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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, so here's the story.

Early this year, around May, I got a coolant leak coming from the back of the engine. I would fill up the coolant to the proper level, drive, and by the time I got to my destination I would get the "STOP" coolant light. So instead of wasting money on Coolant I began filling the car with distilled water. After reading through this forum it sounded like the rear coolant flange so I went about replacing it. After an awful install (meaning that flange was a PITA) it looked like I fixed the problem. That was in June.

Flash forward to September. I moved to a new neighborhood way closer to my jobs and began taking my Vespa to work instead of the Passat. My new neighborhood has alternate side only one day a week so basically from September on my car has only moved once a week.

So now its December and its time to put the scoot away and use the car again. So a few days ago I went for a drive to run some errands. About 5 minutes into the drive my coolant light comes on. I was heading near the VW dealer in the Bronx so I figured let me go in and get some real g12 coolant finally since the car has been running on distilled water since June. So as I get closer the car starts making these wurring noises and I see smoke coming from my engine. I immediately pull over, turn the car off, and raise the hood to see whats going on. The engine is smoking lik crazy and the coolant tank looked liked it ballooned a bit. I go to open the coolant cap and hot steam and water come rushing out. I let the car cool down a bit and the steam and chaos seem to go down so I hop in the car and continue on to the dealer. I finally make it, buy the coolant and immediately pour it in the car using about half. I then proceed to drive home and have to pull over again for the coolant light and also my temp gauge is now maxed out. I check the tank and its empty so i pour in the rest of the coolant and go home. As I'm just getting home the car starts buzzing and and oil pressure light comes on. I coast as much as I can, and finally pull over near my place to let it cool down.

So today I buy some Peak life coolant as a temporary fix to see if i have any leaks. The tank fills up and no leaks so far. I then start the car up and see a slow trickle of coolant from the front of the car. At first it looks like the seam between the oil pan and "the radiator?" but after more inspection it seems to be coming from above that but i can't really see from where.

Here are my questions:

1) Did I kill the car?

2) what could the leak be? I'm thinking the water pump, my Dad thinks its Freeze plugs since the car was just sitting for days in freezing temps with Distilled water instead of Coolant. What else could it be? It is coming from the front of the car by the way.

3) I just realized that I put in pure coolant and then later added the peak life 50/50. Should I still add some water to balance out the G12 or shoudl I not even worry since I probably leaked out most of the G12 by now.

4) Besides the leak the car seems to sound and run just fine. A check engine light came on but that isn't out of the norm for this car. No other lights or warnings.

Thanks so much guys for taking the time to read this and hopefully someone can help me out with this.
 

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front of the engine I would venture to say that the seal on the water pump is toast, or you cracked the water jacket on the front of the motor. It would help if list more info on what motor and what not. Does the run good and just leak coolant or what.
 

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I think at this point worrying about adding water or coolant is academic. Have it towed to a VW dealer or competent VW specialist shop, and start totaling up how much money you can raise.

It could well be either the water pump or freeze plugs (don't know where they are on a Passat) but it could have been more serious damage from freezing as well. Then add in the damage caused by driving with a pinned temp gauge and oil buzzer on...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
sorry, the car is a 2001.5 1.8t AWM with 135,000 miles. The timing belt, water pump, tensioner etc were replaced at 70,000 miles.
 

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Also note that you mixed G12 with Peak Life. Plan to completely flush the cooling system with water several times and fill with a fresh batch of Aluminum safe coolant, preferably G12/G12+. Find that leak first.
 

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Also note that you mixed G12 with Peak Life. Plan to completely flush the cooling system with water several times and fill with a fresh batch of Aluminum safe coolant, preferably G12/G12+. Find that leak first.
I assume he meant Peak Long Life, which is supposedly compatible. Wouldn't catch ME mixing them, though.
 

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Another potential object lesson here?

Though I haven't tried the experiment myself, I've always been told that serious overheating and refilling with cold coolant before the engine reaches something close to ambient temperature can cause cracks (up to and including engine block) due to uneven thermal expansion and contraction.
 

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You might want to check your cooling system hoses also to ensure none are cracked or have burst.

Good luck.
 

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Another potential object lesson here?

Though I haven't tried the experiment myself, I've always been told that serious overheating and refilling with cold coolant before the engine reaches something close to ambient temperature can cause cracks (up to and including engine block) due to uneven thermal expansion and contraction.
Not to mention warping the head.

In a perfect world you've only damaged a water pump or freeze plug(s).
 

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When the coolant cannot circulate through the radiator because the radiator or waterpump are frozen, the engine overheats. With that are all the possibilties of an overheated engine, including warped head or scored cylinders.
 

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So instead of wasting money on Coolant I began filling the car with distilled water.
Let me guess, you don't use synthetic oil either.
About 5 minutes into the drive my coolant light comes on.
So as I get closer the car starts making these wurring noises and I see smoke coming from my engine.
The engine is smoking lik crazy and the coolant tank looked liked it ballooned a bit.
and have to pull over again for the coolant light and also my temp gauge is now maxed out.
As I'm just getting home the car starts buzzing and and oil pressure light comes on.
1) Did I kill the car?
Most likely.
4) Besides the leak the car seems to sound and run just fine. A check engine light came on but that isn't out of the norm for this car. No other lights or warnings.
Uh, facts seem to suggest otherwise - see above.

By now it should be clear that your problem wasn't, in fact, a coolant leak. Unfortunately it has now morphed into a much larger problem. I'd say your motor is definitely cooked.

G/L
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
MarkySparky,

I've always used Synthetic Oil and change it every 3k.

If you really read my post the comments you quoted was from one day, and my comments about how the car seems to be running fine besides the trickle of coolant is from a few days after that. To be honest I am surprised at how normal the engine sounded today and I ran it for about 15 minutes. When the car was idling it didn't leak at all and when I gave it some gas it would leak again and then eventually stop.

I'm just trying to figure out what the possible point of leaking could be from the front of the engine. I am aware that besides the leak there very well could be other internal damage, I'm just trying to do what I can.
 

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A leak from the front of the engine, coupled with poor coolant circulation and high engine temperatures certainly points towards a busted water pump or frozen T-stat. Have it inspected by a qualified mechanic. Does your coolant appear to be contaminated by oil?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Another potential object lesson here?

Though I haven't tried the experiment myself, I've always been told that serious overheating and refilling with cold coolant before the engine reaches something close to ambient temperature can cause cracks (up to and including engine block) due to uneven thermal expansion and contraction.
Thanks, this is good to know. I will definitely keep this in mind for the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
MarkySparky,

I didn't think to check about oil in the coolant, I'll mess with it tomorrow and see what I find.

In the meantime, I think I'm going to order the ECS Tuning Ultimate Timing belt kit and see how that goes. I'm hoping that its just the water pump, but I might as well replace everything else while I'm at it.
 

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MarkySparky,
In the meantime, I think I'm going to order the ECS Tuning Ultimate Timing belt kit and see how that goes. I'm hoping that its just the water pump, but I might as well replace everything else while I'm at it.
Really? You're going to order parts for maintenance before determining what else might be wrong? Kudos for nerve, I guess.
 
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