- Engine Oil Found in Coolant Bottle? '94 Golf 1.9 TD
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    1. 02-20-2004 12:51 AM #1
      Back on Nov. I changed the Antifreeze in my Golf to the Prestone Green type of Antifreeze. I then drove the car to Florida and back, and noticed upon comming back that I had a bit of Black Engine Oil in my coolant bottle!
      I spoke to the dealer, and he says that this is common for older VW Diesels and not to worry about it.
      Well, the other day my low coolant light came on. So I pulled over and checked the coolant bottle, and it was black as can be, but full.
      I came home, emptied the coolant bottle and when I removed the bottom hose, this thick black oil came rolling out of it.
      I washed the bottle out with degreaser, and A LOT of oil came out of this bottle. AFter I could finally see what was inside the bottle, I re-installed it, put new antifreeze in, and now I'm waiting to see what happens.
      Can anyone out there help me to determine what the possible cause of this could be??
      I'm not getting any Antifreeze in my Engine Oil, and the car runs like a top otherwise. It has 300,000kms on it.
      Joe from Ontario, Canada.

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    3. Member
      Join Date
      Oct 11th, 2001
      North Vancouver, BC
      '92 Passat TD, '01 Golf TDI, '15 Golf TDI
      02-20-2004 01:21 AM #2
      Oil cooler leak or head gasket leak. Sometimes the oil cooler tests OK under a pressure test but still leaks when pressurized AND hot.
      I lived with this problem on my Passat TD for years; finally had both the oil cooler and head gasket replaced and problem was solved. My oil cooler tested OK, and my head gasket looked to be alright as well, but obviously, one or the other was leaking.
      My suggestion is to replace your oil cooler first as it is less expensive than a new head gasket.

    4. 02-20-2004 10:07 AM #3
      I'm not sure about this year, but my 1997 AAZ 1.9 TD was using G12 type coolant and NOT PRESTON (Typical Ethyl Glycol). Using the wrong type of coolant might lead to problems.
      You can find easly what required for coolant in your car by looking at the coolant tank. If its of a spherical shape with G12 written on the cap, you need G12!

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    6. 02-20-2004 01:01 PM #4
      My 84 turbo diesel was leaking a good amount of oil into the water, it was the oil cooler. I remeber my friend swore that the head gasket was good, lucky for me I did the oil cooler gasket first. it took quite a few flushes of the cooling system before the water looked very good tho.

    7. 02-20-2004 02:07 PM #5
      I'm having the Oil Cooler gasket changed, but the dealer swears that the gasket has nothing to do with oil actually getting into the Antifreeze. Says it can only happen if it is cracked, etc. as the gasket only prevents oil from seeping outside (usually on top) of the housing?
      What is the difference between a Quality Ethelene Glycol Antifreeze such as Prestone and G12? If I flush the system out and replace with this VW G12 or whatever, will it make a difference or has the damage been done?

      Modified by sat2825 at 7:08 PM 2-20-2004

    8. 02-20-2004 02:31 PM #6
      I just checked, and it specifies a G11 type of Antifreeze Additive.
      The manual says: "The coolant consists of a mixture of water and the manufacturers's coolant additive G 11 V8B - antifreeze on glycol basis with anticorrosion additives (50% water and 50% coolant).
      It really doesn't indicate anything other than poor corrosion resistance if I don't use the factory G11 coolant???
      I've only had the prestone coolant in the car for 3 months, but I did notice oil comming into the coolant after about 2 weeks of changing it originally.
      Anyone have any idea if these oil coolers can be fixed or how much they are to replace?

    9. 02-21-2004 01:34 AM #7
      are you sure it's motor oil ? you probably didn't flush the G11 completely and the black mess is the coolants reacting with each other.
      Flush it immediately using compressed air, fill up several times with water and flush it several times. and use the G12. For Gods sake, don't use any antifreeze that doesn't list its ingredients even if it says it "safe" for aluminum. Prestone green has "dipottasium phosphate". Only the new long lasting , pink color coolants are phosphate free along with the Sierra.
      Don't be surprised if you have problems down the road

      Modified by Dimitri16V at 10:38 PM 2-20-2004

      Modified by Dimitri16V at 10:40 PM 2-20-2004

    10. Member
      Join Date
      Oct 11th, 2001
      North Vancouver, BC
      '92 Passat TD, '01 Golf TDI, '15 Golf TDI
      02-22-2004 02:51 AM #8
      Brown foam = incompatible coolant mix
      Black, tarry oil = oil leak
      I think you're wasting money on an oil cooler gasket change. I think you just have to bite the bullet and put in a new oil cooler ($250? CDN), labour extra. You'll need to thouroughly flush the system and refill with G11 or do a complete changeover to G12. Don't Mix them!!

    11. 02-22-2004 01:12 PM #9
      WOULD ALL THIS info ,go the same for my 81 caddy diesel n/a 's......???????

    12. 02-22-2004 06:58 PM #10
      It's definitely a very thick, very black tarry substance in the antifreeze bottle.
      When I pull the bottom hose off the coolant bottle, all that came out was very think black crap (looked like diesel engine oil).
      I'm going to have a new oil cooler put on the car, but how confident are you that it could be the oil cooler?
      The dealer is suggesting it could be a more expensive head gasket?? But he has no firm eveidence to back it up.
      Do these oil coolers fail after a while???

    13. 02-22-2004 07:00 PM #11
      How confident are you that mixing these two coolants can cause a reaction resulting in a thick, Very Black oily substance to build up in my coolant bottle?
      Reason I ask, is the dealer thinks it's oil, and suspects a head gasket.

    14. Member
      Join Date
      Oct 11th, 2001
      North Vancouver, BC
      '92 Passat TD, '01 Golf TDI, '15 Golf TDI
      02-23-2004 01:32 AM #12
      Can't be sure that it is the oil cooler, but it's a lot less expensive to replace than a head gasket, so it's a good place to start. You could replace it and get bad news/bad news - like you just spent money needlessly, plus you're going to have to spend a lot more on a new head gasket! I don't know of any way around it though, as you can't pressure test oil coolers reliably - they often won't show they are leaking under test conditions.
      What you describe is almost definitely oil - it's tarry, really black (from the soot in the oil), and sticks all over. The brown foam is quite different.
      Cross your fingers and hope that a new oil cooler fixes your problem! Good luck, let us know how it turns out!

    15. Member
      Join Date
      May 19th, 2000
      Oxford Mills, Ontario
      2000 Jetta tdi, 1982 Vanagon diesel, many Mercedes diesels and cdi's
      02-24-2004 06:30 PM #13
      99% of the time it is the head gasket leaking, very common on all VW diesels, most people don't let the engine cool down before shut off and the head get warped from excessive heat build up after shut down. Yes the oil cooler could be the cause but the head gasket is usually the problem. An oil cooler is available aftermarket for under $150 look around. Head gasket job runs $500 at a good mechanic (don't let the dealer screw you).
      Ignore all the hype regarding coolant types, Prestone is fine so long as you change it as per recommend intervals, your car using plain old antifreeze. Don't swap too G12 stuff, it causes more leaks then the older stuff (all the pink coolant cars need cyl head flanges long before the green coolant cars!)

    16. 02-24-2004 07:20 PM #14
      if you see the "rainbow" colors on the surface of the coolant, it oil. if you don't see that it could be the coolants mixed up. The oil cooler seal has nothing to do with that, oil mixes with coolant if the cooler is bad internally.If the headgasket is blown, your water temp would be shooting high and the coolant would disappear along with the engine being difficult to start. The rumor about mixing the coolants is the additives react with each other and become corrosive eating away the aluminum. The result is aluminum oxide which blackens the coolant.
      GMs Dexcool is similar to G12 and it makes a black frothy sticky mess when mixed with conevntional coolant. It goes unnoticed untill it eats the coolant galleys in the head. If i were you i would have the dealer flash it correctly, fill it up with G12 and watch for the coolant level and abnormal engine temps and starting problems. replace the cooler too for peace of mind

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