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Author Topic: Need advice head gasket might be failing...  (Read 1595 times)
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Pugzilla
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« on: September 25, 2016, 06:57:19 PM »

I need some advice, my car has started been weird when its hot. But because I drive such a short distance to work it very rarely happens. I noticed when I turned off my car when its hot I could hear bubble noises coming from the turbo area, I assumed nothing of it at first but after hearing it a few times I did some searching and people said your radiator needs bleeding. So today I decided to bleed my radiator, I literally stood there for about 30 minutes with the fans coming on multiple times, I saw bubbles which is good as it confirms I had a problem. I spent time making sure I could get it all out. Then I turned of my car and now I get no bubble noise! Harray!

I decide to go for a drive and hook up my OBD2 to check temperatures. Its a 99F day in Lake Forest today so its hot as hell, driving normally my car was between 194-212F. I decided to turn on the AC and do a few pulls, after which driving normally. My coolant temperature went up to 230F so I decided to turn off the AC and drive normally. The temperature slowly went down to 210F before I stopped and popped the hood and I can hear the bubbles again. What the hell! I get back in my car and start it, I reverse and now its idling at 1500RPM, I drive a few corners and it still idles at 1500RPM. I drive a bit more and it starts idling back at 800RPM again.

Additional information is that at first I saw big bubbles coming out of my coolant when bleeding. But as time went on they got very tiny and there was lots of them. Like a stream of tiny bubbles followed by the odd big bubble whenever the fans came on. There was also a lot of time with no bubbles at all.

Now I'm freaking out a bit because in a week or so I need to drive my car 800 miles none stop to another state. I really don't want to be breaking down and I'm super anxious. My biggest worry is that this air might be getting caused by a very early head gasket failure. I unfortunately don't have a tester and won't be able to get one shipped in time before I need to take my long trip.

As for the high temperatures, I am missing my splash tray, have a larger intercooler (stops a lot of air getting to radiator) and don't have any additional help other than stock parts.

What do you guys think? What would you do in my situation?

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« Last Edit: September 25, 2016, 07:08:31 PM by SilverMiataRacer » Logged
SilverMiataRacer
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2016, 07:08:00 PM »

First thing to do is to change the radiator cap to a new good brand cap.  Lots of gurgling sounds when the car is turned off come from a bad cap.  Easy, cheap to start with.
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Larry

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Pugzilla
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2016, 07:26:54 PM »

Would you have any recommendations? How do I know which one to get size wise?

I checked FM and they sell this one, anyone else running it?

https://www.flyinmiata.com/16-psi-radiator-cap.html
« Last Edit: September 25, 2016, 07:32:40 PM by Pugzilla » Logged
Pugzilla
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2016, 08:37:49 PM »

So I did some more searching and Fab9 also had a recommended radiator cap, but they also sold the cover panel above the radiator. So ordered them both, fingers crossed they are a small step towards progress on this issue. I spoke to a friend who tracks his car and he said the highest he sees is 220F on long full loads, so its worrying I hit 230F after a pull with AC on Sad

These are the parts I ordered

http://fab9tuning.com/radiator-diversion-panel-cowl-cover/
http://fab9tuning.com/performance-racing-radiator-cap-16lb/

I also ordered this as I currently don't have any splash pan.

http://lrbspeed.com/product/nb-miata-aluminum-under-tray/
« Last Edit: September 25, 2016, 08:49:40 PM by Pugzilla » Logged
'95MSM
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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2016, 05:41:57 PM »

When the top seal of the radiator cap fails, the coolant level in the radiator drops a fair amount. Between restoring air flow to what Mazda designed (your "splash pan") and getting your radiator full of coolant again, you should be fine.
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'05 running gear + '95 body
3.63 ring & pinion FM content: Blouch compressor mod, FM-Link, i/c & no-MAF intake.   BEGi: Stainless SGDP w/ metal core performance cat.   Custom stuff: Compressor clocked downward w/ new i/c pipe, big radius throttle elbow, 2.5" mid-pipe w/ Hushpower II, dual 2" axle-back w/ open Supertrapps, Toyota 4 pc cop ignition

245.2 whp on default FM-Link maps (with OEM midpipe)
Pugzilla
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« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2016, 06:31:34 PM »

Thanks guys, I really hope its true. I'm getting so paranoid about this. All the parts are ordered and hopefully I will have it all fixed by Friday. I never even comprehended that a radiator cap could let air in. It doesn't visually look like any fluid has been coming out, but may be its evaporating quickly and only coming out on heavy load.
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sfcarbone
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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2016, 09:03:37 PM »

There are two seals on a radiator cap.  One releases pressure when it gets too high, and that lets water/air escape into the catch tank.  The other seal opens after the car has cooled down.  That would be negative pressure, where the engine is actually lower than the outside air.  When the cap is working fine, it sucks the water back into the radiator from the catch tank.  When it is not, it sucks air in from the atmosphere.

Make sure your plastic line between radiator and catch can is hooked up properly and doesn't leak too.
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'95MSM
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2016, 12:28:03 AM »

That's about 99% right.

The "other" seal never opens. It just seals the cap to the top lip of the filler neck.
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'05 running gear + '95 body
3.63 ring & pinion FM content: Blouch compressor mod, FM-Link, i/c & no-MAF intake.   BEGi: Stainless SGDP w/ metal core performance cat.   Custom stuff: Compressor clocked downward w/ new i/c pipe, big radius throttle elbow, 2.5" mid-pipe w/ Hushpower II, dual 2" axle-back w/ open Supertrapps, Toyota 4 pc cop ignition

245.2 whp on default FM-Link maps (with OEM midpipe)
Pugzilla
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Posts: 146


« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2016, 03:55:09 PM »

I see, that makes sense. What I'm a little worried about is that I have lost about half an overflow tank over the space of 1-2 months. Not sure if I had air in the existing system, have a leak or am burning coolant in my cylinders. I got one of those carbon dioxide testers that checks your coolant for toxins so will do that when I bleed my radiator again, just waiting on the new radiator cap to get delivered. Fingers crossed!
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Pugzilla
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« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2016, 12:57:42 AM »

So I got all my parts installed, I now have an under tray, and new radiator cap. I bled the radiator and see air coming out every 2-3 minutes for about 30-40 minutes. I decide enough is enough and wrap it up and turn the engine off. The bubble noise is gone and everything is magically ok. I then go out for a test drive and for an hour I drive at around 60-70MPH coasting at 3500-4000RPM. I turned the AC on for additional heat test and my coast temperature is 221F and my load temperature is 230F. So really my temperatures haven't changed. I wanted to see what sort of temperatures I would experience on the freeway during this test.

With my test over I drive home, park in the garage and pop the hood. Now I can hear bubble noises again! How the hell is air getting into my coolant system! This is driving me crazy. Not only do my temperatures seem high to me I'm even more worried now I have very early signs of a head gasket failure.

Is there anything else that could be causing air to get into my coolant? Its driving me nuts!
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'95MSM
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Turbo clocked downward, new i/c plumbing


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« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2016, 03:15:08 AM »

Top it off and go for another test drive. Some times it can be maddening to get the system fully bled.
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'05 running gear + '95 body
3.63 ring & pinion FM content: Blouch compressor mod, FM-Link, i/c & no-MAF intake.   BEGi: Stainless SGDP w/ metal core performance cat.   Custom stuff: Compressor clocked downward w/ new i/c pipe, big radius throttle elbow, 2.5" mid-pipe w/ Hushpower II, dual 2" axle-back w/ open Supertrapps, Toyota 4 pc cop ignition

245.2 whp on default FM-Link maps (with OEM midpipe)
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