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Low coolant level and fumes or steamed up window glass

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by rohailali, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. rohailali
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    rohailali New Member

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    [Sep 27, 2011]
    Hi everyone,
    to cut a long story short I experienced this problem with my Audi A3 2004 140bhp 2.0 tdi as soon as I bought it privately in November 2010.It has 110K mileage on the clock.

    First I experienced that every now and then the coolant warning light will come up and in fact on checking coolant level would be low.so I have to fill the coolant level every 100 miles on average I travel.So I started reading it on this forum and found the porous
    head problem in these Audis and so I believed that was the cause of the low coolant levels.or some cracks in head or cylinder block.But i never found any water mixing in the oil or any physical leak on the coolant system.Also the car wouldn't start in winter months not even rotate the engine with starter motor.I had to replace the starter motor 3 times and also the battery once.It was as the engine was stuck but sometimes after trying few times starter motor would start the engine with no problems at all.

    Someone advised me to use a liquid called "steel " I forgot the exact name but I bought that from ebay and poured it in the radiator.It didn't cure the problem.

    Then in summer days the problem of low coolant level and steamed up windows gone miraculously and I drove about 2500 miles in summer months and not had to fill the radiator even one.I thought may be the liquid in the radiator fixed the problem but took couple of moths to actually fix the problem.But unfortunately as today again the coolant level warning came up and I had to fill the radiator up with coolant.Also I noticed that windows were starting to steam up in the last week or so.I always blamed it on the chilly weather.
    I am so stressed with this problem as I cant find help anywhere.Took the car to an independent garage previously who couldn't tell me the cause and said he fixed the problem but he didn't.
    Please help me with your experience and knowledge and guide me in the right direction.Many thanks to any comments to post
    #1
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  3. Ash187
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    Ash187 Audi-Retrofits.co.uk Site Sponsor

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    [Sep 27, 2011]
    Welcome to the Forum Bro

    I would advise you got the car checked properly by a good mechanic, in the mean time use some K-Seal as thats what helped me when i thought i had a leak
    #2
  4. rohailali
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    rohailali New Member

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    [Sep 27, 2011]
    Thanks very much for the reply bro.I actually used K seal sorry I forgot the name of this product.But it didnt help.I believe it there could be leak in the heating system thats causing all the windows to steam up and consume the coolant.as this problem didnt occur in summer months at all as I never used the heating system in those months.Any recommendation for a good mechanic in West Yorkshire area?
    I cant really afford to get it fixed if its the cylinder head problem but if its some cheaper fix then I would obviously get it fixed asap.
    #3
  5. Ash187
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    Ash187 Audi-Retrofits.co.uk Site Sponsor

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    [Sep 27, 2011]
    if you think its the heating system the jack the car up and remove the bottom skid panel, look up up the radiator for leaks, there are some threads already on the forum in the past month or so about this so shouldnt be hard to find in a search...

    here is one i just did (took me 5 seconds) to get you started off
    site:audi-sport.net audi-sport.net a3 coolant loss - Google Search
    #4
  6. rohailali
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    rohailali New Member

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    [Sep 27, 2011]
    Thanks once again I just read most of these search result posts.Seems like it is a cylinder head problem or the EGR valve problem.Just need to find an economical way to get this fixed.can you please advise a relatively cheaper fix to this problem.and even getting it diagnosed to have concrete answer first?
    #5
  7. Geraldy212
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    Geraldy212 Sportback owner

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    [Sep 28, 2011]
    Rohailali, just a bit of detective work here.... Steaming up windows indicated that the inside of the car is very humid. Summer time with no problems indicates that the humidity has gone away. Your in-car heater matrix is connected to the coolant system, and used mostly in the winter. So, dear Watson, I would certainly suspect a coolant leak occuring in the heater matrix as being the guilty party. You can check this by turning off all in-car heating and running for a few days, and see if the coolant level drops. Then turn on full in-car heating for a bit, and observe the coolant level again. If this turns out to be the problem, I would think that a new heater matrix would cost less that a full cylinder head replacement. Hope this helps.
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  8. rohailali
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    rohailali New Member

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    [Sep 28, 2011]
    Thank you very much Geraldy212 .I will follow your advice and update on the forum the results.I hope its not the cylinder head.I will update but it may take sometime as I will have to wait when i get the low coolant warning and then again try by not using the heating system.Kind regards
    #7
  9. rohailali
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    rohailali New Member

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    [Oct 13, 2011]
    Hi,
    Just to update, windows of my car still steam up, coolant has its own mind, once i had to refill the coolant after driving 75 miles and second time I have driven roughly 250 miles and coolant warning light hasnt come up yet.So in my opinion its the cylinder head unfortunately :(
    feel sorry for myself and the people who bought bkd engine especially 2004 model a3 8ps
    #8
  10. Ash187
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    Ash187 Audi-Retrofits.co.uk Site Sponsor

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    [Oct 13, 2011]
    hi mate, i thought my coolant issue was solved when i put in the K-Seal, but the warning came back on sunday when i was on my way home on a 50 mile journey... i topped it up and carried on driving but it came straight back after 10 miles. so i topped up again and finished off the journey and when i got home it was on the minimum level again... took it into the garage on Monday morning to find out it was my radiator and had to have it replaced there and then... £140 :(
    issue now sorted though
    #9
  11. rohailali
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    rohailali New Member

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    [Oct 21, 2011]
    I suppose if that had happened to me I would have been happy and quite relieved as 140 for a new radiator and problem sorted not like this cylinder head issue which would cost arm and a leg to get fixed and when infact you have 2004 car with over 10ok mile on the clock you don't really want to spend any massive amount on repairs.Thanx for sharing your experience
    #10
  12. Geraldy212
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    Geraldy212 Sportback owner

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    [Oct 21, 2011]
    Rohailai are you absolutely sure it's the cylinder head? Have you tried putting some paper under the car overnight and see if there are any drips of coolant? I still think it's a long shot, but steamed-up windows do indicate that there is dampness inside the car. So, just a suggestion to use the tell-tail paper, after you have returned from a trip using the heater. Just hate the idea of you spending a fortune if it turns out to be something else mate.
    #11
  13. Ash187
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    Ash187 Audi-Retrofits.co.uk Site Sponsor

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    [Oct 21, 2011]
    i agree with the above post, and to be honest the real way to test it is when the engine is hot after a good run. my mechanic did not see the radiator leaks the first time i dropped it into him as it only happened when really hot and the leak was so small that it did not show too well...
    but as time when on the leak got worse but still only showed on a hot engine, never helps as the only time i would look is when the engine is off and cold like 1st thing in the morning.
    #12
  14. s4 dfw
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    s4 dfw New Member

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    [Oct 21, 2011]
    99% going to be your heater matrix matey.. close your windows put the heater on high without the fans turned on and watch steam filter out the vent in the top of your dashboard ;)
    #13

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