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Discussion Starter #1
02 LX 5spd 130k. New head, headgasket, and water pump prior to me buying it.

~Symptoms:
Constant bubbling in the coolant reservoir (which is cracked so it doesn't hold pressure) and steam(or exhaust fumes? It dissipates quickly) regardless of car temp (could be ice cold). Bubbles don't smell like coolant.

Cabin heat works intermittantly (only occassionally when at fast cruise) after yesterday?

Car has trouble starting. Herky jerky cranking. Have to help it a bit with the throttle.

~Other details:
No oil in the coolant. (No floating oil in the reservoir)
No coolant in the oil. (No peanut butter colored junk anywhere)
Not burning oil. Cant tell with the coolant boiling over
No smoke out of tailpipe.
Spark plugs are tan with no signs of moisture.

~The story:
My expansion tank has been cracked for while due to the climate here so it doesnt hold pressure. I have to refill it weekly.

I was driving down the highway yesterday doing about 80 and i heard a pinging sound from the engine alongside a truck. Similar noise to when you put cheap gas in a premium fuel car. Temp read normal, no dummy lights. I make my way off to the side of the road.

Low humidity that day. Outside temp roughly 85F. A/C was off.

As i was coasting off the road, the temp shot to 3/4 when i put the clutch in to let it idle. The car stalled seconds later as i came to a stop. Temp never went past 3/4.

Stopped the car, opened the hood, the reservoir was boiling over furiously. Let it sit for 10mins, tried to start it, but got a slow crank, no fire. After 40 minutes the car started back up with some persuasion and i got it to the next service station.

Refilled the reservoir with water and headed home. Died on the way there, no temperature climb, but pinging did come back, badly.

Car has had trouble starting since.

Help?
 

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Hmmmmm
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3,706 Posts
coolant needs to be pressurized! get a new tank first.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Where would i get one of those? Junkyards here are picked over, and autozone/advance doesn't carry
 

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Sounds like you MAY have overheated it due to low coolant, because of the bad tank...

Reservoir is a LOT cheaper than an engine....

Cross your fingers....

IF the engine runs OK now, after cooling down, get a new tank & go from there...

DON'T run it long, OR on the highway until that tank is replaced....

Just long enough to make sure the engine isn't "toast" B4 spending on a tank....

Luck!
 

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HeHe - What can I say... When he AGREES with me....

And we DID have a good time at the "Fest"....

(grin)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Update. The car blows faint white smoke. Definitely head gasket.

Removing the head now. Ill post pictures when i get the head off.
 

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From here, it looks like some rusty slime down a couple cylinders, THAT'S worrying, and there is obvious wear & scoring on the "good" cylinders...

What I DON'T see, is obvious evidence of coolant into the cylinders.... what you pulled it for to begin with....

ANY coolant into the cylinders would result in MAJOR white smoke out the exhaust, nnd the pistons & cylinders involved would be boiled to bright clean metal...

Do NOT see that here...

A little coolant in the cylinders is NORMAL when you pull the head & any in the passages leaks in as the head gasket seal is broken - you wipe it up & move on... NOT an issue by itself...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well, results are in. Replaced the head gasket and timing belt. Brand new engine. No more weird symptoms. Coolant stays level with no bubbles.

Thanks for the input guys. If anyone has any follow up questions, id be glad to answer.
 

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Glad it worked out. By your pics it looked like your head gasket was leaking, seems like you picked up on it right away before any damage was done. Were you able to find the resevoir you needed? How many miles on the engine?
 

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That could be carbon buildup, but enjoy the head gasket job if you're set on it. Expect to see the same faint white smoke after your head gasket job- if it's done correctly. It will clear up after a short time- typically a few days of driving.
 

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Next time use Steel Head Gsket Repair. About 75.00-100. a bottle dependinding how many cyllinders you have. BMW use it so it must work. I've seen this stuff stop a blown head gasket in 45 minutes. www.steelseal.com This is the only stuff I've seen work.
 
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