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My car is currently overheating, blowing cold air, hot to touch upper hose and cool to touch lower hose.

I have owned this car for about 6 years...

When I purchased the car the timing belt and water pump had been replaced by the previous owner, she had records.

After 2 years of running well, the car began to overheat. The overheating was diagnosed waterpump. I fixed it for the 2nd time in the vehicle.

The car ran fine for about a year... began overheating AGAIN.
Took it to the shop and fixed O rings, housing unit, and some other things.

Car ran well for about 2 years.

This past spring 2017, the car began overheating AGAIN.

I had a lot of work done because...electrical work and yet ANOTHER waterpump fix, among other things.

Now barely 6 months later the car is overheating AGAIN... bubbling over in the overflow, no visible leaks, no hot air blowing, hot upper hose near the overflow but the cool to touch throughout the hose to the radiator.

During my ownership of this 1998 Bug I got at least 3 waterpump replacements, thermostat, heater core, housing units, O rings, and new coolant expansion cap. (I'm sure I'm missing a couple heating and cooling replacements).

At this point my mechanic is thinking head gasket, which I think we all know translates to, "time to buy a new car."

I realize a head gasket seems logical especially given the age. Trust me, I know that I don't have much more time left with my bug. I just can't stop thinking that every time I've had major issues with this car it has ALWAYS been because of overheating and almost always the same symptoms.

I won't lie I also hoped after the total overhaul barely 6 months ago I would get a little more time...

ADDITIONALLY: The car isn't exhibiting normal head gasket issues- There is not coolant in the oil, no milkshake oil, no external oil or coolant leak, no misfire is or puff of white exhaust upon startup could indicate a leak from the cooling system into the cylinder, and clear green coolant
it takes a while to actually begin overheating.

Don't know if it matters but it is a 1998 Bug 2.0 Manual with about 145K

Has anyone gone through this, or have any advice or suggestions?

Please share!
 

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I think the biggest clue to your problems comes right at the end of the post:

and clear green coolant
The VW coolants are not compatible with green-type coolants and produce a brown sludge when mixed. The sludge fills the cooling system and causes many problems. It could be that the sludge is in your engine, migrates around over time and eventually clogs up the impeller in the coolant pump rendering it useless. Your experience with replacing the coolant pump, heater core and plastic parts is probably not too unusual when green coolant is used in one of these cars.

Here is a post with Billymade's experience dealing with a car that had mixed coolants:

http://newbeetle.org/forums/2-0-liter-gas/88522-re-g12-green-coolant-contamination-how-clean-system.html

The first 4 minutes of this video gives a good guide to diagnosing overheating in these engines:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiDRUWPw_f4

Your car apparently has had green coolant in it for so long you may be better off flushing it out and sticking with green coolant rather than creating more problems by trying to switch back.
 

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What brand waterpump/timing belt kits are you using? Good quality water pumps seem to be Hepu (Germany) and Graf (Italy); correct installation and fully flushed cooling system; seems crucial to a long lasting water pump.

I use the blauparts kit; they use oem parts and now use ina/schaeffler repair kit and my last kit had a graf water pump for my 1.8t.

Blauparts.com

Correct water pump installation info:

https://www.blauparts.com/vw_water_pump_replacement/bad_vw_water_pump_leak_noise.html

To rule out a head gasket; you might do a leakdown test and try a combustion leak test of the cooling system.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Waterpump brands

Honestly I have no idea what brand waterpump they were. I know the previous owner had installed one at the VW dealer. I believe one of the three I had done was a Graf, but I didn't do my own water pump installations. So two of the water pumps that were put in I am unsure of the brand. Which makes me worried because one of the shops used the green coolant, I remember specifically taking it home after a repair and seeing green coolant. I thought it was different but didn't go so far as to question it because I was under the assumption that the repair shop mechanics were the experts. I had the paper work but I recently moved and my records have been lost in the shuffle.

Do you think this may be another Waterpump issue?

I will say the last place that replaced a waterpump 6months ago was recommended to me by a friend but they took a long time and found many different problems so my confidence in them was very low, but when I got the car back it worked.

I am going to flush the system as suggested. I wanted to try it anyway because of the lower hose still feeling cool it did not seem like the coolant was reaching the end of the line and was quite possibly experiencing a blockage along the way.

My mechanic wanted to check to thermostat to be sure because he is apparently not 100% ready to call time of death on this either.

I will do both a compression and leak test to confirm the head gasket theory.

Do you personally think it sounds like a blown HG?
 

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Well, it is tough to know; we can theorize/guess ad nauseum, that is why getting hard facts/evidence from correct testing procedures is so important. In this case, I would do a leak down test and a combustion leak test of the cooling system.

Leak down tester:

https://www.google.com/search?q=leak+down+tester&oq=leak+down+tester&aqs=chrome..69i57.2316j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

combustion leak tester/ing: https://www.google.com/search?q=combustion+leak+tester&oq=combustion+leak+tester&aqs=chrome..69i57.3190j0j9&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

If you have coolant leaks; I have found doing a pressure test of the cooling system, is a good way to track down the source of coolant leaks.

As far as the competence and whether or not; the previous mechanics did a correct or good job... it is hard to know. I have put two water pumps and timing belts on my car; I have made sure the mating surfaces and waterpump installation went in correctly. If a shop is not well versed in VW's and doesn't do things correctly; it is possible to damage the seal and the pumps can end up failing or leaking. My water pumps, seem to last about 6 or 7 years and the bearings go out, start leaking. I think prepping the mating surface, flushing contaminants out of the cooling system; makes a difference, as noted, the blauparts site has great information, about installation and discussing things that can shorten the life of your waterpump. Inferior parts like the waterpump; usually are sold by most auto parts stores and that is why I buy my timing belt/waterpump kits from blauparts, which only sell high quality oem parts.

http://redirect.viglink.com/?format=go&jsonp=vglnk_151173430572114&key=b365245bbe122b61865c46e2c0a38231&libId=jahav2ma01000bmd000DLgpw797zp&loc=http://newbeetle.org/forums/newreply.php?do=newreply&noquote=1&p=1479729&v=1&out=https://www.blauparts.com/vw_water_pump_replacement/bad_vw_water_pump_leak_noise.html&ref=http://newbeetle.org/forums/questions-issues-concerns-problems-new-beetle/146489-overheating-98vwbug-please-help.html&title=NewBeetle.org Forums - Reply to Topic&txt=https://www.blauparts.com/vw_water_p...eak_noise.html

As noted before; there are some basic checks to look over to confirm the cooling system is working properly. This video has some excellent info; he makes sure the return line to the coolant tank isn't clogged and see if there is a good stream of coolant from the water pump. He shows how the return line was clogged and how a bad waterpump return stream looks like; then, after installing a new waterpump, how a good water pump return stream of coolant should look, fans kick on, heather works, hoses are hot, etc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ln4grYe3WnE
 

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coolant

sounds like blockage to me when someone put the wrong coolant in the system. The thermostat will stick because of the sludge either open or slightly closed.
 
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