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engine coolant level

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Old Feb 10th, 2019, 14:28   #1
john langrick
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Default engine coolant level

Hi, a quick question re coolant level.

I had a bit of a fright when son borrowed my xc90 my2003 d5 driving about 40 miles.

I did have coolant level issues about 6 months and 3000/miles ago diagnosed to the radiator which was replaced and since then, no issues.

Son returned car saying that the 'coolant low' message displayed a couple of miles from home. I looked at this the following morning and the resevoir was empty and on ignition, red warning and stop engine message displayed.

I refilled to the mark and all appears well. But now very wary. Car in at the indi tomorrow for pressure testing.

I do notice that once the engine warmed and driven a few miles, the level drops about 3cm.

When cold, usually the next morning, releasing the resevoir cap, there is a release of air pressure and the level returns to normal.

I understand that there remains pressure in the system even when cold, but is this normal?

I have had lots of cars in the past and to be honest never had coolant issues so not sure if this is normal operation.

I just wonder if the large radiator pipes have become flexible with age and thy are now expanding under pressure and may need changing.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Many thanks
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Old Feb 10th, 2019, 14:48   #2
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If you can hear air releasing when you open the cap in the morning there is no pressure loss so it would appear the cooling system is fine. A pressure test is done to determine leaks in the system both internally and externally.
As for the drop in level when engine warm, the thermostat opens up and allows coolant to circulate around the engine and heater system etc.Thats why you should always check level cold.
The initial level drop could be that there was an airlock after the rad was changed.
I would be surprised if you had a problem.
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Old Feb 11th, 2019, 13:17   #3
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I have the same - coolant level light came on and I found it was indeed low (several centimetres). Topped up and has been a week now but level fine; this w/e checked all hoses, rad and ran with cap off to look for bubbles but nothing - all fine. So I am in similar position where some coolant has gone somewhere but now hopefully stopped, but am watching closely!

Did have same issue with my reliable but old Galaxy - same level for years then suddenly one day had dropped an inch or more; topped up and has been fine since.
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Old Feb 11th, 2019, 14:12   #4
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Default Failed water pump seal, any dried coolant crystals?

Our D5 XC90 did the same for ages. It was only when we did a timing belt service that we found dried coolant crystals covering everything. It's really easy to pull the black plastic timing cover off to check, it's a single 10mm bolt and a handful of clips. Since you're in there check all of the tensioners and pulleys for dried bearings including the alternator pulley. Ours had a dried bearing on the plastic timing pulley. It sounded like a high pitched whistling sound, like a boost leak, but changed pitch with the RPM.

Amazon had the Aisin water pump for 45 a little while ago. It was identical to the genuine Volvo part we took off only the Volvo markings had been ground off. Hope you sort it soon.
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Old Feb 11th, 2019, 20:16   #5
john langrick
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Thanks for the responses. Timing belt, water pump, serpentine belt radiator all replaced within last 5000 miles.

My local indi pressure tested and checked around today. Still remains a mystery.

Will just monitor daily and see how it goes.

Thanks again for the responses.

John l
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