Missing coolant found...in oil pan - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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Missing coolant found...in oil pan

Had to lay up the GTV6 about two years ago due to other life issues. Before doing so, put in fresh antifreeze. changed the oil etc. Things have leveled out a bit and thought it might be a good day to start the old girl. Went through things in preparation to firing it up and noticed the oil on the dipstick seemed way too high. ? Checked the coolant overflow tank and it was empty. ? Pulled off the upper radiator hose and some coolant came out but not as much as would be expected. Dun dun dun...cold chill. Drained the oil and sure enough antifreeze was coming out along with the oil.
Prior to the lay up, the car ran great. Ran strong, no evidence of coolant loss or oil contamination. At a loss on how to explain how so much coolant could drain out on a stationary engine that seemed to be in good shape.
Where should I start looking first? I've since lost my garage space and the storage shed is a really tight fit for any kind of serious work.
Thanks

Mike Friel
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 02:51 PM
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Cylinder liner o-rings. Time for an engine teardown.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 03:02 PM
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Before tearing down the engine, just change the oil, and put in K-seal. I would advise bypassing the radiator by using a long radiator hose so it doesn't clog up the narrow radiator cooling channels.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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Since my post I've been doing a little more checking. Pulled all the plugs, they look fine as they only have a few hundred miles on them. Don't have a bore scope but do have an LED on a wand. Piston tops look to have a layer of carbon but no overt sign of fluid as from a badly leaking head gasket.
Was curious to see how far down the radiator the fluid level had dropped. As I stated, it appears to be below the level of the upper radiator hose. When I detached the return hose from the overflow tank to the lower radiator hose there was a flood. That makes me think that the level is above the lower cylinder sealing rings. That would put the head gasket back in play as the problem.
When I redid the water pump/TB/tensioner about four years ago I know I did a compression test. Think I can find those numbers? Not a chance. But I do think if anything was off I would have looked into it. The engine only has about 500 miles since that was done.
I'll try and locate a bore scope to check cylinder walls for any evidence of a leak but still am lost for a cause. Would like to go after the problem one step at a time, sort of a flow chart type approach if at all possible.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 04:53 PM
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A head gasket leak is not going to put coolant in the crankcase. It might put coolant inside the cylinder and you've confirmed that's not the case by looking.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 04:58 PM
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Now that I think of it, it's possible there's a leak at the oil return holes. Pressurize the cooling system, pull the valve covers and see if you notice coolant coming from the oil return holes.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 05:02 PM
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I would try what evo75 suggested plus also torque down the head bolts.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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Good idea to pull the valve covers. That will be next on the list along with a head retorque. The coolant I've lost in pulling off hoses seems to be as clear as when I replaced it. No signs of oil contamination, that I can see.
How would you suggest I pressurize the cooling system? Possibly rig up something on the return line from the overflow tank? And what pressure would be safe? 12-15# or so? Don't want to create any new problems.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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Just another thought. This whole problem seemed to take place while the car was sitting. Granted it sat for two years. The oil on the dipstick was absolutely clear, as was the coolant. If anything had been going on before the layup, when it was running, wouldn't there be the classic chocolate milkshake look under the oil filler cap or in the oil itself?

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 06:46 PM
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Could it be a failed intake manifold gasket that allowed coolant into the ports then past the pistons and into the sump until the coolant level dropped below the leak level? The cylinders could have been drying out for a while. The same possibility exists for the head gasket

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfistaa View Post
A head gasket leak is not going to put coolant in the crankcase. It might put coolant inside the cylinder and you've confirmed that's not the case by looking.
I agree that the usual failure regime of a head gasket in which intermix occurs will result in the oil migrating to the cooling system, because higher pressure will always move to a lower pressure area if both are in the same space.

It sounds like your workspace is tight, but if it is possible to somehow rent or borrow an air compressor and cylinder leak down tester kit, you can check if it's a head gasket issue by performing a leak down test on all cylinders. If any of the head gasket sections are leaking combustion pressure to the cooling system, there will be bubbling in the cooling system when pressure is applied to the cylinder, which will be seen/heard via the radiator filler neck. There are also chemical "block tester" tests that are also used at the radiator filler neck (the fluid changes color with the presence of CO in the cooling system), but I have found this test to be inconsistent in its reliability.

To test for leaking cylinder base O-rings, the best test is to use a cooling system pressure tester at the radiator neck. Pump it up to about 15 PSI, and if coolant is leaking into the crankcase via the O-rings, you will likely be able to hear this via the oil filler neck in the valve cover.

Good luck!

Chris A: '81 GTV6 rescued from junkyard, "GT" car/'86 Porsche 944 Turbo track/street car/'73 BMW 2002tii fun street car/'74 Jensen Healey Lemons Rally car!
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
I agree that the usual failure regime of a head gasket in which intermix occurs will result in the oil migrating to the cooling system, because higher pressure will always move to a lower pressure area if both are in the same space.
When the car is in storage there is no oil pressure and the static head of coolant will be higher.

Ed Prytherch
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by alfaparticle View Post
When the car is in storage there is no oil pressure and the static head of coolant will be higher.
Good point, I just re-read the first post which mentioned how the car had been sitting for two years. But in any case, the two tests that I outlined above will likely reveal the cause of the intermix in the sump.

Chris A: '81 GTV6 rescued from junkyard, "GT" car/'86 Porsche 944 Turbo track/street car/'73 BMW 2002tii fun street car/'74 Jensen Healey Lemons Rally car!
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-26-2019, 07:46 AM Thread Starter
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I was talking to a gear head ( non Alfa ) buddy of mine and he asked if any of the water pump bolts communicated with an oil gallery. He had a problem similar to this on one of his race cars. Does anybody know? He is of the opinion that it could be a slow weeping coolant leak that might go unnoticed in a daily driven car with routine oil changes and coolant top ups .

Mike Friel
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-26-2019, 10:15 AM
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There is a main oil gallery plug right behind the water pump.
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