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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #1
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Brick in Coolant Expansion tank

As you guys may know or not know I'm fixing my SORN Fiat Grande Punto.

But!

My coolant expansion tank was really rusty and I was cleaning it out and I found a piece of brick in my tank, which stunned me.

I told someone and he said: "people do it to seal the head gasket".

I don't believe this, and it confuses me. Is this true? Is there any validity to this claim that people do this?
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Old 4 Days Ago   #2
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Re: Brick in Coolant Expansion tank

New one on me. Must have been a very small bit of brick to get through the filler hole or was it long and thin? Can't see it working though otherwise there would be loads of houses all "melting" into the ground.

Sorry Tom, no offence meant to you, but I can't keep this up, my brain is going off on ever wilder possible explanations!
Kind regards
Jock
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Re: Brick in Coolant Expansion tank

If it really is a piece of brisk, it seems odd that anyone would have a bit near them while topping up the coolant. It certainly will not dissolve and work as a sealant.

My guess is that it is the remains of a 'Bar's Leak' pellet. An old coolant leak remedy, maybe still around. Came in a box like a large matchbox, looked like doggy-doo rolled in sand.
The idea was that, with the engine warm and running, the pellet was crumbled into the top of the radiator, circulated and sealed any leaks.
My experience of these is that they were very tedious to crumble, rarely fixed any leak, but had a tendency to collect at any available poorly-flowing point and reform and solidify. That is probably what you have found, or perhaps someone got fed up with crumbling it and dropped it in expecting it to dissolve.
With many header tanks not getting much flow, most leak stoppers will be ineffective anyway.

Sadly, it may point to a leak point somewhere that may now be successfully sealed, but there might be more of this stuff lurking, potentially clogging waterways. Keep an eye on the temp gauge and coolant levels.
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Re: Brick in Coolant Expansion tank

Quote Originally Posted by portland_bill View Post
Sadly, it may point to a leak point somewhere that may now be successfully sealed, but there might be more of this stuff lurking, potentially clogging waterways. Keep an eye on the temp gauge and coolant levels.
... and fish out what's left in there, the only thing that should be in the cooling system is coolant.
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Re: Brick in Coolant Expansion tank

I'd forgotten all about those tablets that you crumbled PB. I do still have a second bottle of the "liquid with sludge" Bars Leaks product which superseded it. I bought 2 bottles when I was trying to stop the Imp loosing water many years ago but never got round to using the second bottle as I discovered the head gasket was blown. The subsequent strip down convinced me never to use this sort of product in future.
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Re: Brick in Coolant Expansion tank

Quote Originally Posted by Pugglt Auld Jock View Post
I'd forgotten all about those tablets that you crumbled PB. I do still have a second bottle of the "liquid with sludge" Bars Leaks product which superseded it. I bought 2 bottles when I was trying to stop the Imp loosing water many years ago but never got round to using the second bottle as I discovered the head gasket was blown. The subsequent strip down convinced me never to use this sort of product in future.
The pellet seems to still be available.
The liquid sludge was more effective, but still had the tendency to create solid lumps inside the block or radiator.

An Imp with a blown head gasket is a hopeless task. Likely to never seal properly again. Doesn't need Bar's Leaks, needs cement.
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Re: Brick in Coolant Expansion tank

Quote Originally Posted by portland_bill View Post
The liquid sludge was more effective, but still had the tendency to create solid lumps inside the block or radiator.

An Imp with a blown head gasket is a hopeless task. Likely to never seal properly again. Doesn't need Bar's Leaks, needs cement.
One of the establishments which "benefited" from my employment had a very active spares and accessories department - It was a good money maker. The boss got heavily into bed with the one of the biggest brands of these products and their rep would borrow a corner of the workshop to do product demonstrations. This, of course, was a good opportunity for us all to have a nice wee skive on the pretence of being enthralled by his magical brews! There were actually many very impressive demos. Two in particular have stayed vividly in my mind. There was the demonstration of a friction improver/oil thickener (approximately the thickness of golden syrup) which involved a bearing race being tortured in a rig with big long levers and weights on the end - lots of oil smoke and screeching noises! I've seen several videos explaining what a load of rubbish that test really is, but boy does it get your attention! On the other hand the drag racing boys seem to believe strongly in the product and these are engines under extreme stress so it must have some merit? I don't get involved with oil additives so I just can't say. I do know the shop sold lots of it. Then there was their radiator stop leak which was demonstrated by driving 6" nails into a galvanized bucket (ruined a perfectly good fire bucket!) and demonstrating that if you poured water into it it came out the holes! Then they mixed some of the product with water and poured it into the bucket and after a couple of drips the flow stopped! Looking closely at the holes you could actually see the water in the hole but it wasn't coming out! The thing about it which interested me most was their claim that if you drain the water out the product goes with it, which he demonstrated by emptying the bucket and pouring clean water back in - which, of course, immediately leaked back out the holes! It was a demo that impressed me but I never had a situation where I was tempted/needed to try it so don't know if it worked as well as was claimed.

Oh yeh, Imps with blown head gaskets! now there was an engine that really, REALLY, didn't like overheating. and they coupled it to a cooling system which had a number of serious flaws, not the least of which being that the rad was mounted so that it could draw the hot air it had just expelled straight back through itself again! The engine (as you may well know, but for the edification of others) was all aluminium with the steel/cast iron? bores cast into the block. The trouble, from the overheating point of view, was that the hard bore metal didn't actually go all the way to the top of the bore. It stopped just under the face of the block deck so the head gasket sealed against, what was in effect, a ring of aluminium round the top of the bore. One of the first things you looked for when taking a head off was "is there any damage to this face" I've seen them with most if that thin aluminium flaking away. When like this there was nothing you could do, effectively on a customer engine that was it. New engine needed! I got a wee bit involved with building higher performance versions (I had pretensions to go hillclimbing with one) and the "trick" for reliability was to get the head machined to accept Wills Rings - bit of an overkill for a standard road engine though - and install a front mounted radiator. I never did go hillclimbing (watched it a lot though) and used the car as a road car. However, I can tell you, don't run the rad pipes through the bodyshell! even in midwinter I had to have the windows wound down to make it even bearable inside! Ok for a quick blast up the hill though. I later moved the pipes to under the floor before selling the car.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #8
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Re: Brick in Coolant Expansion tank

Great stories form the past. Just don't get those things any more.
I've seen a demo with holes in a bucket. Never got an answer about how it faired under pressure in a cooling system. Not sure the film strength would hold up.

There was a period when BL A-series engines had to have a bar's pellet installed at PDI. Can't remember why now. Then BL had the bright idea to 'install' it in under the thermostat at engine build, expecting it to dissolve and dissipate when filled with coolant. This was supposed to save the cost of the dealer putting it in at PDI. Instead, at PDI we had to remove the thermostat housing and dig out the solid pellet. At least they mostly solidified there, so didn't need circulate to seal up any important waterways.
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