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Old 06-02-2023, 08:21   #1
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Perkins 4108 loosing coolant, another thread

There is a thread from the prior owner, @dneve, about my same coolant issue, back in 2017. Please help with next steps.

Problem: Engine is loosing coolant into the exhaust.

Diagnosis & things Iíve seen:
1. I filled the coolant tank up with descaler and noticed some soap like bubbles in the exhaust output. Out a few squeezes of joy dish soap in there to be sure and have suds coming out exhaust.

2. With coolant cap off, air is constantly bubbling out.

3. I checked mixing elbow, looks fine, new with prior owner 2017, a few hundred hours ago.

4. Heat exchanger brand new: prior owner had spare troubleshooting this in 2017.

5. Problem was manageable, maybe 6 ounces of lost coolant in an 8 hour run and Iíd just top it off. Problem got noticeable worse when I tried to fix it the same way I think the prior owner did. I dumped in some radiator leak stop stuff. HOWEVER, as I am an idiot, I only got about half a bottle of that stuff in before realizing I needed to empty the tank a bit, then got distracted by my kids and only ran the engine for about 10 minutes before leaving that stuff in their to fester. Instead of solving the problem this seems to have exasperated it.

What Iím doing now:

1. Iím running a descaler in there at the dock (back at the dock in Antigua). I am hoping to clean out any wierd clumps I added. I then plan to do the radiator stop leak solution thing again, following the instructions better. As this worked for the prior owner for 3 years and I put hundreds of hours on the engine this year between FL and Antigua. Iím hoping that May at least get me back to where I was.

BUT, if that doesnít work. Whatís next? Anything else I should look at? Head gasket?

One thing that I donít like is how close the tolerance is on the heat exchanger and the rubber end caps. I can barely get a hose clamp on there to keep the coolant out. Iíve redone them numerous times but if someone has a ďfoolproofĒ way to do that Iíd be interested in hearing it.

Thanks from Antigua! I have a long way to get home so we appreciate the help.

Justin & family
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Old 06-02-2023, 08:24   #2
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Re: Perkins 4108 loosing coolant, another thread

Does the fact that my coolant is bubbling out the coolant fill (constant bubbling over) rule out the rubber end caps as the source of the coolant-exhaust leak?
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Old 06-02-2023, 09:00   #3
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Re: Perkins 4108 loosing coolant, another thread

Doesn't sound like you are maintaining any pressure in your system and why its boiling over/losing coolant.

Did you try a new pressure cap? Often overlooked and fairly cheap to replace (replace w/the correct pressure).
I added a coolant recovery tank when I replaced our cap, which makes it easy to see if you are losing coolant.
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Old 06-02-2023, 09:03   #4
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Re: Perkins 4108 loosing coolant, another thread

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Originally Posted by Bill O View Post
Doesn't sound like you are maintaining any pressure in your system and why its boiling over/losing coolant.

Did you try a new pressure cap? Often overlooked and fairly cheap to replace (replace w/the correct pressure).
I added a coolant recovery tank when I replaced our cap, which makes it easy to see if you are losing coolant.
On my list to find today: new cap and new thermostat. Iíll report back.
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Old 06-02-2023, 09:04   #5
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Re: Perkins 4108 loosing coolant, another thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill O View Post
Doesn't sound like you are maintaining any pressure in your system and why its boiling over/losing coolant.

Did you try a new pressure cap? Often overlooked and fairly cheap to replace (replace w/the correct pressure).
I added a coolant recovery tank when I replaced our cap, which makes it easy to see if you are losing coolant.
On the other hand, if I squirt some joy in the coolant fill cap it almost immediately comes pouring out the exhaust as suds which leads me to believe it may in fact be the rubber end caps - likely the aft one!?
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Old 06-02-2023, 09:18   #6
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Re: Perkins 4108 loosing coolant, another thread

Sounds like you do not have a coolant recovery system on your motor. If so, when you buy a new cap get the correct psi and a cap for a non-recovery system (w/a single rubber seal).


Edit: the suds out the exhaust most likely points to a leak in the system. Another way to check would be using antifreeze test strips to test the exhaust output water.
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Old 06-02-2023, 09:20   #7
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Re: Perkins 4108 loosing coolant, another thread

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Originally Posted by Bill O View Post
Sounds like you do not have a coolant recovery system on your motor. If so, when you buy a new cap get the correct psi and a cap for a non-recovery system (w/a single rubber seal).
I did not, however, I installed one a month or so ago in Puerto Rico. I never noticed much going in or out of it. Likely my cap is shot. Will post results later.
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Old 06-02-2023, 09:31   #8
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Re: Perkins 4108 loosing coolant, another thread

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Originally Posted by theglo View Post
I did not, however, I installed one a month or so ago in Puerto Rico. I never noticed much going in or out of it. Likely my cap is shot. Will post results later.

Need a different cap then for a recovery system.

When I changed my mixing elbow on my 4.236, the end cap gasket on the exhaust manifold was a metal paper type not rubber. Maybe an incorrect end gasket was used!
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Old 06-02-2023, 12:01   #9
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Re: Perkins 4108 loosing coolant, another thread

[QUOTE=
2. With coolant cap off, air is constantly bubbling out.


5. Problem was manageable, maybe 6 ounces of lost coolant in an 8 hour run and Iíd just top it off. Problem got noticeable worse when I tried to fix it the same way I think the prior owner did. I dumped in some radiator leak stop stuff. HOWEVER, as I am an idiot, I only got about half a bottle of that stuff in before realizing I needed to empty the tank a bit, then got distracted by my kids and only ran the engine for about 10 minutes before leaving that stuff in their to fester. Instead of solving the problem this seems to have exasperated it.

What Iím doing now:

1. Iím running a descaler in there at the dock (back at the dock in Antigua). I am hoping to clean out any wierd clumps I added. I then plan to do the radiator stop leak solution thing again, following the instructions better. As this worked for the prior owner for 3 years and I put hundreds of hours on the engine this year between FL and Antigua. Iím hoping that May at least get me back to where I was.

BUT, if that doesnít work. Whatís next? Anything else I should look at? Head gasket?

One thing that I donít like is how close the tolerance is on the heat exchanger and the rubber end caps. I can barely get a hose clamp on there to keep the coolant out. Iíve redone them numerous times but if someone has a ďfoolproofĒ way to do that Iíd be interested in hearing it.

Thanks from Antigua! I have a long way to get home so we appreciate the help.

Justin & family
SV Allora[/QUOTE]

Hi There,
Retired master mechanic here. STOP PUTTING radiator sealant in it. Especially if you don't know what you are doing.

RE 2: If you get a constant stream of bubbles it's likely a head gasket or bad head. There are tools (combustion gas tester. not coolant test strips) that can tell you if the bubbles you get are exhaust gas. On a diesel more likely you are pushing air from the combustion chamber (485ishPSI without firing, more like 1200PSI running) into the cooling jacket. WHAT DOES YOUR OIL LOOK LIKE? If it looks like a chocolate milk shake this points to a head gasket issue also. Assuming the heat exchanger is OK (newish no?)

Another way to test for coolant going into the combustion chamber is to pressurize the cooling system, let sit over night and see if when it starts there is more than normal white smoke. If it just goes "thunk" when you go to start it you will need to remove the injectors to let the coolant out of the cylinders. Or if it has decompression levers (I doubt it does) you could use those. Whatever cylinder sprays water out when cranking engine over out of the inject hole is the culprit. Note there are washers between the injector and the head you need to not have go flying. You can loosen the injectors more than likely as opposed to fully removing.

Another way is to put a pressure tester on the coolant tank. Start engine, if the pressure constantly builds up, you release it and it builds up again you have a bad head gasket or bad head. You need to constantly watch the pressure gauge as they do not have a relief valve.

RE the rubber ends. Yes, they are supposed to be that tight and no they are not leaking air into your cooling jacket. Unless someone cracked the heat exchanger when they put it on.

If you must put sealer into the motor, drain the block, remove the thermostat, Flush the coolant, put the sealer under the thermostat, put thermostat back in, fill the engine with water-no coolant, put a working pressure cap of 10 to 14PSI on it and run it until it warms up. Follow instructions. If you do have a bad head gasket the stuff they sell as "block sealer" usually works better. If you have access to a radiator pressure tester put 16PSI pressure on the system from cold to all the way hot. This will help force the sealer stuff into the crack. A bicycle pump with a gauge on it and a modified radiator cap (save you old one) can be rigged to work. Keep an eye on the pressure though as there is usually no pressure relief valve on the tester.

If your oil looks OK how many hours are on it since you changed it? If it looks like a milk shake change it, try pressure sealing the block or putting block not radiator sealer under the thermostat then pray to your deity of choice.

From your description it sounds like a head gasket issue but please try to confirm.

Do you get bubbles all the time it's running? Like the same amount when cold as when hot?

Does it loose coolant if resting? As in chekc it daily over two days.
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Old 06-02-2023, 13:10   #10
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Re: Perkins 4108 loosing coolant, another thread

Classic symptoms of a blown head gasket.
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Old 06-02-2023, 13:36   #11
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Re: Perkins 4108 loosing coolant, another thread

Justin (the OP) seems fairly sharp and he probably would have noticed water in the oil (milkshake) from a decent coolant leak via the head gasket. (or other signs of coolant leaking near the head, oil in the coolant, etc.)

Guess we will need to wait and see what he finds.
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Old 06-02-2023, 13:42   #12
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Re: Perkins 4108 loosing coolant, another thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by theglo View Post
Does the fact that my coolant is bubbling out the coolant fill (constant bubbling over) rule out the rubber end caps as the source of the coolant-exhaust leak?
The sea water runs through the tube stack if it were leaking you would get the tank to over flow ( I just changed my end boots, and tested
the tube stack, perfect (this weekend)
Check also for airlocks in the system
My exchange tank fill cap stud was also leaking at the tank junction I fixed that from the inside with silicone gasket material no more leak
I do have a very small accumulator tank that I keep an eye on, may have a very small loss of coolant but engine runs perfectly
Had to order special rad cap from atlantic diesel
Good luck
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Old 06-02-2023, 13:53   #13
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Re: Perkins 4108 loosing coolant, another thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill O View Post
Justin (the OP) seems fairly sharp and he probably would have noticed water in the oil (milkshake) from a decent coolant leak via the head gasket. (or other signs of coolant leaking near the head, oil in the coolant, etc.)

Guess we will need to wait and see what he finds.
The milkshake is from one mode of gasket failure. You can have leaks into adjacent cylinders, into oil passages, water passages, and even just out between the block and the head.

Use a blocktester kit if you see gas bubbles in the header tank.
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Old 06-02-2023, 13:57   #14
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Re: Perkins 4108 loosing coolant, another thread

It sounds to me like you have a blown head gasket, or cracked head. Cylinder pressure leaks into the coolant passageway, comes out the tank as bubbles. May be leaking into the cylinder also and pushed out in exhaust. You can have the head off a 4-108 in an hour.
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Old 06-02-2023, 14:52   #15
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Re: Perkins 4108 loosing coolant, another thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scubaseas View Post
Hi There,
Retired master mechanic here. STOP PUTTING radiator sealant in it. Especially if you don't know what you are doing.

RE 2: If you get a constant stream of bubbles it's likely a head gasket or bad head. There are tools (combustion gas tester. not coolant test strips) that can tell you if the bubbles you get are exhaust gas. On a diesel more likely you are pushing air from the combustion chamber (485ishPSI without firing, more like 1200PSI running) into the cooling jacket. WHAT DOES YOUR OIL LOOK LIKE? If it looks like a chocolate milk shake this points to a head gasket issue also. Assuming the heat exchanger is OK (newish no?)

Another way to test for coolant going into the combustion chamber is to pressurize the cooling system, let sit over night and see if when it starts there is more than normal white smoke. If it just goes "thunk" when you go to start it you will need to remove the injectors to let the coolant out of the cylinders. Or if it has decompression levers (I doubt it does) you could use those. Whatever cylinder sprays water out when cranking engine over out of the inject hole is the culprit. Note there are washers between the injector and the head you need to not have go flying. You can loosen the injectors more than likely as opposed to fully removing.

Another way is to put a pressure tester on the coolant tank. Start engine, if the pressure constantly builds up, you release it and it builds up again you have a bad head gasket or bad head. You need to constantly watch the pressure gauge as they do not have a relief valve.

RE the rubber ends. Yes, they are supposed to be that tight and no they are not leaking air into your cooling jacket. Unless someone cracked the heat exchanger when they put it on.

If you must put sealer into the motor, drain the block, remove the thermostat, Flush the coolant, put the sealer under the thermostat, put thermostat back in, fill the engine with water-no coolant, put a working pressure cap of 10 to 14PSI on it and run it until it warms up. Follow instructions. If you do have a bad head gasket the stuff they sell as "block sealer" usually works better. If you have access to a radiator pressure tester put 16PSI pressure on the system from cold to all the way hot. This will help force the sealer stuff into the crack. A bicycle pump with a gauge on it and a modified radiator cap (save you old one) can be rigged to work. Keep an eye on the pressure though as there is usually no pressure relief valve on the tester.

If your oil looks OK how many hours are on it since you changed it? If it looks like a milk shake change it, try pressure sealing the block or putting block not radiator sealer under the thermostat then pray to your deity of choice.

From your description it sounds like a head gasket issue but please try to confirm.

Do you get bubbles all the time it's running? Like the same amount when cold as when hot?

Does it loose coolant if resting? As in chekc it daily over two days.
Thanks for the answer. Answers to your questions:

1. Oil is fine. It does lose a fair amount of oil. I add about 1.5 liters of oil to the engine for every 100 hours of run time. More or less. Oil is not chocolate it. I do not think any coolant is getting into the oil. Iíve only put ten or so hours since my last oil change, which was only a week ago. I change the oil every 100 hours so currently thatís about every two months. I donít think coolant is getting in there.

2. The bubbles seem to get a little LESS as it warms up. But I could be wrong on that, havenít watched them for a while warm up.

3. It DOES lose coolant while resting. In fact I used to think it didnít matter if I was running it or NOT, but, now it seems that it loses coolant much faster when it is HOT.

4. I just, yesterday, replaced the heat exchanger with a new one I had on board. My question with the end caps was that it was a very tight tolerance. The heat exchanger only sticks into the rubber boot on each end about as far as a hose clamp is wide. It seemed like it should be longer. In fact, I may diss assemble it and attach the aft rubber boot first, asŪ think itís ďmoreĒ prone to leakage and the attach the forward one.

Thanks!!
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