Coolant loss is doing my head in! - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 28 Old 01-05-19 Thread Starter
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Coolant loss is doing my head in!

Ever since I've owned my 159 1.9 JTDM it's been slowly losing coolant.

So far I've traced and eliminated a couple of small leaks and recently replaced the header tank and cap as I was unsure about it.

It's still slowly loosing coolant. I've checked everywhere I can think of for leaks but can't see any.

In my mind that just leaves the head gasket and heater matrix.

Head gasket: car has never overheated, coolant stays clear and clean, the heater works properly, no signs of coolant in the oil and the system doesn't seem to pressurise.

Heater matrix: no smell of coolant in the car, coolant loss seems to be when heater is on and off and no sign of coolant under the carpet and carpets seem dry.

I've tried pressurising the system but can't seem to develop any visible leaks.

Unfortunately the pressure tester I've just bought seems to leak slightly so can't check that it's holding pressure or not but as the coolant level keeps dropping I'm assuming it isn't.

Do I assume it's the head gasket and change it?
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I would check water pump before touching cylinder head
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Hi, sounds frustrating! If the system isn't pressurising and your absolutely sure there is no signs of oil in the water, i've had head gaskets leak between oil galleries and water galleries before, the old Rover 200, K-series engine used to do that before Rover modified the gasket, also had heater exchangers internally leak as well, but not sure if the 159 is fitted with one. I'd leave the head alone for now. You could try and blank off the matrix, we used to use a coupling in the trade that basically meant you dropped off the in and out of the matrix and joined them together. I know you've done your swirl flaps can you maybe pass a camera ( or something ) inside the manifold to make sure its not leaking in there? Also my 159 takes a while for the level to settle after being disturbed usually about a week of small top ups before the level remains stable, but once there it doesn't move.
Hope you find it soon!
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(Post Link) post #4 of 28 Old 01-05-19 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice so far. The water pump was leaking slightly despite being quite new. I replaced that and no signs of it leaking now.

I have indeed done the swirl flaps however when I bought the car the coolant was just on the minimum which made me wonder of it had a leak. As it's now getting warmer I may need to blank off the heater matrix to rule that out completely.
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Mine is exactly the same, no signs of water leaking down or from the engine, no oil in water no over heating, no wet carpets, no condensation inside when its cold outside ect ect ....
I bought a sniff test off eBay where ( in the picture) the nice ocean blue colour liquid would turn green if the head had gone but on arrival the liquid was already green so how could i tell ... I used it but there was no change in colour so still not 100% sure if the heads ok ....
I'll be following this thread eagerly ....
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I think ive found my water leak .
I've started to to undo things for the manifold change tomorrow and while looking down undoing the oil catch can i can see ( what looks like) water at the back of the engine on top of the oil cooler where it connects to the engine.
I thought it might be diesel as ive u done fuel pipes but there's no way it could get where it is and ive stuck my finger init and its definitely water.
It would explain why ive not seen water when looking up at the engine from underneath.
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What about the egr cooler.? If its leaking internally the coolant will go down the exhaust and you wont see it.
Remove the pipe that joins the exhaust manifold and look for signs of coolant.
Or as said check around the waterpump, the top plastic cam belt cover is easy to take off and with it off you can see the pump
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(Post Link) post #8 of 28 Old 03-05-19 Thread Starter
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Good call about the egr cooler. I've checked it for external leaks but that's all. I'll try to remove it where it joins the exhaust manifold and see if there's any sign of coolant in there.

I've also never thought that it starts very well from cold and I've wondered if the two are related such as water dripping into the cylinder overnight.
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Does the cooling system pressurise? If water was getting in a cylinder overnight I would think during running compression gasses would enter the cooling system
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(Post Link) post #10 of 28 Old 03-05-19 Thread Starter
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No it doesn't seem to pressurise. You can remove the expansion tank cap when the engine is hot and it releases very little pressure.

I'm going to check the egr cooler next I think.
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(Post Link) post #11 of 28 Old 06-05-19 Thread Starter
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Well doesn't look like it's the EGR cooler. No sign of any coolant in it. I'll double check when my pressure tester arrives assuming this one works!

Unfortunately it doesn't seem my problem is solved yet though.
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.... Just wondering whether your test worked and the leak found ?
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(Post Link) post #13 of 28 Old 14-05-19 Thread Starter
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Not yet still waiting for the replacement tester to arrive!
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(Post Link) post #14 of 28 Old 25-05-19 Thread Starter
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So just started removing the inlet manifold. Got the system pressurised and found this....


EGR cooler perhaps?
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File Type: jpg 20190525_122508_1558783641721.jpg (54.6 KB, 30 views)
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(Post Link) post #15 of 28 Old 25-05-19 Thread Starter
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Was dripping out of the small thermostat coolant hose. I've repositioned the clip and retightened it. Now to see if it holds pressure....
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.... That's Jammy if it is just that, fingers crossed.

So i dont have any visable leaks anywhere and its looking more like my head gasket but ive done a sniff test which came out clear all be it a cheap ebay kit so im still arent a 100% sure but remember someone asking if you had pressure when unscrewing the coolant tank lid which you hadnt and if this leaking pipe you've found turns out to be the problem that would explain it but i Do have a small amount of pressure when unscrewing my cap so would i have the pressure with a failed headgasket ?
.... I suspect i would because its a sealed engine block ... but i have no oil water mixture or overheatin ...


P.s , I'm pinching your thread, its the last post i promise
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(Post Link) post #17 of 28 Old 25-05-19 Thread Starter
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OK when I spin it over with the glow plugs out coolant is spraying from plug hole number 4 so looks like it's definitely the head gasket😭
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(Post Link) post #18 of 28 Old 25-05-19 Thread Starter
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Have you tried that with yours? After all the dry days it's now bloody raining!
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I havent but i will now ... Thank you for that
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CasualSaint View Post
Hi, sounds frustrating! If the system isn't pressurising and your absolutely sure there is no signs of oil in the water, i've had head gaskets leak between oil galleries and water galleries before, the old Rover 200, K-series engine used to do that before Rover modified the gasket, also had heater exchangers internally leak as well, but not sure if the 159 is fitted with one. I'd leave the head alone for now. You could try and blank off the matrix, we used to use a coupling in the trade that basically meant you dropped off the in and out of the matrix and joined them together. I know you've done your swirl flaps can you maybe pass a camera ( or something ) inside the manifold to make sure its not leaking in there? Also my 159 takes a while for the level to settle after being disturbed usually about a week of small top ups before the level remains stable, but once there it doesn't move.
Hope you find it soon!
And of course; water in the sump goes a nice milky colour to, if it's going that way of course!
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(Post Link) post #21 of 28 Old 25-05-19 Thread Starter
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Well I'm up to the point of removing the cam carrier. Removed all the bolts I can see but it's still solid. Anyone got any ideas?
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(Post Link) post #22 of 28 Old 25-05-19 Thread Starter
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It's now off was just stuck on the injector studs I think
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If you havent an injector puller then 1 thing ive found is to remove the injector studs 1st and the injectors tend to be easier to remove ...
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The head bolts are out but didn't get the head lifted tonight unfortunately. Back to it tomorrow with a, fresh pair of eyes.....
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(Post Link) post #25 of 28 Old 4 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Well after all the wotlrk and expense changing the head gasket it's still loosing coolant.

I'm getting to the point now where I feel like weighing it in for scrap and buying something else.
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