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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi fellow Alfa lovers !

hope all is well in the world of owning an Alfa, I’m certainly beginning to experience it.

I have a 2.2 JTS petrol with 105,000 on the clock. I use it as my daily driver and recently noticed coolant loss. Did some basic checks ;

No leaks around the cap.
No leaks on the main pipe going underneath the coolant bottle.
No leaks at thermostat or oil cooler.
No leaks at the radiator.
No leaks at the bleed screws.
Car not overheating and stays on 90 dead on
Fan kicks in fine
Took the under tray off and observed with no leaks.
Next day I started it from cold and just let it idle and noticed after the car warmed up that the water level slowly rose all the way up to the top of the coolant bottle and water started spitting out of the little air vent hole at the top. After closer look I could see the top part of the bonnet was covered with coolant and around the brake fluid bottle and top suspension on the right. So it seems the water spits out from the hole. That can’t be right, that hole is to relieve pressure as the cap spring opens up, if I’m not mistaken? I’ve also bought a new cap.

so the dreaded head gasket words started entering my mind, but no oil or water is mixing. I did notice as I watched the coolant bottle at idle that bubbles would enter it every now and then from the bottom pipe. I let the car cool, took off the cap and then used the diy head gasket tester with the blue liquid. Let the car idle and the liquid turned yellow, which says possible head gasket compression leak or coolant contamination.

has anyone experienced this? If water is spitting out the vent hole of the coolant bottle then maybe it is the head gasket on its way? Not sure how much I should trust the tester, but I tried it on my wife’s car and it stayed blue.

Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

I’ve tried searching for a smiler issue on here but no one’s seems to have the issue where coolant is being loss from the top of the coolant bottle hole!
 

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Giuilietta veloce 1.4 multiair & Merc C180 coupe
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Sorry I misread your first post regarding the head gasket test. If you can access a coolant pressure tester you can use that to confirm what the first test is indicating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Have you checked your front carpets for dampness? Possibly leaking from the heater or pipe work.
Yep, carpets are dry at both ends, passenger and driver sides
It seems likely that the head gasket is letting combustion gasses into the water jacket so that the coolant is being pressurised.
yeah, this seems like the culprit, head gasket probably cracked at the combustion end rather than the oil end, that’s probably why oil and water not mixing. Maybe it’s early stages. I’d like to keep it or at least repair it. Anybody suggest a good reasonable mechanic in Essex? I may even think of doing it myself,
 

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2017 Guila 2.0 Tbi Lusso spec, 1972 S2 Spider Junior, wife drives 939 Spider, + Abarth 595
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The CO2 test is all you need to know, no point in looking anywhere else. Its a head gasket.
 
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But just to confirm:

Next day I started it from cold and just let it idle and noticed after the car warmed up that the water level slowly rose all the way up to the top of the coolant bottle and water started spitting out of the little air vent hole at the top. After closer look I could see the top part of the bonnet was covered with coolant and around the brake fluid bottle and top suspension on the right. So it seems the water spits out from the hole. That can’t be right, that hole is to relieve pressure as the cap spring opens up, if I’m not mistaken? I’ve also bought a new cap.
Your coolant wasn't overfilled (above max with a cold engine) ?
In case it was overfilled, what you described could be normal behavior as there was more fluid than capacity with the warm engine.
If it wasn't, then yeah something is definitely not right.


Yeah nevermind, this is all you need to know:
Let the car idle and the liquid turned yellow
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok, so the plan is to go ahead and keep the prodrive alive by replacing the head gasket, and while I’m at it, replace the timing chain kit, thermostat, water pump. Anybody suggest a good brand for the timing chain kit? BGA?, FAI? I’m going to go for the multi layer headgasket from alfaworkshop. I’ll keep you all posted and will try and post on photos
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok, so the plan is to go ahead and keep the prodrive alive by replacing the head gasket, and while I’m at it, replace the timing chain kit, thermostat, water pump. Anybody suggest a good brand for the timing chain kit? BGA?, FAI? I’m going to go for the multi layer headgasket from alfaworkshop. I’ll keep you all posted and will try and post on photos
Update people. Before embarking on the head gasket replacement I decided to first try SteelSeal. I tell you what, it’s worked, I’ve checked the coolant for combustion leaks with the very same test I did before and it’s clear. I’ll keep an eye on it but it’s now keeping the pressure and I’m not losing coolant. You have to follow the steps properly for it to work and it took me 2 days to ensure the old coolant was flushed out properly and then following the steps on the bottle. Happy to share the detailed steps if anyone is interested, but I hope this helps others. Especially if your headgasket isn’t badly damaged.
 

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Update people. Before embarking on the head gasket replacement I decided to first try SteelSeal. I tell you what, it’s worked, I’ve checked the coolant for combustion leaks with the very same test I did before and it’s clear. I’ll keep an eye on it but it’s now keeping the pressure and I’m not losing coolant. You have to follow the steps properly for it to work and it took me 2 days to ensure the old coolant was flushed out properly and then following the steps on the bottle. Happy to share the detailed steps if anyone is interested, but I hope this helps others. Especially if your headgasket isn’t badly damaged.
yup, I’ve heard people have had good results with that , if it works it works , at worst it’s going to see the car usable for a spell , at best it may be a permanent fix, depends on how bad the leak is..

I suspect if you like the car you’ll want to sort it properly at some point , but at least this gives you time to source parts and get to know the car.
 

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Giuilietta veloce 1.4 multiair & Merc C180 coupe
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A girl I used to work with had a 14 plate corsa which had a failed head gasket. Combustion gasses in the coolant. We put some head gasket sealer from euro car parts in and it’s still going strong 3 years later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
An update, the problem is back. :( The coolant pipes get very hard and I get coolant overflowing from the coolant bottle vent hole.

note, there is no coolant loss any other way besides the coolant level drops when the car is warm and the pipes go hard, from what I believe this can only be from the exhaust gasses getting into the system . If I open up one of the bleed screws on the engine then air escapes and the coolant level comes back to level. The car doesn’t overheat either.

Would really appreciate some advice here, I’m not going to give up, the car is good otherwise and it would be a shame to just let it be. I am also not happy with selling it in the state it is either. So I’m thinking of repairing it. I am guessing the head is cracked, if it was the gasket then the I’d lose coolant too right ?

My only worry is if the block is damaged. Because the head is ally and the block is iron I believe, then I’m stuck and costs rise too much. If the issue is with the head and/or gasket then I’m happy to repair it.

what do you guys think?
 

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You're not going to know unless you take the head off and get it pressure tested. Do another test to see if there are exhaust gasses in the coolant. I can't imagine the block would be damaged unless it's had a serious overheating problem, even then the head will take the brunt of the damage, the head will definitely need a skim though to be on the safe side.
The thermostat is good right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
You're not going to know unless you take the head off and get it pressure tested. Do another test to see if there are exhaust gasses in the coolant. I can't imagine the block would be damaged unless it's had a serious overheating problem, even then the head will take the brunt of the damage, the head will definitely need a skim though to be on the safe side.
The thermostat is good right?
Hi Clf
Yeah the thermostat was replaced a month ago as part of my coolant flush and there is no overheating issues. Do you think it could be the pump not circulating properly causing the pipes to go hard? I want to check out every possibly available before I remove the head just in case.
 

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When you say the hoses are going hard, I take it to mean that you can't compress them? Like they are under extreme pressure inside?

Under normal operation, there should still be some slight flex in the hoses. It does sound like the system is being over pressurised, I wouldn't expect to see this if the pump were failing.

Have you checked the expansion bottle cap? If this is faulty and not regulating pressure, this could cause the symptoms you describe.

May be worth checking this out before committing to a head strip.
 
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