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Adam, I'm not familiar with that kit. The one from O'Reilly's that I got on loan was simple. Basically a fitting that goes on to your radiator, and then a pump with fitting that attaches to that fitting. Each attach with a twist, just like the cap.
You shouldn't be losing coolant. Mark the tank, and mark the spot in your garage where you park. Drive the car a few times, then park in that EXACT spot and let the car cool. Even a slight tilt of the floor will give that coolant level a different appearance. If you are losing coolant, check under the oil cap for foam and smell the exhaust.
 

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1986 Spider Veloce
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Discussion Starter #42
Ah, I get how that works now. I thought it was cracked, sorry.
No problem! Thanks for helping!
Anyway, the Alfa has a pretty standard radiator neck. You sure the #50 adapter doesn't fit? The vehicle-specific ones work much better than the expanding universal ones in my experience.
Adam, I'm not familiar with that kit. The one from O'Reilly's that I got on loan was simple. Basically a fitting that goes on to your radiator, and then a pump with fitting that attaches to that fitting. Each attach with a twist, just like the cap.
I wanted a simple kit - this is what they had :). With all those attachments and options I couldn't find one that fit. I can try again for fun, but I went through each one when I attempted to do the test. I did try the #50 again - it is the closest but it's a little bit to narrow - so I can get the metal parts around the rim, but I can't turn it because the diameter is a hair too small on the cap.
I did put some gusto behind it, but I didn't try to force it - maybe it needs a little convincing?
If you're saying it's standard it feels strange that in a kit of a million adapters none fit.

I wouldn’t do a flush till you get it sorted.
You shouldn’t be losing coolant at all.
You shouldn't be losing coolant. Mark the tank, and mark the spot in your garage where you park. Drive the car a few times, then park in that EXACT spot and let the car cool. Even a slight tilt of the floor will give that coolant level a different appearance. If you are losing coolant, check under the oil cap for foam and smell the exhaust.
Ok - re: loosing coolant. I couldn't drive it today due to a horrible rain storm, but I tried to take Josephs advice - here's what I did.

Marked the line the coolant was at with a Marker and started the car. Let it run until it got to temp on the dash (175º) and ran it for almost 40 minutes. I revved it a bit and ran the cabin heat on high for a while too.

Before:

2020-10-17 13.33.11.jpg 2020-10-17 13.34.40.jpg
(used that time to pack up the roof boot and get the roof up to start stretching out.)

Shut the car off - let it cool down.

I opened the cap and...
  • Loud vacuum sound
  • glugging like a water cooler in the expansion tank.
2020-10-17 15.46.58.jpg 2020-10-17 15.47.30.jpg

Not sure why the marker wiped off a bit (was a dry erase), but you can see no fluid looks lost.

The concern is the cap. Not sure if it's the light or angle, but it looks like there's a bit of milky crud around the rim. Now - if you look at the before it's there a little too. I didn't notice it before I started or I would have wiped it clean.

I tried to check the exhaust for smell but it didn't smell like much to me once it warmed up. When it just started it was a quickly dispersing grey color and could have smelled a little sweet but nothing I'd call out - even with my limited car knowledge. Smelled like exhaust. :) Once it warmed up it was "clear" and no real smell at all.

Closeup:

2020-10-17 15.49.26.jpg

So now here's my question(s)
  • Since I haven't flushed it, could the milky on the inside radiator rim (and what looks to be in the coolant itself) be left over from what happened with the wrong cap since I didn't see coolant go lower? Could it have splashed up on the cap and it's not "new" milky stuff?
  • Any advice on what the glugs back to the in the expansion tank and vacuum release when I open the cap could mean?
Suggested next steps?
  • Worth getting another pressure tester for the coolant system (or trying this one again)?
  • Flush and see if it comes back?
  • Another kind of test I can do to see if I narrow it down?
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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I would try flushing first.
Yeah, can't hurt. At least you know you're starting from a clean system.

I would not worry about the glugging when you open the cap. Just coolant moving around when you break the seal, probably.

I'm pretty sure adapter 50 should fit...like I said, it's a pretty standard radiator cap size. But I'm reluctant to tell you to try to hulk it on there :LOL: Maybe try again, being sure to push down on the cap as you turn? Either that or see if you can rent a different kit.
 

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The pressure test kit mainly just looks for leaks. Coolant can go three places: On the ground, on the carpet (leaky heater valve - heater core) or into the combustion chamber or sump (internal leak). Is the upper hose still sucking shut? Did you bleed air at both ports? Sometimes it takes a few drives and a few hot - cool down cycles to purge all the air in the system. Maybe it's time to put away the tools and drive for awhile. Recheck after a week or two.
 

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The pressure test kit mainly just looks for leaks. Coolant can go three places: On the ground, on the carpet (leaky heater valve - heater core) or into the combustion chamber or sump (internal leak). Is the upper hose still sucking shut? Did you bleed air at both ports? Sometimes it takes a few drives and a few hot - cool down cycles to purge all the air in the system. Maybe it's time to put away the tools and drive for awhile. Recheck after a week or two.
I have had remove my radiator multiple times and with that I had to replace the fluid. I have also flush out the system too. Here is why I am replying:
I have never had to bleed the system. Air always come to the top of the system. All I do is just run the car on the freeway with heater on and after about 50 miles all is correct.


Ken Smith
 

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Hey Adam, Still curious what the underside of the oil fill cap looks like.
Also, try this........After the next time you run the car and let it cool, remove the OIL fill cap. What happens? Does the radiator hose go back to normal? Wait a few minutes with the oil cap OFF, then remove the radiator cap. Any difference?
 

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1986 Spider Veloce
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Discussion Starter #48
Thanks all for the help!

Maybe it's time to put away the tools and drive for awhile. Recheck after a week or two.
Heard. Got a few sunny days here, and got my alignment fixed so I could drive it again. Did a few trips of about 50 miles total. Results below..

try this........After the next time you run the car and let it cool, remove the OIL fill cap. What happens? Does the radiator hose go back to normal? Wait a few minutes with the oil cap OFF, then remove the radiator cap. Any difference?
Gotcha. So I did this.
  1. Marked where the car was parked with tire chocks in front of the front tires to try and get as close to that same spot as I could when I came back.
  2. Topped off the coolant tank so I could use the Max line as my marker to see if I'm losing any coolant. (you'll see in the video am a hint over)
  3. Drove about 40-50 miles. (A trip to the tire place to get my alignment fixed, then another trip around the Island to enjoy the sunshine. On the second trip I definitely got the car over 4,000k for a few stretches and ran the heat on full.)
  4. Let the car sit.
  5. Did Joseph's test - video of that below.

I might have let it sit too long. The hose hadn't collapsed and (spoiler alert) removing the oil cap or the radiator cap did nothing. Nothing on either cap that I could see. No loss of coolant that I could notice. When the car was just turned off and warm the hose was expanded and held it shape. (I still need to replace it as it's softer then the new one I bought.)

Current theories I have are A) the hose does still collapse but I left it long enough that it released and that might mean I do have a pressure leak someplace B) the hose doesn't collapse anymore and the cap fixed it.

I'm going to try the kit one last time (with that #50) just for kicks - but then I'm planning on using the car for another 30 miles or so and then checking the hose every hour to see if it contracts and then expands and I just "missed" it.

If I catch when the hose is collapsed, but the cap/radiator is cool enough for me to open it I'll run Joseph's experiment again.

If all of this doesn't provide new data I'm planning on flushing the system, replacing the hoses, refilling with fresh coolant and keeping an eye on it for the future. Good approach? Short sighted?

As someone said in the beginning of this saga... maybe getting the right cap on it fixed it? (🤞 )
 

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All looks good from here👍 Both rad and oil caps very clean.
sometimes just a good long drive using the upper revs (so called Italian tune up) does miracles.....
 

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Hey Adam, That's all good news. Maybe....just maybe you were getting oil in the coolant because of the excess pressure and vacuum in the system due to the wrong cap, that's what we were thinking and hoping all along. And maybe....the oil found a path around the head gasket seal instead of through a break in the gasket. (Remember I mentioned torquing the head as a last resort?) It looks like the new cap has the system operating at the correct pressure/vacuum, and that pressure isn't high enough any longer to push fluid around the gasket seals. Good Job! I would go ahead and flush the system and replace all the hoses like you intended. I would also change the oil and filter, since you don't know if coolant flowed the other way. Even a little coolant in the oil can wreak havoc.
 
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