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Coolant Overflow/Bubbling - Blown Head Gasket??

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo inline 5-cylinder engine.

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Coolant Overflow/Bubbling - Blown Head Gasket??

Post by Volvolian » Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:09 pm

My coolant reservoir is overflowing and bubbling when the engine gets hot, I checked the lid, plastic and tubing for cracks - there is a small crack in the plastic that the tubing grasps and could be a pressure leak. Is there a test I can do to see if it's the head gasket? I understand this is an expensive repair to do. The oil doesn't seem to have any coolant in it - no green coloration or milky texture.

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Re: Coolant Overflow/Bubbling - Blown Head Gasket??

Post by kahl » Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:27 pm

Get a new overflow bottle. Fill and burp the system and monitor your coolant level. I would also do a compression test on all five cylinders and hopefully all will be within 5 lbs of each other.

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Re: Coolant Overflow/Bubbling - Blown Head Gasket??

Post by precopster » Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:39 pm

Exhaust gases check via colored liquid. The kit is costly however the liquid supplied can be reused many times if re-oxygenated with the supplied hand bulb. The compression could have varied by 5 psi before the problems so this is inconclusive.
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Re: Coolant Overflow/Bubbling - Blown Head Gasket??

Post by kahl » Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:06 pm

The key word "hopefully" all five clylinders will be with 5 lbs. A leaking head gasket will result in one or more cylinders substantially lower than the others. Thinking of the five V-70s we have in the family I would guess the average compression is about 155 to 160 lbs. A compression test is cheap, quick and easy.

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Re: Coolant Overflow/Bubbling - Blown Head Gasket??

Post by kahl » Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:22 pm

I also want to point out that Mike's statement that low compression on one or several cylinders pointing to a failed head gasket is valid. It is inconclusive that low compression points directly to a failed head gasket. Hopefully all your compression is close on all five cylinders telling you your head gasket is ok.

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Re: Coolant Overflow/Bubbling - Blown Head Gasket??

Post by bugs11 » Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:41 pm

Do an exhaust gases in coolant test. My local Or'Reillys rents the kit for $20 or $30, but you have to buy the diagnostic liquid separately. Lucky for me I have a neighbor who is a mechanic and he just brought his shops kit home and tested mine - it was a blown head gasket. Coolant was boiling out the reservoir, only way I could drive it was with the heater on full bore and short trips at that. And then replacing the head gasket began my journey into working on an 850.

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Re: Coolant Overflow/Bubbling - Blown Head Gasket??

Post by abscate » Sun Apr 17, 2016 4:14 am

Do the simple things first, replace the reservoir. Unless you overheated it, no reason to think loss of pressure from crack isn't the root cause at this moment.
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