coolant resevoir leaking

jettafool

Active member
Joined
May 11, 2020
Location
quebec, canada
TDI
2001 jetta tdi
My 01 ve alh got some major work last week, new timing belt kit, 11mm pump and a stage 3 malone tune, the difference with my other upgrades is amazing, it really goes like stink. Now the problem, I was on a long drive the other day and almost home when my coolant light came on, I didn't overheat (it stays parked on 90 degrees) but it has been really hot outside. My coolant resevoir was almost empty, I parked the car, got a ride home to fetch some coolant and topped it up. I first tried changing the cap but still seemed to be leaking out of the top of the resevoir, went to Kenny u pull and got another resevoir and changed that (with the new style cap). Did some driving today and the new jug seems to be losing coolant from the top. The only other thing to mention is that I bypassed the egr cooler when I did the timing belt, was gonna delete the whole system.

My buddy thinks my old engine (426,000 kms) doesn't like all that extra boost and my head gasket is letting go, could it be anything else?

Depressed near montreal
 

jettafool

Active member
Joined
May 11, 2020
Location
quebec, canada
TDI
2001 jetta tdi
I should also mention that my A/C doesn't work (need condensor change), and I think the fans are cooked, Ive never seen them work in 3 years.. Been meaning to change em for fun...already have new condensor, just need to put it in.
 

Nero Morg

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Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2014 A6 TDI, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
If you turn on the ac when stationary, the fans should still come on. Sort of a test to check the fans.
All the extra boost could be lifting the head on a tired engine, but I say unlikely. My car is pushing 350k miles on a stage 4, and I have no sign of combustion in the coolant.

Usually when your head gasket is leaking, you'll start getting black carbon flakes showing up in your coolant. Do you see any of that?

Also, you say it's 'leaking at the top' what exactly do you mean top?
 

jettafool

Active member
Joined
May 11, 2020
Location
quebec, canada
TDI
2001 jetta tdi
The resevoir ball is leaking from the cap and/or the little plastic flap, you can see where the coolant has leaked down the ball and the hold down screw in the back are wet. The fan test won't work since my A/C doesn't work. I slapped my mityvac on the return line and some air bubbles definately came out. Im waiting for it too cool to check hoses for pressure but when I undo the cap it seems less of a swoosh than normal. I have the new style cap on it, maybe i'll switch back to the old style, im not sure if gas engines have the same cap.....
 

Nero Morg

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2014 A6 TDI, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
If you're getting excessive coolant leaking out the side of the ball out of the built in drain, it's either boiling out or blowing out with exhaust gasses.
 

Diesel Fumes

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2008
Location
Creston, bc
TDI
2003 alh tdi 5 speed
If you're getting excessive coolant leaking out the side of the ball out of the built in drain, it's either boiling out or blowing out with exhaust gasses.
Check the pressure in the tank when the engine is hot and system is pressurized. If it has a lot of pressure (like if you need to be careful removing the cap), it could be head gasket issues.

I have 2 tdis. One barely has pressure when removing the cap and the other one has a lot and the pressure remains for a long time after shut down. Even when the coolant is cooled down after several hours I still get a nice hissing sound when removing the cap. Whereas the one without a bad head gasket doesn't make any pressure sounds when removing the cap.

Also in the car with the bad head gasket, it will blow coolant out the tank slowly if the engine is under load constantly like going up hills and stuff. But not enough to cause over heating or excessive loss of coolant

I wouldn't sweat the head gasket issue too much. Apparently mines been blown for 2 years and all I did was keep adding coolant as needed. I noticed when the coolant got low it wouldn't blow out as bad. So I got into the habit of never filling it to the max line. Just kept a close eye on it. It was actually worse in the winter for some reason though. I was only adding coolant once a week though. If you're having to add it more frequently it could get annoying, but might be fine to keep running it a long time but maybe needs to run less boost to better manage the problems?
 

csstevej

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 12, 2004
Location
north nj
TDI
2001 golf tdi 4 door auto now a manual, mine, 2000 golf 2 door M/T son's,daughters 98 NB non-TDI 2.0, 2003 TDI NB for next daughter, head repaired and on road,gluten for punishment got another tdi 2001NB,another yellow tdi NB
Yeah your head gasket is done.

I had a similar situation on my daily driver 392,xxx miles and the head gasket let go, 20,xxx miles prior to this I installed sprint 520’s and did a Malone 3 , I already had a 11mm ip as I converted it from an auto to a manual.

On mine I changed the head with a used serviceable one from Frans in the Netherlands , Franko6 was backlogged and I need a head quickly, I had smoke on first start up and a broken glow plug for the last 10 years, figured it was time.
When I pulled the head I found cylinder #4 had excess oil on top of piston from a leaking valve sitting overnight.

It will run “ fine “ if you don’t lay on the throttle but it will not get any better , over time it will get worse and possible take the block out , now it’s probably only a gasket and possibly , possibly a head , that would need to be checked when head is removed for any war page.

But with that kind of mileage on the head I would probably look for a good low mileage one , over get a fresh rebuilt one from Franko6 a head guru here, if not from him I would send a message to Frans and see what he has , I had mine inside of a week , and very reasonable priced. Just my .02.
 

csstevej

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 12, 2004
Location
north nj
TDI
2001 golf tdi 4 door auto now a manual, mine, 2000 golf 2 door M/T son's,daughters 98 NB non-TDI 2.0, 2003 TDI NB for next daughter, head repaired and on road,gluten for punishment got another tdi 2001NB,another yellow tdi NB
One other thing , if your relying on your temp gauge on your dash…..forget about it , it will stay there to almost 220 degrees. I run with a scan gage and I guarantee you that your coolant temps rose….mine sure as hell did, at one point it climbed to 225 degrees.
Also since you stated both your rad fans are inop that does not help your situation.
 

Tdijarhead

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Location
Lawrenceville PA
TDI
2003 TDI Jetta Daughters Car, 2001 TDI Beetle, Daughters car, 2005 Golf TDI Mine, all 5 spds
You just had your timing belt done , the common method I use and others also is to move the coolant ball up out of the way, which cracks the little plastic nipple for the return line on top of the ball. Before you condemn your head gasket replace the coolant ball and see if the leak goes away. Last time I bought one from idparts they were around $20, probably a little more now and it’s a 10 minute job. A head gasket is a bit longer job and a bit more cost.
 

jettafool

Active member
Joined
May 11, 2020
Location
quebec, canada
TDI
2001 jetta tdi
Thanks for all the advice guys, since I've already swapped the resevoir and cap and I have some but not crazy pressure when I remove cap cool (it actually seemed to have more before this problem), Im starting to think head gasket. I did granny drive it about 50kms yesterday and checked and no issue, I think it leaks more when I step on it... I think its time to get some better fans (I saw some at kenny u pull, nice and shiny that turn easy) and get on the A/C. I was looking hard at a used ALH motor complete for $200 a while back, it had 100,000 KMs (60 K miles), wish I would have jumped on it.
I put the upgraded green temp sender unit, I hope my gauge is somewhat accurate... I think maybe the fans work off a different sender unit anyways.
 

csstevej

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 12, 2004
Location
north nj
TDI
2001 golf tdi 4 door auto now a manual, mine, 2000 golf 2 door M/T son's,daughters 98 NB non-TDI 2.0, 2003 TDI NB for next daughter, head repaired and on road,gluten for punishment got another tdi 2001NB,another yellow tdi NB
Yes your fans work on a switch on the radiator.
If you want accurate temps you need to run with a scan gage set up , it will give you real time temps and whatever other parameters you want to keep an eye on. For me I have it set for boost , accurate MPH , voltage and temps.
 

jettafool

Active member
Joined
May 11, 2020
Location
quebec, canada
TDI
2001 jetta tdi
I've been studying the problem for a few days and it seems a few people have installed the ARP 204-4706 head studs and solved the over-pressure coolant tank problem, anyone else ever tried this? it would be way less labour and maybe worth a try....
 

csstevej

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 12, 2004
Location
north nj
TDI
2001 golf tdi 4 door auto now a manual, mine, 2000 golf 2 door M/T son's,daughters 98 NB non-TDI 2.0, 2003 TDI NB for next daughter, head repaired and on road,gluten for punishment got another tdi 2001NB,another yellow tdi NB
I did do this and it did slow it down a little……but ultimately I had to replace my head and the gasket.
The head replaced not due to warpage but I had a broken GP for at least 10 years and I was getting a coud of smoke on start up which smelled of oil . When I did pop the head off I had found that the head was straight but the valve guides in cylinder #4 would leak down over night and leave the head of piston oily. That fixed the smoky start up , that head had 392,xxx miles on it at the time and was original.
 

mittzlepick

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2001
Location
union maine
TDI
2004 jetta wagon (365k)2001 wagon tire burner 6spd 2003 wagon(417k)
Can you confirm the small hose is not plugged. Pull the clamp off start the car with the cap off pull the hose off and aim it in the bottle. Thats if you cant see it circulating
 

jettafool

Active member
Joined
May 11, 2020
Location
quebec, canada
TDI
2001 jetta tdi
Ya, i know the hose works, I put my mity vac on it and got some air bubbles, Ive been driving like a granny for a few days, maybe 500 km (3-400 miles) and its not going down, sitting near minimum. insane fuel economy lol Its got me thinking the arp studs and don't nail it too often, maybe it will last a while. Im going to get my fans and a/c working fast Thanks
 

mittzlepick

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2001
Location
union maine
TDI
2004 jetta wagon (365k)2001 wagon tire burner 6spd 2003 wagon(417k)
I used 30 guaranteed to work on headgasket stuff. Killed the radiator and stuck tstat closed. Gutted tstat swapped out radiator seems stable. Running it till it quits. At 375k it owes me little.
 
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