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Old 11-14-2007, 12:09 PM   #1
ScoobySnacker
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Default Cooling System Pressure Test; How much PSI?

Hey guys.

I have a mysterious coolant leak that i cannot find from a visual inspection. I rented a coolant pressure tester from a local parts store. Im just curious as how much PSI the stock system creates. My guess would be 20 but i searched and could not find anything on this topic.

How much should i pressurize the system?

Thanks
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Old 11-14-2007, 12:11 PM   #2
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I can't remember what the lowest pressure was, IIRC it was 1.3 bar but it could have been 1.1

It says on the caps though, you should look at the one above the turbo and test for that pressure.
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Old 11-14-2007, 12:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master2192 View Post
I can't remember what the lowest pressure was, IIRC it was 1.3 bar but it could have been 1.1

It says on the caps though, you should look at the one above the turbo and test for that pressure.
Thanks. I wasn't aware that it says on the cap.

Can someone else confirm that checking the cap above the turbo is any different from the radiator cap?
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Old 11-14-2007, 03:22 PM   #4
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the turbo res. cap has a slightly lower cracking pressure than the one on the core.

the system should see no higher than the lower pressure, so use that one.
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Old 11-14-2007, 04:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ride5000 View Post
the turbo res. cap has a slightly lower cracking pressure than the one on the core.

the system should see no higher than the lower pressure, so use that one.
Thanks.

I pressurized it up to the lower number and it was loosing pressure kinda fast but there were no visable leaks.

The investigation grows deeper.
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Old 11-14-2007, 04:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScoobySnacker View Post
Thanks.

I pressurized it up to the lower number and it was loosing pressure kinda fast but there were no visable leaks.

The investigation grows deeper.

missing coolant often ends up in the oil... not a good sign btw.
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Old 11-14-2007, 06:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkramer View Post
missing coolant often ends up in the oil... not a good sign btw.
Oil is clean. Just changed it and it checks out. There is no loss in power, goes into boost fine.

No visual leak, but i do have a little bit of grey smoke at idle and taking off from a stop.

I plan on doing a compression test when i get home from school on thanksgiving. All signs are not pointing to a HG though...At least i pray
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Old 11-14-2007, 09:59 PM   #8
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I had a leak that only appeared when the car was hot and it was on the coolant line on the turbo. It used to smoke a little at idle as well because coolant was leaking into the turbo and getting burned off. It turned out to be a clamp that had become loose. I'd say heat the car up and then start looking.
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Old 11-14-2007, 10:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScoobySnacker View Post

I pressurized it up to the lower number and it was loosing pressure kinda fast but there were no visable leaks.

The investigation grows deeper.
Are you sure you had the right adapter and that it was twisted on the neck correctly? It's easy to put on the adapter wrong and have the air leak out from the sides.
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Old 11-15-2007, 03:00 AM   #10
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first make sure the pressure tester is on nice and tight and then pump it up to about 15 psi and see if it holds, if you are very thorough with checking for leaks and still don't see anything it could be a head gasket problem.
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Old 11-15-2007, 09:11 AM   #11
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I was gonna say perhaps a leaky head gasket, but if your oil is clean, im stumped.

Do you get white smoke out of the tailpipe ?
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Old 11-15-2007, 07:18 PM   #12
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Well, thanks for the responses. I am dont think the adaptor was sealing. When i was putting it back in the box a rubber washer showed up and i think i needed it. Anyway, i'll give it another shot and check the compression.
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Old 11-16-2007, 02:06 PM   #13
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regular cap 16psi ; Sti cap 18 psi. I'm having the same issue, coolant smell. no visual leaks. I'm adding about 4-6 ounces about every 4 - 5 weeks. I have no idea where it's going. It's been going on for about 6 months.
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Old 11-16-2007, 02:17 PM   #14
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heater core?

Nick
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Old 11-16-2007, 02:29 PM   #15
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I was thinking heater core, but I don't get the coolant smell from the vents with the blower on, and there is no coolant or residue on the case drain.
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Old 11-16-2007, 03:46 PM   #16
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check both sides of the top coolant line from the turbo CHRA that goes to the reservoir.

if the clamps are not "just so" you can get a pinhole leak that only occurs at peak pressure, and most of the stuff in that area is hot enough to boil it away before it collects/pools/drips.
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Old 11-16-2007, 08:57 PM   #17
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Take a look at the radiator where the plastic and aluminum meet. The early bugeyes had issues with the radiators separating there and leaking a bit over time. Mine was replaced under warranty a while ago, but I just noticed that I'm losing a bit of coolant again as well...
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Old 11-17-2007, 01:25 AM   #18
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Best way I know to find those hard to find only when engine is hot leaks is to take advantage of cold weather.

On a nice cool evening or morning, top off the coolant, then take the car for a 15 min drive to get it up to full pressure and temperature. Bring it home and shut it off and park it for about 5 minutes. The engine temp and system pressure actually peaks after the engine is shut off hot. Pop the hood after 3-5 minutes and then look for a thin stream of vapor rising from the engine. In cold weather you can see the condensation when the coolant is "cooked off" of a minor leak.

Do it in the dark and a single point of light like a flash light sometimes makes it easier to see the rising steam from the leak. That will pin down the leak location to within a few inches if you can see the rising moisture condensation.

This is the only way I found a pin hole leak in a hose that only dripped briefly after the engine shut off.

Larry
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Old 11-17-2007, 09:52 PM   #19
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Wow, good information. Im going to try finding it in the dark like suggested by Hotrod.

Hopefully something turns up.
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