free hit
counters
Help! Coolant Spilling Out after Re-fill - Need Some Advice! - Engine/Ancilliaries - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
HowardRoark

Help! Coolant Spilling Out after Re-fill - Need Some Advice!

Recommended Posts

Hello All,

Recently my red Low Coolant tell tale light came on in my 1999 Esprit V8 (US).  I took it in to the tech, he fixed the radiator cap and inspected, and filled up the system with new coolant.

 

I picked it up, drove for 15 minutes, parked it in my garage at home and let it idle, and the coolant was literally gushing out of the system as the engine temp shot up.

 

I took it back in that day, my tech replaced the radiator and flushed the system again, and added new coolant - and again, the same thing happened:

 

I picked it up, drove for 15 minutes, parked it and let it idle, and the coolant was literally gushing out of the system again as the engine temp shot up - again!!!

 

 

Is my tech putting too much coolant in?   Any ideas or has this happened to anyone else?

 

Cheers!

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Upgrade today to remove Google ads and support TLF.

Jammed/failed thermostat? There is no mention of that above in your post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the tip Michael. Also - my tech replaced the radiator cap with a new one. I am guessing that this could be the issue. He said he got it from Lotus, but not sure if it is correct. Perhaps the cap PSI is too low??

post-9481-0-34291000-1436548786.jpg

post-9481-0-89919400-1436548806.jpg

post-9481-0-72110900-1436548832.jpg

post-9481-0-83107200-1436548885.jpg

Edited by HowardRoark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Howard, I'm assuming your tech bled all the air out of the cooling system via the two air bleed screws ?. One on the engine & the other on the radiator.

Worst case scenario, the tech could insert his exhaust gas analyser into the coolant header tank with the engine running just to check there's no exhaust gasses in the coolant, ( just to the out head gasket issues )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could try checking that the header tank cap seal is present and is seating correctly on the header tank.

 

The coolant sytem bleeding procedure is detailed in the workshop manual - bleed on top LHS of engine and near side in the front wheel well - rad top bleed plug

 

From your description it sounds like either the stat is not opening or that there is an air lock

 

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Matt, did I get you correctly that you have just had the radiator pack replaced in the car?

 

At any rate, I just changed my radiator, and had the same issue you describe  The primary cause of the overheating at idle was a blown fan fuse.  With my after market fans it is very easy to plug the fans in backwards causing a direct short to ground.  Check your fan fuses in the relay bar under the front bonnet, and ensure they are coming on correctly.  On my car they come on at 100 degrees C, and off at about 95 degrees C.  To test, all the fans should run continuously at any coolant temperature if the air conditioning is switched on.

 

The instant gushing of coolant, I expect, was indicating air in the system and localized high temp boiling.  The system is difficult to get bled fully, and may take a few tries.  My previous aftermarket aluminum radiators were harder as they did not have a bleed port.  As mentioned, there is a 3/16" hex socket plug located left side of the front engine hoses (cool return from the radiator pack).  I think I just got mine correctly bled tonight, but we will see in the morning when the overflow tank in the wheel well stabilizes. I think I got a bunch of additional air out of the system, even though our local shop is very experienced with V8 Esprits it is just really difficult and needs to be closely monitored for several heat cycles as it works the air out.

 

I have attached a couple of pictures (from the SJ site) of the correct header tank cap for reference.  It should say 145 kPa on it, which is nominally ~20 psi.  Mine actually relieves at about 19 psi according to my tester.  The second picture is the rubber gasket that goes with the cap.  It is listed separately on the SJ site, so not sure if the cap automatically comes with the gasket or not.  When I got my new cap from JAE, Jay was on the ball and provided both. My car was missing the gasket when i bought it, and I didn't realize it was required.  Note this did not cause the high coolant loss you have right now, but I was constantly having to fill the system as it was loosing coolant slowly (might have been the original cause of your low coolant level?).

 

I was still having coolant loss issues, so I spent this weekend under the car replacing several hose clamps and checking things over.  Really difficult to find the small leaks. 

 

HTH  Let us know how you make out.

 

Stu

 

post-4924-0-93007300-1436766507.jpg

post-4924-0-02587400-1436766511.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Matt,

 

I have the exactly the same problem and its driving me insane I've had near everything down.

New caps,  New thermostat , New Radiator , So fed up took it another Technician and he has been running it all weekend.

We removed Tstat and still overheats so drained oil and oil looked ok but then as last resort replaced oil with 5 litres exactly and road tested once again after about 15 minutes overheats and spews coolant from overflow.

My technician then drained oil to see if 5 litres would empty out and surprise 6 litres came out with very slight discoloration.

It turns out i seem to have a cracked cylinder head. So engine is coming out again for a third time.

The last technician did a full rebuild and even sent heads out to check so im completely shocked.

Hope this helps.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Wayne,

I am at a loss for words. I bought the car last year in 2014 with 12,850 miles on it. It is a 1999 Esprit V8. I drove it less than 1,000 miles and the CEL came on for a 1301/1302 misfire code. After $4,000 of tests, replacing leads, plugs, and other stuff, it was worse after it came back from the shop. It was decided it needed a rebuild. In January, I paid $18,000 for a complete engine rebuild (including head set, resurfacing everything and over $8,000 in new parts.). Then I had some oil leaks and idle issues, and fuel injector issues, and paid another $8,300 to get those issues fixed. After driving it less than 1,000 miles, the Low Coolant tell tale light came on. I took it back in, they said they fixed it, and coolant comes gushing out after 15 minutes of driving. I take it back in again, and they replace the radiator for another $3,000, and I pick it up, and after 15 minutes of driving, coolant is again gushing out of it. I take it back in again, and NOW, they tell me that they need to replace the head gasket, check for cracking, and that will cost me $8,200. So in the last year, I have spent over $33,000 on the engine. And now I am being told it will cost another $8,200 to fix it. I have received so many different answers about issues that I don't know who to believe or what to think, except that Lotus makes terrible cars, and that owning an Esprit ( and this is my 3rd Esprit - all with major problems) is really stupid. I am about to speak to a lawyer but I don't know if would do any good. Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is more than bad news !

 

Not sure of your mechanical expertise Howard but would recommend you get yourself down to NAPA or Summit Racing and buy a decent quality compression tester.

 

Access to the spark plugs for testing is relatively straightforward - remove engine cover, remove the bolts that hold the plug covers in place, remove all spark plugs. (blow out spark plug well to ensure debris doent enter cylinders)

 

Use comp tester to detemine if all cylinders are withing 5% pressure and read the comp tester manufactures instructions on what tests you can do to determine the likely causes of low or high compression on individual cylinders. 

 

Probably take you an hour or two to do this but if nothing else it will give you some hard facts and may assist in pinpointing the troubles with your engine. 

 

Failing that get the opinoin of an engineer ( not a shop tech) and proably for afew hundered dollars they can at least tell you if indeed the work that you have paid for has been done. A engineers report may also assit in any legal wrangles

 

Best of luck and post back here if you need further assistance

 

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Howard,

 

Looks like we are sharing the same nightmare, I have had done exactly the same as you, replaced damn near everything and like you had a full engine rebuild, new clutch new blah blah blah you name it I've done it. Got it out of the shop last weekend with a new radiator and yep like you still spewing coolant. I am told by talking to lots of technicians that it has to be a cracked head or blown head gasket so engine coming out again.

My nightmare has been going on for a year now but I'm determined to get to the bottom of it.

Good luck and i will let you know when my heads are out with a full diagnosis I my email is [email protected]

All the best

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the infor Wayne. Yep I had the entire engine rebuilt with new clutch and everything. My tech just did the (combustion gas?) test where they see if the blue fluid stays blue, or turns to yellow, indicating gases in the coolant. After the first coolant spill out, the tech did the test and it was fine, indicating the gasket was fine. After the second spill out, the tech did the test again and it turned from blue to yellow color. So in his mind, it is the head gasket that has failed. I wouldn't mind it if it were a $1,000 fix, but at $8,200, it seems like a big gamble to fix it when we are not even sure what it truly wrong. So, I am at a loss as far as what to do. Paul - my tech said he will do a compression test before he fixes the head gasket, if I give him the go-ahead to do it. In the meantime, I am trying to get in touch with the other tech who rebuilt the engine. Cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you're not far of the cost of sourcing a fully rebuilt engine for the price of that head gasket change, it's astronomical! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good point Bibs.  

 

Presently two used engines (not rebuilt mind) located Portland OR.  The breaker is called S Auto Parts, eBay user name Slava81.  I have only bought small stuff from him, but no issues and reasonable shipping to Canada.  Might not ship large stuff to Canada though.  Breaks a lot of Lotus and seems to be reliable.  A couple of links...

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2000-Lotus-Esprit-V8-twin-turbo-engine-motor-video-inside-64k-miles-/271567918938

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/03-Lotus-Esprit-V8-twin-turbo-engine-motor-50k-miles-/271855122695

 

HTH

 

Stu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Howard,

 

I find it strange that we both had new head gaskets installed and they may have blown.

Can you ask your Tech where did he get the head gaskets from ?

I purchased mine from JAE Parts and Jay's an awesome guy, but maybe if your guy bought his from the same place then maybe the gaskets are faulty. Nothing we can do but its just a thought.

All the best 

Wayne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes good point Wayne. I know that many of the parts did come from JAE, so that could be a possibility. I know the cost is close to just purchasing a used engine, but I would be just as concerned about a used engine as my rebuilt one. I have read about so many examples of V8 owners having to rebuild their 918 engines, that it seems to be close to manufacturing negligence, unless all of the owners are doing something wrong?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How do they come up with $8,200 for 2 head gaskets? That's ridiculous.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Michael - I was quoted $1500 in parts ($900 for the bolts/studs?) and 38 hours of labor, at $175 / hr = $6,650. Yes it is expensive, especially right after a rebuild.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Howard,

 

You need to find an independent mechanic, where are you taking your car too a Lotus dealership ??

 

Wayne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Wayne, I did take my car originally to an independent shop here in San Diego. The independent shop tech is who rebuilt my engine completely for $18,000. ( of which $2,000 was for machine and resurfacing work from a machinist shop.). It included about $8,000 in new parts for the engine, most from JAE or Lotus. The independent shop rate was $108 / hour, and he charged me 50 hours total, which seemed very fair, so I was happy to have it done. The problem was that it literally took about a year to do, which was very frustrating to wait for, but I was still happy to do it. After the engine was rebuilt, it still had several problems with it, including oil leaks, injector issues ( where he couldn't get the secondary injectors to seal correctly so he plugged the lines) and other issues with the codes setting for SMOG check. I was out of patience, so I took it to a Dealer here in SD, where they charged me $8,300 to fix all the build issues. I was so frustrated with the build that I paid it.

Then, after less than 1,000 miles on the rebuilt engine, the Low Coolant tale tell light comes on. So I take it into the Dealer, and they fill it up, and put a new radiator cap on it with a new seal, and the coolant comes gushing out in 15 minutes of driving. Why that happened, I still have no idea, nor does the Dealer.

That's one of the questions: What was the reason for the coolant loss in the first place, and then why the coolant spill out?? Then I took it back in to the Dealer, and they installed a new radiator for $2,900. After 15 minutes of driving, same thing, coolant comes gushing out of it.

I asked the Dealer to make sure there was no air lock, and he said there wasn't. I also asked him about the thermostat, and he said it was fine.

Now, the Dealer wants to fix the head gasket. I have called the Independent shop tech, but he is not returning my calls, and is hardly ever at his shop. So I am about to spend over $35,000 for engine fixes when no one knows that the causes of the issues were. Very frustrating and it makes me want to speak to a lawyer....

Edited by HowardRoark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Matt, it seems you might be best served investigating it yourself. If you've lost a year with no benefit to your ownership or vehicle, then perhaps you could invest a bit of time figuring out what it could be. Is everything being routed correctly? If it's not the pressure cap on the header tank or air locks, and the connections to the expansion bottle (I assume this is still present on 1999MY cars) are as they should be then there's something else amiss, perhaps relatively simple?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The cooling system bleeding procedure is detailed in the Lotus Esprit V8 workshop manual.

 

If the shop doing the work doesnt have the manual then thay wont be able to bleed the system correctly as this engine is a bit different to the others that they may have been workign on before.

 

Tell them to check out the other header tank (and cap) under the RHS wheel arch, and to locate the bleeds on top of the engine ( near thermostat) and the other rad bleed accessable via the LHS front wheel arch.

 

If they keep messing about like this the engine will likely suffer some other problems or damage as a result of their failure to bleed the system in the first place.

 

If the head gaskets have failed ( not likely), then coolant entering the combustion chamber would result in steam from the tail pipe or inspection of the spark plugs ( steam cleaned).

 

If leaking from the combustion chamber back into the coolant system then CO would be present in the coolant system and can be identidied by using a CO sniffer test.

 

If your workshop doesnt have this I would be inclined to take your car and go elsewhere...fast

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Howard,

 

I am having 100% same issues as you and like you i waited for a year on the engine rebuild.

Our problem after much research on my side and my new mechanic is its either a cracked head or blown head gasket.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Howard, I'm from across the Pond in the UK, like to think I know a bit about the V8, having owned 2 and looked after them for some 40k miles after the warranty periods.

 

Just to put you at ease.. the 918 engine is a real gem of an Engine.. my own car is making a lot more than a stock unit.. I even have a very strong 6 speed gearbox.

 

Most problems are caused by misuse / poor maintenance / lack of knowledge or understanding.

     The header tank has a float level switch to warn of water loss.. they do sludge up and will stop working which means the driver will not see the Light come on the dash panel.

 

Ok your over heating water loss.. 

          1/ sound advice from Paul.. you must get the unit Compression tested. on all 8 pistons as he says. Make sure the throttle is wide open to allow air flow in.. etc. Paul has covered that well.

  Cranking : It can be done using the starter motor... my advice. look over the real wheel arch above battery you will find a white/red wire and its quick release connector.. unclip that wire. the core running up over the arch is the live core to dab on the live terminal after you extend it, in Neutral of course. a few turns each time for each Piston.. its easy enough. Note IGN Key in your Pocket !!!

 

        2/ assuming the Comp test is OK. have you got the correct Radiator cap that actually seats on the inner flange inside the header tank. ? you do need one around 14 psi.

 

        3/ to run for such a short time, you have either a massive Air Lock / No Triple Fans working / Thermostat Jammed shut / Header tank ( Not sealing the system to contain the water pressure and the temperature which is controlled by the fact its under pressure and should run around 85 * on the gauge.) / Water Pump there has been cases of Pump failure which can damage the casting behind the pump as well. Have to assume your drive belt is Not Slipping as its got a large casting Arm and a small pulley keeping that in check. Some thing blocking Water Flow apart from Thermostat or Pump ?

 

   Its not unusual to have issues when the coolant has been replaced...

              But when the engine, is then fired up first time, best keep the rad cap off and note the water flow coming back in from the Turbo's one can get a feel of what is going on by putting a finger into the water in the header tank as it warms up. (ps remove the red level tube inside the header tank briefly)     Once its getting warm the engine its self on the Plenum will give you a clue, switch off and bleed, from Radiator and that top hose allen bolt.

   These engines do not normally have head gasket issue's, but they can suffer Liner seal failure which is Glue.

  Thermostat.. If the car is not used regular, they can jam shut, hence the temperature will get up to around 120*..very scary yes...switch off leave 10 minutes...use a plastic or rubber hammer  tap the thermostat Housing a few times, that does fix that issue. its happened to me about 3-4 times, even though I'm driving regular... As my car is not normal, any time I may pull things apart.

 

      I've running / building V8 Powered Lotus cars since 1989 continuous.  The 918 is very tuneable with the right bits it makes an amazing sound, that you would never imagine it could. Its the first time for my own car right now, Its what and how I built this latest exhaust with no Muffler as you guys say this time. 

 

Best Advice.. Do your research find a gifted Engine guy in your area... the rules are the same for all engines, its just the different layouts and what makes them perform. 

Write Down all you know and feel about the car to help the engineer with the issue's.

 

 Hope the words help some, do not loose faith The Lotus Esprit V8 is a brilliant car and they are well made and strong bar the gearbox.( which is a story on Its own) ... I have never been let down with the Esprit V8 since 1998 or had them brake down..... Excuse any spelling etc.. just trying to help.

regards Rob

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...