97 VW Citi Golf, popping like a water balloon

Subways81

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Ok, so, I have a 97 VW Citi Golf 1.3l mean machine, what happened about 8 months ago was the pipe that feeds water through the heater control burst and it pissed all its water out on the freeway, in the pouring rain, normally one would just stop, top up the water and get to a garage to fix it, but on this occasion my Temp Gauge decided not to work (its finnicky like that) and the engine overheated and seized....

We stripped it down and replaced the gaskets and checked the head against a machined level and it looked like it was still pretty flat. Put everything back together and all was good for a while. Then about 2 months ago, I parked the car, switched it off and it promptly pushed all its water out through reservoir cap, ok then... so while running, it seemed fine, but as soon as I switch the car off, while its still hot i suppose, it seems there is too much pressure in the system.

In the last 2 weeks it has blown the same hose feeding the heater control, blown the actual heat control, and blown the hose the connects to the back of the manifold. (apologies if im using incorrect terminology, im not so hot under the bonnet)

Any ideas what is causing this? Ideally I'd like to try and fix it myself (+$$$$:)) but if I have to i will take it to a mechanic (-$$$$:(). Your help is highly appreciated.
 

Sinbad

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Is the wAter pump working? Thermostat working? Radiator clogged?
 

Subways81

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the water pump is working, i think the thermostat has recently died cos normally when I park and switch off the radiator fan is still going, this is not longer the case, and the radiator could well be clogged cos in a moment of stoopidity i put radiator stop leak in the water...
 

xumwun

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Seems like too much pressure in the cooling system
Possibly a bad head gasket.
 

The_Unbeliever

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Better get that head checked again.

It must be 100% flat - 99% is not gonna cut it.

While you're at it, check for cracks in the head.
 

spiderz

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1. Thermostat is located at the bottom of the waterpump - remove it - will make it easier to get the air out of the system and do fault finding.
2. Does the fan still switch on? if not, replace the fan temp switch on the right side of the radiator.
3. Once you have the system full of water (without air in it), it should be able to idle with the expansion bottle cap open. When it gets hot, the fan should turn on.
4. Check all pipes & connectors and clamps for leaks.

I had similar issues with my golf recently.
It is extremely difficult to get all the air out of the system with the thermostat in.
I replaced all the clamps, the expansion bottle, expansion bottle cap and the fan switch.
In the end it was a loose wire on the back of the fan that caused intermittent problems.

Now it's running very nicely. :D
 

Subways81

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Lucky there's a long weekend coming up, will try and check it all out and report back. Thanks for all the quick responses. MyBB Rocks!!
 

Sinbad

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the water pump is working, i think the thermostat has recently died cos normally when I park and switch off the radiator fan is still going, this is not longer the case, and the radiator could well be clogged cos in a moment of stoopidity i put radiator stop leak in the water...

The thermostat does not control the radiator fan. The thermostat opens to allow water to flow through the radiator. The fans are controlled by a thermoswitch.

Warm the car up to operating temp, then feel both hoses leading to the radiator. They should both be hot. If they are not, either your water pump or your thermostat is stuffed.

Check that the fans do in fact come on. If they don't it could be the switch that's broken, or their relay, or the fan motor itself
 

Subways81

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The thermostat does not control the radiator fan. The thermostat opens to allow water to flow through the radiator. The fans are controlled by a thermoswitch.

Warm the car up to operating temp, then feel both hoses leading to the radiator. They should both be hot. If they are not, either your water pump or your thermostat is stuffed.

Check that the fans do in fact come on. If they don't it could be the switch that's broken, or their relay, or the fan motor itself

Doesnt the bottom pipe only get hot when the thermostat opens? The fan has started working again today o.0, I went and had a chat with a mechanic, he reckons get the system pressure checked and then go see an auto elec about the thermostat and fan. If those check out, then the heads gotta get skimmed and all gaskets replaced... R2000 sigh, April 2012 = Worst Month Ever
 

Sinbad

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Doesnt the bottom pipe only get hot when the thermostat opens? The fan has started working again today o.0, I went and had a chat with a mechanic, he reckons get the system pressure checked and then go see an auto elec about the thermostat and fan. If those check out, then the heads gotta get skimmed and all gaskets replaced... R2000 sigh, April 2012 = Worst Month Ever

The bottom pipe gets hot when hot water is flowing back from the radiator to the engine.
That's why I said warm up to operating temperature - then the thermostat should be open and water flowing through the rad. Both pipes would be cold until the t'stat opens. If only one gets hot, chances are the pump is broken or the rad is clogged.
Auto elec has nothing to do with the thermostat. It's a mechanical unit.
There is a simple chemical test that can be done for exhaust gases in the coolant water, which will indicate a head gasket leak of this nature.
 

The_Unbeliever

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Also, like the other guys said, a wonky head gasket. Cheap to replace.

Or, worst case : crack in either the cylinder head or the cylinder block. Not so cheap to replace.
 

BLIXEMPIE

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R2000 sigh

R2k seems excessive. I had my Uno's heads skimmed for like R300.

My Uno cost me more in repairs in the 1,5 years I've had the damn thing than the car is worth. Now THAT is a sad case. This very day it's in for repairs to change a valve that keeps the water in the cooling system that will set me back around R500. Almost burned out the engin on the N1 yesterday as all my water leaked out.
 

BLIXEMPIE

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R120 including labour for a 2-3 hour job?

Not likely.

Just the stretchbolts will cost more than that.

That's what I paid. But then again they also did a bunch of other things to the car so maybe they gave a bit of discount.
 

Subways81

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The bottom pipe gets hot when hot water is flowing back from the radiator to the engine.
That's why I said warm up to operating temperature - then the thermostat should be open and water flowing through the rad. Both pipes would be cold until the t'stat opens. If only one gets hot, chances are the pump is broken or the rad is clogged.
Auto elec has nothing to do with the thermostat. It's a mechanical unit.
There is a simple chemical test that can be done for exhaust gases in the coolant water, which will indicate a head gasket leak of this nature.

Apologies, meant thermoswitch. Will the pressure test show if any of the hoses/radiator/water pump is clogged?
 

Sinbad

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Apologies, meant thermoswitch. Will the pressure test show if any of the hoses/radiator/water pump is clogged?

Not sure if it will. More likely it will just show up any leaks in the system.

Where are you based?
 
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