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Brass-like Metal Shards in Coolant?

 
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Old 18 Aug 2018, 06:11 pm
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Default Brass-like Metal Shards in Coolant?

My 2001 PT Ltd recently began the post-shutdown gurgle.

Doesn't appear to be loosing any coolant (Dexcool @ 60/40); just pushing it into the overflow and not drawing it back into the engine. That had me taking a closer look at the radiator cap and discovering what appears to be fine metal shards sticking to the rubber seal surfaces. Shards have a goldish tint, so I'm thinking if they are metal, brass from the pump bearing shaft seems a possibility.

Purchased from the original owner with 108k miles and severely overheated (zero compression on all four), I completely rebuilt the top-end of this car, replacing belts, pump, hoses, etc in the process. Now just over 121k miles. Has run perfectly for 13k miles.

The car had a relatively new MOPAR cooling module just before I bought it, and all seemed fine. Fan operates properly, but I never did a proper radiator flush. The PO had used at least one stop-leak product trying to bring his overheating under control. The one completely clogged the upper radiator hose and smelled like rotting flesh. I didn't see evident of others, but would not be surprised.

I'd not be entirely surprised by a failing water pump, but thought perhaps others might offer insight as to the fine metallic shards.

Thoughts?
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Old 18 Aug 2018, 08:00 pm
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Cool Re: Brass-like Metal Shards in Coolant?

might be remnants of the stop leak products?

the gurgling after shut down is usually a sign of a weak/bad radiator cap.
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Old 19 Aug 2018, 06:42 am
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Default Re: Brass-like Metal Shards in Coolant?

I agree with rcktpwrd about left over bits of stop leak. I'd do a proper flush of the entire cooling system and replace that radiator cap and see what happens.
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Old 19 Aug 2018, 09:01 am
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Default Re: Brass-like Metal Shards in Coolant?

Yep.

I can't think of anywhere in a PT Cruiser cooling system that the coolant is exposed to brass or bronze except a possible waterpump shim. And as mentioned, several types of radiator stop-leak have ground copper in them. So that could be what you are seeing as well.
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Old 19 Aug 2018, 04:30 pm
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Default Re: Brass-like Metal Shards in Coolant?

if the coolant system works fine, and can hold a pressure test, just leave it.
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Old 19 Aug 2018, 04:57 pm
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Default Re: Brass-like Metal Shards in Coolant?

AFAIK, the recommended coolant is HOAT.
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Old 19 Aug 2018, 07:28 pm
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Default Re: Brass-like Metal Shards in Coolant?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcktpwrd View Post
might be remnants of the stop leak products?

the gurgling after shut down is usually a sign of a weak/bad radiator cap.
Gurgling sounds is actually very common in many cars....
Water boils at 212F. Even with coolant that will raise the boiling point when you turn your engine off there is always *heat soak. This will raise temperature of the coolant and may even cause it to boil in the system. Many new cars have this happen but the owners do not always hear it. I can assure you even a few members that recently bought new Chrysler's (OEM T-stat 195F) that in some conditions the coolant is boiling in the system.

Some cooling system sealant may have metal flakes NOT SHARDS! I would be concerned if they are such description in my coolant!

* I realize that I used the term "heat sock" and a clever person could actually find the empirical data about it and find that like 99% of forum members and myself it has been the term has been misused to some degree.

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Old 19 Aug 2018, 07:44 pm
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Default Re: Brass-like Metal Shards in Coolant?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroPT View Post
Gurgling sounds is actually very common in many cars....
Water boils at 212F. Even with coolant that will raise the boiling point when you turn your engine off there is always *heat soak. This will raise temperature of the coolant and may even cause it to boil in the system. Many new cars have this happen but the owners do not always hear it. I can assure you even a few members that recently bought new Chrysler's (OEM T-stat 195F) that in some conditions the coolant is boiling in the system.

Some cooling system sealant may have metal flakes NOT SHARDS! I would be concerned if they are such description in my coolant!

* I realize that I used the term "heat sock" and a clever person could actually find the empirical data about it and find that like 99% of forum members and myself it has been the term has been misused to some degree.

Heat sock?

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Old 20 Aug 2018, 01:26 am
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Default Re: Brass-like Metal Shards in Coolant?

RC; I'd use a HD cooling system flush. Dupont used to make a good one for brass radiators, it was a 2 part system. Don't know what is available for aluminum radiators nowadays.

Dexcool is NOT recommended for Chrysler products. Use the factory 'peach' colored or Zerox 06[?].

Replace the radiator cap and verify that the hose between the cap and coolant tank is sealed tightly.

Bleed the system.
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Old 20 Aug 2018, 07:58 am
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Default Re: Brass-like Metal Shards in Coolant?

I don't know what the stop leak in your car does over time, but if it built up enough to clog the upper radiator hose, it may have built up enough to clog other parts of the cooling system.

My 9 month coolant boiling ordeal finally came to an end in July by removing the head. The car had been constantly pushing coolant into the reservoir. Perfect compression in each cylinder, no exhaust in the coolant (blue fluid test) and no leaks in coolant system with a pressure test. With a spill free funnel on the filler neck, I would get constant tiny bubbles coming up while the engine ran. With the A/C on 100% of the time (it makes the high speed fan run), the amount of coolant pushed into the reservoir was less.

I usually had to transfer coolant from the reservoir back into the engine every 2-3 days.

The worst case was a highway drive followed by stop and go traffic with the A/C off. This meant the fan was off and the engine wasn't being air cooled by the fan.

I tried several 6-12 hour sessions of flushing and reverse flushing with a 3300 GPH sump pump hooked to the engine. Still no luck. I finally removed the head and found 3 clogged ports at the head gasket. This was causing localized boiling from the #3 and #4 cylinders.

Example clogged port:


The coolant passages in the block and head are big, but very constricted at the head gasket. You can see the shiny parts are where the coolant touches the gasket but you can also see the holes are much smaller.



After clearing them out and digging one more piece out of the water jacket, the cooling and coolant problem went away completely. After a week of driving in 105F temps, the coolant was right at the top of the filler neck when I removed the radiator cap and the level in the reservoir never changed at the beginning of every day.

It should look like this minus the ashes from the local fires in N. Cal.


NOT PARTLY EMPTY LIKE THIS:


The head was perfectly flat so I didn't have to resurface it and the gasket was in great shape so it wasn't a blown head gasket, just clogged passages, but it was still essentially a head gasket replacement job when it came to the labor (a really fun experience).

If you've done a timing belt replacement and can comfortably do it again, then the head gasket job isn't a whole lot tougher, just longer with more busted knuckles especially reattaching the exhaust manifold blindly behind the engine.
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Last edited by rsrocket1; 20 Aug 2018 at 01:13 pm.
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