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Coolant loss but no leaks

4118 Views 88 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  joeymannero
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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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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Chances of a warped block are slim , I'd be taking the opportunity to skim a little more off the head to raise compression and thus performance....!!

But that's just me.

Having done a few of these it's just a question of going slowly , double check everything as you go , take the opportunity to do some other jobs like cleaning up the inlet manifold and re- lapping the valves ( if you're doing the headwork yourself) things are more accessible whilst the head is off so really think about what you could easily do.

I'd be sending injectors off for cleaning ,and would consider new plugs , coils and definitely a full service .

Sounds fun !

Best of luck with it all.
 

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What engine is it ? I assume 2.2 JTS as I see 4 cylinders in your pictures ..

In which case you have a timing chain , the 2.2 JTS kit isn't expensive , and it's relatively easy to do.


The above will help, there are timing marks on the chain, crank pulley and phaser .

In terms of where to buy , try shop4parts , you can get a 10% discount code on here by emailing one of the mods .
 

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After a head gasket job I did on a BMW E36 a ( good 10 years ago now ) I never could settle with the car again and it was my daily at the time so......

I eventually sold it and bought my first Alfa !

A lovely GT 2.0 JTS , the first of many Alfa's, and my current Brera definitely won't be my last.

The BMW is still on the road with 86k on it ...another 40k since my ownership , so my work was fine , just enjoy the car now , having followed the thread nostalgically it looks as though you've done a fantastic job ..!

It's all too easy to start second guessing yourself but with a job like the one you've just completed , any problems become evident pretty quickly ....
 
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