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mnde
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Post by mnde » Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:03 pm

I just went out on a whim to check my coolant level. Found it required another cupful of water to bring it up to MAX, so I've definitely got a leak somewhere. Trouble is there's nothing obvious. I'd better look at the bottom hose connection, because it has had a drain/pressure test/refill/bleed at the local Cit specialist recently :roll: :x

I checked it at least twice between buying it and taking it to the garage, and it was always on MAX (v rusty water!).

Mark.
1982 Citroen GSA Spécial Estate
1997 Renault Mégane RT 1.4e
1991 Citroen BX16 TGS Meteor - gone to Scotland

jeremy
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Post by jeremy » Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:18 pm

Are you sure? Max mark means what it says - somewhere there is a min mark as well. What happens if you leave the water when it drops but of course make sure it doesn't drop below the min. In fact there's probably a bit of tolerance below that.

OurZX has a header on the off side of the rad, parallel with the end of the rad (ie vertical). Over a year it drops to about 1/2 way between max and min (7 - 8 inches? and I top it up when I open the cooling circuit for some reason. Its done it for the last 3 years and I'm sure there's nothing wrong with it.

If you have a transparent header you may be able to find the min mark with a torch.

jeremy

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mnde
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Post by mnde » Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:31 pm

Hmmm... I was told that in a pressurised, enclosed coolant system, fluid loss should be negligible - so if you're losing any, there must be a leak. Between Saturday and today it has lost 1 plastic drinking-cup full.

My BX doesn't have a header tank; the rad cap is directly on top of the LH side of the rad and the (black) filler neck has an integral coolant dipstick with MIN and MAX markings on it.

Regards,

Mark.
1982 Citroen GSA Spécial Estate
1997 Renault Mégane RT 1.4e
1991 Citroen BX16 TGS Meteor - gone to Scotland

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Ian_Fearn
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Post by Ian_Fearn » Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:35 pm

I've not kept uptodate with this post but have you checked for any dampness inside the cabin?
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mnde
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Post by mnde » Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:59 pm

Ah, the good ole heater matrix...

No I haven't checked that, but I will take a looksie upsidedown with a torch at the weekend... I was planning to try and grease/lube the clutch pivot and the heater tap anyway.

It has happened to me before: the old Meteor developed suspicious little puddles on the driver's footmat. I stopped the leak successfully by tightening the matrix-to-heater tap joint bolts which were surprisingly un-tight (BUGGER of a job), and smearing lots of silicone sealant all the way round the joint.

Where else could I check for dampness? I'm not getting any mist on the inside of the windscreen, if that's another sign.

Mark.
1982 Citroen GSA Spécial Estate
1997 Renault Mégane RT 1.4e
1991 Citroen BX16 TGS Meteor - gone to Scotland

jeremy
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Post by jeremy » Thu Jan 19, 2006 5:01 pm

You're right - with a pressurised system the loss should be negligible but this depends on there being adequate room for expansion. Max marks are sometimes correct and sometimes not. If they're not then the surplus will be blown out of course.

The point I'm making is 'does it drop any further' - ie if left will it go below min?

I think you will find that the plastic moulding with the radiator cap on it is in fact a header tank - similar to the one I described for the ZX. This means that the level as shown under the cap is the level in the header rather than the level in the radiator core. It probably also means that the water has to syphon into the core or something when it is topped up and may really only settle when the engine has cooled and drawn water out of the header. If the level has dropped significantly this may not happen first time!

jeremy

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mnde
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Post by mnde » Thu Jan 19, 2006 5:19 pm

jeremy wrote:You're right - with a pressurised system the loss should be negligible but this depends on there being adequate room for expansion. Max marks are sometimes correct and sometimes not. If they're not then the surplus will be blown out of course.

The point I'm making is 'does it drop any further' - ie if left will it go below min?

I think you will find that the plastic moulding with the radiator cap on it is in fact a header tank - similar to the one I described for the ZX. This means that the level as shown under the cap is the level in the header rather than the level in the radiator core. It probably also means that the water has to syphon into the core or something when it is topped up and may really only settle when the engine has cooled and drawn water out of the header. If the level has dropped significantly this may not happen first time!

jeremy
Right I take your point :) Sorry, got confused with terminology - of course it is a type of header tank - I'm just used to most cars having a big semi-transparent plastic bottle entirely separate from the rad.

On Saturday I was drawn to check the coolant level by the fact the coolant light stayed on for a few seconds after starting up, which means it had dropped a significant way past the Min point, and past the coolant level sensor. This was only 8 days after I'd had the coolant changed. Today it was below min again on the dipstick and I had to add another cupful. I'll continue to monitor the level this week. Should the level be checked 15 mins after turning off the engine, or always when it's stone cold?

Thanks,

Mark.
1982 Citroen GSA Spécial Estate
1997 Renault Mégane RT 1.4e
1991 Citroen BX16 TGS Meteor - gone to Scotland

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ken newbold
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Post by ken newbold » Thu Jan 19, 2006 5:56 pm

I take it you've changed the coolant ? was the old stuff really rusty? if so after refilling with new antifreeze I've known water pumps start to leak.

Keep an eye out under the engine drivers side, try putting clean cardboard under there at night, watch for result.
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Post by jeremy » Thu Jan 19, 2006 6:16 pm

Citoren are totally unhelpful in the BX 19 handbook for 1989 cars and simply give instructions to avoid scalding (worthwhile of course) and make no mention of dipsticks or levels! This is the same for the 16 valve which uses the same header as the TD which has a plastic bar accross it about 1/3 of the way up and no explanation of where the water level should be!

So - no guidance from the manufacturers as to when to check it. I'd have said the best time was immediately before use - but providing its done at the same time every time it won't make much difference. (First Hot - second cold will give a misleading drop!)

At least you have a level light - its some re-assurance!

jeremy

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mnde
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Post by mnde » Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:03 pm

I made the mistake of relying on a level light before. It wasn't so reliable as I thought... then I cooked the headgasket.

Nothing quite beats a regular manual check. Which is why I think having an oil level gauge in the dashboard is pointless... Why devote one gauge to registering the oil level when you switch the ignition on... which then becomes redundant once you've switched the engine on... instead of having a temp gauge there instead???

Mark.
1982 Citroen GSA Spécial Estate
1997 Renault Mégane RT 1.4e
1991 Citroen BX16 TGS Meteor - gone to Scotland

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mnde
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Post by mnde » Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:06 pm

ken newbold wrote:I take it you've changed the coolant ? was the old stuff really rusty? if so after refilling with new antifreeze I've known water pumps start to leak.

Keep an eye out under the engine drivers side, try putting clean cardboard under there at night, watch for result.
Yes the old stuff was quite rusty from what I saw on the coolant dipstick - it made it much easier to read the level! I'll try your cardboard trick :) Thanks Ken.

Mark.
1982 Citroen GSA Spécial Estate
1997 Renault Mégane RT 1.4e
1991 Citroen BX16 TGS Meteor - gone to Scotland

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mnde
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Post by mnde » Sun Mar 12, 2006 1:35 am

Just as a quick update to this, after a couple of topping-ups, the coolant level has remained pretty constant until last week, when I found the level had dropped to the bottom of the dipstick level. So I'm thinking the initial "losses" must have been to do with the new coolant having circulated but not completely filled every last recess in the heater matrix etc. after the garage refilled and bled the system.

There's always a mountain of little jobs to do - but I always have limited time to do them!

This afternoon I swapped the s/h 400cc front spheres that Ken gave me (thanks Ken!) for a brand new pair of Amtex 500cc ones. Even with creaking struts, I felt a difference in the ride - and Ken's were pretty good as it was, but you can't beat fresh new spheres! I put the 400cc ones on the other Meteor in the garage, which has been sphere-less since I pilfered its fronts to take up to BXClub Wakefield and they turned out to be US...

I also put the carby that Cav sent me (thanks Cav!) into a sweet tin, and poured most of a 5L can of white spirits over it. Then found that as I'd distorted the tin slightly to fit the carb in, I'd managed to split the bottom seam of the (round) tin slightly... so was getting slow white spirit seepage... :x In the end, I put the tin into a binliner and sat it in an old plastic washing up bowl. Hopefully the white spirit will do its job before it all seeps out of the bottom...

Then I ran out of daylight so I had to postpone other jobs I wanted to do like change the sparkplugs and HT leads, fix the radio aerial, clean and lubricate under the front strut gaiters, clean up the carb, change the fuel filter, investigate the front sunroof drain tubes, tighten the hyd. pump belt, clean all the doorshuts etc, etc... Bloody winter! (No garage space!)

Mark.
1982 Citroen GSA Spécial Estate
1997 Renault Mégane RT 1.4e
1991 Citroen BX16 TGS Meteor - gone to Scotland