Mystery Coolant Loss - 200TDI - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old May 30th, 2013, 08:58 PM
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Mystery Coolant Loss - 200TDI

I've had a coolant loss that has been nearly impossible to track down after replacing the timing belt and water pump a few weeks ago. The motor has been running smoothly with plenty of power, no white smoke from the exhaust and there has been no coolant loss or exhaust smell when the expansion tank cap is off.

Also there is no odor of coolant coming from the heater which I believe would indicate there is not a leak in the heater box. There is occasionally water on the floor after a hard rain but nothing otherwise (and coolant is still being lost).

The radiator did spring a leak when refilling the coolant system after the timing belt and water pump replacement. I've taken care of the leak and the radiator is the same temp on the top and bottom after so I don't believe there is anything clogging it there.

I purchased some of the green UV dye to check for any leaks and it yielded nothing. Figured it may have been getting sent out of the expansion tank overflow so I attached a bottle to collect any overflowing coolant and nothing. The fact I cannot track down the leak is pretty bothersome and leads me to believe it could be a head gasket but there's been no smoke out of the exhaust. There is no water in the oil which I suppose is good news.

I've done research here and other forums and have seemingly ruled many issues out. I am completely stumped as to where the coolant could be going or where the leak could be. I'm pretty mechanically inclined so I really don't want to have to take it into a shop. If I can't nail something down, I think I'll go ahead replace the head gaskets, flush radiator, replace gaskets between timing case & block, timing case & timing cover and water pump. Any help would be greatly appreciated

- Kevin
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  #2  
Old May 30th, 2013, 09:04 PM
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This is EXACTLY how my 2 year/$5k saga began. I was losing coolant, and couldn't source it anywhere. No smoke, everthing you said applied. Then my turbo died a young death, so I replaced that. Still coolant was lost. I replaced the head gasket. Then the replacement turbo died. I finally accepted the reality that something must be wrong with the head. I replaced the head VERY shortly after the 3rd turbo install. No problems since then. I still have the old head in a box which I want to source the crack someday. The #1 cylinder intake was green like a mossy rock.

don't be me and keep going on ignoring the reality. Get that thing pressure tested professionally ASAP. Once the minerals in the coolant start getting into the cylinders and subsequently into the oil, it turns the oil acidic and the first thing to corrode out are your brass turbo bearings.

In my book, there is nothing more panic inducing than a mystery coolant loss.
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Old May 30th, 2013, 09:17 PM
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I appreciate the quick responses. I have not had it pressure tested. It sounds like that is the next thing to do. I'll try and get in tomorrow if possible. If there is a lack of pressure how would I determine if its just a head gasket or a cracked or warped head?
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Old May 30th, 2013, 09:23 PM
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I learned so much from my saga it sickens me to this day. When they pressure test it, they should be able to tell you if it's coming from the head. Then the head will need to be removed. Once it's removed, you will be able to tell from the gasket IF they gasket blew out or failed between any of the coolant channels and the pistons. remove it intact and carefully for that inspection. if you don't see any abnormalities, suspect the head BUT regardless, take the head to a machine shop for full testing. they will check the head for any warpage. Make sure you ask for a head pressure test. The will put the head in a cleaning tank before they do anything. They should be able to hook the head up alone with their equipment to see if it will hold pressure, and then be able to locate the crack if it can't. they might even be able to weld the crack if it's a good precision shop that can handle aluminum heads.
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Old May 30th, 2013, 11:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overlander View Post
I learned so much from my saga it sickens me to this day. When they pressure test it, they should be able to tell you if it's coming from the head. Then the head will need to be removed. Once it's removed, you will be able to tell from the gasket IF they gasket blew out or failed between any of the coolant channels and the pistons. remove it intact and carefully for that inspection. if you don't see any abnormalities, suspect the head BUT regardless, take the head to a machine shop for full testing. they will check the head for any warpage. Make sure you ask for a head pressure test. The will put the head in a cleaning tank before they do anything. They should be able to hook the head up alone with their equipment to see if it will hold pressure, and then be able to locate the crack if it can't. they might even be able to weld the crack if it's a good precision shop that can handle aluminum heads.
Mark, With the head gasket failure, previously,did you ever have over heating issues ?
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Old May 31st, 2013, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
Mark, With the head gasket failure, previously,did you ever have over heating issues ?
Yes. the stock 300 TDI radiator is just shy of capacity to handle the 2.8 IMO based on my experience. I had to have it modified, and now it never goes over 185F.

Pretty sure a trip from Charlotte to Fort Stewart, GA the summer before my issues is what did it. Was hitting over 200F for a while there on the highway in over 95F temps (and no EGT at the time ). Under 60 and around town, the 300TDI radiator unmodified didn't have problem.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 12:53 PM
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Yes. Pretty sure a trip from Charlotte to Fort Stewart, GA the summer before my issues is what did it. Was hitting over 200F for a while there on the highway in over 95F temps (and no EGT at the time ). Under 60 and around town, the 300TDI radiator unmodified didn't have problem.
Did it ever actually boil over ? 200 doesn't seem that hot.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 12:58 PM
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Never boiled over, but 220 wasn't uncommon, and that's at the therm housing. I can only assume heat caused the micro-fracture in the head. again, the loss began to occur shortly after that trip.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 12:58 PM
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Have a look at where the timing case attaches to the block behind the water pump. When you change the timing belt, the bolts for that gasket are removed. I had a leak develop there after a timing belt change. As the area is hot, you rarely see liquid.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 01:03 PM
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and the p gasket can leak right behind the alternator, if a 200 tdi is like a 300
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Old May 31st, 2013, 01:12 PM
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You indicate that you're running the 2.8 & with the VGT, seems like you can develop much more heat as that turbo can pull in a lot more fuel & air than a stock 300Tdi. What kind of EGT's do you see with that turbo ?

We have a '06 J**P with the diesel CRD engine, it to has a VGT like your 2.8. While on cruise control, that engine (2.8 VM) doesn't even recognize hills. That turbo has the ability to pull right through them as if on flat land. The temp on it runs right at 200.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
You indicate that you're running the 2.8 & with the VGT, seems like you can develop much more heat as that turbo can pull in a lot more fuel & air than a stock 300Tdi. What kind of EGT's do you see with that turbo ?

We have a '06 J**P with the diesel CRD engine, it to has a VGT like your 2.8. While on cruise control, that engine (2.8 VM) doesn't even recognize hills. That turbo has the ability to pull right through them as if on flat land. The temp on it runs right at 200.

the 2.8 EGT's can vary at peak on the highway based on my current tune. You likely have an ECU doing your tune for you. In my current tune, I peak up long hills at around 1150. I don't let it go over 1200.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Overlander View Post
the 2.8 EGT's can vary at peak on the highway based on my current tune. You likely have an ECU doing your tune for you. In my current tune, I peak up long hills at around 1150. I don't let it go over 1200.
The CRD is HIGHLY electrically controlled, engine ECM, trany TCM, everything else BCM. The thing is a potential nightmare. We carry an OBDII interrogator at all times, no problems yet though. We have done a Green Diesel Eng. tune on it though. The CRD has ho EGT gauge, but it concerns me. I have one on my 300Tdi and I pull back if the temps gets to 1100. On the flat it runs about 650-750.

------ Follow up post added May 31st, 2013 10:43 AM ------

Mark,
I've been "fishing" with you on engine temp's as I've been progressively running hotter thermostats to get my operating temperature up to around 200*F rather than the 185*F it runs with a standard 190*F (88C) . I currently have a 203* T-stat in it, having moved up to it from a 198*. The engine warms faster, runs smoother, and maintains it's speed better on hills. The gauge shows just a hair over the 200 mark.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 04:53 PM
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I will get you an IR reading next week. Completely redoing my resr cargo area so my onboard tool set not handy and I am away for weekend.
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Old May 31st, 2013, 05:15 PM
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Well good news. Took it to a reputable shop here where it was pressure tested. The only leak was the heater lines which were replaced. it was pressure tested again showing no leaks. I will be checking the coolant level over the coming days to look for any more coolant loss. Hopefully this was issue. Moral of the story, get your coolant system pressure tested first
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Old May 31st, 2013, 10:59 PM
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Right on!
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