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Oil in Radiator


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Matt1312020
New User

Aug 14, 2015, 4:40 PM

Post #1 of 11 (960 views)
Oil in Radiator Sign In

Quite simply, there is oil in the radiator. Other than that there seems to be nothing else wrong with the car. Drives normally, no weird noises, and no coolant is leaking into the oil, just oil into the coolant. I don't know where to start.

Car is a 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer. 1.8L engine, roughly 110,000km on the clock.

Any advice or information is appreciated.


Discretesignals
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Aug 14, 2015, 5:24 PM

Post #2 of 11 (951 views)
Re: Oil in Radiator Sign In

Automatic or manual transaxle?





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Matt1312020
New User

Aug 16, 2015, 4:24 AM

Post #3 of 11 (920 views)
Re: Oil in Radiator Sign In

It's a manual.


Tom Greenleaf
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Aug 16, 2015, 6:07 AM

Post #4 of 11 (915 views)
Re: Oil in Radiator Sign In

Matt: Dunno where DS is hiding so I'll try based on his question. Automatics frequently use an end tank in radiator for cooling transmission fluid, standards not so much. Look anyway at radiator end tanks for anything that might carry oil in and out - engine or other. Doubt transaxle oil - look anyway.


If any oil cooled in those mixes in it will usually make like a milky mess and oils easily harm cooling system rubber too. Worse is coolant getting into items that are using oil. Fix is what went which way that might be harmed and radiator is at fault - new one only, not fixed.


Check if you find lines and to what and that item(s) cooled by that oil if coolant mixed in there.


Would be an awful mistake if somehow oil of any kind was put in radiator by mistake but guess could happen. Other is possible engine gasket (head?) could mix up there but don't hear of that much on anything. Do look, it's real important to get this fixed ASAP,


T



Discretesignals
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Aug 16, 2015, 7:47 AM

Post #5 of 11 (909 views)
Re: Oil in Radiator Sign In

Has this ever overheated?

Tom pretty much summed it up. If you are getting oil in the radiator, it has to be coming from the engine. There could be a leak between an oil and coolant port of the head gasket or some type of crack in the head allowing oil to get into the coolant system. The reason it doesn't go the other way is because there is more oil pressure than coolant pressure.





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Hammer Time
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Aug 16, 2015, 8:35 AM

Post #6 of 11 (907 views)
Re: Oil in Radiator Sign In


Quote
The reason it doesn't go the other way is because there is more oil pressure than coolant pressure.



Until the engine is shut of hot. Then it tends to go the other way.



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Discretesignals
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Aug 16, 2015, 8:42 AM

Post #7 of 11 (904 views)
Re: Oil in Radiator Sign In

That would depend on how it leaks too. If the leak acts as a check valve it can cause oil to flow one way and coolant can't flow the other or maybe it takes a lot more pressure than coolant pressure to make the leak occur.


Believe it or not I had a 3.8L Regal in the shop that had oil in the radiator, but no coolant in the oil. The transmission cooler was fine, but the intake gaskets were shot. Somehow the oil from the valley was getting picked up into the coolant system through the intake gaskets. After replacing the intake gaskets the oil in the coolant stopped. The only thing I can theorize is that the flow of coolant through the passage in the gasket created a sucking effect that drew in oil vapors from the lifter valley. Very weird. Of course, I don't see this happening on a non V type engine.





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(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Aug 16, 2015, 8:51 AM)


Tom Greenleaf
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Aug 16, 2015, 11:20 AM

Post #8 of 11 (895 views)
Re: Oil in Radiator Sign In

Sorry DS for stepping on you one simple question but thinking like you I hope with this type thing. Done with that till fixed.


OP - know that real oils in cooling system when fixed may not be all done with work yet. Cooling system rubber parts do NOT tolerate oil well anywhere from the pressure caps, seals in a water pump, hoses that carry coolant only for their job. Most issues if any you could feel soft cooling system hoses and know it was invasive in some time AFTER all is fixed. No telling if early if anything will be needed or not quite yet if new,


T



Discretesignals
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Aug 16, 2015, 2:44 PM

Post #9 of 11 (891 views)
Re: Oil in Radiator Sign In

Your right, oil in the coolant system is going to turn the hoses and other rubber components into mush eventually. The hardest part is flushing the system of oil after the repair. Sometimes it takes many many flushes. We've been successful with using simple green mixed with water. I've heard other's using cascade dish washing powder, but either way it is going to take a lot of flushing.





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(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Aug 16, 2015, 2:45 PM)


Matt1312020
New User

Aug 16, 2015, 4:34 PM

Post #10 of 11 (883 views)
Re: Oil in Radiator Sign In

Thanks for all the advice. I've only owned the car a short time so was unsure if it's been overheated in the past or not. Since my initial post I've started noticing some misfires while driving, and so we did a compression test and one of the cylinders was a little low. We got into contact with the previous owner and they admitted that it has overheated, and they had to pull the thing apart to replace the head gasket right before selling it. So we've got a new head gasket in there already apparently. I could easily be wrong since I have little experience with cars, but this leads me to believe it is almost certainly a cracked head :/

I think the best option right now would probably be just to buy a new motor. Your thoughts?

EDIT: Have been flushing the cooling system regularly to try and avoid the build up of much oil in the radiator to try and prevent damage to the cooling system. Took the thermostat out to try and flush the system better but it seems it's already wrecked the seal on the thermostat. Will definitely be keeping an eye out for anything else in the near future.


(This post was edited by Matt1312020 on Aug 16, 2015, 4:37 PM)


Discretesignals
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Aug 16, 2015, 4:47 PM

Post #11 of 11 (879 views)
Re: Oil in Radiator Sign In

If you have the money, putting a good low mileage used engine or even a new engine would be a smart move. Especially if you want to keep the vehicle for a long time.

When an engine overheats like that, there is no telling what kind of damage was done. You might fix the oil leaking into the coolant problem by installing another head, but later on the engine might start burning oil because the rings are cracked. If the engine had overheated and had coolant in the oil, but they fixed the blown head gasket and flushed the bottom end out, it could end up with a knocking later on from damaged engine bearings. Just too many things that can go wrong or unknowns when an engine is overheated. Starting off with a clean slate would be a wise choice.





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.






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