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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Ok, got his little Beetle bolted back up after the water pump timing belt job.

I had taken the reservoir off while doing the job, bolted it back in, connected the hoses and filled it up with coolant. I didn't drain the whole system before I did the job, so I only dumped coolant out of the reservoir and lost coolant from the water pump when I took it off.

When I bought the car at auction, the water pump was dripping and losing coolant slowly, I just kept toping it off when I needed to move it, but drove only when I needed to bring it home from the auction and from my home to my shop.

Driving it then, the heater worked and the car drove fine and didn't overheat, I just kept having to top off the coolant that was leaking from the pump.

Since the pump change, I fired up the car with the top off the overflow and attempted to burp the system. After about 15 mins of running, the water never really went down in the overflow like I thought it would when the thermostat opened, but instead started to bubble and boil. I put my finger down in the overflow and it was hot. I thought maybe it was just air bubbles but it was hot. Never had that happen before. I felt the hoses from each side of radiator and they both felt warm. I turned the heat on inside the car and I got nothing. It's like 7 degrees outside and the air coming out of the vent was like spitting ice cubes.

I decided to change the thermo stat and got the same result. When the thermo stat housing was off I had my cousin turn the car on and could see the new water pump pushing water. He turned it off and I checked inside with my fingers and everything was nice and clean.

The fins on the radiator are cold to the touch. It doesn't feel warm at all, but both hoses coming out of it feel warm to hot although I don't know if I feel much coolant in the top hose, doesn't feel right.

The driver side fan kicks on, but the smaller pass side fan feels like the bearing is locked up, I have to really push on the blades to get it to move and it won't kick on, and I think I could smell burnt electrical smell coming from it on one of the start ups. I will need to replace it, but I can't believe that would be causing this.

I can't tell if the engine is actually overheating or if the little red light coming on is just the low coolant signal. I only lose coolant if I put the cap back on, seems to boil over and run out the overflow. Otherwise it just seems to boil. When the light goes off I shut it down, but I can put my hand on the top of the engine and it is warm to hot, but I can hold my hand there and it's not hot enough to burn me.

I really don't think its a head gasket issue. I don't think I have enough pressure for it to be the head gasket. The oil is nice and clear of any air bubbles or coolant. The car ran fine before the water pump job and the heater worked fine.

I feel like I have some type of blockage or air pocket.

Should I just drain everything and start over? I'd really like to flush the heater core with a garden hose to be sure but it's 7 degrees here and I can't really work with running water outside.

Any other ideas? Anything I could be missing? Any tricks or tips to burping this system?

Thanks again
 

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A few general things first. There is no coolant overflow. If should be completely sealed. Second, the full line is about in the center of the spherical expansion tank. It shouldn't be filled above that line.

There is a vent line that runs from the right end of the cylinder head to the intake manifold and another that goes from the intake manifold to the back of the expansion tank. These lines need to be clear for air to vent from the cooling system as you fill it. If you run the engine with the cap off the expansion tank you should see coolant pouring into the tank thorough this line. People have reported obstructions either inside the intake manifold passages or at the nipple on the cylinder head. You should remove the hose from the cylinder head and run a wire through the nipple and intake manifold to clear them if you don't have flow.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
A few general things first. There is no coolant overflow. If should be completely sealed. Second, the full line is about in the center of the spherical expansion tank. It shouldn't be filled above that line.

There is a vent line that runs from the right end of the cylinder head to the intake manifold and another that goes from the intake manifold to the back of the expansion tank. These lines need to be clear for air to vent from the cooling system as you fill it. If you run the engine with the cap off the expansion tank you should see coolant pouring into the tank thorough this line. People have reported obstructions either inside the intake manifold passages or at the nipple on the cylinder head. You should remove the hose from the cylinder head and run a wire through the nipple and intake manifold to clear them if you don't have flow.
Thanks for the tip Red, I'll start there.

I didn't realize these didn't have an overflow. I was getting some type of steady leak in the form of a line on the ground when I would back out of the drive way and run around the block I figured it was boiling out an overflow hose.I couldn't get the engine to really warm up just idling in the garage with it being so cold so I was running it around the block and it was pitch black outside and I was just using flashlights so I was pretty miserable. I might have a hose disconnected that I missed, but I can't remember seeing anything that needed reconnecting, My cousin just reminded me that we were running with the cap off, so it could have just been boiling over.

I believe that small line that you are talking about is is the one that runs into the upper part of the expansion chamber. If that is it, there isn't any fluid running from it. I think I actually thought that was the overflow line. I'll have to pop that off and make sure that is nice and clean. I guess if that is suppose to be cycling coolant through the system, and its clogged, there isn't any cycling going on and its probably why I have no heat and the Rad is cool to the touch.

I'll report back when I grow a big enough set to go back out in the single digit garage and work for a few more hours! Suppose to have a nice snow storm this weekend, so I might get snowed in anyway!

Thanks again Red
 

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FYI, the expansion tank does have an "over flow" or area where if the expansion cap releases coolant can in fact escape.

It is on the fender side of the expansion tank in the form of a plastic shield/deflector.

The small hose from the engine that connects to the expansion tank should have a pretty constant flow. All engines flow/circulate coolant even before the thermostat opens to allow the coolant to warm evenly. This is what the small hose to the expansion tank is for, to allow coolant to circulate, bleed air out of the system and allow for even coolant warm up.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
FYI, the expansion tank does have an "over flow" or area where if the expansion cap releases coolant can in fact escape.

It is on the fender side of the expansion tank in the form of a plastic shield/deflector.

The small hose from the engine that connects to the expansion tank should have a pretty constant flow. All engines flow/circulate coolant even before the thermostat opens to allow the coolant to warm evenly. This is what the small hose to the expansion tank is for, to allow coolant to circulate, bleed air out of the system and allow for even coolant warm up.
Ya, I'm just not use to this type of overflow. Most of the ones I have worked with in the past only have the one line that works with the coolant system to allow it to backflow though.

So you guys are saying that small line that connects to the top of the chamber should have coolant flowing through it (like a constant trickle or constant flow?)
 

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Ya, I'm just not use to this type of overflow. Most of the ones I have worked with in the past only have the one line that works with the coolant system to allow it to backflow though.

So you guys are saying that small line that connects to the top of the chamber should have coolant flowing through it (like a constant trickle or constant flow?)
Yes, this is basically a thermostat bypass, very important to allow the coolant to partially circulate during warm up and bleed air out of the system.

Quick and dirty test, remove line from the expansion tank and check for flow and/or try to blow back through the hose. About 25+% of these 2.0l seem to have restricted or blocked passages back at the location when the hose connects to the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
These cars do not have a temperature gauge, but it is nice to know about what temperature you are running at. Should be about 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sent from AutoGuide.com App
Ya, I was really surpised that this car didn't have a temp gauge. It's the first one in a LONG time i've worked on that didn't have one. I've seen more and more without a lot of the other gauges, but even they usually have the temp gauge.
 

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They tried to go retro in the styling. The original air cooled engines had no real gauges.

Thermostats go soft in these things all the time, typical engine coolant temp is 205F at idle.

You need an OBDII tool that supports Live/Real Time data.

See the links below in my signature.
 

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electric fan

Don't forget to replace that electric fan that's bad. Both fans should spin freely when you hand spin them. The fans will most surely cause your car to overheat , especially at idle.
 

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I was getting some type of steady leak in the form of a line on the ground when I would back out of the drive way and run around the block I figured it was boiling out an overflow hose.
You did reconnect the line to the top of the expansion tank after you removed it, right? It might explain the leak on the ground if you do have flow in the line but it was disconnected.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Alright, after fighting with myself most of the afternoon yesterday, I decided to put the gear on and head out to the garage. It was 4 degrees and I wasn't to happy about it...

First I checked the little line that connects to the expansion bottle. It was pretty dry, I tried to blow into it and it seemed to be clogged. I tried to prime it with a little bit of coolant, but didn't seem to have much luck. I reached my arm up behind the intake to remove the line, but was having a really hard time getting any pillars on the hose clamp. I cut the crap out of my wrist on something back there trying to feel around for more leverage, so I took a breather.

While standing there I figured I would check all the other things that might have issues. I removed the lower radiator line behind the thermostat housing (Even though I just had it off yesterday) to check coolant level and it seemed fine. I then removed the upper radiator line to check to make sure the rad was full and it was, coolant dumped out of the upper line and heater core all over the shop floor.... nice.... idiot... what did you think was going to happen?

I plugged everything back in and checked the little line again. Blew into it and I thought I felt a little pressure going through... Had a great idea... see if you can suck some coolant through! Blah.... mouth full of VW coolant...

I've had my share of coolant tasting episodes in the past, Regular Walmart green stuff only has a slight after taste, I find dex cool has a hint of almond flavor to it, but that VW stuff... BLAH! Had to reach into the garage ice chest and hit a shot of Wild Turkey to get rid of the taste... haha.

Anyway, I figure I had some type of air trapped in the upper hose/heater core. I plugged everything back in, and filled coolant up and everything is working now. Heat is blowing great and coolant level is holding strong. Thought I had a bit of a drip somewhere, but that went away after awhile, figure it was just what was left from disconnecting the hoses.

Thanks for all the help and tips, its nice to get that out of the way. I have a few more things to clean up on this little Beetle before I give it to my little sister to drive, so I'm sure I will be posting more stuff here shortly.

Hope this helps anybody that has this issue in the future.

Thanks again
 

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I've had my share of coolant tasting episodes in the past, Regular Walmart green stuff only has a slight after taste, I find dex cool has a hint of almond flavor to it, but that VW stuff... BLAH! Had to reach into the garage ice chest and hit a shot of Wild Turkey to get rid of the taste... haha.
So what goes well with G13 coolant? Turkey, Ham, Roast Beef.....

Actually thanks for the update and the info. Maybe it will help others that have the same issue, less the *taste test* of course.

S-
 

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I have the exact same issue, but beings I'm a girl have a hard time with my guy friends that stop by following directions. They like to try e everything I have already tried and cause me to get mad. . I keep telling them its clogged somewhere or an air bubble. They seem to think taking the plug out of the coolant outlet flange is going to do this after they run the water out of the reservoir and then **** it off and fill it back up. Lol isnt that just where we were 5 minutes ago? How they think that fixes anything is beyond me. I seem to get air in the system when I fill it with water, but nevertheless.
Now I'm replacing the heater core, by myself. And I've gotten everything out. And I thought I read somewhere that I didnt have to take the entire box out that it separated somewhere. I'm stuck d I'm in the last steps to get it out but how?
 

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There are spring clips (I think about 8 or so) that hold the two halves together. This DIY doesn't have pictures, but maybe it will help:

VWVortex.com - DIY: MK IV Heater Core Replacement
There are spring clips (I think about 8 or so) that hold the two halves together. This DIY doesn't have pictures, but maybe it will help:

VWVortex.com - DIY: MK IV Heater Core Replacement
Nope my box doesnt have clips. I had to take the entire thing out. What a joke of a design. Definitely not a old Chevy!
Ok well my heater core looks brand new no sign of leaking whatsoever. So now, I'm back to looking at the return line that empties back into the expansion tank, it had no flow. Ok so when I check this for blockage does it have to be running or does it not matter or? Because not running it fes like there is definitely lately something blocking it but it feels like it will have no give, like it is solid and part of the manifold in there. ?
So now I'm confused. Is there a valve in there that opens or closes when it's not running or when it's cold?
So I'm gonna put the new heater core in it just for GP. And hope I put it all back together right. And this return line wonders me,
 

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See this video for checking the return line to the expansion bottle:


Another possible leak point is the plastic elbow between the heater hoses and the heater core that tend to come apart after a while.
 
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