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Old Mar 26th, 2014, 06:19 PM
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DIY Engine Coolant

Introduction to problem: Two days ago I made a trip to Houston to pick up my (new to me) used 2005 mini cooper, it's a 2 door coop base model automatic with 94009 miles on it, private seller.

After taking care of the owners grievous errors in it's health (oil low and VERY dirty, power steering empty, no gasoline, no engine coolant) and with more health care planned for the horizon (spark plugs/boot replacement, full brake replacement pads calipers rotors lines and sensors front and back, air filter replacement, probably going to need ac to be recharged as it isn't blowing anything but warm air and makes a nice loud wining when on regular fan to begin with, blower motor needs replacement maybe? I'm not too sure there) i wonder to myself what more i should do as it is evident to me that little thought was put into the care of the car, the brakes are quite literally screeching and the burning i smell when i step on them leaves me shuddering.

I'm no mechanic but by no means an idiot, I've got a few buddies who are mini smart so we should be able to easily tackle the brakes, and I've done spark plugs before albeit on different cars, same with air filter, no problem. on to the title of this post.

The big problem I have stems from it's overheating, it will start over halfway heated on the temperature gauge, I've filled the coolant twice in the last 2 days. There is no evidence of a leak at all, no spots on the ground (well coolant anyway, there is a small oil leak, I'm thinking oil pan gasket replacement is in order) the car runs warm, no matter how you look at it, I'm wondering just what i can do to solve this issue as it's red-lined twice in the last two days (pull over, get out, check coolant add as necessary let it cool down as necessary limp home) I can find no leak so I wonder what is happening to the coolant? it must be burning off somewhere if it is not leaking, even just sitting overnight the level is lower than it was when i parked it, however no signs of a leak anywhere.

Maybe the thermostat needs replacement or complete removal, housing replaced, could it be water pump issue? or radiator? there are no leaks from the hoses via visual inspection, i had the line bled of air when i had the oil changed and fluids topped off.

I'd do it myself but at the moment the apartment complex wont let me work on it, posing a problem since the brakes are so bad i don't feel safe to drive it to have them worked on, I'll need to do them myself somehow.

Maybe someone here may have an idea as to what the problem is, I've seen thermostat/housing, and header listed as potential culprits for others problems with leaks, however I have found no leak from my mini. The engine oil shows no signs of contaminants. Other than it's own slight leak it remains fine.

Power steering is still rough after the fluid top off, when i say rough, it does not scream or moan when turned but it definitely inst silky smooth, by far there is a good effort to turn the wheel. Not as bad as when it was empty but nowhere near as easy as my old 92 ford was.

Please note as I said I am no fool but I am no mechanic, what is basic for some may be unknown or advanced for me, i know certain things, not major by far, but i love to learn, if you respond with advice be aware I may ask clarification on what you mean or areas you mention.

Thank you to anyone who may be able to help me! I don't want to turn around and flip this mini, it's my first time ever owning one, and I quite literally find myself fond of it on a side relation, anyone know a decent brake replacement kit at a decent price? I have no source of income right now other than blood plasma donation, I'm fighting through unemployment and job applications so it will take me awhile to be able to do much, any home remedies or testing that aren't too expensive are wonderful and welcomed.

Last edited by Joeytain; Mar 26th, 2014 at 09:15 PM.
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Old Mar 26th, 2014, 08:13 PM
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Its overheated and probably warped the head slightly and the head gasket has blown, and depending on how bad it is it can just pressurize the system and force all the coolant out, or drink it, does the exhaust emit steam constantly? without any in fact getting into the oil or without any outward apperances.
Does the coolant smell of exhaust gases? you can get it sniff tested at a garage that can confirm this and also a compression test on each cylinder.
Could be an expensive job if the head needs a re skim, which it probably will and if left the engine will be wrecked, if it isnt already from repeated overheating.
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Old Mar 26th, 2014, 08:59 PM
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exhaust does not emit constant steam, however i will check it again today to see how it goes, coolant smells like coolant, no trace of exhaust smells in the coolant that i can determine.

UPDATED:
started it up checked exhaust, no steam no smoke, no funky smells emitted at all, coolant is at a stand still right now, its not decreasing at an amazing rate, just slowly with no signs on the ground, though i do see a bit of coolant, just a tad bit, around the line connecting to the radiator cap and the reservoir. mayhaps it needs to be replaced?

Engine temperature is amazing and not even mid way, could be that because it was so hot yesterday the engine kept warm? no idea, does not sound like it is running rough (didn't before either), belt does squeak though.

UPDATE 2
Would there be any other tell tale signs of head problems, ie sound/vibrations/foul odors? I would like to find all avenues to explore to help in my own self diagnosis (since i am currently unable to even get to a mechanic with the brakes being so far gone.)

Last edited by Joeytain; Mar 27th, 2014 at 07:08 AM. Reason: update
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Old May 7th, 2014, 08:03 AM
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Everyone made its suggestion on the thread.Actually when ever you purchase a used car so repair it firstly and spend some money on its effective parts.Its better than the problem faced after some days with your car.Simply you can take it to the mechanic he solve your problem easily.Its an overheating problem mainly.
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Old May 7th, 2014, 08:32 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by habi222 (original)
Everyone made its suggestion on the thread.Actually when ever you purchase a used car so repair it firstly and spend some money on its effective parts.Its better than the problem faced after some days with your car.Simply you can take it to the mechanic he solve your problem easily.Its an overheating problem mainly.

Yes but when most people buy a used car firstly they dont want to do repairs and spend money costly, lastly you should buy it with a warranty and get the mechanic to repair it firstly before they sell it you lastly.
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Old May 16th, 2014, 07:02 PM
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private sellers offer no warrenty, always seems to be the case, i'm going to be replacing the thermostat and thermo housing (with seal) on saturday, it only overheats when it's sitting in the sun (due to traffic) so hopefully that will help, could maybe use a new radiator, the coolants been steady no drop what so ever, i'm hoping this will help, if not i'll have to have it looked at for header issues as soon as i can afford to, i'm not made of money so it's difficult >.< so far this car has been a nightmare! I'm tired of driving with the heater on!!!!

UPDATE
Found out the the radiator/condenser cooling fan is not turning on while idling, i've ordered 2 new relays (due in sunday) if those don't work then i'll replace the fan, hopefully this will solve the overheating issue

on a side note there is a tear in the intake boot

Last edited by Joeytain; May 17th, 2014 at 06:50 AM.
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