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Discussion Starter #1
I have a coolant leak somewhere in daughters bug. Been fighting a red flashing coolant light that comes on when ever it likes. She can drive for an hour and the light comes 50 minutes in the trip or drive across town and 3 minutes in flashes on and goes off. today she drove 40 miles coming home I could smell coolant and have attached pics. The fans were on when she pulled in too. I let it sit for 5 minutes and turn it on and couldn't see a leak. 129K water pump replaced around 80K. the coolant sensor has been replaced and a hose and clamp. I added a pic near the oil filter where I seen a little bit of coolant but nothing below that area. the other pic is on the driver side of the motor. This car is getting on my last nerve! Ive spent twice what I paid for it.Just did the ignition switch,wires and headlight switch. Any ideas would be appreciated!
 

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Have you had low coolant levels (e.g. flashing red light); did you top it off to correct levels in the coolant bottle, with correct vw coolant or distilled water? Has the car ever overheated and have you scanned the car for codes?

Here is a thread; where we discussed finding a coolant leak, should be helpful, pressure testing is the best way to pinpoint the culprit!

http://newbeetle.org/forums/1-8-liter-turbo/77193-losing-coolant.html#post989209

To confirm the waterpump is ok: here is a good video; shows how to check for waterpump flow to coolant bottle:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thcwatH_BpI
 

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Also there is the "small hose" that feeds into the spherical coolant reservoir that needs to have coolant flowing through it. If it's not flowing, any bubbles in the coolant system can not work their way out. If there is no flow in this hose, the clog is likely on the engine side of things and needs to be cleared out.

And finally, these cars need the right VW coolant. Mixing VW coolant with any other coolant can result in "goo" in the system that will clog things up and result in a lot of headaches.

These sorts of issues are pretty well documented in other threads on this site.
 

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A common place for a coolant leak is around the plastic flange on the end of the cylinder head. The flange is what the upper radiator hose and heater hose connect to and has one or two temperature sensors in it.

The flashing red temp light means the coolant level is low, so that is why it can be somewhat erratic when the coolant level is on the edge of being too low. The steady red temp light means an overheated engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I filled the tank to the halfway mark. She drove yesterday 70 miles all highway and at the end as she was coming to the exit the red flashing light came on. from the exit she drove about a mile at 45 and as she turned in to the apartment the light went out. Therese no good VW place where shes at. The shop I was going to claimed to speak VW but I have lost trust in them. It takes week to get in and they replaced a hose that took three days to get(they already knew which hose and weer suppose to have it. They replaced temp sensor,hose clamp and thermostat housing and or outlet-remove replace in line rear of cylinder head. They noted from computer"temp would go to 230 to the hottest it got was 249 did not see any temp issues and the added GLOBAL coolant. The red flashing light was an issue before this. I think I will install a new overflow tank and than have the new place do a pressure test.With 50K on the water pump should I get it done?

Thanks again
 

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The water pump should be OK until the timing belt needs to be replaced again. Best to do them at the same time. This assumes that it is not the source of your leak, though. Maybe they can find the leak with the cooling system pressurized.

I don't think there is a such thing as a universal coolant. Asian cars use a very different coolant design compared to the Europeans. You really should be using the VW G12 or one of its variations (G12+ and G12++).
 

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How does the waterpump stream look in the coolant tank; as shown in the video, it should be a strong stream, if not the waterpump is bad or the hose is clogged. If you remove the thermostat; you can inspect the waterpump and confirm that it is in good shape, premature wp failures have happened before! :mad:

Have you scanned the car for trouble codes; what are they? I have heard of the coolant level sensor in the coolant tank failing; so, that could be a good call and not that expensive of a part, that could cause the flashing light. When a part fails (sensors, waterpumps etc.); typically, there will be a trouble code, that could help you diagnose the problem.

As far as the universal antifreeze goes; we use it at our shop but I prefer to use the VW stuff in my personal cars. The universal is cheaper, shops don't have to carry specialty coolant for all the different cars and so its convenient for them to get from their suppliers. Whether it meets VWs specific standards/specs and whether it lasts as long, protects the cooling components, causes premature wear/problems, etc.; I think is up for debate. Of course; if you use, what VW recommends; then you don't really have to worry about it. The real danger; is mixing the green and the G12/G13; it coagulates and causes overheating issues (requires full flush, clean system and refill). You can generally order Pentosin; from most auto parts stores, which is the same type VW uses and recommends. Whether you want to flush the whole system and go with Pentosin/VW is up to you; if you do end up needing a WP, you could do it then.

Here is one example of universal coolant: http://www.havoline.com/products/coolants-antifreezes2.aspx

Pentosin recommends PENTOFROST SF: http://www.pentosin.net/f_antifreeze.asp

SF-G12: Pentofrost
http://www.showmetheparts.com/BIN/documents/CRP/CRP-116_SellSheets_COLOR_SF.pdf

Blauparts, has a good informational page about VW recommended coolants: http://www.blauparts.com/vw/vw_fluid/vw_coolant_engine_fluid.shtml
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Fixed

Had the car pressure tested and found a leak in the coolant flange. The new shop also noticed coolant around oil filter witch is in the second pic I posted. They also said the coolant was burnt. New thermostat,coolant flange, coolant and replaced all the O/E spring clamps with real ones. The last thing was they cleaned all the coolant off the motor when they were done!
 
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