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A little lost after combustion leak test

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 21 Sep 2016, 05:51 pm
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Default A little lost after combustion leak test

So about a month ago our cruiser was over heating, no coolant, added sufficient coolant and shortly later it was bone dry again and the overflow reservoir was still full. I replaced the rad cap and thermostat, did a full flush with distilled water several times and all seemed to be going well.

Recently the cruiser started gurgling after turning the car off and the overflow was overflowing again. I did some internet research and found some symptoms of a bad head gasket (visible bubbles coming out at the filler neck, chugging for a few seconds at a cold start, but only occasionally). So today i ran the Lisle Combustion Leak Test.

I noticed the rad filler neck was pretty much dry so i figured i wouldn't need to remove any coolant to perform the test. Let the car run for 10 minutes, hooked up the tester to a vacuum line and popped the other end into the rad filler neck. All seemed to be going well (although it may have been changing green or could have been the lighting, and suddenly turned blue) after about 90 seconds though (test calls for 2 mins) coolant started to get sucked into the tester i remove it and more coolant came out of the radiator filler neck. I did it a second time and the same thing happened. Even though the engine was running with the cap off with no coolant spilled out in those ten minutes until I put the tester on. This is where i'm a little lost, the car was already running at temperature, nothing changed to make it run hotter and the engine temperature was still normal.

Do you guys think i should drain more fluid and triple check, or do you think my issues could be stemming from a clogged cooling system? Also the heater doesn't get hot.
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Old 21 Sep 2016, 07:25 pm
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Az
Posts: 168
Default Re: A little lost after combustion leak test

Sounds as if you have pluged radiator
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Old 21 Sep 2016, 08:16 pm
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Carson City NV
Posts: 675
Default Re: A little lost after combustion leak test

If it's the kit for checking for a leaking headgasket?? Then yes yo have a leaking headgasket ... from what I understand, it only reactions to "Antifreeze" in the combustion chamber??

You could "also" have a clogged Radiator, that needs to be checked but the damage is done. So at this point your looking at a Cylinder Head R&R and a Timing Belt job. Take an educated guess and going to the high side $2500 if a dealer does the job ... maybe about half that "IF" you can find a competent independent shop that warranties there work??

"IF" you can turn wrenches ... have a lot of tools (Still gonna be some you need to "Rent" or "Buy" (something about the Crank Bolt comes to mind??) Then it is "possible to "DIY" but ... it is a "Challenging Job!!"

Chrysler apparently put a low value on the easy to service part of the "PT!"

Lots of info and experienced owners to help you out here, but yeah it's a big job.

This is jst the T-Belt part.:



The cylinder head ... really only adds a few hours to the job, but ... if you pull the head, ... it would be wise to make sure the head is not warped. Straight edge or a machine shop and have a valve job ... since it's off anyway.


Kinda sucks ....
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Old 22 Sep 2016, 08:36 am
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 17
Default Re: A little lost after combustion leak test

Thanks for the troubling confirmation of my greatest fears

Edit: As much as I'd love to get my hands dirty and tear into this, I fear it may be beyond my skill set. That and i hate working in cramped quarters lol.

So going forward if I do fork out the cash to get the head repaired, gasket replaced, timing belt and water pump replaced too... what else, in your experiences, could i expect to replace within the next 2 years or so?

I'm at 113k miles now, replaced plugs and wires last year, 2/3 motor mounts replaced last year as well along with a wheel bearing and a tie-rod end (the other one is going to need replaced soon too, I'm also going to need a set of tires but that can come after winter). I'm thinking my radiator fan or relay could be bad as well, (rough idle when stopped but only when the a/c is on).

Just trying to be prepared for any and all expenses and to weigh the full cost/benefits of getting the work done or throwing in the towel...

I appreciate your thoughts, opinions and experiences.

Last edited by Cr1msonmyst; 22 Sep 2016 at 08:42 am.
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Old 22 Sep 2016, 12:04 pm
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Carson City NV
Posts: 675
Default Re: A little lost after combustion leak test

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cr1msonmyst View Post
Thanks for the troubling confirmation of my greatest fears
LOL ... well you have to understand what your looking at in order to make an informed decision.

A rebuilt remanufactured head runs from 275 to 350 on Ebay. If the head is not warped and has no bent valves?? Then having a valve job done you should be half that cost I would imagine?? A valve job may or may not be necessary bt if the head has to come off anyway ... might as well get it done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cr1msonmyst View Post
Edit: As much as I'd love to get my hands dirty and tear into this, I fear it may be beyond my skill set. That and i hate working in cramped quarters lol.
No crime in that! These things are "notoriously" difficult to work on!
That swoopy shape came at the cost of "access" some mechanics flat refuse to work on them!

I remember the first time I changed the spark plugs on ours ... "Split the manifold and move the throttle body out of the way ... are you freaking kidding me???

Burbon time and patience ... and I got it done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cr1msonmyst View Post
So going forward if I do fork out the cash to get the head repaired, gasket replaced, timing belt and water pump replaced too... what else, in your experiences, could i expect to replace within the next 2 years or so?

I'm at 113k miles now, replaced plugs and wires last year, 2/3 motor mounts replaced last year as well along with a wheel bearing and a tie-rod end (the other one is going to need replaced soon too, I'm also going to need a set of tires but that can come after winter). I'm thinking my radiator fan or relay could be bad as well, (rough idle when stopped but only when the a/c is on).

Just trying to be prepared for any and all expenses and to weigh the full cost/benefits of getting the work done or throwing in the towel...

I appreciate your thoughts, opinions and experiences.
"Chrome Don" would be better suited to answer the keeping them running question than I am ... sadly I managed to "break" our "PT" by doing a couple of really stupid things ... not making sure the Radiator Cap was on properly and what is the tranny dipstick for??? Our "Daewoo Nubira Wagon" had a sealed tranny tranny ... so you could not check the tranny fluid. I conflated that to the "PT!" That did not work out so well.


That aside ... first if the car is otherwise well maintained and you like it?? You have to ask, "well what would cost to keep it??" Anything with a rubber timing belt (everything aside from "Nissan's" masters of the ugly cars in my view aside from a 370Z) at under 4000 grand well have well over 100,000 miles on it. Unless you get records of a recent T-Belt change?? Then you have to add that cost into the cost of the replacement. Not to mention front end stuff and other unknowns.

With your "PT' if you've had to replace the tie rod end on one side already?? And a wheel bearing on the one side?? You have to ask well what do they have in common??? Most likely ... the lower control Arm Bushings are shot??? Passenger side is most likely more shot than the Driver Side for whatever reason??? A bad one looks like this:


Replacement Arms are inexpensive and you can check them yourself. Of course you going to have to use ... Jack Stands! Seems like everything on these cars requires Jack Stands.
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Old 22 Sep 2016, 12:39 pm
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 17
Default Re: A little lost after combustion leak test

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip18sw View Post
If it's the kit for checking for a leaking headgasket?? Then yes yo have a leaking headgasket ... from what I understand, it only reactions to "Antifreeze" in the combustion chamber??
It is this kit,https://www.amazon.com/Lisle-75500-C.../dp/B0007ZDRUI The fluid is supposed to change from blue to yellow upon detection of leaking emissions in the cooling system. I was able to run the test for longer than 3 minutes (test calls for 2) for a third time and the fluid stayed dark blue, never went yellow.


I think if I were doing it myself, I would pretty much do a full teardown/rebuild of the engine... keep from having to worry for a while that way

Last edited by Cr1msonmyst; 22 Sep 2016 at 01:02 pm.
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Old 22 Sep 2016, 01:36 pm
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Carson City NV
Posts: 675
Default Re: A little lost after combustion leak test

Yep that's the kit. So it sounds like your HG is good!

Did not see the no heat part form heater the heater part ... my bad.

So as to not miss checking the fans to make sure they operating and stuff ... I'll post this:

2001 ptcruiser overheating problem with bubbling noise

Check the fan now ?? And the one thing I know, is turning on the AC will make it work. But I think it "should cut on after a few minutes while it idles??

So you need to confirm the fan works. Replacing the Thermostat and the Radiator Cap was a good move in anycase ... no harm no foul there. I belive the water level should be pretty high up in the neck, so if it's not ... yeah something is off somewhere??

If the fan works, cap and thermostat are know good. Then it "could be air trapped in the system?? Best way to get an air bubble out and to check for leaks is with a "Radiator Pressure Kit."

You go buy one:

Radiator Pressure Tester Kit

Man that's a cool kit! A have a Stant cost 80 buck and have to keep spending $50 bucks for different adaptors for different cars!!


At any rate ... you can rent one from an "Auto Part Store" you pay for it first and get a refund when you bring it back! So you install the pressure kit and pressurize the system to the value on your "Radiator Cap." The needle should not move, if it does, you look and listen. Mostly likely if you have a radiator problem ... the seams on the radiator are expending under pressure?? When the motor cools down ... they would seal back up, so you can't tell that is happening without other symptoms being present.

If it is the radiator and it is leaking, you will see antifreeze along the seams. If it's just air that is the problem?? The Pressure Tester can help get trapped air out.
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Old 26 Sep 2016, 07:31 am
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 17
Default Re: A little lost after combustion leak test

Quick update:
After much debate we decided to keep her and just deal with any issues as they arise (hopefully before they arise). (EDIT: I already know that this means that someday soon I'll want to replace the timing belt, water pump, tensioner and all gaskets associated with it... may as well go all the way to the valves and head at that time too?)

I checked the fan this weekend and it is not turning on when A/C is on full. Once the temp hits around half the fan does kick on. I'll be replacing the relay(s) soon. Is this the right part (https://www.pepboys.com/product/details/1268823/00213) there's this one too (http://www.autozone.com/cooling-heat...?checkfit=true )or would you go to a dealership to pick them up?

I'll also try testing the radiator pressure soon to make sure there's no leaks (if i can find a local parts store that has a loaner one available). Or should i do a full flush with a garden hose this time?

Side note:
I'm also working on the brakes and passenger side tie-rod end. All while chasing a 2-year old and preparing our new house to move in. I may be burning my candle at both ends here... and holding a lighter under the middle of it too... I'll be back if I need more guidance/help with troubleshooting anything else I find. Thanks again for your help and advice!

Last edited by Cr1msonmyst; 26 Sep 2016 at 07:36 am.
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Old 26 Sep 2016, 10:13 pm
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 17
Default Re: A little lost after combustion leak test

Progress report, tested the radiator fan and it was bad. Wanting to take the quicker approach i replaced the whole fan assembly as opposed to soldering in a new motor brush. New fan works like a charm

I let the engine run with the radiator cap removed for about 20 minutes with the heat on high in order to "burp" the coolant system. Seemed to work fine, the bubbles stopped coming when I finished. I think I still have an issue though, the heater still never gets hot. I'll be doing a pressure test tomorrow to see if the system is holding pressure, just wanted to hear some more thoughts. Clogged heater core? Will another flush help or should I replace the heater core?
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Old 27 Sep 2016, 08:18 am
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Lake Wales, FL
Posts: 4,692
Default Re: A little lost after combustion leak test

Replacing the heater core on a PT is a MAJOR project. Here's what I'd try. I'd get a bottle of CLR and disconnect the heater hoses from the block, plug one hose and put the entire bottle of CLR in the other hose and let it sit for a couple of hours. Then, simply drain and flush the core with a hose until clear, hook it back up and see how it does.
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