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Old 09-16-2009, 02:12 AM
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Exclamation Oil in coolant...

Hi, I am new to this forum and but not new to working on my wife's 03 Beetle with a 2 liter, manual trans with a little under 83,000 miles.

On the way back from Va Beach to Jacksonville, FL we were in Florence, SC (almost exactly half way) when the low oil pressure light flashed three times. I was going a steady 70 - 75 miles an hour. I pulled off the highway to a truck stop and as I came to a stop I could hear the engine rattling and tapping. It was a very consistent tap that was affected by the engine speed. I checked the oil and no oil on the dip stick (it was with in the range before we left that day). I looked over at the coolant bottle and it was over flowing with a light brown sludge.

TO make a long story short, a freind came and rescued us with his truck and a car dolly.

I added 2.5 qts of oil and started the engine today and the ticking/tapping went right away; I took it for a very short drive around the block and there seems to be no power loss.

I have been told by a mechanic on the phone that since I didn't lose any power more than likely by head and head gasket are ok; and given that I added oil and the noise went right away he also thinks the top end is ok for now. He also told me that my problem is PROBABLY the oil cooler that the filter attaches to. I took it off the car this afternoon and am perplexed on how to test it to see if it the culpret before I order a new one. One thing i thought of was connecting the two coolant hoses together that go to the cooler and flushing the coolant a couple times with cooling system cleaner and refilling. Then run the engine at normal operating temps and seeing if the cooler is going to start puking oil out of the coolant inlet and outlet. At the same time I am going to perform an oil pressure test and a compression test.

I understand that just because I didn't lose any performance that doesn't mean that I don't have a bad head gasket or cracked or warped head. Does anyone know if these coolers are usual suspects? is this a common occurance for these engines? Are there any other things that I am over looking? I have owned this car since 2006 and have put almost 45,000 miles on it and I have already replaced the timing belt, water pump and collant temp sensor. Over all I am very pleased with this car with its fuel economy, no real problems other that the water pump.

I apologize for the lengthly post. Thanks in advance for any help anyone has to offer.
Lance
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Old 09-16-2009, 02:44 AM
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the oil cooler failures are common than one might think, however, definitely always do a compression test when something like this happens. you never know.

if it's the oil cooler, expect to get some bloody knuckles working right there.
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Old 09-16-2009, 02:46 AM
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I tend to agree w/ your mechanic, unless the water pump was recent and you overheated the car pretty good when that happened. If there are several miles in between then I think he's spot on. It would, however, be a pretty drastic oil cooler failure--haven't heard of them going this bad so quickly, but it is fairly common. Flushing is definately a necessity at this point--probably need to do it a couple times. I'd say that you certainly did some harm to your engine w/ the low oil pressure, but they are fairly robust--you probably haven't shortened the engine's life very much at all.
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:41 AM
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Thanks, I appreciate your help so far.

I replaced the timing belt and water pump close to 10,000 miles ago, and the coolant temp. sensor closer to 15,000 miles ago. Since i decided to take out the cooler, I already have the bloody knuckles...those two hoses were REALLY on there!
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Old 09-16-2009, 09:28 PM
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Thumbs up good news...I think

Well, I connected the two coolant hoses together and put the old cooler back in its spot and filled the oil and coolant up and started the engine leaving the coolant inlet and outlet open on the oil cooler. After less than 3 minutes of idling, oil started to drain out of the coolant outlet tube on the cooler. It drained quite a bit of oil and I am sure that I have found my problem.

Leason learned: Try this proceedure BEFORE you drain your oil and coolant and take everything apart only to refill your oil and coolant and also put everything back together to test the oil cooler.

Thanks to those who posted replies, I really appreciate your help and thanks to everyone that posts problems and solutions so that we can all learn from them.
Take care.
Lance
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Old 09-17-2009, 03:04 AM
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Glad to see you found your problem. Your post is very detailed and hopefully this will help people as well.
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ldefoggi View Post
I looked over at the coolant bottle and it was over flowing with a light brown sludge.

According to the shop i spoke to because i was having a similar problem, adding green coolant to the pink Vw G12 Coolant makes brown sludge in the coolant reservoir. I don't have pink coolant (car came this way), but i have all green coolant so no sludge on my end. BUT, the green coolant bubbles and boils at a temp lower than where Vw's operate. That is why Vw uses the pink stuff.

Now think back.... Have you added coolant lately and does it look like the following picture?

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Old 09-18-2009, 01:26 PM
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I have added green coolant. I flushed the system a couple times about a year ago with cooling system cleaner and then put in the green stuff you find at any parts store. So I assumed I got all the g12 out.

Here's my theory on how my problem all began:
I am thinking I didn't get all of the g12 out when I flushed it, so over the course of a year that brown sludge was building and settleing in the crevaces <sp?> and more than likely it retained alot in the oil cooler. Everytime I checked the coolant bottle I NEVER saw and indication on any brown sludge so I am thinking it was lodged in places like the oil cooler. Then over time and the oil pressure (50 - 70 psi at highway speeds) got the best of the cloged oil cooler and then one of the potential weak spots in the heat exchanger let lose and well...we all know the rest of the story.

Anyways that's just a theory of mine and I will be SURE not to make the mistake of converting the coolant to one or the other anymore.
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Old 09-18-2009, 01:44 PM
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aw man, at least use the global stuff.

i'm not a fan of spending, say, $30/bottle for coolant either, but at least i use the global formula for euro cars. it's actually the same price as the prestone green crap, and protects MUCH better. plus, it mixes with g12.
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Old 09-18-2009, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Cheat View Post
it mixes with g12.
Thats good to know!
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