View Full Version : Need help...HG/how to be CERTAIN if coolant is in your oil

01-09-2009, 05:34 PM
As the title says.. I was POSITIVE I had a head gasket leak, due to a pretty bad oil leak that had aeppeared to b coming from the head and my car was starting to burn oil consistently(not stop and go, just in general) once it got warm.

Well I started pulling the car apart tonight and I removed the intake manifold. I now see that my valve cover gasket for whatever reason did not seal to great and was leaking in just about every spot-using some rtv next time [headbang]. There was oil all over the intake manifold where it mounts and below it too. When I pulled it there was traces of oil on the IM gasket AND in the bowls and on some of the intake valves. Some intake valves looked worse than others with the oil build up. Also where I saw a steady drip of oil (every 5-10 sec) while the car was running looked like it was from the head. Well I can now trace an oil leak form what I thought was the head right up to the valve cover right above the cam gear, so even more doubts in my mind that it is the HG..

Now I am beginning to think this all may have happened over a leaking valve cover gasket and before I pull the head I wanna be certain that I absolutely have to. SO I am looking for a way to positively identify coolant in the oil. I cannot visible see anything. Anyon? Any help is greatly appreciated seeing that I wantto have this done by Monday.

Keep in mind my head was just put on fresh about 500 miles ago. It has gotten worse since it was originally put together. Also just to see if I messed up the torque on a headbolt I singled one out and kept going up in ft lbs until I found the point of it beginning to make it tighter. All of the headbolts had the same torque.

01-09-2009, 06:41 PM
well if your head gasket went out, your compression would be way off. do a compression test and see if they hold pressure. if you have oil in the coolant or the other way around, and your compression is fine, start looking at the oil cooler.

did you put the head on yourself? it doesnt really help knowing the bolts are all the same torque because if they werent put on properly to begin with you could still have problems. this is what Audi says for torque specs on those bolts...

again if your compression is normal, this isnt the problem. but since you have torqued the bolts till they moved to test that out, i would pull the head anyways just to replace the bolts that have now possibly been over torqued. you will need a new head gasket and new bolts for that.

normaly oil is the color of clear brown to jet black. if there is any milky-ness in it, or it is a much lighter shade of brown then it should be, you could have coolant in there. if you havnt already checked out the oil cooler though, thats where i would look next.

edit: also if you think theres coolant in the oil, the oil level wouldnt be going down, it would be mysteriously going up and your coolant going down. or if equal parts of oil were also getting into the coolant, both coolant and oil levels would be the same, they would just turn weird colors.

01-09-2009, 06:46 PM
You didn't use any rtv on the valve cover seal / o-ring?

01-09-2009, 06:56 PM
Well, to clarify some things. I work on my car myself. I KNOW I torqued down the head correctly, I was unsure of the stretch, but I had confirmed this just before by testing them. Nothing was over torqued, believe me. The bolt didnt even turn .05mm.. My compression came back an even 158-165 across the 4 cylinders. As of right now I have decided, after talking to a couple people, to clean off the entire engine to make it as clean as possible, install the valve cover with rtv on the points and make sure it was torqued down correctly and going to go from there. I had a head gasket and bolts overnighted to me anyway, so if ti comes down to it I am ready.

Being that the coolant was a nice pink color when drained I am going to take it that there was no oil mixed in and being that I have not lost ANY coolant it def. didn't end up in the oil, most of which found its way out of the motor anyway.

and no i didn't use any rtv on any points or half moon, mistake on my part.. But hey apparently I f'ed up the whole valve cover anyway so no biggie ha.

01-09-2009, 08:19 PM
My compression came back an even 158-165 across the 4 cylinders.

i believe it should be around 180psi normaly, and they should be almost equal over all the cyls, atleast the highest and lowest numbers should be within 5psi or so.

01-09-2009, 08:23 PM
i'm not worried about the compression, it has been steady at that for a while now. My motor is a a fully built motor btw.. not your average engine. And a "like new" condition is anywhere from 165 or 170-185 i believe. Was hoping someone might know a definite way to tell if there is ANY coolant in the oil.

01-09-2009, 08:35 PM
there are indicator dyes you can put in the oil or the coolant, then if they show up in the other fluid you will know for sure.

01-09-2009, 08:38 PM
yeah, that'll be a little to late to be useful though considering my motor is pulled apart and I either bit the bullet and pull the head or hope it was the valve cover and throw it back together and seal it properly. sucks.. I hate situations that are trial and error and theres basically nothing you can do about it.

01-09-2009, 08:51 PM
When installin the VC gasket there are four little spots that need RTV. Those are the inside corners where the gasket curves up.

01-09-2009, 08:55 PM
^^yes, so I have realized haha. what are the odds that oil got in through the intake mani and that is what caused the burning oil? The "gulleys" that are around the head between the runners are filled with oil and the gasket did have some oil on it.

01-09-2009, 08:57 PM
yea that sucks, damned if you do damned if you dont. you could possibly try draining both your coolant and oil into clean (and obviously- seperate) buckets and look for any sign of one fluid in with the other. from what you have described, the head gasket would not be the first thing i would think of, if that is any reassurance to you. good luck man.

01-09-2009, 09:17 PM
ha yeah, I have everything drained out of my car, i was in the process of pulling the head tonight when it came to my attention that the oil leak that I thought was the headgasket can be followed up to the valve cover and the oil burning may be from it leaking off the valve cover and getting into the intake. From the looks, i see no obvious signs of any mixing of oil and coolant, so I think that may be clear.

It has to be one of these 2 things, so we'll see. thanks for the help [up] i'll update sunday or monday when the motor is back together, damn snow storm coming through tomorrow.