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Radiator Sludge

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Hi All,

 

Great weekend for TR4 use. However, when checking water levels I noticed a light brown froth/sludge on the underside of my radiator cap. I cleaned it off but after another day of car use some has returned.

 

Some threads suggest this might be down to some anti-freeze types especially if mixed. Other guidance indicates that the head gasket has gone - but I am not noticing any overheating or oil loss so hope it is not. That said I do have an electric fan fitted so maybe I would not notice.

 

I wonder about the right course of action:

 

  • Do nothing and do not worry
  • Drain the radiator and start again with coolant
  • Get the water tested for exhaust gases
  • Check the head torques
  • Get it booked into a garage for a new gasket

Hope you can advise.

 

many thanks,

 

Mark

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If you are concerned about the head gasket you can try this type of kit

BT-3 BLOCK COMBUSTION LEAK TESTER KIT CO2 BLOCK HEAD GASKET TEST FLUID 35d https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F282514603676

 

I tried it on a previous classic v8 and ruled it out.

Tried it on my 3a and confirmed it.

 

It can be borrowed if your are in or near Cheshire

H

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Apply the cost test?

 

  • Do nothing and do not worry - no cost, except in worry, anxiolytics (alcoholic or medicinal), ulcers and depression.
  • Drain the radiator and start again with coolant - antifreeze, £6-15?
  • Get the water tested for exhaust gases - kit £12?
  • Check the head torques - No cost, but what will it achieve?
  • Get it booked into a garage for a new gasket - £200?

In that order, I think, leaving out the torque check.

JOhn

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Hi Mark,

if it was me I would drain the system and flush the Block / Rad/ Heater in as many directions as possible.

It would be helpful to put some system cleaner in before the flush.

 

Fill with new quality anti-freeze and water.

 

Roger

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Hi Mark,

if it was me I would drain the system and flush the Block / Rad/ Heater in as many directions as possible.

It would be helpful to put some system cleaner in before the flush.

 

Fill with new quality anti-freeze and water.

 

Roger

+1

Easiest to do and never a wasted activity.

Just make sure you capture the new and old antifreeze spill.

Lethal to pets. Cats and the like. Even with bitrex.

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Yes, and I've always disposed of old antifreeze down the loo, with a good flush. And washed my hands!

BUT, there's noise in Another Place about this now being no longer allowed. Antifreeze is toxic waste and must be disposed of "appropriately".

Certainly garages and dealers have to get their old antifreeze dealt with by waste disposal firms.

 

BUT, BUT, for the rest of us, people have been told by corporation recycling centres that they will not take old antifreeze.

So what to do?

I don't know what my Council's attitude is, no mention on their website, so I've asked them by email but no reply yet, after the BH.

 

Not that I'm about to need to get rid of a bucketful, but what do others do?

John

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Thanks all, That is my weekend sorted then.

 

Mark

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The City Council referred me to the County Council who referred me back to the City Council, and their "Promotions ffcier, Waste Disposal", who told me that "Chemicals may be disposed of at both our Household Recycling Centres"

So that's alright then.

 

In the US, the EPA isn't that casual "DO NOT pour it into sewers", and both California and New Hampshire are more gung-ho. They insist that antifreeze should be disposed of in an approved way, and speak of recycling, I presume by distillation or filtering.

And I did find the County Councils page on Asbestos and Hazardous waste, that inlcudes Antifreeze! No advice on disposal, though.

So, we know the right thing to do.

JOhn

Edited by john.r.davies

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Hi John,

You could simply decant into an old oil can and then dispose in the waste oil bin. :ph34r:

 

Roger

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Hi John,

You could simply decant into an old oil can and then dispose in the waste oil bin. :ph34r:

 

Roger

...Or put back in the container the new stuff came in and take back to the shop you bought it from - same way as you would old oil and filter.

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...Or put back in the container the new stuff came in and take back to the shop you bought it from - same way as you would old oil and filter.

I did not know that Halfords would take back my old oil and filter, you learn something every day.

Graham

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Nor me. Halfords own site says take oil to an oil recycling centre, not bring it back: http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/mAdviceArticlePage?storeId=10001&langId=-1&articleId=567229&selectedCategory=245348&selectedType=FAQs&pc=categories

 

And simple arithmetic says that antifreeze diluted to 25% won't go back in the container you bought the new stuff in.

 

And, grabbing a research topic, I hate to let it go unresolved.

This report was prepared by Dr Stuart Dobson, of the UK's Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, for the UN's International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS), in 2000.

 

http://www.inchem.org/documents/cicads/cicads/cicad_22.htm#PartNumber:4

 

It's quite long but there is an "Executive Summary", which i will pull the bones out of.

Ethylene glycol released to the atmosphere will be degraded by reaction with hydroxyl radicals; the half-life for the compound in this reaction has been estimated at between 0.3 and 3.5 days.

Ethylene glycol is readily biodegradable in standard tests using sewage sludge. Many studies show biodegradation under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions.

Ethylene glycol has generally low toxicity to aquatic organisms. Toxic thresholds for microorganisms are above 1000 mg/litre.
Terrestrial organisms are much less likely to be exposed to ethylene glycol and generally show low sensitivity to the compound.
Dr.Dobson makes no recomendation about disposal. He reports that the UK used 12500 TONNES of glycol antifreeze a year, but seemed most concerned for wildlife around concentrated-use areas such as airports that used it to de-ice aircraft. My interpretation is that domestic disposal down the loo is acceptable.

John

Edited by john.r.davies

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Hi Rem,

we answered the OP question but that raised another important issue.

 

This appears to have been answered now.

 

Roger

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So many new threads about where to dump got lost. :rolleyes:

 

OK but IMHO Flushing is a best practice to see whats wrong, but if its sludging there is water and oil getting in their somewhere and thats bad news. That said I have an old Peugeot 205 that my wife bought from new which has 420,000kms on it and still going strong. (have a spare engine and gearbox bought 7 years ago but as I am superstitious I wont change yet) Its natural gas so the valve seals have been shot for many years and it blows oil out of the exhaust. It hasnt had an oil change for over 10 years (no need as it takes a pint a month of fresh) It has sludge on the oil cap and floating at the top in the expansion tank but is still going strong.

 

If you dont want to strip everything just flush and keep an eye should be enough to start, if something is a miss you will soon start finding out, just dont go far from home for now as it may well be the head....

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Not sure I agree. Sludge to me is a corrosion product and it is brown. Emulsion, or mayonnaise, is a product of oil and water mixing. They are quite different.

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Ok Pete, mine was just an understanding from a generic term as he said froth on cap. Sounds more like mayonnaise to me and I also winder if corrosion would necessary appear on cap rather than in sump? I guess he should examine it to see, but would you get corrosion in a short time?

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As Pete says above, the cap in question here is the radiator and btw I’ve never seen brown mayonnaise. Moisture in the oil can cause a whiteish mess on the oil filler for sure. I have had FO8 seals go and the sump oil was well contaminated with water but the radiator cap was fine. I’m not going to enter into a ping pong match so I will leave my contribution here. Brown says to me iron oxide.

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No Problems. No ping pong needed. Radiator noted. As I said before I think he needs to give more details. My 205 has mayonnaise on the oil cap and I really couldnt tell you if its brown or white at times as oil and water is just a mess.

I think a better indication is needed. Photograph maybe?

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Hi all,

 

Thank you for all your contributions and associated thoughts on waste disposal. Also apologies to some of you for my lack of clarity and absence of photos.

 

UPDATE:

 

  • I purchased and used a test kit for exhaust gases in the radiator and the result did not indicate a problem.
  • I drained the engine oil and there was no obvious sign of water. It was time for an oil change anyway!
  • So I drained the water system, re-filled and used radiator flushing agent. A fair bit of rusty water but nothing too dark or sludgy to concern me
  • Flushed with fresh water and re-filled with de-ionised water and blue antifreeze.
  • Now time to get some miles in and see if the problem recurs

crossing fingers but I have some K-seal ready to go if needed.

 

Mark

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Be aware that K-Seal will make the water brown.

Edited by peejay4A

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