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Old 10.02.2014, 21:45
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Coolant problem (Audi Avant 1.8)

The car has 220'000km mileage and everything is fine except that I need to refill the coolant like every 40 days. I got the warning when I started the engine this morning and the coolant level was very very low. I drove the car yesterday and did not get any signal or even high temperature indicator.

What could be the issue? There is no water under the car indicating a leak. What should I check?

PS: I want to replace the car this year but as late as possible.
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Old 10.02.2014, 21:50
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Re: Coolant problem (Audi Avant 1.8)

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The car has 220'000km mileage and everything is fine except that I need to refill the coolant like every 40 days. I got the warning when I started the engine this morning and the coolant level was very very low. I drove the car yesterday and did not get any signal or even high temperature indicator.

What could be the issue? There is no water under the car indicating a leak. What should I check?

PS: I want to replace the car this year but as late as possible.
Look for water in the oil, mayonnaise looking when you open the oil cap. Or oil in the water. That would be the most serious issue (head gasket)

If you only need to top up every 6 weeks it could be just a tiny leak, why not just top up every 3 weeks & see what happens.

If you take the car to the garage you could easily spend what it's worth, if it's not overheating there is not much to worry about!for now.
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Old 10.02.2014, 21:56
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Re: Coolant problem (Audi Avant 1.8)

I hope you are refilling with water & anti freeze, and not pure water. It might be worth carrying a gallon of fluid with you, just in case it ever gets worse suddenly, but wait until the motor is cool before opening the filler cap!
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Old 10.02.2014, 21:59
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Re: Coolant problem (Audi Avant 1.8)

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I hope you are refilling with water & anti freeze, and not pure water. It might be worth carrying a gallon of fluid with you, just in case it ever gets worse suddenly, but wait until the motor is cool before opening the filler cap!
yes with anti-freeze of course and I always open once it has cooled down.
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Old 10.02.2014, 22:04
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Re: Coolant problem (Audi Avant 1.8)

Might be an idea to at least see if you can find a friendly mechanic to give it a once over, head gasket is a big and expensive job.
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Old 11.02.2014, 02:51
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Re: Coolant problem (Audi Avant 1.8)

had a similar problem on my old Audi, turned out to the radiator core itself, no obvious leaks, but you might see areas of discolouration on the radiator itself.

I know on the UK there are places that can re-core a radiator so that you don't have to buy a new radiator, the downside is you usually have to take the radiator out of the car yourself, not sure if the same sort of service is available in CH
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Old 11.02.2014, 22:28
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Re: Coolant problem (Audi Avant 1.8)

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The car has 220'000km mileage and everything is fine except that I need to refill the coolant like every 40 days. I got the warning when I started the engine this morning and the coolant level was very very low. I drove the car yesterday and did not get any signal or even high temperature indicator.

What could be the issue? There is no water under the car indicating a leak. What should I check?

PS: I want to replace the car this year but as late as possible.
It's possible that it's something quite simple like the expansion tank cap (or radiator cap) is faulty. These are pressurised and if it's the original one, it could be allowing some 'steam' to escape as you drive thus causing the level to drop but without you ever seeing a leek under the car. It's worth trying as Audi will only charge a relatively small amount for a new cap. I dealt with this exact problem on a customers BMW last year and a new rad cap solved it.
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Old 12.02.2014, 00:30
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Re: Coolant problem (Audi Avant 1.8)

MrVertigo

I've poked my nose in enough Audi 1.8's for this question...

Some Audi coolant leaks, especially on the 1.8, are just slow enough for dry up before reaching the floor. The higher the leak, the quicker it dries. Or it's drying in the motors' underbody cover, which is a hassle taking off unless you are on a lift. Possible, but a pain...6 metal 90 deg. turning screws and 4 plastic (2 on each side) 90 deg turn screws. Make sure you are refilling with 50/50 mix.

Look for white or pinkish crusties (may be damp or hard crusted) around radiator hoses, coolant tank, radiator, thermostat, engine coolant temp sensor (or it's o-ring) or said sensor housing (Back side of cylinder head, transmission side. It's tough to see with diverter valve in the way). There's also a mini oil cooler where the oil filter goes (under the coolant tank, cooler is between filter and block, aluminum) so check those hoses too.

Also look under the crank pully, the water pump is run off the timing belt. If that is leaking, you'd see it coming from the bottom of the metal shield behind the crank pulley. You should be nearing your 2nd timing belt + water pump replacement with 220K kilometers. I've seen too the crank pulley flinging coolant drips so there were white spots on the motor side edge of the crank pulley. Once the water pump leak was so bad the coolant was being flung from the whole accessory belt. A white crusty line across the under side of the hood.

As aforementioned, also check your oil. Make sure it's a dark oil color, and not like light chocolate milk. That would indicate bigger problems and is a whole different repair.

If it was the radiator cap, which the only one on this motor is on the coolant bottle, you'd see those crusties under the bottle. I've changed maybe 5 radiator caps solely for a problem in my 10 year Audi career, plus a couple only because they came with a new bottle. Still is possible tho. Check the bottle for hairline cracks in the plastic, quite a common occurrence on them Audi's. Motor temp won't register if your coolant is too low, if temp stays low and coolant is full (presuming the cluster gauge is OK), the thermostat is stuck open (which should be changed at your next timing belt too! Lots of kilometers!)

An extra thought to add since it's coolant system related...if you CAN see the engine temp sensor under the black connector (Mostly D-shell shaped), check the color. If it's green, it's updated. If it's black, and you do facilitate a repair for the coolant leak, CHANGE THE SENSOR TOO to an updated green (order ECT, o-ring and the clip). The problem is this sensor actually has 2 sensors in one part. One for the engine module and the other for the cluster. The black one was notorious for one or the other going tits-up, usually with a running too rich when cold, or always. The motor would think the coolant was -40 degrees and the air/fuel mixture would be out of wack and run like crap, almost like a mis-fire but not.

If it's blue, it's the older square connector, probably ok.

Hope that helps. If you find the culprit, post a photo and I can point a finger in a direction to take.

-Dk
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Last edited by Diego Knyte; 12.02.2014 at 00:31. Reason: clairificaiton
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Old 12.02.2014, 10:24
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Re: Coolant problem (Audi Avant 1.8)

I had an A4 1.9 which developed this problem. The garage could find nothing wrong after checking all the obvious things. After a bit of Googling, I figured it could be the cylinder head gasket, even although there was no trace of water in the oil. It's a common problem with Audis after high kms. It only lost coolant when driving fast on the Autobann (in Germany), never when going slower. I told the garage to change the gasket and they were very reluctant. It fixed the problem though and the old gasket showed no visible signs of damage.

Last edited by salie; 12.02.2014 at 11:17.
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Old 12.02.2014, 12:12
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Re: Coolant problem (Audi Avant 1.8)

Could be a leak. I also have one in my Audi and by now the dried out liquid has built up to the extent it seems to have sealed itself ;-).

If the problem is with the head gasket, common telltale signs are buttery residue under the Oil Cap, excessive foaming of oil, oil in cooling liquid or bubbling visible in the cooling liquid reservoir when you rev up the engine.
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Old 12.02.2014, 12:14
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Re: Coolant problem (Audi Avant 1.8)

Remember if you only drive short distances then its possible that the mayo forms anyway regardless of leak or not.
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Old 12.02.2014, 12:21
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Re: Coolant problem (Audi Avant 1.8)

Try a can of sealant.

Tom
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Old 12.02.2014, 13:25
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Re: Coolant problem (Audi Avant 1.8)

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Try a can of sealant.

Tom
Or an egg
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Old 12.02.2014, 17:39
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Re: Coolant problem (Audi Avant 1.8)

So it does not look good at all:

-checked the coolant expansion tank: the liquid has a strange color like mixed with oil...checked the texture with my fingers it's not "greasy".

- at the back of the motor, near the transmission it seems like there is an oil leak

No smoke when engine is running.

So it looks like a gasket damage. I know this can be expensive and I'm not sure I want to spend that much money on the car. The question is if there is any danger driving the car like now by refilling coolant (and probably oil as well) ?
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Old 12.02.2014, 17:46
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Re: Coolant problem (Audi Avant 1.8)

As I said, get a can of radiator sealant.

It should solve your problem for a while (I used it some years back as I had a leaky radiator in winter that I wanted to wait until spring to fix).

Tom
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Old 12.02.2014, 18:03
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Re: Coolant problem (Audi Avant 1.8)

Just phoned the local Amag garage. They need to check it but they said very often it's not a gasket issue but a broken or cracked coolant flange on this model.
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Old 12.02.2014, 19:09
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Re: Coolant problem (Audi Avant 1.8)

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Just phoned the local Amag garage. They need to check it but they said very often it's not a gasket issue but a broken or cracked coolant flange on this model.
Wise choice.
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Old 12.02.2014, 19:47
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Re: Coolant problem (Audi Avant 1.8)

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Just phoned the local Amag garage. They need to check it but they said very often it's not a gasket issue but a broken or cracked coolant flange on this model.
If you don't want to spend so much money, DON'T go to the AMAG dealer.
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Old 12.02.2014, 22:36
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Re: Coolant problem (Audi Avant 1.8)

It's been my experience that the best type of sealer to put in your coolant is fluid based. Stuff like Bar's stop leak has a tendency to clump and clog heater cores over time, then you have no heat during winter. Audi made the passages too narrow.

I've def. seen the the coolant flange get cracked or rotted just enough around the o-ring that it'll leak. It's kind of a pain to do on the 1.8's with normal position motors as opposed to transverse mounted style. Removal of the secondary air diverter valve is a must.

Without seeing the coolant/car first hand it's hard to tell. Internet diagnosis is like trying to fix something over the phone. Damn near impossible just because it's not in front of ya. And because variations with motor codes, some parts vary from motor to motor. For example some have a metal pipe and others have a plastic covering over metal pipe that feeds the flange. Each has their own potential surprises for additional parts.

Anyway, I'd take it to a shop that's reputable and a fair price. Amag is good but pricey, but they are the "pro's" and have damn near immediate access to any parts they will need. If it's a coolant loss complaint, they should be doing a cooling system pressure test to detect any external leaks and/or a block test that will see if combustion gasses are making their way into the cooling system (head gasket, cracked block/head).

Wherever you go, ask to see all old parts when they are done.

Good luck!
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Old 12.02.2014, 22:39
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Re: Coolant problem (Audi Avant 1.8)

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It's been my experience that the best type of sealer to put in your coolant is fluid based.
Like I've said, get one. I got mine at Manor, worked great.

If you have such leaks, there is nothing to lose.

Once I got around to replacing the radiator, car lasted another 4 years until I sold it, so no negative effects.

Tom
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