pressure test the system with a pump and schrader valve/modified rad cap with a pressure gauge to cheaply make something like this...

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Radiator-P...oAAOSwdzVXvX44

with the egine not running its easier to see/hear any leaks...

the other obvious is that you have a headgasket breach which is pressurising the coolant even before you get to temperature..I would run the car up to temp with the cap off and look for bubbles in the expansion tank, its not definitive but if the system is bled properly there should be no gas of any kind in there at all, and bubbles must be coming from somewhere...

as a starting point do what you are planning but also change the rad cap, and visually inspect all the pipes and hoses, it's amazing how often its a banjaxed o ring in the rad cap causes the system not to pressurize.
I would also put some cardboard under the car to help you pinpoint exactly where any leak is coming from, but TBH it sounds like if you have one its small and venting to air as vapour.

hope that helps,

good luck
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They may be a couple of issues here. Firstly you say that the car 'was' running at 70-80 degrees. The 147's have a linear temperature gauge and once up to temperature should stick at 90 on the gauge, so it seems that the car was over cooling originally which is a classic symptom of a thermostat stuck open. The fact that the coolant is now boiling with the potential of the thermostat still being stuck open may suggest as mentioned that the cooling fan isn't kicking in, a recent blockage in the radiator, or a failed expansion tank cap. Let the car idle and come to temperature and hold your hand on the top rad hose.....it should feel quite cool and then suddenly get hot as the stat opens and lets the hot coolant through. If the hose warms up steadily then it's very likely the stat has failed. After this check to see whether the lower rad hose is cold or warm. It should be slightly warm...if it's cold then there's a blockage in the radiator. These checks should point you in the right direction.

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When you say its boiling the coolant ....you can see it bubbling? I think that happens when you get some air in the system.


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Yes, describe exactly what is happening to make you think the coolant is boiling.
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If it's not pressurised (squishy hoses), you have a leak regardless of whether the thermostat is working. Look for steam/water escaping, and don't use the car aside from brief testing. Modern cars with alloy heads are very intolerant of inadequate cooling and overheating/boiling coolant will trash the head gasket (if it hasn't already). And have a look at the header tank cap. Any sign of pitting on the seal, replace it.
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could also be a knackered waterpump.....
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Connect it up to multiecuscan and see if it gives any errors. You can test the fan from the same programme as well and the engine doesn't even have to be running.
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I am going to say waterpump as well.

If you take the lid off the expansion tank (with it cold) and start the engine you should see the coolant swishing around. If not then the pump is suspect.
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Ok folks - UPDATE ? Drained and completely flushed coolant system until it ran clear water - that took a while! I suspect the coolant hasnt been changed in a very long while as the hexi screws on the bottom engine cover had rusted solid and just crumbled when I came to take them off so had to drill them out. I can confirm the fan is not working though the coolant level now remains constant and no boiling occurs and I have a steady 90 degrees once up to running temperature. Will try to diagnose fan in next day or two for repair or replacement. I have a catastrophic power steering fluid leak to attend to next - ahhh the joys of Alfa ownership! Fortunately I have found the source - a 1" corroded section of two pipes held in a metal clip with corrision under the inner rubber mounting just inside the inspection panel of the OSF wheel arch liner - going to try self amalgamating tape today on both pipes so fingers crossed ! Only slight problem is damaged locking wheel nut that holds the key but shifts laterally when I put the wheel brace on it to remove *sigh* might need a trip to garage to get it off for better access - thanks to everyone for advice and pointers - saved me running out and panic buying a stat !
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty147 View Post
..... Will try to diagnose fan in next day or two for repair or replacement. ....!
It's almost never the fan itsself.... If max speed works,but not lower speed, it's usually a problem with the resistor. Otherwise a problem with the relay ...
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A tape repair to the power steering lines wont work, there is way too much pressure there. You'll need to replace the whole lot - about £150 if i remember rightly. Its a common fault!
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I had the same power steering pipe issue a while ago, the upheaval in trying to sort the 1 leak just lead to the other pipe failing. In the end I went with a suggestion I found on here, cut out the pipe before each of the brackets and replace with lengths of oil resistant high pressure hose http://m.ebay.co.uk/itm?itemId=271126111020 is what I used, 1metre of 12mm ID secured with 17-19mm mikalor clamps.They fit nice in the existing clamps About 20 quid all in and touch wood is holding well after 5000 miles
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....cut out the pipe before each of the brackets and replace with lengths of oil resistant high pressure hose ...
Same for me, holding up for over 8 years now...
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