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Dreaded water loss


Phil_B

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OK so this is the email I was dreading sending. Just recently I have started to use a little bit of coolant. Nothing drastic, but I have started topping up every five or six weeks (or so). Now in normal driving there doesn't seem to be a problem (I don't think), but when I have sat in traffic (and the temp has gone to 90-100 rather than sitting rock solid at 80) I can loose quite a bit (maybe 1/2 pint or so. It has been rather warm here lately, but I can't see external temperature influencing this much.

What are the option other than the dreaded cylinder liners (car is a 1999 V8 GT). Could it be simply that the pressure cap is not sealing, and so therefore when the system gets to boiling, it boils away. Could a small hose crack (or clip) account for this do you think? Or is it enevitable that I will be remortgaging my life in a few months time to keep my car on the road.

Any advice on things to check would be most welcome before hitting the panic button.

Phil B

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Cylinder liners you will see a slow steady loss of coolant, noticable over a few days/weeks - only real way of checking this is to get the block pressure tested - I was advised that is the only way to be sure. Sounds like you've got a weeping hose somewhere though, can you not just leave the car idleing and try and find out - if you're losing 1/2 a pint you should be able to see it dripping or steam coming from the pool somewhere. If not I would strongly suggest getting the car looked at by a recognised specialist.

My '97 V8 was re-lined by Lotus free of charge in 2003 (approx

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Have a read through before hitting the panic button:

http://www.lotusespritworld.co.uk/ETechnic...r_Problems.html

Things like defective pressure caps or leaking hoses can often be to blame.

Neal

98 V8-GT

May: DON'T hit it with a hammer!

Clarkson: Why?

May: Cause it's the tool of a pikey.

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Phil:

I had a similar slow leak only to find it was the radiator leaking on the passenger side. Let's hope this isn't the issue, but it's a LOT less expensiove then the dreaded cylinder liner issue.

If you do need to replace/rebuild the radiator, add two extra rows for MUCH better cooling as I did. Best $500 I've spent.

Mark Pfeffer

1999 Esprit V8

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Thanks all. Neal, I hadn't checked the LEW site, but it has been considerably updated on this issue since I last looked. Cheers.

I shall monitor it over the next couple of weeks, but I think a trip to Paul Mattey will be in order to try to diagnose. It seems to me (looking around the system) that there are 101 things it could be (all of which could be pricey, although some more than others), so I won't hit the panic button just yet. I will keep some reports coming in.

Phil B

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Phil,

My '99 V8-SE is doing exactly the same - I don't seem to lose much water but it is enough to be a pain in the arse. I have no idea where it is going either - I replaced the expansion tank cap and the temperature sender unit and still the same - also I find that when it needs filling the temperature gauge gets really eratic - needle jumps off scale - but will return to correct temp by tapping gauge!

Anyway - I will be really interested to find out what your problem is and I will be keeping my fingers crossed that it isn't valve liner leak. At the moment I just live with it and top up (never needs much) every few weeks....

Here's hoping..

Chris

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I had one of the first 100 V8's which had the liner problem. With mine it used over a pint of water for every 200 miles, if you are only topping it up every few weeks lets hope its not the problem.

Regards

Fred

Phil,

My '99 V8-SE is doing exactly the same - I don't seem to lose much water but it is enough to be a pain in the arse.  I have no idea where it is going either - I replaced the expansion tank cap and the temperature sender unit and still the same - also I find that when it needs filling the temperature gauge gets really eratic - needle jumps off scale - but will return to correct temp by tapping gauge!

Anyway - I will be really interested to find out what your problem is and I will be keeping my fingers crossed that it isn't valve liner leak.  At the moment I just live with it and top up (never needs much) every few weeks....

Here's hoping..

Chris

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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  • 2 weeks later...

chris,

I think we should keep in touch over the next few months and keep this thread alive. A trouble shared is a trouble halved ! I have the same thning with the temperature gauge. If I run low on water (in traffic) up it screams. I'll let you know if I find out any more.

I am starting to measure how much goes in now (as of today so my stats are a little low at the moment).

Phil B

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For the sake of a few quid buy a new cap. I think PNM stock them and they are cheapper than Lotus. Iam very interested to learn about this problem now have a V8. I will track this thread along with others.

Have the radiator checked out also.

If by any chance the radiators are gone then you have a big dillema because the oil coolers connections always break when you take them out to get to the radiator. This can add another

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suggestions that were made by marcus on the te list some time back:

"- check all hoses and clamps also the hoses and clamps of the recirculation

pump system

- make sure that the system is full with coolant and no air pockets are

still in the system (I know this is not easy to check

- you may consider to bleed the whole cooling system like it is shown in the

manual (I know its a pain to do)

- check the thermostat for proper function

- check the water pump (belt tension)

- check the radiator (leaks, clogged)"

All good stuff. If you do all the above and you still have a leak, then at least one v8 i know of has been cured with the application of "bars leak". I'd aim to do this pretty soon as the water burning off inside the engine (if it IS leaky liners) will be doing some damage - my liner rebuild included replacement of a piston and some valves which could have been avoided if i'd either stopped driving it earlier or plugged it with bars leak.

The factory test for a liner leak is removal of the sump, pressurise overnight and see if its leaked in the morning.. not sure how much a dealer would charge to do that..?

BTW: nick whale's have had my radiator out without any problems/ie no damage to the oil coolers. I had my radiator re-cored whilst i was getting my air con rad replaced. Serck did the recore and matched the aircon rads. I've more recently replaced the oil coolers - these are available from setrab who are the original suppliers. Cost was less than half the lotus price.. ;)

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  • 1 month later...
My 99 was doing the same thing so I was told to have the oil tested for contents. The local heavy equiptment dealer has a lab set up for this and performed it for free. My oil came back full of coolant. Guess what I'm up to in my spare time!

Lots of luck

Tom

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Did your car ever overheat?

'03.5 Final Edition Esprit ~ 5.7lbs/hp

mildly modded - 430rwhp, 353rwtq

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Guess what I'm up to in my spare time!

Lots of luck

Tom

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Selling your soul to the devil to pay for the repairs? :)

I now have mine booked in to be checked over. I am still using water, but there is no sign of water in the oil at all, but I'm damned if I can find a leak, and the garage floor is clear after parking, so if there is a leak it is either boil off (because it is not withstanding pressure) or it is a high pressure leak through a very strangely split hose. OR it is the cylinder liners. Will keep you all informed.

Phil B

Edited by Phil_B
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Phil:

This may sound simple, but check the hose (if you haven't) running from the coolant reservoir to the expansion tank in the wheel well. I had a small split in that cheap hose that leaked reguarly and was nearly undetectable. Changed it to regualr black rubber hose and no more leak.

Feff

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Phil,

Silly question, how do you know that there sin't any water in your oil?

I used to think that you'd see it in white form at the end of your dip stick or on the filler cap but that was in the old days of mineral oils.

With fully synthetics, you don't get this sign (I don't think!) so how have you checked?

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Ah.

I have to say I have just been studying the dip stick. I assumed that you would get a micky precipitate visible if you were getting water in there. I admit that it might be inconsistent, but with enough dips at different points I thought I would have seen something. I guess taking off the sump is the only real way of knowing.

Phil B

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Guest Chelsea Martyn
Phil,

Silly question, how do you know that there sin't any water in your oil?

I used to think that you'd see it in white form at the end of your dip stick or on the filler cap but that was in the old days of mineral oils.

With fully synthetics, you don't get this sign (I don't think!) so how have you checked?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

According to Rob at the new Lotus in MK, the oil still goes white with synthetic, but seperates back very quickly. Therefore tou need to do the check after running the engine. Check the oil cap and dipstick then.... This should give you any tell tale signs.

But I too wondered if this method only applied to mineral oil. Good point!

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Guest Chelsea Martyn
The question is, has anybody dared try this.  Rob was suggesting some good reports from Bars Leak as well.  There is nothing to lose (or is there).

Phil B

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I've actually heard of some people using Barrs stuff in various models of cars before there is ever a problem...... It just swims around the system until a leak occurs then POW!... straight there!

Something along the lines of prevention than cure! :):):)

sorry... went a bit ott there!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just one more failure mode to add to the list. On my volvo, a coolant pipe on the turbo had cracked. Sprayed a fine mist over the exhaust manifold and the stuff would just evaporate unnoticably (to me). Once the crack had grown to about 20 mm in length it wasn't unnoticable anymore, though! By then the spray was reaching the spark plugs and the firewall, and the root cause of my coolant loss had become obviuos. Thats how I learned about the mindboggling number of different turbo cooling pipes volvo have - and have stopped making.

Jens

15407iq.jpgProud member of The Fearless Red Squadron

Better living through turbocharging!

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slight update to my prob.

I have now had the system pressure tested, and the cap was found wanting. This doesn't mean it is the problem, but I now have a new cap (Shiny), and a hope wing and a prayer. However on changing oil there was no sign of water, and there is no leak of cylinder gas back into the water apparently, and so at the moment I am holding my breath (and monitoring water usage over the next few weeks). Everything else in the system was OK.

Still got stung for new brake pads and discs, but I knew that was coming.

Will keep an update coming in a few weeks when I can report on progress.

One thing that I have noticed, and that now ties in, is that in traffic the temperature never went much above 90 on the gauge, meaning that the system wasn't under pressure (water was just boiling away). Now the new cap is in place the system goes up to 100 when sat in traffic. Could be a quick tell on whether the system is pressuring properly. Thoughts?

Phil B

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I had a brief water loss problem on my newly acquired V8-GT. On one run I lost an entire header tank full. As it was mostly streaming down the outside of the tank I suspected the cap (nothing in the oil by the way). Once cooled and lifted, turns out the gasket was perishing, warping and had in fact split completely. So, new cap, new gasket installed a few days ago and water loss zero, so far. Also noticed it takes a lot longer to heat up when standing. I to haven't seen over 100 whereas it did go higher when I first drove it a few weeks ago.

Off on a jaunt up the West Coast of Scotland tomorrow. I'll post any problems but don't envisage any.

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