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Discussion Starter #1
2004 1.8t Beetle had low coolant a few weeks ago. Unfortunately I added green and now realize I should have added pink. I have added more coolant several times since then. See no leaks under car, etc. After adding coolant I also see it flowing into overflow tank when revving engine.

Couple of questions. First is there any way for me to find the leak easily on my own? Big concern is that is is a head gasket or something like that, although I was hoping it was simply a bad hose. Second, given how low to ground these cars are is it realistic to think I can flush the coolant system without floor jacks? (Assuming a flush is even worth it if it is a head gasket).

Thanks everyone.
 

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A cooling system pressure test and/or a combustion leak test; would be the most direct way to diagnose your problems. I use the harbor freight cooling system pressure tester with good results and it comes with the correct vw coolant tank adapter with it.


The combustion leak tester; is typically, a good way to confirm if the head gasket is bad and it senses if combustion gases are in the cooling system, most auto parts stores loan this tool, for free.

 

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There are some good videos and diy's online; for the mark iv volkswagens and they are essentially the same as the new beetle:


Mixing green and vw spec coolant; can create a brownish/red slimy congealed sludge, which can clog the cooling system, over heat the engine and compromise parts, from clogged hoses, to damaged water pumps (worst case scenario). You will need to flush the system; inspect inside various areas of the system, to see how bad things are and if passageways are clogged or if the sludge has built up in areas, needs to be removed.
 

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I had a 2.0L 2005 Jetta Jetta that I was working on; it had VW and green coolant: mixed together, it created a pretty substantial sludge issue. I had to flush many times, use Dawn dishwashing liquid to decrease and break down the sludge, remove parts that were clogged. This customer did not have much money; so I had to remove a number of upper hoses and use pipe cleaner style brushes to scrub out all of the red sludge and gunk. This was a lot of work and normally these parts probably should have been replaced but I scrubbed cleaned and flushed many times the best I could, there was some debris left in the system but it ended up working out OK.

Here are the hose brushed i used from harbor freight:
 

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harbor freight nylon brush kit #90631

..


There is really no shortcuts, when dealing with this cooling system sludge problem; keep in mind, that the slude tends to float to the top, as it is lighter then coolant but it can end up pooling up in certain areas. I ended up pulling the upper hoses; the return hose to the coolant tank, the hose to the hearter core, pulled the thermostat, to check the waterpump and this gave me access to the block cooling passageways, to spray water with a spray nozzle to force out any cantamination. I removed the bottom radiator hose as well; any way, to allow a full volume of water to allow complete flushing of things (the best way I could). Some, recommend the use of agressive and caustic acid based cooling system cleaners but VW does not recommend this; beleiveing it will damage the various metals and plastics in the system. Thus, I just stuck with dawn, as a degreaser; I spend several days, disassembling the system, drained the contaminated coolant, scrubbed out hoses with sludge in them, checked all areas I could for any concentration of slude, flushed the system, blew out passageways with garden hose/nozzle and blew out hoses with compressed air, to confirm free flow, etc. I did the best I could, then after three thorough flush cycles; found the flushing water, was pretty much free of contamination, there was a little bit but you cannot fully remove it 100%. After that I used a recommended 50/50 mix of Pentosin Pentafrost SF VW spec coolant and distilled water; for a complete coolant system fill and used a AirLift vacuum fill tool, to remove any air pockets in the cooling system. Pentosin, is typically available; at most auto parts stores or you could get the VW spec coolant, from your local VW dealer.

PENTOFROST SF (without silicates)

(Formerly LIFETIME ANTIFREEZE G12)
Size: 1.5 liters (1.59 quarts), Part# 8114107
Color: Pink & Clear
Volkswagen (after 06/1996 up to 2005); Spec. TL 744 F


ecstuing: cooling sytem tech bulletin for VW’s; answers, many common coolant system related questions:


I test drove it and luckily; the waterpump, thermostat and cleaned hoses, ended up being ok. Not a fun job and I put way to many hours into it; a normal shop, would have replaced many of the hoses, as they could be claimed as being damaged by contamination.

So, there you go, no fun but it can be cleaned; much depends on how bad the contamination is and if you want to replace parts or clean them. Let us know, how things go and what the results are of your testing, possible flusning the system, plus any repairs, that end up, needing to be made. Thanks! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, sounds like a fun weekend ahead. Before I mistakenly put in the green coolant I did run it watching the flow from the upper hose into the coolant overflow tank. It was already a brownish color -- we haven't flushed the coolant since getting the car (about 4 years).
 

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If it was already brownish then it may have already had something other than the vw coolant in the system. The vw coolant is a fluorescent pinkish/purple, very unique color for coolant, G12 or G13 is the designation sometimes with a + or ++ after the number.

Flush the system, as billy has suggested, before doing so I would check for leaks on the back side of the engine , drivers side of block over the transmission , bottom of the timing belt cover, and check your oil dipstick to see if the oil if overfilled. Which would be a leaking oil cooler.

No you cannot work on these cars, especially underneath without a good floor jack and some jack stands. If you will be doing work on this car get yourself a decent jack and 2 jack stands .
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Sorry no updates, car sat in driveway all weekend without moving. Hope to get the compression test / leak test done before the weekend and then proceed from there.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
No repair updates but daughter did drive car today with not so good results. Below is her recap of events.

After driving for about 10 minutes the car died. She opened the hood and there was smoke coming from overflow tank and she said the coolant inside tank was bubbling. About 15 minutes later they added more coolant (green) as tank was now completely empty and they said it immediately started bubbling again (car was not running).

I was just outside and looked under car, there is a puddle of coolant on the ground below the overflow tank location. Gonna pull the tank when I get some free time and see what I can find underneath.
 

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Yeah, if you are having ongoing overheating issues; if at all possible, do not continue to drive the vehicle, until the needed cooling system repairs are completed. You could pop the head gasket or ultimately destroy the engine; i hope you diagnose and fix things soon. Things can get expensive quick; if you continue to over heat the engine, if this cycle continues, catastrophic engine damage will be the result. Check the water pump weep hole for leakage; it maybe time for a replacement, cracked plastic impellers are common and this can kill coolant flow. Pulling the thermostat; is a easy way, to inspect the water pump impeller for damage.
 

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Seconding all the above advice but wanted to add that I THINK if the inside of the oil cap has a foamy sludge on it that it is a sign of coolant in the oil. Good luck on the diagnosis and fix!
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Finally have a little bit of time with daylight to look at car. Right now just testing with water. When I fill reservoir it gurgles and flows through lower house out of reservoir until eventually I get it to fill line. Almost immediately water starts dripping (well much heavier than dripping) from somewhere near the rear of engine (closer to passenger side). This is without car running. Going to try & stick my phone down and video to see if I can't get better view of the leak. Is it worth getting the UV dye kit or is this something obvious?

Also if I blow in the return hose to the reservoir it does bubble, so it seems there is no blockage.
 

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That is the typical area; for the water pump weep hole, when the bearing is worn out. UV dye, in the coolant, may make it easier to see; the source of the leak, if it has been leaking for awhile, vw spec coolant can leave a crusty redish/pinkish residue, pinpointing the coolant leak source.. When the weep hole,bearing leaks; it tends to look like it is coming out if the bottom of the crank/harmonic balancer.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I don't see any crusty reddish/pink residue. I can fill the reservoir and almost immediately have water hitting ground but cannot seem to locate source.

I'm guessing I don't understand the flow correctly. When I'm filling the tank with water it is flowing out the lower hose to the radiator. Once the radiator level is high enough it will flow out the bottom radiator hose toward the thermostat. If the water pump is behind the thermostat should the water be making it to the water pump if the thermostat is closed?Now if the thermostat is stuck open then it would get to the water pump and possibly out the seep hole. What am I missing here?

Thanks again.
 

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You might watch this video; to see how the water pump is replaced, where it is located and how things are setup:


If you suspect the water pump is leaking; you might remove the top timing belt cover, serpentine belt, harmonic balancer, bottom timing belt cover, then the water pump will be exposed. (Pay particular attention to the weep hole at the bottom of the casting of the water pump). When i have had a major leak; it is usually a pretty obvious hose, plastic housing/flange (thermostat or one that comes off the head) or the water pump itself.
 
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