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Old Dec 27th, 2013, 07:21 PM
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England Coolant leak

Hi,

Need some serious advice please.

Apologies for a massive post but wanted to be as thorough as possible.

Driving along normally this afternoon, joined a dual carriageway and gave it a bit of right foot. Suddenly, a load of what looked like white smoke from the exhaust. It went away and everything seemed normal. Carried on driving for about 1.5 miles to the end of the carriageway and as I was slowing down another puff of white smoke from the back and also the front?

Kept driving, now really conscious of everything trying to figure out what happened and then came to some lights, noticed my temp gauge rapidly rising. It got to about three quarters up before I decided to pull over and kill the engine.

It was now apparent, that it was steam and not smoke.

Popped bonnet, coolant everywhere but couldn't tell where from exactly... Got someone to drop off a load of water, filled up tank but water just came straight out!

Couldn't tow the car as the towing eye was missing so eventually had to shell out 108 for Green Flag to come out.

Two hours later, the guy arrives and quickly spots that a hose near the top,of the engine on the right hand side as you're looking at it had blown off its connector because someone hadn't attached the hose clip at all (so could've blown off anytime).

Anyway, he couldn't fix it because he would've had to remove the air filter box etc to get access which he couldn't do. He secured the hose back on with a cable tie, filled it up and the car started fine with no coolant loss as far as I could tell as a temporary fix so I could do it myself tomorrow or whatever.

I drove home fine, the temp gauge was much lower than normal but I turned on the heater which just blew out cold air for ages then warmed up and the gauge rose to its normal point (just above halfway).

What I would like to know is whether that short drive between the puff of "smoke" and killing the engine off is likely to have caused any damage?

As I say, it drove perfectly and the temp gauge wasn't even at max when I shut it down....

I'll be sorting out that hose clip in the morning - is there anything Obvious that I can check to see if it's knackered?

Any assistance would be appreciated!

Thanks
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Old Dec 28th, 2013, 08:42 AM
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I had a similar problem to you, except when my mini went in for it's service someone hadn't put the coolant cap on tight enough. It may have been loose. For a few days after I noticed steam rising in front of my windscreen. At first I didn't think anything of it as steam quite commonly rises out of the bonnet when wet. But it happened again, when it was dry. When I arrived ay my destination I checked the engine, and before I even got there, the engine fan had come on, which has never happened before when the engine is turned off. This time, I didn't notice anything wrong either. When I got home that night, the engine fan came on again and it was only this time, under the garage lighting, that I noticed there was a load of green splash marks around the coolant housing. There was still steam and liquid coming out of the coolant area. When it cooled down, I then saw that the coolant cap was very loose. I drove straight to the mini garage the next day and on the way the engine temperature increased fast and almost hit the red line when I arrived at the mini garage, probably due to the lower speed and less air flow.
Following this, mini topped it up with coolant and made sure the cap was properly closed this time. Since this, I haven't had any problems with the coolant or the engine.
However, the engine revs do shake a bit when idle and warm, but this was happening before the coolant problem.

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Old Dec 28th, 2013, 04:22 PM
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Should be ok when coolant suddenly leaks it turns to steam because system is pressurised but the cool heater afterwards suggests there is air in the system which needs bleeding out (lots of posts on here about bleeding cooling system if you search)......important this is done or coolant level will drop and engine overheat again. Heater will blow hot when all the air is gone.
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Old Jan 5th, 2014, 06:55 AM
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Thanks to you both. Sorry for late response (been away for a few days)

I sorted out the hose the next day - a right pain in the back side haha - had to remove the whole air filter box etc just to access the hose! Anyway, that's all done. No leaks!

I did read up about bleeding the system but here's the thing - I loosened both the bleed valves (top of rad and the one near the hose I'd just sorted) but absolutely nothing came out - air OR coolant?

The car was right up to temperature, there were no leaks etc but yet even after about 15 mins of idling I had nothing from the bleed valves. I made sure I had the heater set to 'HI' and on the lowest speed as directed but still nothing.

Any suggestions?

I also read somewhere yesterday that when bleeding the system that the rear of the car needs to be lower than the front when bleeding. Haven't tried that but will do later hopefully.

The heater seems to be about right i think (I never really paid any attention to what it was like before but it's warm enough for me so I think it's ok)

If you can think of anything I,d be really grateful.

Thanks again fella's
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Old Jan 5th, 2014, 08:44 AM
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The bleed valves may be blocked, perhaps someone used a 'Radweld' type additive in the past which can sometimes do this.......however if your heater is blowing hot and the coolant level is stable in the expansion tank and no sign of overheating on the gauge you may be ok and no air is trapped. Just keep an eye on coolant level and temperature gauge for next few days during and after any journey and perhaps carry some extra coolant/water for an emergency 'get you home' top-up if required.
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Old Jan 5th, 2014, 10:19 AM
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Thanks, mate. Just managed to bleed it a little, hopefully. Parked the car facing uphill, turned on heater like before and let it idle with the rad cap on but opened the bleeder by the top hose until the temp gauge showed to halfway. Noticed coolant trickling out so closed the valve off and let it idle for another 5 mins or so. No leaks, temp gauge stayed stable, shut off engine and opened rad cap to see level was a little low which makes sense so topped it off. Will keep an eye on the coolant level and re-check next weekend.

Thanks again.
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