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Discussion Starter #1
Need some advice from Passat World experts, please. I had a coolant leak from the rear coolant "faucet" flange where it dumped a good pint or two daily in the cold weather. On warm days there was a teaspoonful and of course the 2or3 weeks of deferred maintenance caught me in the cold snap. I have sealed up the rear (needed o-rings only but I also replaced the flange).
I only used distilled water on refill, so I could check for leaks first and also another flush could not do any harm. This was two days ago and I parked outside and have not driven since. We have just had 14degF (-10degC) cold snap the last two nights.
This morning I came to the “wake up” moment…water freezes…and sure enough the car is frozen solid. We have another two nights of sub-zero C. I don’t have to move the vehicle however I am scared of the ramifications of what I have done and any further freeze to pipes and engine.
Anyone have advice on what I should or could do to reduce any further damage that this may have caused. I can move the car into a garage but I would need to drive it for 150-200ft with an engine run time of 2-3minutes to maneuver. I don’t trust what I have read online as they are talking about coolant rather than water. I hope I have not killed my car.:banghead:

Thanks
 

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I certainly wouldn't drive it, much less start it. If it is in fact frozen solid, you run the immediate risk of destroying your water pump, timing belt or both.

If you can push it in to the garage, I would do that.

Of course, because water expands when it freezes, it's possible that components that are 'weak' (hoses, plastic coolant lines, etc) could have burst and you won't discover it until the car starts to thaw and water starts issuing from said components.

Best case is that the water expanded in to the expansion tank as it froze without damaging anything.

You'll just have to wait and see what you have when the car thaws, I'm afraid.

Sent from the 7th Galaxy.
 

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do not drive the car.
get some help to push it into the garage, and then put whatever available heat sources you have under the engine - incandescent light bulbs, a portable electric heater, or whatever, for a day or so. since it only got down to 14 degrees F, you haven't hit the point of ice expanding yet (around 4 degrees); that means it likely hasn't pushed out a freeze plug. let it warm up, and then address the coolant flange issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
uuuurgh. thank you. it is what I thought would be said. I just have another two nights of freeze. I am not sure if I can push it anywhere without some serious help. I might just loosen a few things and hope for the best. basically if I lose the engine I lose my car.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
do not drive the car.
get some help to push it into the garage, and then put whatever available heat sources you have under the engine - incandescent light bulbs, a portable electric heater, or whatever, for a day or so.
Managed to get it into the garage and done as suggested. I will monitor over the next few days.

thanks
 

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do not drive the car.
get some help to push it into the garage, and then put whatever available heat sources you have under the engine - incandescent light bulbs, a portable electric heater, or whatever, for a day or so. since it only got down to 14 degrees F, you haven't hit the point of ice expanding yet (around 4 degrees); that means it likely hasn't pushed out a freeze plug. let it warm up, and then address the coolant flange issue.
Mixing temp systems, Jay. Liquid water contracts until 4 CELSIUS (39F) then expands, and ice expands 9% at the point of freezing. FAQ: Water expansion on freezing
 

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fyi, the water pump housing has a drain plug. if you have some clearance, heat it up a little with a heater, and then remove it.

there is also a drain petcock on the bottom of the radiator.

also, unplug the battery until you are sure it is safe to crank the engine again. if you have a manual trans shift to neutral.

i would make sure all parts of the system are thawed fully before restarting the engine. you can remove the heater hoses and try to pour warm water through the heater core until it flows out
 

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As you have done and others have mentioned. Get the engine as warm as you can for a few days. Be careful with heaters as you don't want to melt any hoses or plastic pieces. Shop lights, hair dryers work well.

Put a catch pan under the petcock on the radiator and try to open it up but don't force it. Monitor any water dripping out. Next would be to carefuly remove the rad hose and maybe a few others.

This will be a total waiting game until you know without a doubt that it is completely thawed and there are no ice chunks left.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the help and advice folks. My garage is warm as my house insulation is lousy; so end result of a few fans and heat sources and the fact that the car was not solidly frozen as I first thought. It had thawed out today. I have air somewhere and now need to pressure test the coolant system for leaks. I will keep it in the garage until I can get coolant into it in the next few days.

Many thanks
 

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No drain on the water pump as it is internal on the B5.5 1.8T. I would just check for leaks in the next few days as it will be warm for a few days. Check everything, the heater hose connections, the oil cooler, the metal pipe under the intake (from the heater hose to the water pump). Any O-ring that moved from expansion will leak. I had someone with a V6 that leaked at every O-ring, the water pump, radiator and heater hoses. I suspect he had only water in there at one point, but the water pump had been the initial leak.

I have a pressure tester you can use that fits the Passat reservoir. I will be home Wednesday if you want to come by and test the system.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi PZ,
I hope not...I have just replaced all the rear flange o-rings :~\
It was why I had water only, until I was sure it was okay.

I loaned a fancy pressure tester today that has the VW fitting, thank you for the offer though. Using it I discovered this afternoon that I have a crack in my reservoir around the cap area, so I have a replacement on order for Tuesday. I will run another pressure check after I have installed the new one and hopefully there won't be any further leaks. I think I got lucky with the freeze not being completely solid as I had a little antifreeze still in the system. I will let you know on Tuesday.

Much appreciated
 

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I hope you dodged a very expensive bullet :thumbup:

Please tell me you ordered a VW reservoir replacement tank and not an after market?? If you did the latter. I would go a head and hit up the dealer for one from them. Aftermarkets are known to be crap and crack.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I hope you dodged a very expensive bullet :thumbup:

Please tell me you ordered a VW reservoir replacement tank and not an after market?? If you did the latter. I would go a head and hit up the dealer for one from them. Aftermarkets are known to be crap and crack.
Ah! I have a simple philosophy. My car is worth maybe $2k. So for PITA items like the rear coolant flange that I just replaced, that is OEM because the original lasted 160K miles, so this should get me at least 100k, hopefully. So too, my timing belt and all the gumph that was needed to do that job. Not OEM but recommended good top quality items. The under carriage components, I used cheaper low mid-range components because the expensive parts might outlast the cheaper on smooth roads. But the bad condition of Texas roads they get destroyed either way, so budget time and money for these to last with luck say 20-30k. Coolant expansion tank or anything that can be changed in 5 minutes, a good brand after market is fair game, so I got a Dorman branded one. If I get 10k out of it, my next purchase will be another brand. If I get 20k (about 2 years) out of it then I am happy. I check vitals fairly regularly (which reminds me I need to check tire pressure) and I usually catch things early.
Otherwise, we had 78F temperatures yesterday. Still running water through my system and garaging the car until I can change out the water for coolant this weekend. I got lucky with what happened. System holds pressure and vacuum and I don’t ‘feel/hear’ problems when driving or see any damage, although I see a few new coolant pipes will be needed at some point in my future.

Passat Folks - thanks for all the help on this.
 
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