Sky InsuranceChris Nott
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  1. #1
    Reverse Gear

    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Help! coolant leak after doing head gasket

    Hi, I have a 2004 A3 2.0 tdi Bkd engine with 170,000 miles. I have had a small coolant leak for the past two years which has got progressively worse, six months ago I brought it to my local mechanic who diagnosed I needed a new head gasket. He installed a new head gasket and also pressure tested the head ( found no leaks) but to my dismay the car continued to lose coolant. In the past month the leak has become so bad I have to top up the coolant ever second day, also the engine became very hard to start in the morning, when I try to start it the engine locks up and is very noisy. When it does start there is lots of white smoke everywhere.After some research I decided to change the egr cooler ( 330 euros) but this has not made any difference either. I dont know what to do next of where the coolant is leaking ( no signs of external leaks) I now open coolant expansion tank cap after long journeys to release pressure, this seem to help as not as much coolant seems to get into the cylinder for starting the following morning. Do I need a new engine? Did the pressure test not show up a leak on the cylinder head? Is there a crack in the engine block? Can you replace the engine block or is it better to get a new engine? Would k seal work? Any help, ideas would be greatly appreciated as I dont want to get rid of car as I still love driving it.

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  3. #2
    Sportback owner

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Neil, from what I have learned on this forum, it may well be a cracked cylinder head. The early heads were very prone to this problem, and what may well be happening here is that the leak only occurs under pressure when the head is hot. Your actions in relieving the coolant pressure after a long run seems to indicate that it stops leaking so much. Realise that when you turn off a hot engine, since the head has lost all cooling, the temperature and pressure will suddenly increase. At least until it all cools down over time. That's why if you release the coolant cap, you may experience a sudden boiling of the coolant and a release of superheated, dangerous steam. Pressure testing the head when cold may not show any leaks. A new head gasket won't fix a cracked head, although it might slow down a leak for a while. Whith this much coolant loss, and no visible external leaks, I think it is unsafe to continue to use the car until this has been fixed. Otherwise, severe damage will result. White smoke is steam. It should not be there at all. I don't believe that K-Seal is the answer. I would sincerely recommend considering a new head, rather than worrying about the block. Hope this helps a little. Good luck.
    French A3 Sportback 2006, 2.0L 140 TDI, DSG, RSN-E, Ambient lighting, Auto-lights/wipers, Reverse assist, Dolphin Grey, 17" wheels, Leather seats, Cruise control, Roof bars.

  4. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    ditto!Just replaced mine o4 plate cylider head!If your head has the letter a at the end of the head code on top of the head with that mileage im 90%sure its cracked check the link.mine was puffing blue smoke big time!

    [2.0 TDI] How to know if your cylinder head will Crack (if it hasnt yet)?



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