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Old 07-29-2008, 10:58 PM   #1
mick_the_ginge
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Default Riddle me this - Blown Head Gaskets or Something else

For those who may not know my build please refer to this thread: http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=1272571

While at another track day today and after about 8 hot laps (in second session) my car started to overheat. The Autronic caught it before I did, I only looked at the guages as the Autronic was limiting the rev limit. Coolant temp was rising fast and so was oil temp, I let off and slowly drove to the pit, coolant continued to rise and so did oil temps.

Coolant temps were 120 C (248 F) which is a little toasty, oil got to 140 C (284 F) which is also toasty. Coolant usually runs at 96C, oil no higher that 120C

Compression test (cold) at home resulted in 130 across the board, exacty what it has always been cold. Leakdown resulted in 15% per cylinder (cold) again what it has always been.

Spark plugs looked perfect, no oil, no soot, just a red colour from running toluene and torco.

I took the car over to a shop and strapped it down to the dyno and put the dyno on constant force. (high load) In this mode I did runs on boost through the gears and basically held it in 6th for 20-30 second. Hi stress conditions. The exhaust manifold, uppipe, downpipe to mid pipe and turbo were glowing red (mostly normal). The Coolant temp spikes up but as soon as I pulled out of the run it starts dropping, oil temps take longer to drop (so much oil). Did this three times, same each time, coolant temp comes up, drops off after run.

An overheat like this usually means blown gasket (IMO) but I am questioning my diagnostics for a number of reasons. #1 The AFR is a little leaner than when I tuned it (temp) It's running more 12.0 than 11.5. Also even with this very hot coolant I am not pushing any of it out. Perfect (for me) compression and leakdown.

However I have run 12.0 AFR's before and have never seen coolant temps like this. Also I am running the Evans waterless coolant that boils at 386 F, still way above what I am running and way above a water based coolant. This I think may explain why I am not boiling the coolant out of the block.

So what do you people think? I only have 1500 track miles on the setup. All track miles....... Time for a rebuild already?

Oh, Oil pressure never went below 5 bar (72 psi) Oh and on the dyno the car still made the eact same power 380 WHP / 380 TQ (at 20 psi)

FYI - I only did three long runs on the dyno because on the third run in 6th gear at 7100 rpm my rear tire blew out!!! Yep, Hoosier R6 blew out...... I am pleased I had the car well tied down... I'm pleased this happened on the dyno rather than the track, maybe my car was trying to tell me something
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Old 07-29-2008, 11:18 PM   #2
hotrod
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Have you looked at your coolant for signs of oil contamination and the oil for coolant contamination?

Normally a blown head gasket will result in pressurizing the cooling system, resulting in spectacular over heat steam blow off under the type of conditions you mention. It would also lay a smoke screen of sickly sweet steam from the coolant. If blown into an oil passage and a water passage you would get cross contamination, and a smoke screen of oily blue gray smoke (back bumper and trunk clean or covered in crud?).

Usually a badly blown head gasket would show in the compression test, but if you were only lifting the head at high boost it might take a considerable bit of pressure to show it on a leakdown test.

Any chance you got some trash on the radiator?

Is it slowly eating coolant even when not over heating?

You might have a shaky water pump, a blocked or defective thermostat or were just a bit low on coolant and that pushed it over the edge.

Based on all that I would bet a blown head gasket is not high on the list, perhaps some sort of lean out due to dropping fuel pressure under load or some other issue.

Not much help but I would say move the head gasket down the list of possible problems 5 or six places and check other things.

Larry
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:24 AM   #3
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mick, what radiator you running?

if it was a blown headgasket leaking exhaust gasses into your coolant.........the radiator (koyo) would have expanded and ballooned and would be junk now. it's obvious when you see it.
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:30 AM   #4
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Can you give me a basic run down on the cooling system? What thermostat, water pump, and radiator are you using? Whats blocking your radiator? Front mount and an A/C condenser? Do you still have your heater core hooked up?

I'm having a similar problem with my car right now. I drive it easy for a few laps and its fine, then I run it hard and it over heats. No sign of a bad head gasket or pushing coolant, just not enough efficiency to cool the motor or there is another problem all together.

My set-up is similar to yours. 2.4 closed deck stroker, o-ringed etc. I know its not a headgasket.
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:43 AM   #5
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eastcoastbumps --- what water antifreeze mix are you using?
stock thermostat or aftermarket 160 deg?
Are you using water wetter?

Going to a 25% antifreeze, 75% water, 160 deg F thermostat and water wetter will give you more heat capacity to work with and a bit more reserve.

Larry
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Old 07-30-2008, 12:51 AM   #6
mick_the_ginge
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Ok, so I am going to take a sample of my oil and send off for analysis, I've been using the BlackStone service on the oil every 400 miles. This oil is at 300 miles so if it shows higher levels of anything I will know something is up.

No more smoke out the back than normal. Coolant could have dropped a little, but I cannot confirm exactly, when first filled and gets hot it likes to push a little out then self levels. I just check to see that the overflow has coolant in it to confirm the liquid level. Top tank is full..............

Fuel pressure was steady on the dyno, but the fueling was leaner than I wanted. Like I said, more 12.0 than 11.5 (11.8 at redline)

Coolant setup is Evans Coolant (waterless) Koyo Radiator, no stock oil cooler, FMIC, Oil and Tranny cooler sit in front of the radiator. Koyo looks good still, no balloning like I have seen before on those koyo's and head gasket failures. (I can see through the fins, no balloning on top). No AC, stock heater core still inplace.

Stock coolant pump, crucial racing thermostat

Remember I have done about 10-12 track days in similar weather (sometimes hotter) this is the first time the car has overheated like this.

I think before I pull the block I am going to draw the oil sample and drain the coolant and remove the thermostat to check that it's working. The crucial racing thermostat is meant to fail open, but who knows............... While I am in their I can check the play on the coolant pump, it was new with the build.
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Old 07-30-2008, 01:22 AM   #7
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Mick, start with something simple first, like removing or replacing the thermostat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hotrod View Post
eastcoastbumps --- what water antifreeze mix are you using?
stock thermostat or aftermarket 160 deg?
Are you using water wetter?

Going to a 25% antifreeze, 75% water, 160 deg F thermostat and water wetter will give you more heat capacity to work with and a bit more reserve.

Larry
I'm currently using 100% water and a drilled out thermostat without a core. I didn't have time to change anything or experiment at my last track day (also first day with the new motor). I've used water wetter in the past and will try it again. I'm also adding a supplementary cooler to a duct beside the radiator. I have an event next week, so hopefully it will go a lot better than the last outing.
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Old 07-30-2008, 03:23 AM   #8
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I was also going to say try changing out the thermostat.

I dont know what headers you are running, but I know that if sometimes have a small headgasket leak, it will show in the exhaust port the gasket is bad in. Thats how I found my DD gasket leak.

How about running with your HEATER on? Might show a blockage in the radiator?
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Old 07-30-2008, 05:24 AM   #9
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What size and type of oil cooler are you running? What type of oil and weight? You should have had an oil temp gauge if you are tracking this car. 260F temps should have ment a pit and cool down. I fear your egt was so high the cooling system and oil cooling system could not cope and once you passed the ability of the two cooling systems to shed this heat, you overheated. The oil test will show if you have a leaking HG. If not then you need to retune this engine to produce no more then 850C at WOT about 4 to 6 inches from the ports.

Let us know what has happend.

CLark
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Old 07-30-2008, 09:55 AM   #10
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Clark's response makes the most sense. Mick's motor is freshly rebuilt. A thermostat failure under 2k miles is unlikely. Thank god the ECU caught it....could have really fried the motor...

Did you get a chance to add fuel when you had it on the dyno before the tire popped? Result?
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Old 07-30-2008, 11:25 AM   #11
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Thermal management while racing has always been our Achilles heel. I don't bother even trying to run without my heat on full blast even in 90 degree weather (sucks for me ). I can typically run in these conditions for about 15 minutes WOT at maximum power before I need a cool down lap or running lower boost.

Typically if I let the car get hotter than the 2/3rds mark on the OEM coolant gauge there goes the head gasket. Every time I lost a head gasket when this has happened I just don't see much change in coolant level or any severe overflow but I run my overflow tank very low. There would never be signs of coolant smoke out the tailpipe because cylinder pressure is pushing into the coolant jackets and not flowing into the cylinders. Under light load it would get some misfires and without fail this would mean a blown head gasket. Upon motor disassembly we could see where exactly the head gasket failed but honestly you have to inspect closely.

If you are not pushing a normal amount of coolant into your overflow then replace your radiator cap because you should be pushing some in there and then as the car cools it will be pulled back into the radiator.

One of the biggest improvements we've made other than less coolant, water wetter, upgraded radiator, loosing AC condenser, and thermostat was to cut the back of the hood scoop out (mine is molded into hood). Without this the air would not flow out of the engine bay properly. I'm even seeing this on my 08 WRX.

For my next event I'm going with just water and Water Wetter and no thermostat so we'll see if that improves things.

I think you have a sleeved block which I have found in the past nearly impossible to keep cool while road racing but I know of some that don't have issues. I have never lost an OEM head gasket for any reason other than over heating but I wish I could say that when using aftermarket head gaskets.

Thanks,
Phil
www.elementtuning.com
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Old 07-30-2008, 01:54 PM   #12
mick_the_ginge
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark Turner View Post
What size and type of oil cooler are you running? What type of oil and weight? You should have had an oil temp gauge if you are tracking this car. 260F temps should have ment a pit and cool down. I fear your egt was so high the cooling system and oil cooling system could not cope and once you passed the ability of the two cooling systems to shed this heat, you overheated. The oil test will show if you have a leaking HG. If not then you need to retune this engine to produce no more then 850C at WOT about 4 to 6 inches from the ports.

Let us know what has happend.

CLark
Amsoil 20/50 Racing Oil. Oil temp guage typically shows 110C to 120C, this is what it read when I pulled out, oild temp continued to rise. EGT is typically at 925 C at the end of a long run (1700F) I expect this is due to the leaner than usual conditions. At 11.2:1 AFR I would see 875C well within normal conditions.
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Old 07-30-2008, 01:57 PM   #13
mick_the_ginge
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Element Tuning View Post
Thermal management while racing has always been our Achilles heel. I don't bother even trying to run without my heat on full blast even in 90 degree weather (sucks for me ). I can typically run in these conditions for about 15 minutes WOT at maximum power before I need a cool down lap or running lower boost.

Typically if I let the car get hotter than the 2/3rds mark on the OEM coolant gauge there goes the head gasket. Every time I lost a head gasket when this has happened I just don't see much change in coolant level or any severe overflow but I run my overflow tank very low. There would never be signs of coolant smoke out the tailpipe because cylinder pressure is pushing into the coolant jackets and not flowing into the cylinders. Under light load it would get some misfires and without fail this would mean a blown head gasket. Upon motor disassembly we could see where exactly the head gasket failed but honestly you have to inspect closely.

If you are not pushing a normal amount of coolant into your overflow then replace your radiator cap because you should be pushing some in there and then as the car cools it will be pulled back into the radiator.

One of the biggest improvements we've made other than less coolant, water wetter, upgraded radiator, loosing AC condenser, and thermostat was to cut the back of the hood scoop out (mine is molded into hood). Without this the air would not flow out of the engine bay properly. I'm even seeing this on my 08 WRX.

For my next event I'm going with just water and Water Wetter and no thermostat so we'll see if that improves things.

I think you have a sleeved block which I have found in the past nearly impossible to keep cool while road racing but I know of some that don't have issues. I have never lost an OEM head gasket for any reason other than over heating but I wish I could say that when using aftermarket head gaskets.

Thanks,
Phil
www.elementtuning.com
Thanks Phil. Coming from you I trust the information. Coolant does move in and out of the overflow tank so I know the caps are working.

Remember I am not running a water based coolant.

I have a couple more things to investigate before I bite the bullet and pull the block.
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Old 07-30-2008, 03:46 PM   #14
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I've been running 2 bottles of water wetter and straight water with a 160 thermostat with a hole drilled in it for a long time... head temp is usually 175-180, coolant temp is usually 145-155 at cruise, and when on the track for a few laps, coolant temp rises to 180-190 range and head temp is 215-225.

I lost a head gasket a few weeks ago at Englishtown messing around trying to drift the car (which is a lot more load on the engine since it doesnt get breaks on corners) I made it about 7 laps and oil and coolant temp skyrocketed out of nowhere. Didnt lose any coolant, drove the car home, but apon further review, I lost the head gasket at cylinder #2.... I hope thats not the case for you..
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Old 07-30-2008, 04:00 PM   #15
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One thing I'm probably going to experiment with in the near future:

Has anyone tried putting the thermostat in the right place? AKA where the coolant is hottest, instead of where the coolant is coolest. I've been considering the idea of an inline t-stat in the upper radiator hose and just using a plate with a hole in it in place of the stock location thermostat... I cant be the first person to think of this....
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Old 07-30-2008, 04:08 PM   #16
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Mick you got the fans on all the time right? If not jump the damn ground to the relays or something to make them work all the time , turn heater core on if still installed and run that too. Then definitely fatten up that air fuel damn 12.0 with that set up in the heat. More fuel less temp. Bigger bad ass radiator, pull out the thermostat and take out the core just use it as a small restrictor, change back to thermostat in the winter, Good luck hope you dont gotta pull that block again, Hey where is the oil analysis location, I tried to look it up on the net no luck thanks Pat
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Old 07-30-2008, 04:24 PM   #17
mick_the_ginge
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Oil Analysis by Blackstone Labs http://www.blackstone-labs.com/
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Old 07-30-2008, 06:31 PM   #18
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I'm thinking it's something really simple, Mick - you worked your butt off on that motor, did everything right, and that's way too soon to have to yank it back out again. You should get at least a couple of seasons on it..or so I hope.
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Old 07-30-2008, 07:58 PM   #19
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Default thaks mick

thanks for the link mick I ordered my kit today . keep us posted on the engine problem ?
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Old 08-02-2008, 07:16 PM   #20
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Small update, I had the car back on the dyno today and stressed the hell out of it. Back to back runs the coolant does get hot but cools back off without issue. You only have dyno fans for cooling so it's nothing like what you would get on the open track. No coolant is pushing out of the expansion tank. I do not think it's eating coolant either but it was hard to tell as the coolant was still at the top of the main tank.

I'm just going to have to take it back to the track and see what happens.

I did add some fuel, I want from 11.8's to 11.3:1 AFR which dropped the EGT's 50C. I also lost power and TQ, went from 380/380 to 360/360. This is with 20 psi mid range rolling off to 20 psi so this is still good power.
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Old 08-03-2008, 11:39 AM   #21
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what weekend are you gonna track test it again??
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Old 08-03-2008, 12:01 PM   #22
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Give it a go and let us know how it works. Something obviously changed though, right? You've run it plenty hard before and it never overheated like this. Were the ambient temps unusually hot the day this happened?
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Old 08-03-2008, 07:40 PM   #23
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Aug 25th is the next track day that I can make it to.

I have tracked the car in hotter weather so I think something has changed. We will have to see. Usually I do 4 hot laps then a couple of lazy laps, then hot laps again. The session where the car overheated I did no lazy laps, I just kept on pushing and pushing, testing out the new brakes. Maybe I just pushed a little too hard, then again I remember being able to push the car like this before with no issue.

We will just have to see.
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Old 08-03-2008, 11:18 PM   #24
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Been thinking about the heating deal. Wonder how hard the wind was blowing when it got hot and if maybe that difference in air flow was at the highest load areas of the track? I guess you will find out the next track day.
I've been wondering how close to ambient your intake air is on the track. Can you keep it to 30f over ambient or is that wishful thinking?
Goodluck
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Old 08-04-2008, 09:19 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbo_Mike View Post
One thing I'm probably going to experiment with in the near future:

Has anyone tried putting the thermostat in the right place? AKA where the coolant is hottest, instead of where the coolant is coolest. I've been considering the idea of an inline t-stat in the upper radiator hose and just using a plate with a hole in it in place of the stock location thermostat... I cant be the first person to think of this....
I've always wondered the same thing...
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