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Old 02-05-2012, 11:42 AM   #1
prv5004
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Coolant Question -Is this normal?

This has been bugging me ever since I bought my car. There is some kind of sludge adhered to the top of the coolant tank. Yesterday I took a closer look and removed the cap. There are visible solids floating on top and build-up on the cap. I detached the tank and gave it a good shake but it didn't loosen up. Could it clog up my radiator? Should I get my dealer to flush the coolant?







Last edited by prv5004; 02-11-2012 at 09:42 AM. Reason: fixed picture links
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Old 02-05-2012, 12:12 PM   #2
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NOT NORMAL. But I honestly dont know anything beyond that
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Old 02-05-2012, 12:25 PM   #3
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Looks like you have oil in your coolant. That is a problem you will need to take it in..
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Old 02-05-2012, 12:27 PM   #4
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That certainly does not look normal to me. Get the dealer to test the coolant using test strips. Any other coolant added to that specialty orange coolant will result in a presence of nitrates in the coolant (maybe the dealer topped up with gold coolant?).

Beyond that, does the coolant have a rainbow sheen to it when looking at it from a certain angle? I'd be most worried about that milky crap indicating a possible presence of oil. Maybe your dealer can take a sample of that goo and the top skim of the cruddies in there and send it away for analysis for the presence of engine oil?

Have you had the car serviced anywhere where they would've added stop leak to the system? Some of the quick lube retards offer a winterizing package where they dump that crap into your cooling system "to be extra safe"

How does the oil on your engine oil dipstick look? any milkiness on the dipstick or on the oil cap? Usually when there is an internal leak, the leak will go from the engine oil to the coolant any time the leak is near an oil gallery since the engine oil is under higher pressure than what the cooling system runs at.

IMO, get the dealer to test the coolant and send a sample away before it is flushed. If it is flushed, you may be getting rid of all the clues.
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Old 02-05-2012, 01:09 PM   #5
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Thanks for the quick replies guys. This has been like this ever since I bought my car back in November. I'm the only one who has performed any maintenance on the car up until the present (one oil change). The oil looks normal, and the level is stable. To my knowledge no coolant has ever been added to the car since it rolled off the assembly line. I'm going to call my dealer first thing tomorrow and schedule an appointment. I'll let you know what happens.
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Old 02-05-2012, 03:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prv5004 View Post
Thanks for the quick replies guys. This has been like this ever since I bought my car back in November. I'm the only one who has performed any maintenance on the car up until the present (one oil change). The oil looks normal, and the level is stable. To my knowledge no coolant has ever been added to the car since it rolled off the assembly line. I'm going to call my dealer first thing tomorrow and schedule an appointment. I'll let you know what happens.
Head gaskets can leak either way..this looks like oil into the coolant.
Since youre the only one who has been under the hood, It looks like that about the only option.
If it had been serviced at a fast lube place, well lets not go there...lol
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Old 02-05-2012, 04:12 PM   #7
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Our cap had a little of that white gunk too, and only one little floatie in our rez. Will have to keep an eye on it and see if the cap gunks up again.
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Old 02-05-2012, 04:31 PM   #8
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I had something that looked like that on a Saab, but it turned out to be trans fluid mixing with the coolant.
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Old 02-05-2012, 07:03 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by next_ceo View Post
I had something that looked like that on a Saab, but it turned out to be trans fluid mixing with the coolant.
That can be an issue with an automatic that requires the fluid to be cooled. Those use the radiator and can leak into it but in the case of the Focus, it is DCT so does not have any trans fluid that requires cooling so that wouldn't be it. One other thing it could be is some of the fluid from the casting of the motor may not have been flushed from the factory and contaminated the coolant. But you do need to get it checked out.
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Old 02-06-2012, 07:38 PM   #10
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Update: I talked to a service rep today and he agreed it is probably a head gasket issue (faulty part, not installed correctly, etc.) I have an appointment Friday, so I let you guys know what happens. Thanks again.
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