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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I just bought a 2001 beetle knowing it had an overheating problem and coolant leak. I tried searching the forums but couldn't find a similar issue to mine. So when the car idles there does not appear to be much coolant leaking but when driving TONS of coolant leaks out coming down behind the fenders leaving a steady line of coolant on the road. Because of this I decided not to drive it home and am picking it up with a trailer tonight.

The majority if it is dripping off the passenger side fender while some is coming down the driver side. I am very unfamiliar with Beetles but have worked on a car or two before. Does anyone have any idea where this leak is?
 

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5/23/10 <3
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Is it boiling over in the reservoir? How many miles on the car? Do you know if the timing belt/water pump has ever been done?
 

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So many possible places, water pump, a broken or loose hose, a broken flange or gasket, the head gasket, the radiator...

If it's not leaking at idle, fill it with water and let it warm and build pressure, should be easy to spot. Especially if it's leaking in a stream.

If you can't identify the part or what it is that's leaking, post a pic.

MORAV
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I suppose I should have clarified. It's leaking from behind the front fenders behind the wheels. As in coolant is dripping down the interior side of the wheel wells. Looking in the engine compartment there are no visible leaks. The only indication of a leak are the drips landing right behind the wheels.

I was informed that the coolant flange, thermostat, wide band O2 sensor, temperature sensor, brake switch, and water pump have all been replaced by a mechanic is search of tracking down the problem. Actually, I'm not sure why the brake switch was replaced...

Thanks for your suggestions. I'll try to take pictures of it this afternoon when I'm done with classes.

Edit: To respond to SmileyBug, when I opened the reservoir there was a decent amount of pressure and a bit of vapor in the reservoir. The car has 146,000 miles. I would assume since the water pump was replaced the timing would have been addressed as well.
 

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A pressure test is really a great way to go; harbor freight sells one that has the adapter to work on the beetle... much cheaper then having a shop do the work for you. I was able to find leaks that I had a hard time finding; I had to do a number of pressure cycles before I finally found a dripping coolant stream at the source and fixed the problem. Each leak issue is different but a pressure test is a quick way to identify the source of the leak; especially if it is hard to find and see where it is coming from. Good luck... (HF has a 20% off coupon right now... so kit would be $64 or so... )

Radiator Pressure Tester Kit
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Alright I found the oil is now very foamy meaning water in the oil meaning blown head gasket. They must have changed the oil right before putting it up for sale as the oil looked perfectly clean when I checked it before I bought it.

Is this a job that can be done myself or do I absolutely need to take it in?
 

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Headgasket is definitely doable for a DIYer. I did one this past winter on a friend's 2.0L. We took our sweet time doing it, though, and thankfully the head wasn't warped.

I got my parts from O'Reilly (gasket kit and new head bolts).

Also in the same timeframe the water pump, timing belt, tensioner, radiator, coolant tank, "heart" flange, thermostat, etc. were all replaced. The cooling system was a total mess.
 
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