Renault 16 cooling system problem - advice needed, please
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Thread: Renault 16 cooling system problem - advice needed, please

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    Member Austria Wild's Avatar
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    Default Renault 16 cooling system problem - advice needed, please

    On my R16, when it has been parked for a while, like a week or so, the coolant expansion glass is full to the brim and the heater is empty. Thus every time I want to use it after it's been sitting a few days, I have to bleed the coolant system. Usually there is little to no water actually missing and while it's being used it's fine and the heater warm.

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    So in essence, it dumps water into the expansion bottle, but it never sucks it back into the actual system.

    What the bloody hell is wrong with it?

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    COL
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    I'm not sure but it sounds like you may have a leak, maybe one that is to small to let a lot of water out, but will let air into the system when it is cooling down.

    The heater is at the highest point in the cooling system so the water runs to the lowest point.

    On second thoughts the little leak may be in the heater, heater tap or hoses to the heater itself. Remove the scuttle panel and have a look and see if there is evidence of a leak around the heater.

    Others may have other ideas of what the problem maybe.
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    Regards Col

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    I agree with Col. I'd also wonder whether the pressure valve on top of the glass overflow tank is working.

    I vaguely recall that the heater valve has an o-ring in it and might be repairable? Not sure.

    The other thing you could do is a pressure test on the system, but that might flood the area around the heater, so have a good look first.
    JohnW

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    Probable air lock issue or head gasket on way out

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    I agree with Col. I'd also wonder whether the pressure valve on top of the glass overflow tank is working.

    I vaguely recall that the heater valve has an o-ring in it and might be repairable? Not sure.

    The other thing you could do is a pressure test on the system, but that might flood the area around the heater, so have a good look first.
    I had a similar problem when my car had been off the road for over 20 years. A new hose from the top of the radiator to the coolant bottle lid, and a new hose inside the bottle and problem solved. Also check seal in radiator cap. Good luck and please keep your posts coming.

    JOHN owner of 16ts's since 1970.
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    Okay. I love the look of a clear pickle jar filled with fresh coolant But they have issues.

    To work they'got to pressurise the cooling system and allow the coolant to be drawn back in. There are four places where you can have issues 1) the vent, as previously mentioned, 2) the Bakelite ring can crack and not to tighten enough to allow vent and the rubber ring located under the vent and atop the jar to seal 3) rubber ring to the top of the jar can crack and split and, 4) the rubber tube from the underside of the metal vent to the bottom of the jar is either holed or does not seal sufficiently to the tube - this enables coolant to go in but not be drawn back out.

    The simple fix is to get one of the later model plastic bottles with inlet on the bottom and a nylon pressure valve in the cap.
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    - I can assure you that there aren't any leaks around the heater system. The entire tray below the windscreen is in new car quality without as much as the slightest stain anywhere. The grommet for the flap cable was a tad brittle, so I replaced it with a new one.

    - I replaced the hose inside the expansion bottle a while ago. The old one was indeed limp and fell off.

    - The seal of the expansion bottle looks dodgy. Apparently it is home made, it looks like it's been cut out with scissors. But when I screw on the lid/valve, I can feel it squish, so presume it working.

    - The black threaded plastic ring is not damaged in any way.

    - How can the valve in the expansion bottle lid be tested? Replacement is expensive, so I want to make sure it's broken before I shell out and have my children chew tree bark for a month or three.

    - Replacing the setup with the later P-word stuff is not an option.

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    Put your mouth over the little hole on the underside of the vent plate and if you can suck AND blow thru it, its stuffed.

    If you can get a new one, lucky you. I've been trying to track down some of those for years.
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    They are available from the R16 shop in Holland. However, they want - you must be very strong now - 70 Euros for it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Exfrogger View Post
    Put your mouth over the little hole on the underside of the vent plate and if you can suck AND blow thru it, its stuffed. If you can get a new one, lucky you. I've been trying to track down some of those for years.
    They appear on ebay France (www.ebay.fr) from time to time.

    If you can't find a genuine metal disc device for the glass bottle, I wonder whether the best solutions are:

    1: Fit a non-standard heavy polythene bottle, as used on R12s for example, with the small screw cap that incorporates the valve and which is used on many brands and models. I did this years ago on our R8. The screw top is the same as our Citroen CX now and you can buy them....

    2. Machine up a disc that fits under the glass bottle's bakelite screwed ring and which has a thread that accommodates that small screw top valve.

    If someone would just fix this site so I can post photos again, I'd show you what I mean......
    JohnW

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    The valve indeed failed initial fellatio tests, but then gradually started to work. It has thusly been decided to boil it in a 50 water 50 non brewed condiment mix for an hour or two. I rather rack up a 70 quid electricity bill than sending the dosh to a greedy man who wears clogs when he rides his pushbike from his tulip field to his windmill while smoking a spliff.

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    Your system is definitely not air tight as everybody said already.

    If the glass bottle valve proves to be the culprit, you could look for parts for Dacia 1300. That is a version of R12 sold in Eastern Europe, which had the same valve. These were available new until recently around there. Won't be 70Euro. There was an online shop in Hungary I used in the past, but can't remember their page. Perhaps a search for "Dacia 1300 parts" might unearth some stuff. Ebay is of course not to be overlooked.
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    I know the linked plastic bottle is superior in almost all regards, but there is something so retro-cool about opening the bonnet and seeing your loverly clean coolant presented in a big glass jar.

    It is in the back of my mind that some jeep models also used the same glass bottle and lid.

    Jo
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    Quote Originally Posted by jo proffi View Post
    I know the linked plastic bottle is superior in almost all regards, but there is something so retro-cool about opening the bonnet and seeing your loverly clean coolant presented in a big glass jar. It is in the back of my mind that some jeep models also used the same glass bottle and lid. Jo
    You are right of course. I was looking at an immaculate one in an R17 just the other day and they look superb.

    I just checked ebay France and couldn't see a valve for sale though. Plenty of valves for the polythene one though.

    You pays your money and you takes your choice.
    JohnW

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    A friend with a 16TS just emailed to say his heater valve did leak and he fixed it with an o-ring kit from Aldi!! It dismantled easily, he reports. He also has a polythene bottle and caps - available from Der Franzose for rather less than Euro 70.

    Cheers

    John
    JohnW

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    COL
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    A friend with a 16TS just emailed to say his heater valve did leak and he fixed it with an o-ring kit from Aldi!! It dismantled easily, he reports. He also has a polythene bottle and caps - available from Der Franzose for rather less than Euro 70.

    Cheers

    John
    The heater valve is very similar to the ones in an R12.

    I have seen R12 ones leak, these heater valves come apart pretty easily. From memory there is a roll pin to knock out (which also doubles as an end of travel stop). Then the centre of the valve just pulls out exposing the "O" ring.

    Re-assembly is the reverse of dismantling, I used a bit of silicone grease when assembling for a lubricant for the "O" ring.

    I have also known the gasket that is in the radiator cap to leak as well. This can easily be replaced and also cheaply fixed by using a suitable rubber and making your own.
    Regards Col

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    1000+ Posts schlitzaugen's Avatar
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    An easy way to check the valve is closed is to take the bottle out, empty it, close it and put some air under a bit of pressure in the hose. You'll probably hear a hiss if the valve leaks (which I expect it does).
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlitzaugen View Post
    An easy way to check the valve is closed is to take the bottle out, empty it, close it and put some air under a bit of pressure in the hose. You'll probably hear a hiss if the valve leaks (which I expect it does).
    Depending on how much pressure, you should hear it leak also when the pressure is higher than the threshold of valve opening.

    It is not hard to do a calibrated test. One needs some imagination and inventiveness, and some spare hoses, T pieces , a shraeder valve, a bike pump, a manifold vac/pressure gauge.

    Connect it to an existing coolant bleed screw and you can pressure test the entire cooling system whilst you are at it.
    Avoid putting 120 psi from an air compressor into a cooling system though... a bike pump is good... nice and slow.

    Jo
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    I accept that the plastic bottle may be aesthetically displeasing to those of us with more refined tastes - no, wait, scratch that, we're talking about R16s here...

    Okay, given that the engines can be a bit of a pain to drag out and even a simple head job can strain the back a little, I'd put the readily available and pretty much foolproof plastic bottle under the bonnet for the runs about town and swap the pickle jar over for the show and shine events you'll be attending.

    In the meantime I'll root about my shed and see if I can get my hands on a vent plate. I'll pull it down and find out what the options are for servicing same.
    Last edited by Exfrogger; 26th February 2019 at 07:43 PM.
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    A cheap compressor with a regulator valve can adjust the pressure applied. The factory manual should have the cooling system pressure somewhere. A manometer would also show the pressure when the valve starts leaking to check against factory manual.

    For a simpler qualitative test, try to use the bottle inlet hose to siphon some water out of a bucket. Now screw the lid on tight. If siphoning continues, you know what's goin' on. This may be a better test for a very small/slow leak.
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    Clever schlitzaugen.

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    Don't they also have suction relief? I'm not sure how important it is though.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuey View Post
    Don't they also have suction relief? I'm not sure how important it is though.
    I think the answer is yes, they must have suction relief or the hoses might suck flat when the engine cools down.
    JohnW

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    1000+ Posts jo proffi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    I think the answer is yes, they must have suction relief or the hoses might suck flat when the engine cools down.
    Assuming the system is sealed they will suck closed.

    I can't remember the thresholds the fuego cap ran, but it was bugger all negative pressure to allow air back in and it would hold less than 10 psi positive pressure before venting.
    Generically speaking...depending on where the overflow pick up point is, and how elastic the hoses are, the venting can also occur at high revs.
    I can't remember much about the r16 though, its been over 30 years since I last owned one.


    Jo

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