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How did I get red oil in my anti-freeze???

 
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Old 13 Oct 2010, 11:41 pm
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Default How did I get red oil in my anti-freeze???

I just changed the anti-freeze in my 2002 PT Cruiser with 40000 miles.
There was about a Pint of very red oil floating in the coolant I drained out. The reservoir is stained bright red. I've looked through the manual and can't find anywhere there could be a connection between the engine cooling and the automatic transmission or power steering cooling systems. (This is not a turbo).

The transmission fluid level looks a little high, but doesn't seem "foamy". The engine oil looks good and the level looks normal (besides the engine oil is brown unless somehow that turns red when exposed to Chrysler's coolant). The PT was driving and shifting fine before I discovered the problem and for the few miles I've put on after making the discovery.

Am I missing something about how the coolant and transmission fluids could commingle? Or did some oil change guy manage to pour oil in my cooling reservoir?

The last oil change was done 2000 miles ago. I didn't notice anything abnormally red when I was under the hood changing the spark plugs at 36,000. I'll start changing the oil myself if I can figure out how to lift the front end to get under there.

What kind of damage is this red oil going to do to the cooling system, water pump radiator, hoses, etc.?
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Old 14 Oct 2010, 07:08 am
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Default Re: How did I get red oil in my anti-freeze???

Chrysler's own HOAT coolant IS red. So apparently you didn't/weren't using the correct fluid to begin with. One of the "oil in 10 minutes" places, which always checks all the fluids and tries to sell you something might have added a can of trans or power steering fluid by mistake to your radiator or overflow tank.

You need to have the system power flushed and filled with the correct Chrysler fluid (HOAT).
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Old 14 Oct 2010, 04:21 pm
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Default Re: How did I get red oil in my anti-freeze???

My bet is you need to replace the radiator. The trans fluid runs through a cooler that is in the radiator-that may be where it is coming from.
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Old 14 Oct 2010, 10:08 pm
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Default Re: How did I get red oil in my anti-freeze???

But according to the manual - and the best I can see looking up in there, the transmission cooler on this PT is a separate unit in front of the radiator. It is not buried in the lower tank of the radiator as in other cars.
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Old 26 Oct 2010, 07:33 pm
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Default Re: How did I get red oil in my anti-freeze???

I had a similar problem. It was actually a blown head gasket spilling oil into the cooling system. The transmission has a separate cooler. If you have a Turbo the radiator has inserts for oil to also be cooled through the radiator, Right on the bottom of the radiator there are 2 brass connectors that aren't being used.

I'm not saying you got a blown head gasket i'm just pointing out what was wrong with mine. I posted pictures of what my coolant looked like on one of my threads,

My advice is to flush the system with pure distilled water and a flush/cleaner before adding new coolant. After the flush fill the system with distilled water again drive it for a couple of days and drain it again to see what you have. If the second flush has a significant amount of oily residue I would want to check the head gasket first by doing a compression test then a leak down test. If no oily residue came out after the second flush then someone added something to the cooling system that wasn't suppose to be there. In that case just fill with clean Zerex G-05 and distilled water 50/50.
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Old 27 Oct 2010, 06:49 am
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Default Re: How did I get red oil in my anti-freeze???

Quote:
Originally Posted by rrpcguy View Post
I'll start changing the oil myself if I can figure out how to lift the front end to get under there.
welcome to the forums -
Are you the original owner?

Best bet for changing oil - is "Rhino ramps" - they are plastic, but can hold like twice what the PT weighs. About $25. Most auto places have them.
You just drive up on them.
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Old 27 Oct 2010, 11:53 pm
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Default Re: How did I get red oil in my anti-freeze???

Lucky,

Thanks for the advice. Here's where I'm at:

I took it back to the place that last changed my oil, and although denying fault, agreed to do a "power flush" (really a pump exchange via adapters at the top radiator hose) with their "bulk" radiator fluid (amber/orange color).

After driving it home and a couple of errands (about 20 mi.), I poured a cup off the top of the recovery tank (not easy to do). There was just a little bit of residual red oil and several chunks of plastic (including a broken ring like the part that breaks off a cap when you open a bottle).

I've put another 100 mi. on it and don't see any more oil floating to the top (in the recovery tank). The engine oil dip stick good brown oil (not milky or foamy) So I'm going to put another 500 mi. on it to make sure nothing else appears before I change the fluid the third time.

I like your suggestion of doing a flush with distilled water, but not exactly sure how to do that without removing the thermostat (I prefer not to touch anything that aint broke). What procedure would you use to do the flush? Also, how many miles (in a couple of days) do you think is safe to put on it with plain distilled water (with out the additives and lube for the water pump)?
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Old 28 Oct 2010, 12:14 am
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Default Re: How did I get red oil in my anti-freeze???

Don,

No, this was a "program" car (probably a rental in Florida based on some paper I found under the seat) purchased by my Dad back when it was almost new. When he passed a year and a half ago, I bought it from my Mother. So it's been in the family for most of its life and I'm hoping to keep it at least 5 more years.

I used to use ramps with my first car, a '65 Buick Special. I had to give up on them because the new car air dams just push them away before the tires can reach them. I'm always scraping the PT's air dam on regular tire stops. Are you saying the Rhino ramp slope is low enough that the PT will clear it OK?

I do appreciate the good advice I'm getting from this forum. I hope to give back with some electrical upgrades (something I know a little more about) once I get past the mechanical issues.
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Old 28 Oct 2010, 12:35 am
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Default Re: How did I get red oil in my anti-freeze???

I personally drove my car about a week with the distilled water. Then I drained it added 50/50 of Zerex G-05 mixed with distilled water got it up to operating temp then turned it off and bleeded the air out through the bleed valve.

I think you already did enough flushing your probably good. it's hard to get absolutely 100% of all the residue out but with the system properly cleaned your system should be running very efficiently. Always try to use distilled water in all your cars and if you mix your own 50/50 batches use distilled water. Frequent use of regular hose or tap water leaves scales and metal residue in your cooling system even filtered water has microscopic metals that after years of use will leave scaling in your system. Distilled water is cheap less than a dollar a gallon at your local walmart store. I keep a mixed batch of it in my trunk.

There's a product I use called ROYAL PURPLE ICE RADIATOR COOLANT ADDITIVE. That helps me maintain a good temp on the engine. I live down south and it gets really hot in the summer and I noticed this product actually helps my engine keep cool. I've used it in all my cars but I wouldn't worry about using it if you live up north.

Some times when you have a blown head gasket oil will seep into your cooling system but water will not seep into your crankcase. It's not always the case but for some reason funny things do happen. An easy way is just to keep an eye on your dip stick if your losing oil and you don't know were it's disappearing to then recheck your cooling system. If your not losing any oil when you check your dip stick line then I wouldn't sweat it. Go out and burn some rubber then

Good luck
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Old 28 Oct 2010, 12:43 am
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Default Re: How did I get red oil in my anti-freeze???

As for the ramps some are low enough if it is not then do the following. My kids and I mess around with a lot of low cars especially their rice burning honda's.
I put a strip of a 2x6 piece of wood about 2 feet long in front of each ramp so the car goes on the wood and then rides up the ramp without messing with or scraping anything.
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