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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got a new modine rad last July. I think I have had a Head Gasket problem since then as well, and it sems that the oil is geting into the cooling system. Due to the oil in the system, it has eaten away 4 rad caps to date. Last night, I noticed steam coming from the front grill of my car.

My rad level has also been getting lower quickly now.

Has the oil eaten away the seals in the rad?
Is the steam coming from hairline cracks where the top tank attaches to the bottom?
How can I check this?
Do I need another one?

Also, because it is still under warranty, how can I work it so my warranty claim is not voided because of the oil ( I dont think they will want to honor the warranty if they see oil)?
 

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Wow, sounds like you have a lot goin on...

After the radiator install did you top off with coolant after the car warmed up (heat on full) and bleed the system? Did you make sure all the hoses were tight using new clamps (not the oem ones)? I doubt the top tank is defective since the common defect was the welding not cracking top tanks. A simple leading cause thats overlooked is the Rad cap but you already changed it 4 times :confused:

I would probably bring it to a shop to run a compression test to rule out a Head Gasket, since you see oil in the anti-freeze. Instead of spending more money, this may ultimately decide the fate of your car. Any white smoke from the exhaust?

The water pump could be leaking (pull the dust plate off under the car and look for anti-freeze).

Lastly, could be the heater core. Any sweat smell when you turn on the heat?

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanx Mike.

I have pretty much ruled that is is a HG failure because:

1) Pressure in cooling system after car has cooled right off (like 2 days)

2) Oil in system, eating rad caps

3) Air in system causing the no heat scenerio and rising guage

4) Anti freeze will not go back into rad, it just stays in the resevoir.

5) Rad does not stay topped up

6) MY fans come on spuratically, caused by the air setting them off prematurely.

7) My idle flucuates sometimes up and down really fast.

As for the rad, my concern was that maybe the coolant loss could becasue the antifreeze is vapourizing from a crack or bad weld where the top tank meets the bottom. It also could have been becasue it was a cold night, and there was antifreeze residue all over my car from me messin' around with it that day.
 

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With a bad head gasket, you are probably pushing the antifreeze out of your overflow bottle because of the pressure build up in the rad.... Are you getting any coolant in the oil?? I'd have it fixed soon to prevent any more problems from happening !!

The steam is probably coming from the coolant that would spray into the engine compartment and onto the rad...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I am trying to get it in early next week, as I am not driving around if |I dont have to. I have no contamination in my oil yet, so that is a good sign.

I dont think I have boiled over the overflow resevoir to date, but I think topping the fluid up and spilling it all over the compartment maybe to blame for the vaporizing. I hope I can get the "surgery" done next week:) , so I am not driving a sick legend around. Thanx for your input.
 

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Just curious,

Does the engine run hot (and cold air comes from the vents instead of heat) every time you are idling? And how long do you have to idle for this to happen?

I noticed on a few occasions I get the same thing. I recently replaced my radiator about 3 weeks ago. I'm hoping it's only air in the system from not being bled properly but when you mentioned oil in the coolant reservoir tank, I checked mine today and my coolant is rather dark, almost a brownish colour. Does this mean I'm also leaking oil into the coolant? IF this happens, is this DEFINETLY a blown head gasket? :(

I noticed at idle it doesn't happen all the time when the engine heats up and the air turns cold form the heater. Just every now and then. Also before doing the rad replacement, there was also brown "crud" inside the reservoir tank, to which a discussion started where even LegendGS noticed the same thing in his and we thought it to be normal. But after the rad replacement, I assume they cleaned the system but this browness is coming back.

It's hard to know if I'm shooting white exhaust out as it's cold winter and everyone is blowing white smoke. Other than compression tests, how else can i tell if it's my head gasket or not? I never had to change my rad cap before and the coolant level in my reservoir tank doesn't go down.

I'll probably do the first thing and ask my mechanic to bleed the system once more to make sure or I'll do it myself. But the brown in the coolant scares me. Tonight I actually dumped it all out and put in some fresh coolant. I'll see how long it takes before it changes colour.

G
 

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Ok, I'm going to follow up on my own post.

I feel very releaved after checking a couple of things and talking to my mechanic. I took the rad cap off after running the engine just for a bit. There was pressure build up in there and had rad fluid squirt a bit (normal thing). The fluid in the rad was super clean and very bright green. The stuff in the reservoir was mucky, sorta darker brownish tinge to it. I asked the mechanic about that, he said it's cause my reservoir tank needs to be cleaned as there's gunk on the bottom. He said if the rad fliud in the rad is super clean (whcih he had a look himself), then there's nothing wrong. He also mentioned that if you have a blown head gasket that oil usually doesn't go into the coolant, it's the other way around. Coolant goes into the oil.

He thinks there are just air pockets in the coolant that need to be bled out.

(sigh of relief) :eek:

I hope your problem doesn't end up being a blown gasket. How is the coolant in your rad?

I think I'm going to take my reservoir tank and put it in the dishwasher :D

G
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Godfather,
My car does blow cold air while at idle. This is due to low coolant, becasuse when you get going again it blows warm, right? That is how mine is anyways. Monitor this, and if you have to top it off everytime your car has cooled down, then you have a problem
with coolant loss. If you top off your rad, you will have warm air again. But, if it gets cold again, then you are losing coolant. I have to do that everytime I start my car from a cold start. I know what you are saying about white smoke from the exhaust and cold weather. Its hard to tell. It also sucks that you get cold air at a low RPM when it is cold, becasue you are getting the weather that we just got (HAHA!), and I was driving around in -30C weather and blowing snow with cold air defrost. Really uncomfortable.

As for the brown crud in your rad, it could very well be just dirty coolant. That is what I thought when I bought the car, and so did everyone else. It turned out to be engine oil. Which means either someone poured oil into the rad, or it is coming from a leaky HG:( . THis is what I highly recommend to you to give you peace of mind and a better indication of what is going on. Go to a RAD shop (not walmart), and get a power rad flush, and ask for their chemical degreaser. This will dislodge all of those brown particles and that out of your cooling system, It will clean out your coolant passages as well. Also, ask them to right on the work order to clean out your overlfow tank. Your system is now clean. Now give it a week or so, and see if it comes back. If it does, you have a problem.

AS for your mechanic saying that oil cannot go into your cooling system, he is wrong. The HG can fail in many places. You can have oil into antifreeze, antifreeze in oil, exhaust compression into the cooling system, etc. There is no forsure set of circumstances that shows this problem. You say that your resevoir does not empty back into the rad. That could be a could indicator of HG right there.:mad: Replace your rad cap. If that does not allow it to syphon back in, then your system is charged with air, and it is putting pressure against the coolant that wants to come back in. Also, after your car has sit over night, take off your rad cap. If there is coolant that spills out, that is an indicator of air in your system, from HG. My rad juice is contaminated with stop leak, so it is really disgusting looking.

Sorry Man, your situation is exactly the same as mine. I have already ordered the parts for my HG "surgery". I am just about to phone my mechanic to book in an apointment for next week. :mad:

Good Luck with your car:)
 

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Thanks for the info Mckenzie!

I now have a good peace of mind after a little disaster I had last night. I was driving from a cold start and noticed as my engine temperature raised, my heaters would still blow cold air. Didn't matter if I was idling or reving hard. Eventually it went above the normal operating temprature towards the red so I pulled over at a gas station and turned off the engine to stop any additional heating.

Here's what I did:

1) Looked at the reservior tank which had twice as much coolant than the "max" amount line.

2) I know this is stupid what I did but I did it anyways. I removed the rad cap to releave pressure. Of coarse coolant was spraying EVERYWHERE and as it first came out I jumped out of the way to avoid being burned, one drop narowly missing my eye hitting me in the cheak :eek: . LISTEN TO THE WARNINGS ON THE CAP GUYS!! So anyways, coolant is all over my engine, engine bay and the body panels on the front of my car, big mess.

3) I started the engine and ran it with the cap off but no difference in engine temperature.

4) A buddy of mine came to help me (i called him up) as it was freezing last night (-15C). We squeezed the rad hoses to which they were very soft (while the engine was running) which meant no coolant was going through the system. He immediately thought it was air bubbles.

5) I then remembered reading how to bleed the system in my service manual and purchased 2 bottles of coolant from the gas bar. I dumped the coolant in the reservoir such that it was back at the MAX line again. While running the engine, I opened up the bleeder nut and started to pour coolant into the tank. I noticed tons of air bubles coming out of the bleed screw. As I poured coolant to the top of the tank, the level slowly dropped down as air was pushed out fo the system and the coolant taking its place. I kept doing this to the point where the level wouldn't drop and a slow stream of coolant was coming out of the bleeder nut without bubbles. I tightend the nut and closed the rad cap.

Everything was working perfect after. temeprature of the car dropped to normal, the heater was blowing hot air again.

I then took the car to a coin wash and washed the coolant off the body and rinsed some off the engine (this was 3am).

Today I left my car idling on several occasions for as long as 50 mins at one point, and the temperature never moved! It was perfect! I was never able to do this before until now.

I think my problem was just ALOT of air in the system. Now it's been bled properly and everything looks great.

This has given me peace of mind now about my head gaskets and am relieved. Today I even took my car into a warm garage and reved it and no white smoke out of the pipe. I checked the oil to which it's clean of other car fluids. The brown stuff int he rservoir container is just gunk from the bottom of it which I heard other guys here have the same problem.

I'm going to complain to my mechanic that installed my radiator for not bleeding the system properly making me bleed the system 2:30am while freezing cold outside!

I'm sorry your case was not as fortunate as mine and I wish you luck with your head gasket job. Are you going to install metal gaskets?

G
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thats harsh man..... 3am working on your legend on a cold night in TO....Damn...

I hope you have solved your problem. The one thing that I would watch now is your coolant levels, in your rad and your resevoir. If the resevoir fills up again and does not drain, you have air again. I basically did the same thing you did for quite some time, just band-aiding it. Bleeding, refilling, etc.... If the problem is to come back, it most likely going to come back in a few days, not immediately. That is because you did get rid of the air, and your system is fine for now. Monitor it for a few more days, and get back to me, I would like to hear how you made out. I finally got to the point where I realized it needed surgery....

As for my HG, I just bought the one from acura. I am not sure if it is metal or not. Its a whole kit, with like 40 gaskets and seals. It sure shows why the kit is like $500....
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanx Leon.

I am booked in for next thursday, and my mechanic said that it should all be buttoned up by friday afternoon, if all goes well. I hope the heads are ok, no cracks or warpage and that they do not have to be re-machined, or even worse, replaced. I am leaving it up to his discretion. I am going to Banff to party on that following saturday, and if my legend is not out of the shop, I have to drive up there in a little civic hatchback with 4 people and all of our gear:( I am defenitaly not looking forward to that trip, since the car is a death trap, as far as I am concerned.
 

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The rad/headgasket stuff is scary for sure. Had the same problem in my 90 LS. The way we figured out for sure if the head gasket was toast was to take the emissions testing wand and stick it in the rad cap opening. The hydrocarbon readings were high so there was no question about the gasket. Ended up getting a new rad also later which is another story. When the gasket was changed one head bolt had to be heliocoiled - big pain - cus it was stripped.
best o luck guys
 
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