Emulsion sludge in radiator - does it have to be the headgasket? (505 ZDJL)
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  1. #1
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    Icon5 Emulsion sludge in radiator - does it have to be the headgasket? (505 ZDJL)

    Oh hell and death.
    Just thought I'd change the coolant as it's been a year. Casually feeling around under the radiator cap. You see I didn't in my wildest nightmares expect to find anything! There was sludge - quite a few finger fulls.
    The oil on the dipstick is clean and new. The oil filler cap has no sludge. There are no bubbles in the radiator. The coolant I drained out was clean.

    I am hoping against hope some idiot has put a dollop of oil in the radiator during a blonde moment.

    SO, can there be any other reason for the sludge in the radiator apart from the head gasket?
    Should I do a stop leak treatment?
    Is this something that a ZDJL can live with for a few thousand KMs? Pretty please.

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    All wisdom as usual gratefully received...
    Goonengerry 505


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    1000+ Posts Haakon's Avatar
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    Its the only weak point on these motors - not enough block/head/gasket around the oil transfer port...

    Its a matter of when they leak, not if. If you're lucky, it leaks out and you just get a dribble down the side of the block.

    If you're not lucky - it leaks in and pumps oil into the water jacket.

    Sorry - its a head off job....
    I tried to drown my sorrows in alcohol, but the bastards learnt how to swim

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    Quote Originally Posted by Haakon View Post
    If you're not lucky - it leaks in and pumps oil into the water jacket.

    Sorry - its a head off job....
    Bugger.
    Goonengerry 505


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    Quote Originally Posted by thomevans View Post
    Bugger.
    Pretty much... Have had a few Renaults over the years with this engine, and have experienced both types of leaks

    Before you despair though, pop off the rocker cover and give the head bolt on that corner (back right) a tweak. Maybe tighten it a quarter turn or something and you "might" be lucky and its enought to clamp the headgasket a little better and shut off the leak.

    This worked once on a Fuego, but didn't on the R25!
    I tried to drown my sorrows in alcohol, but the bastards learnt how to swim

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    Default What to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Haakon View Post
    Pop off the rocker cover and give the head bolt on that corner (back right) a tweak. Maybe tighten it a quarter turn or something and you "might" be lucky and its enought to clamp the headgasket a little better and shut off the leak.
    Thanks for the advice Haakon, I might try. Failing that the question is what to do? Off the top of my head I have already done in the last 18 months on this car:

    Timing belt and idler
    All belts
    Water pump
    Cooling system flushed and most hoses replaced
    Radiator flushed and re-sealed
    Auto box serviced
    Towbar fitted and wired
    Exhaust leaks fixed
    Tie rod ends
    Panhard rod
    Tuned and timed
    Heater control valve replaced
    Climate control panel replaced
    As well as oil changes and greases x 2 of course

    So I have invested a lot only to let this great car go to the wreckers now. Possibilities:

    1. Just drive it till it gets worse
    2. Try chemiweld or similar

    I am hesitant to do either of the above for fear of damaging the motor - has anybody here run a ZDJL like this for a while or tried chemiweld and then wished they hadn't?

    3. Get the gasket done of course - but I am assuming this is going to cost me upwards of a grand, am I right? Which is still less than a replacement car. I'm not even considering doing it myself.
    Goonengerry 505


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    Just keep driving it.
    Graham

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    1000+ Posts Beano's Avatar
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    Sorry if I'm stating the obvious, but if you use Chemiweld, don't put it in the radiator. You are getting oil being forced at slight pressure into the water, whereas Chemiweld is for water being forced out into oil or elsewhere.
    What you want is an oil additive which is suitable for the oil system. I've never used one but they do exist. Get a quality one like Wynns. Use it first, THEN re-tension all head bolts to above their normal tension rating, putting a few more pounds on the rear two.....or four. Or better still, a few more on the rear two, and not quite as much on the two in from them.
    Head bolts de-tension over time. You may be surprised at the lack of it if you re-tension them.

    This is only a probable cost of less than $15 for the additive, and whatever a head re-tension costs in a garage these days. Get a quote. Maybe 1/2 hour's work ?

    If you're doing it yourself, back off each bolt an eighth of a turn before you do it up.
    Last edited by Beano; 15th September 2011 at 06:51 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beano View Post
    Sorry if I'm stating the obvious, but if you use Chemiweld, don't put it in the radiator. You are getting oil being forced at slight pressure into the water, whereas Chemiweld is for water being forced out into oil or elsewhere.
    What you want is an oil additive which is suitable for the oil system. I've never used one but they do exist. Get a quality one like Wynns. Use it first, THEN re-tension all head bolts to above their normal tension rating, putting a few more pounds on the rear two.....or four. Or better still, a few more on the rear two, and not quite as much on the two in from them.

    This is only a probable cost of less than $15 for the additive, and whatever a head re-tension costs in a garage these days. Get a quote. Maybe 1/2 hour's work ?
    Whenever I Chemiweld something I remove the cooling fan then sit and wait until it boils.
    Then turn the engine off and let the resulting pressure in the coiling system force the Chemiweld into the leak.

    Graham

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    Quote Originally Posted by GRAHAM WALLIS View Post
    Just keep driving it.
    Graham
    A man after my own heart, I could hug you Graham, thanks.


    Quote Originally Posted by Beano View Post
    Sorry if I'm stating the obvious
    Not at all. Not sure if chemiweld do an oil product so that's a good point, well made, thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beano View Post
    Sorry if I'm stating the obvious, but if you use Chemiweld, don't put it in the radiator. You are getting oil being forced at slight pressure into the water, whereas Chemiweld is for water being forced out into oil or elsewhere.
    What you want is an oil additive which is suitable for the oil system. I've never used one but they do exist. Get a quality one like Wynns. Use it first, THEN re-tension all head bolts to above their normal tension rating, putting a few more pounds on the rear two.....or four. Or better still, a few more on the rear two, and not quite as much on the two in from them.
    Head bolts de-tension over time. You may be surprised at the lack of it if you re-tension them.

    This is only a probable cost of less than $15 for the additive, and whatever a head re-tension costs in a garage these days. Get a quote. Maybe 1/2 hour's work ?

    If you're doing it yourself, back off each bolt an eighth of a turn before you do it up.
    Wot he said

    And look at this way - you need not worry about cooling system corrosion
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    Is it possible the auto transmission oil is crossing over somewhere?

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    Default well that was my first thaught

    if it is an auto the pipe in the bottom of the radiator may be split letting OIL into the cooling system under pressure .dont know what your hose connections to the rad are but you may be able to bypass the rad with some more hose or some copper water pipe temporarily ,are you loosing auto fluid and was the sludge pinkish PUGS

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beano View Post
    if you use Chemiweld, don't put it in the radiator. You are getting oil being forced at slight pressure into the water, whereas Chemiweld is for water being forced out into oil or elsewhere.
    What you want is an oil additive which is suitable for the oil system. I've never used one but they do exist. Get a quality one like Wynns.
    But chemiwled is designed to be put in the radiator. It's just that in this case the oil in coming the other way so you reckon it wouldn't be effective.
    Or would it? If it works when coolant is entering the oil, why not the other way around? Pressure?


    Nulon Engine Stop Leak (ESL) claims to fix leaks in oil seals, but doesn't mention head or any other gaskets.

    WYNN'S SUPREME ENGINE OIL STOP-LEAK will apparently "Condition and gently swell rubber seals and gaskets, to stop and prevent external oil leaks." But this is not an external leak.

    Maybe there just isn't a magic additive that will work in this case...

    Thom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pugwash View Post
    if it is an auto the pipe in the bottom of the radiator may be split letting OIL into the cooling system under pressure .dont know what your hose connections to the rad are but you may be able to bypass the rad with some more hose or some copper water pipe temporarily ,are you loosing auto fluid and was the sludge pinkish PUGS
    Thanks PUGS, it looks white/grey/brown, no red in it so that probably counts that out...

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    1000+ Posts Haakon's Avatar
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    First things first though. Drop the coolant, run the garden hose though it all for a while. Then run a flusher through it.

    Start with a clean cooling system, and see how long it takes to oil up again.

    I have some vague and fuzzy memories of the 505 STi I used to look after for Kirsty's brother. I have some unreliable memories of its radiator cap being in possession of a fair bit of sludge. Think I flushed it, and that was that for the 3 years he had it.

    Point is, it might be a little and slow leak - flush it all out, and see how it goes.
    I tried to drown my sorrows in alcohol, but the bastards learnt how to swim

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    Quote Originally Posted by Haakon View Post
    First things first though. Drop the coolant, run the garden hose though it all for a while. Then run a flusher through it.

    Start with a clean cooling system, and see how long it takes to oil up again.

    Point is, it might be a little and slow leak - flush it all out, and see how it goes.
    Yes. Cheers Haakon.

    Thom.

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    1000+ Posts Beano's Avatar
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    I was distracted whilst posting before, so I'd like to do an abrupt U-turn.....rather than buying an oil additive, DO buy Chemiweld and DO put it into your radiator, after flushing, of course.
    Graham Wallis is correct. It is the highish pressure which forces the Chemiweld back into the crack between cooling system and wherever else. Read the blurb on the Chemiweld can carefully.
    However you do need to eliminate the possibility of the oil coming from the auto.

    Then re-tension the head bolts, slightly higher than the recommended tension, particularly at the back.

    Or.... just flush, re-tension then see if more appears. As someone Haakon said, it may well be a very slow leak...
    Last edited by Beano; 15th September 2011 at 11:34 PM.

  18. #18
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    Icon5

    OK, next question, where is the coolant drain plug on the zdjl engine block? Haynes comic and owner's manual are giving wildly different locations....

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    Quote Originally Posted by thomevans View Post
    OK, next question, where is the coolant drain plug on the zdjl engine block? Haynes comic and owner's manual are giving wildly different locations....
    I'd quite like to know that too, even with my engine out and hanging from the crane, could I find it? Could I f...

    But my eyesight ain't too hot.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Beano View Post
    I was distracted whilst posting before, so I'd like to do an abrupt U-turn.....rather than buying an oil additive, DO buy Chemiweld and DO put it into your radiator, after flushing, of course.
    Graham Wallis is correct. It is the highish pressure which forces the Chemiweld back into the crack between cooling system and wherever else. Read the blurb on the Chemiweld can carefully.
    However you do need to eliminate the possibility of the oil coming from the auto.

    Then re-tension the head bolts, slightly higher than the recommended tension, particularly at the back.

    Or.... just flush, re-tension then see if more appears. As someone Haakon said, it may well be a very slow leak...
    Might be an idea to clean out the cooling system by adding detergent and driving around for a bit.
    Graham

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    Quote Originally Posted by GRAHAM WALLIS View Post
    Might be an idea to clean out the cooling system by adding detergent and driving around for a bit.
    Graham
    Great idea - after all it was clean apart from the sludge and there's not that much of it...

    Still hunting that drain plug...

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    Quote Originally Posted by thomevans View Post
    Still hunting that drain plug...
    It's good to have a hobby...



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    Quote Originally Posted by GRAHAM WALLIS View Post
    Might be an idea to clean out the cooling system by adding detergent and driving around for a bit.
    Graham
    Front loader washing machine detergent works well or if you are gamer a very small amount of dishwasher powder. Don't leave it for long!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GRAHAM WALLIS View Post
    Might be an idea to clean out the cooling system by adding detergent and driving around for a bit.
    Graham
    Don't they say on radiator flush products not to drive the car, just idle it for 10-20 mins ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by thomevans View Post
    Great idea - after all it was clean apart from the sludge and there's not that much of it...

    Still hunting that drain plug...
    On the Reno version, its on the left side towards the rear - under the exhaust manifold. But given Peugeot tilt the motor the other way, its probably under the inlet somewhere...

    Look for an 11mm bolt about where the bottom of the liners sit - there is a bulge in the block casting at that level.

    But no real need for drain plugs for this situation - just shove your garden hose in a heater outlet and crank it up - it will all come out that way.
    Last edited by Haakon; 16th September 2011 at 10:17 AM.
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