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1998 V70 R Coolant in oil after 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.

1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
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RMColin
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1998 V70 R Coolant in oil after head gasket

Post by RMColin » Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:17 am

Hello everyone!

Long time lurker, first time poster.

I’m having an issue with my V70 R that I’m hoping someone can shed some light on. I bought it a few months ago with a bad head gasket and in non running condition. I had an 850 Turbo wagon that I did the head gasket and a bunch of “while I’m in there” maintenance, and figured that this V70 R would need roughly the same amount of work my 850 Turbo did.

When I pulled the cam cover off during the head gasket job I immediately noticed that there was coolant in the oil. No big deal, I expected something like this with a bad head gasket. Anyway, got the head off, had it machined and valve seals replaced, and reassembled everything. One thing necessary to mention is that the PO had the head “rebuilt” about 50k miles ago and whoever did it managed to strip out several bolt holes, causing me to remove the head a second time in order to install a helicoil. This is important because I missed one of the stripped holes, and it’s one of the 40 that hold the cam cover on.

Anywho, after doing getting the head on the first time I changed the oil and ran it for about 30 seconds total to verify the engine was healthy. The stripped out bolt was on the head where the coolant pipe attaches, and there is no room to do anything back there so I decided to pull the head again. Upon pulling the cam cover again I noticed there was still milky oil sitting on the head, and it looks like it compromised where the anaerobic sealant was located. I figured that this was residual and didn’t think much of it.

After installing the helicoil and the head I fired the car up again. The other stripped out bolt located on the cam cover was removed (obviously) and the empty bolt hole was just SPEWING the oil and coolant mixture. With 39 out of 40 bolts holding the thing on I wouldn’t expect a breach of the anaerobic sealant to this degree. Additionally, the amount of coolant and oil coming out makes me think coolant is getting into oil yet again.

The head gasket and head bolts were all replaced with new both times I removed the head. I have a couple of ideas as to what is going on here, but I’m not sure where to start. The oil in the car currently has Seafoam in it, as the intent was to use it as a flushing oil change, but I’m wondering if it compromised the anaerobic sealant. I’m also wondering if either of the mating surfaces where the cam cover and head meet might be warped, and the anaerobic sealant isn’t able to fill the gap. Lastly, and I hope it’s not this, but I think the block could be cracked. I didn’t see any indications anywhere, so while I’m not ruling it out I don’t think it’s a cracked block.

Has anyone every had something like this happen before? I’m a pretty competent mechanic and this is the first I’ve seen this post head gasket job. Any insight would be super helpful.

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Re: 1998 V70 R Coolant in oil after head gasket

Post by scot850 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:01 am

Are you sure it is the head and not a failed oil cooler in the radiator? It may be worth pulling the radiator and have it pressure tested for a failure in the built in oil cooler.

Neil.
2000 V70 R - still being an endless PITA
2006 XC70
2003 Toyota 4Runner V8 Limited
2015 Kia Sportage EX-L
1993 850 GLT -Sold
1998 V70 XC - Sold
1997 Volvo 850 SE NA - Went to niece in California - Sold
2000 V70 SE NA - New project and test bed - Sold

RMColin
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Re: 1998 V70 R Coolant in oil after head gasket

Post by RMColin » Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:04 am

I read into that a little bit but ruled it out because I’m getting coolant in oil and not oil in coolant. This happens immediately at startup where cooling system pressure is zero and oil pressure is not, so I was assuming I would see oil in the coolant.

PO replaced the radiator last year, but it wouldn’t hurt to check I suppose.

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Re: 1998 V70 R Coolant in oil after head gasket

Post by rspi » Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:55 pm

Did you check the block to see if it is true? My personal policy is; when oil and coolant mix during an overheat, replace the engine along with the turbo.
'95 855 T-5R M, Panther - 22/28 mpg
'98 S70 GLT, Lil' Red 25/32 mpg
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Volvo's of past: '87 740 GLE, '79 262C Bertone, '78 264, 960's, '98 S70 GLT, '95 850 T-5R YellowVolvo Repair Videos

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Re: 1998 V70 R Coolant in oil after head gasket

Post by RMColin » Sun Dec 09, 2018 3:13 pm

Okay, changed the oil again just now and wanted to observe how quickly it went from normal to full on milkshake. Answer was very quickly, unfortunately. Still no signs of oil in the coolant however.

I think I might pull out my endoscope and start hunting around to see if the turbo is possibly compromised somewhere. It doesn’t sound like it’s making any boost when I rev the motor.

Also here is a photo of the top of my cam cover and where the oil is spewing from. Yes I know the bolt is missing, that’s todays project.

Image

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Re: 1998 V70 R Coolant in oil after head gasket

Post by RMColin » Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:23 pm

rspi wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:55 pm
Did you check the block to see if it is true? My personal policy is; when oil and coolant mix during an overheat, replace the engine along with the turbo.
I did not unfortunately. Just curious, but why replace the engine and turbo? I’m leaning toward that direction but not just yet...

In the meantime I’ve been poking around the internet and trying to figure out what’s going on. I definitely don’t think I let the anaerobic sealant set long enough, so I’m going to pull the cam cover and do it again. I have to also install a few helicoil so I’m okay with this. Hopefully this seals the cam cover up. Secondly, I did notice that after oil change number three that the oil is less milky but still not clean like it should be (the photos above are of said oil change).

I’ll have the radiator tested too just in case. From what I read the turbo can’t mix oil and coolant, is this correct? I did stick my endoscope down the inlet housing and noticed a bunch of clean oil in it. Guess a rebuild is in the future if I can fix this watery oil.

Are there any other places to look at?

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Re: 1998 V70 R Coolant in oil after head gasket

Post by rspi » Mon Dec 10, 2018 7:35 pm

RMColin wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:23 pm
rspi wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:55 pm
Did you check the block to see if it is true? My personal policy is; when oil and coolant mix during an overheat, replace the engine along with the turbo.
I did not unfortunately. Just curious, but why replace the engine and turbo? I’m leaning toward that direction but not just yet...

In the meantime I’ve been poking around the internet and trying to figure out what’s going on. I definitely don’t think I let the anaerobic sealant set long enough, so I’m going to pull the cam cover and do it again. I have to also install a few helicoil so I’m okay with this. Hopefully this seals the cam cover up. Secondly, I did notice that after oil change number three that the oil is less milky but still not clean like it should be (the photos above are of said oil change).

I’ll have the radiator tested too just in case. From what I read the turbo can’t mix oil and coolant, is this correct? I did stick my endoscope down the inlet housing and noticed a bunch of clean oil in it. Guess a rebuild is in the future if I can fix this watery oil.

Are there any other places to look at?
When someone drives it until it shuts down, it normally runs coolant or bad oil through the turbo. An old worn turbo can't take much abuse.

Last time I seen a mix like that, the head bolts were not torqued down properly. No coolant runs in the top of the head.
'95 855 T-5R M, Panther - 22/28 mpg
'98 S70 GLT, Lil' Red 25/32 mpg
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Volvo's of past: '87 740 GLE, '79 262C Bertone, '78 264, 960's, '98 S70 GLT, '95 850 T-5R YellowVolvo Repair Videos

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Re: 1998 V70 R Coolant in oil after head gasket

Post by rspi » Mon Dec 10, 2018 7:37 pm

I don't use helicoils on those heads, time serts are a lot smaller.

'95 855 T-5R M, Panther - 22/28 mpg
'98 S70 GLT, Lil' Red 25/32 mpg
--------------------
Volvo's of past: '87 740 GLE, '79 262C Bertone, '78 264, 960's, '98 S70 GLT, '95 850 T-5R YellowVolvo Repair Videos

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Re: 1998 V70 R Coolant in oil after head gasket

Post by RMColin » Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:33 pm

rspi wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 7:37 pm
I don't use helicoils on those heads, time serts are a lot smaller.

Hmm never heard of those, might have to look into them.

After watching that video I definitely did not apply enough of the anerobic sealant to the cam cover this go around. More or less, the cam cover is coming off tonight for a reseal/rethread of the stripped out holes. Without oil leaking everywhere (hopefully) I'll run it up to temp and monitor coolant levels to see if I'm losing/consuming any, or if the engine is just totally full of coolant and oil garbage.

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Re: 1998 V70 R Coolant in oil after head gasket

Post by RMColin » Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:29 pm

Alright update time. I spent this week removing the cam cover, fixing the threads in the head (man were a lot of them chowdered up), and making sure the head and cam cover were spotless to create a good seal. Low and behold, after putting it all back together and reapplying the Anerobic sealant it all worked! I let the sealant set for a few days this time and I think that did the trick. No more oil leaks now!

On top of that I see no coolant consumption, and subsequent oil changes have showed a significant reduction in milk shake-ing of the engine. I believe that it is all back to proper operating condition!

However my turbo is more than likely toast as it is showing all the signs of excessive shaft wear. I’ll have to source a new one, but that’s the least of my worries. Just happy the engine isn’t totally ruined.

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