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Discussion Starter #1
Yesterday I had my first breakdown since taking ownership November 2019. Temperature light went on gauge was showing in the red and antifreeze pouring (and I mean with a lot of force)out of the cap of the reservoir holding/overflow tank mounted on the passenger side fire wall. Antifreeze all over the engine compartment. How would I know which component is failing such as the Thermostat,water pump etc. I did however notice that the two electric fans did not turn after I let the car cool down added antifreeze and let it idle for a while and once again it started over heating and fluid started to come out of the reservoir / over flow tank cap. Examined the hoses and it didn't seem that they were leaking. Yesterdays temp was 85 degrees F with high humidity and the A/C on. Some highway highway driving but more stop and go car has 68K miles. Any help or trouble shooting suggestions would be well appreciated.
Thanks In Advance,
Chuck
 

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Do the electric fans run when the a/c is running?


1993 Spider Veloce
2016 4c Coupe
2018 4c Spider
 

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Could be one of several things. Does it start overflowing before it gets really hot? If so, might be a head gasket.
Might b a simple as a stuck thermostat. If you can start it cold and feel the radiator hoses, one will stay cold and the other hot until the thermostat opens. See if it opens before the car gets overheated..
Could be a water pump impeller issue also which would stop circulation. That could also be tested by starting it cold and feeling the hoses.
 

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I would look at the engine oil dipstick and the underside of the oil fill cap for evidence of coolant mixing with the oil. I would also look at the coolant pump belt and pulley. If good, I would then carefully hose down the engine and under carriage to remove any trace of antifreeze. Fill cooling system and bleed the air from the system according to the manual. I would then pressure test the cooling system looking for leaks. If good, I would start the engine, heater valve set to hot. I would set the idle speed to about 1500 RPM and begin to monitor the feel of the coolant hoses that go from the intake manifold to the heater core and the thermostat to the radiator. The hose into the heater core should become warm first. The cabin air should become warm with the return hose from the heater core becoming warm as well. If this is happening, good. If not, you have a circulation problem. The thermostat should stay closed until the engine reaches about 180-190F. After that it opens and the hose to the radiator becomes hot. Then the radiator becomes hot and the cooled coolant flows back to the coolant pump. At some point the fans should turn on before the temp goes above 220 or so. Please report back with what you find.
 

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Shoot the first bug first. Does the fan ever come on???
Look at the fuse for the fan..
Do you have an IR thermometer?
 

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agree, first test the fans are working:)

on the passenger side, just above the lower radiator hose, is the thermostatic fan switch.....pull off the 2 spade wires and hold them together with the ignition on......do both fans run?
rad sensor.jpg

If yes, but they do not come on 'automatically' at about 85 C (185F) then that sensor is bad, in which case replace it.
1616271538750.png
1616271348786.png
(alfa PN 60506988)

If they still do not come on, jumpered like this, then check the relay (top row, 2nd from left in fuse box)
the fan relay is fairly special.........check the 30A incorporated fuse
1616271692788.png
 

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always worth trying a new radiator cap as one that's gone bad won't hold pressure=overheating.
 

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Yes they turned on with the a/c running.
The circuit is working, did they run when it started to overheat?

Was there antifreeze moving through the overflow tank with the engine running?, there should be a decent flow through the overflow tank.


1993 Spider Veloce
2016 4c Coupe
2018 4c Spider
 

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Do the diagnosis.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
UPDATE: Fans are now kicking in when water temp reaches approximately 185 F. Replaced the 30AMP fuse at the Fan Relay cleaned all contacts at relay and thermostatic fan switch. The thing I'm not noticing is flow moving through the overflow tank. Is this something subtle or you can actually see it flowing?
 

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UPDATE: Fans are now kicking in when water temp reaches approximately 185 F. Replaced the 30AMP fuse at the Fan Relay cleaned all contacts at relay and thermostatic fan switch.
Good news!

The thing I'm not noticing is flow moving through the overflow tank. Is this something subtle or you can actually see it flowing?
no such movement on my car, and my S4 runs perfect and temp is always perfect.

Consider it job done...go for a drive and make sure the temp does not go above middle mark (ok, a bit over if it is really hot out there!).......the S4 should keep perfect temperature if all is working well.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Good news!


no such movement on my car, and my S4 runs perfect and temp is always perfect.

Consider it job done...go for a drive and make sure the temp does not go above middle mark (ok, a bit over if it is really hot out there!).......the S4 should keep perfect temperature if all is working well.
Thanks Dom and everyone else I always appreciate all your knowledge and accuracy.
Chuck
 
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