SwedeSpeed - Volvo Performance Forum banner

1 - 20 of 84 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,080 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm pondering my next step(s) and thought I'd run this by you folks since even some(most) Volvo specialists seem to be unaware of the R's quirks. I am having to top off my coolant every other week, on average.

The symptoms:
In the morning when I start the car there is more white exhaust than I think should be considered normal. It lasts for maybe 30 seconds then stops. It also misfires in the mornings with a rough idle. Enough to throw misfire codes. The idle smooths out after something like 30-40 seconds.

What I've done:
I've had the coolant system pressurized and no leaks were detected. I did the block test for hydrocarbons in the coolant, and two different shops also performed the test. It tested clean. There is no discoloration in my oil on either the dipstick or the filler cap and there is no oil in my coolant. I don't see any external coolant leaks on the car. I am noticing some dry coolant around the coolant reservoir. I replaced the cap, the lower reservoir hose, and the reservoir itself last month so that's not it. I assume pressure is building in the system and the cap is releasing some coolant.

The history:
I had the engine rebuilt a couple of years ago. The builder literally died half way through the build and a less skilled builder at the shop finished the job(I've had to fix quite a few of his mistakes since). The most obvious mistake I see that might be contributing to this issue is that he used RTV on the mating surfaces - i.e. the head and valve cover. To my knowledge, Volvo only uses anaerobic sealer on this block. On top of that, I looked back at the bill of materials and I don't see new head bolts on the list. It may be the case that they re-used the old ones. At this point I also can't trust that the bolts were properly torqued. I took the shop to court last year, I won, and I got very little of my money back.

MY QUESTION:
At this point is there anything else I can do before pulling the head to confirm whether this is just a seeping head gasket vs. a cracked cylinder?

Because we like pictures, here are some from last year...
Here's a shot of the RTV on the valve cover:


Here's a (blurry) shot of what the idiot did to the end of my cam probably by using a screw driver while setting the timing. It's not clear enough to see the little broken off pieces of camshaft that were still sitting there:


They either didn't re-install or improperly torqued the crankshaft nut. I realized it was gone while I was redoing the poor job they did on setting the timing:



There was quite a bit more shoddy work but I'll leave it at that. Anyway I appreciate your thoughts/recommendations regarding the head gasket vs. cracked cylinder testing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,226 Posts
just like i was the first to tell/recommend to do carbon in coolant test here on this forum...i'll be the first to tell you even a cheaper trick to test a cracked sleeve, cause that's what it sounds like you have...are you interested?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,080 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
just like i was the first to tell/recommend to do carbon in coolant test here on this forum...i'll be the first to tell you even a cheaper trick to test a cracked sleeve, cause that's what it sounds like you have...are you interested?
Let's hear it Dougy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,226 Posts
when your car is cool and has no pressure in the cooling system in the morning preferably...open your coolant reservoir by removing the cap...go and start the engine and let it run , while it is running go back to it and look inside your coolant reservoir...you see air bubbles continuously coming in there ...if so/yes...you have a warped head/blown head gasket/or in your case cracked sleeve. you are welcome everyone...tricks from 80's for warped head on red blocks...did 100's..;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,571 Posts
Pulling the head is the surefire way. And its only an afternoon if you DIY. And if it is the HG (don't worry, it's not :( ) you'll be in a position to fix it and un-bodge the rebuild job.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,678 Posts
when your car is cool in the morning preferably...open your coolant reservoir by removing you cap...go and start the engine and let it run , whle it is running go back to it and look inside your coolant reservoir...you see air bubbles continuously coming in there ...you have a warped head/blown head gasket/or in your case cracked sleeve. you are welcome...tricks from 80's for warped head on red blocks...did 100's..;)
Mine didn't do that ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,080 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
when your car is cool and has no pressure in the cooling system in the morning preferably...open your coolant reservoir by removing the cap...go and start the engine and let it run , while it is running go back to it and look inside your coolant reservoir...you see air bubbles continuously coming in there ...if so/yes...you have a warped head/blown head gasket/or in your case cracked sleeve. you are welcome...tricks from 80's for warped head on red blocks...did 100's..;)
I'll give this a go tomorrow but from the sound of it, there is no way to specifically tell if it's a cracked sleeve or a seeping HG without pulling the head. I'll just know for certain that there's exhaust gas incursion in the cooling system.

My hope was that there was some magical way to confirm one or the other in which case, I'd forego pulling the head and just start getting parts together for a rebuild and to shim the block.

Just my luck though. There's supposed to be another El Nino season this year with great snowfall for us snowboarders. Unfortunately, it looks like my AWD snow chariot will be down for the count.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,226 Posts
I'll give this a go tomorrow but from the sound of it, there is no way to specifically tell if it's a cracked sleeve or a seeping HG without pulling the head. I'll just know for certain that there's exhaust gas incursion in the cooling system.

My hope was that there was some magical way to confirm one or the other in which case, I'd forego pulling the head and just start getting parts together for a rebuild and to shim the block.

Just my luck though. There's supposed to be another El Nino season this year with great snowfall for us snowboarders. Unfortunately, it looks like my AWD snow chariot will be down for the count.
no...scope each cylinder...get it from harbor freight...and then take it back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,367 Posts
Definitely sounds like a cracked cylinder wall or head gasket leak. Crack seals up once the engine comes up to temp and idle cleans up. Combustion pressure in the cooling system would cause the cap to burp coolant. It may just seal up enough once the engine comes up to temp that there aren't enough hydrocarbons in the coolant for the combustion gas detection fluid to react with - hence it passes the test. Dougy's test would certainly point you in that direction if it shows something, but it may not show you anything and that doesn't mean you don't have a leak.

Every other week top off is a fair bit of coolant loss. Are you getting the low coolant message every other week or is it just a visual observation that it's a bit low?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,586 Posts
maybe head bolts.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,571 Posts
maybe head bolts.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I don't think so. Technically if you're lazy you can reuse head-bolts once... I mean you shouldn't because they're cheap but IIRC you technically can once.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,080 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Definitely sounds like a cracked cylinder wall or head gasket leak. Crack seals up once the engine comes up to temp and idle cleans up. Combustion pressure in the cooling system would cause the cap to burp coolant. It may just seal up enough once the engine comes up to temp that there aren't enough hydrocarbons in the coolant for the combustion gas detection fluid to react with - hence it passes the test. Dougy's test would certainly point you in that direction if it shows something, but it may not show you anything and that doesn't mean you don't have a leak.

Every other week top off is a fair bit of coolant loss. Are you getting the low coolant message every other week or is it just a visual observation that it's a bit low?
Yeah, I figured it was temperature dependent. The coolant light comes on every couple of weeks so I've been keeping a bottle of pre-mixed 50/50 Volvo/distilled water in the trunk.

*sigh* I predict an expensive rebuild the purchase of a short block, and a set of shims.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,367 Posts
I feel for you. Hopefully it turns out to be something minor, but the forces do seem to be working against you on this one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,586 Posts
ill say it again. head bolts. get new ones and get your head resurfaced.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
758 Posts
Here's a (blurry) shot of what the idiot did to the end of my cam probably by using a screw driver polyethylene foamwhile setting the timing. It's not clear enough to see the little broken off pieces of camshaft that were still sitting there:
I broke off the same part of the cam shaft when inserting the cam locking tool. That didn't seem to affect anything and have not observe any issue since I reassembled the engine 14k miles ago.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,367 Posts
ill say it again. head bolts. get new ones and get your head resurfaced.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
You would expect that to result in coolant loss under heavy boost as opposed to start-up. Start-up smoke/miss-fire lines up with a crack since the crack would be largest when the engine is cold. Need to tear into it to be sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
438 Posts
You can tell if its a cracked cylinder. Get a bore scope and pull your spark plugs. You can get in there and look at the top of the cylinder to check for a crack.

This sounds like cracked cylinder - traditional symptoms, 1 each.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,367 Posts
If you can see it with a scope that's ideal, but I recall at least one other guy who didn't see it with a scope and turned out it was apparent when he removed the head. Point is that it's not a fool proof method - great if you find it, but not a guarantee there isn't one there.
 
1 - 20 of 84 Posts
Top