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Coolant loss but no leaks

4092 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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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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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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Just a thought. You mentioned that you have had a new thermostat. Has the system been bled correctly afterwards. Air in the system can give similar symptoms to what you describe.
 

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Hi Tickets, yep followed the procedure from the Alfa Romeo technical information, ensuring the system was filled and waited for coolant to come out of the bleed holes and then closing them. The heater inside works fine too. If there was an airlock, I’d probably get overheating issues, no? The bottle cap I have is yellow, is it supposed to be blue ?
Re: Overheating with an air lock. Yes and no. It depends on the airlock. The job of the cap is to maintain the pressure in the cooling system to stop it boiling. If you have a cap that is venting at a higher pressure there is a possibility that your system pressure is too high. It might be worth looking at the values on both colour caps to see if there is a difference.
 

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Before you send the head away just check the block with your straight edge and make sure the piston/bore liners are all level. Using a light abrasive to remove any stubborn bits won’t hurt it. You might be there forever otherwise. It would be good practice to replace the valve stem seals and lap the valves in whilst you’re at it.
 

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Contact the engineering company and ask if they need to come out can they do it. if you’re unsure and can’t access the locking tools. They may only want the studs out of the manifold faces so they can clamp the head.
 

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Hi Tickets

The engineering company requested the cams to be removed. Before removing them I made some marks along side the cam shaft and the bearing caps that hold the cam down, so I can put them back in the same position.
I don’t know why I wrote that as they won’t want to faff rotating cams to close valves. My mind was thinking get them to remove and reinstall if you were unsure. 🙄
 

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That’s fine, I appreciate the input. I’ve made the markings and taken loads of photos. The heads at the shop and I’m looking forward to the call tomorrow to find out the result of the inspection.

any advice of a particular brand of timing chain? I’ve seen some great prices which include both the timing and balance chain on eBay. Here’s a linkhttps://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/184520311129?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-127632-2357-0&ssspo=BRhssXkBTme&sssrc=2349624&ssuid=lLL8bcIPQvO&var=&widget_ver=artemis&media=COPY £221 complete! Whereas a shop quoted me £400 for just the timing chain kit without the balance chain. It was a BGA make
Personally I wouldn’t buy something like a timing chain from eBay. I would stick to recognised factors and brands. With due respect to companies selling parts on eBay you need to be confident you’re buying quality. You don’t want to make things worse.
 

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Update fellow Alana owners.

So I’ve spent my entire short winter day cleaning the block today. Been taking it easy and of course careful using the plastic scraper and nylon brushes to gently lift the old gasket. It’s getting there and I’m going to spend some more time tomorrow. I’ve attached some photos for your viewing pleasure. You can still see the marks of the old gasket after I’ve cleaned it all off, seems like it’s made a mark on the aluminium but it’s smooth.

Times like these I wish I had a garage.
Just sand it with a 120/180 grit paper. If you go too fine you run the risk of just riding over the debris. Best case scenario it takes ages. Worst case you leave some behind which has a negative effect on all of your work.
 

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Hi is that ok to do on an Aluminium block? Also if I use the 120/180 grit should it be done dry or wet?
Yes it’s fine. Use it dry on a rubber rubbing block if you have one. You won’t need much pressure and it will be much quicker. Are the holes for the head bolts blind or open. If they are blind make sure you clean them out before the head goes back on. Just run the bolts in gently until they bottom out to remove any oil or debris. If you don’t it might effect the torque on the head bolts.
 

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I would contact your local Alfa dealer and get a price and the part number. If you’re not happy with the price at least you will have the part number to use as a search.
 

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You can sand in whatever motion floats your boat. You’re not sanding the metal to remove metal, you’re removing dirt and debris. It’s not the same as prepping a panel for paint. I like to use a rubber block where possible but obviously dowels can get in the way. But you can use anything flat that fits in your palm. You may find there are areas where you have to use a bit of paper in your hand.
 

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The block seems to be ready, it’s level, smooth and clean. Thanks for he help and support this far.
I’m now preparing the head to sit back on the block and as I’ve taken it out the box and preparing it for a clean, I’ve noticed the edges of one of the cylinder areas on the head rough and it looks as if it’s not cut smooth round. Also next to it there seems to a little Knick in the ally. I’ve attached photos for reference.
I’ve also called the engineering shop and waiting for their reply.

I’ve marked the photo with orange marks showing where the roughness is on the edge of the roundness area where the valves sit.
While you’re waiting for the engineering shop to come back to you, offer the gasket up to the surface of the head to see if the gasket will take up the bits you’re concerned about when under compression.
 

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visited the engineering shop today who have told me head it’s fine and the area of my concern is just outside the sealing area. They offered to skim it again but did warn me that could affect compression and would not be ideal. Just a little annoying that they didn’t get it right the first time, but the situation could have been worse.

I’m going through elearn and preparing everythingfor the weekend and I’m looking at the head bolt specs, I’ve attached a screenshot and dont understand what it means by 2.7 divided 3.3? Why have the divide sign? I know they’re tightening torques by Nm, but the divide sign is throwing me. Any ideas gents ?
I don’t know why they have that symbol for the caps other than a typo, I think it’s saying you should be between those values as the 3.2 cam cap has a single value. If I remember correctly the previous image of the head torque didn’t have that. So it looks like they are upper and lower parameters then use your torque angle gauge.
 
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