XD2 Engine Pushing Out Coolant
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Denmark, Scandinavia

    Icon9 XD2 Engine Pushing Out Coolant

    I've got an interesting problem here. Let me whack out a couple bullet points.
    • I have had the engine (2.3 diesel) for many years and it has not overheated or ever missed an oil change.
    • The engine has always had FloKleen coolant in it, replaced each year
    • It began in a 504, then had a 5spd put on it, then transferred to a 404 wagon (back to 4spd)
    • It has the double crossflow radiator fitted from the 505 turbo diesel
    • The original 504 cooling system is still intact, with the expansion bottle. The only thing missing is the heater matrix - but the hoses are connected as straight through in replacement.
    • I took the car in its current form in the Redex rerun of 2003 (one of the few WA competitors - and the only Diesel [nutter!]). During the run there was absolutely no problems with the cooling system. It went from Perth to Sydney, then on the run, then down to Melbourne. The heat guage was at 77-79 degrees at all normal times.
    • The next time I used the car was after I adjusted the tappets. It made the engine much more responsive and quieter. I drove it with a trailer down south of Perth around 200km. The next time I started it it warmed up correctly and then within 5 minutes the heat guage shot up quickly. I was watching this as it happened and switched off immediately.
    • While it was still hot I poped the thermostat out, which was fully open.


    So. That is the background. Now... I have still used the car as per normal. I took it across Australia again with my partner, through Canberra, the mountains, into Sydney, down the coast road to Melbourne, Tasmania for 10 days, back along the Gt Ocean Rd to Adelaide hills, and then back to Perth via Esperance. This was all done last Christmas holidays, so it was summer (for those outside of Australia).

    The problem: The car still intermittently spits out all the coolant once the engine heats up. Now as you can see it is not something that happens all the time.
    - I have replaced the thermostat twice now.
    - The block is clean (water comes out of the drain plug when it is removed).
    - I have not checked the water pump for loose parts.
    - The filler/expansion tank is slightly higher than the radiator and engine block.
    - I have not removed the head to see if the gasket is OK.
    - I don't know the symptoms of a cracked block (! NOOOOO, Please No !)
    - I have run the engine with no thermostat with minor success. It still has pushed all its coolant once only.

    - If I park the car (after it is warm) with front end pointed down then the problem is most likely to happen.
    - If I park the car with its front end pointed up then it is pretty much the same as parked flat.
    - It is most likely to happen if I actually park the car and turn the engine off for around 5-10 mins. If I leave it overnight it is usually OK.

    *** After I park the car and switch off I can see that the pressure in the cooling system is increasing quite a bit. I actually fitted an overflow tank to the expansion tank to recover all my lost coolant. It can fill within around 3 minutes (1 litre) after the car is switched off. This says to me there are hotspots...

    Has ANYONE got ANY ideas. I am STUMPED!

    If there is something I have left let me know.

    The next steps for me are to rip off the water pump and check it. And then rip off the head and refit after pressure test for pin hole leaks. The real problem is it is intermittent so it is very hard to pick up.

    Thanks all (sorry for the long post)

    Steve Mueller
    1963 404 Diesel Wagon

  2. #2
    Fellow Frogger! sfrawley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Goolwa SA


    I assume that the water is lost when the vehicle is parked after being driven. A few years ago my XD2 ejected a litre or so of coolant from the exhaust on start-up. The smell from the exhaust had been slightly different for some time prior to that. It turned out to be a corrosion track on the head surface leading from the water jacket to an exhaust valve. After shutting down a hot engine, if the exhaust valve was in the right place, coolant would pass into the exhaust manifold and pool in the exhaust system. In your case it could be compression leaking into the water jacket and forcing the coolant out. XD2s (supposedly) are known for blowing head gaskets and/or cracking heads so that could be your problem.
    '03 P406 HDI
    '16 Renault Master

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Denmark, Scandinavia


    This is correct. The water is only lost after the vehicle is driven. But in rare cases it can be lost whilst you are driving - but only if it had lost some previously. If the level is right then you can go without problems for weeks.

    One other thing. It is important when filling to squeeze the top radiator hose so that only the smallest amount of air is left in there (try to get none but that is nearly impossible). If you don't it pretty much will push out the coolant each time.

    The coolant is lost from the overflow tank - yep, I've checked the cap and replaced it a couple of times also. Maybe the piston pressure is leaking into the water jacket as you say.

  4. #4
    Fellow Frogger! tassiediesel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    Default Radiator cleanout

    Yeah.... I know, it seems too simple... But. I had the same problem with (of all things, I am so ashamed to admit it!) a Mitsubishi 4WD van. It intermittently spat our coolant and overheated. I was stumped too, but I pulled the radiator just in case and had it cleaned. The radiator shop told me that when they rodded it some of the tubes were blocked at the "hot" end of the radiator (normally they block at the "cool" end as the solids precipitate from the coolant). Nobody could explain this phenomonon, but all I cared about was that once it was cleaned the problem went away. Might be worth a try before you go to the trouble and expense of pulling the head......
    82 Peugeot 505 Turbo Diesel
    78 VW Golf diesel
    80 VW Golf diesel
    84 Nissan Patrol MQ diesel

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Denmark, Scandinavia


    That is a very good point. I'll check on that. I got the radiator serviced (rodded) before I left for the redex run but as I said we did 20,000km all up. Maybe there was some junk left in the block that became free.

  6. #6
    Fellow Frogger!
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Just Nth of Parramatta

    Default Diesel cylinder head

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve_Mueller
    That is a very good point. I'll check on that. I got the radiator serviced (rodded) before I left for the redex run but as I said we did 20,000km all up. Maybe there was some junk left in the block that became free.
    I have a near new 2.3l diesel cylinder head. Never been skimmed. The swirl chambers are not cracked or marked. Good valves as well. If you need one let me know.
    Steve V6 ..
    404,504Ti, 406SV.

  7. #7
    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Queensland, Australia


    It's probably going to come down to a head off job, but weird cooling problems can often be caused by weird problems.
    CX Citroens used to get blockages in the heater matrix that acted like a non return valve and created bleeding problems at times.
    I recently had a guy with a Nissan turbo diesel who couldn't figure why his ute got hot when accelerating and travelling at speed..........sometimes, but never got hot around town............most times, that turned out to be the impellor blades corroded off his water pump.
    I also had a Toyota years ago that had intermittent cooling problems that turned out to be the intake hose to the pump collapsing under acceleration and under a certain load. Winding a rod of silver solder in there to act as a spring to prevent the hose collapsing solved that and my BX16V used to lose water occasionally, often 5 - 10 minutes after I had parked and that turned out to again be the intake hose to the water pump. Being on the intake of the pump, it didn't leak when the engine was running, but did when the pressures balanced when the engine was turned off.
    Just a few to at least sus out before any decisions on decapitation are made.

    Alan S
    If it ain't broke, use a 12" shifter.....that usually does the trick!!

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