Question about 1996 Volvo 850

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Water bubbling in Coolant Expansion Tank - 1996 Volvo 850

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Blown head gasket

Posted on Sep 19, 2010


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Radiator lock

Do you mean trapped air in the system? Put on all the caps and run the motor up to operating temp, drive it around to circulate the water. The bubble will migrate to the expansion tank, all by itself. Allow the motor to completely cool off, and it will draw water from the expansion tank. If you notice the expansion tank has a lower coolant level, the bubble has escaped.
These systems are engineered to do this automatically. A system needing bleeding would be bad engineering.

Dec 01, 2013 | Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

Hyundai coupe water leak from expansion tank

The system is supposed to be able to contain the overflow then pull the extra coolant back into the radiator when needed.
Is the overflow tank fluid level at or below the recommended level ?

Jul 25, 2012 | Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

Coolant is not flowing into expansion tank via little hose and car is overheating. As it is getting hot the coolant bubbles and spits coolant through the little hose but it is sputtery like it is tryi

coolant will not flow from the return pipe continuously.when the engine heats the coolant expands returns to tank. coolant fan starts engine cools down return pipe flow stops . fan stops after times, again coolant heats up and flows through the pipe. this cycle continues and go on.

Feb 28, 2012 | Audi A4 Cars & Trucks

2 Answers

Hi i have a 2000 ford focus it seems that the water is bubbling over and then i have to refill the water every time i go on a journey what is the problem

Does it overheat on you ??? If not,, try replacing the radiater cap..Make sure the vehicle is cold before removing the cap..If that doesnt do it,,and the vehicle not overheating,,you may have a small combustion leak..Like a head gasket..But first try the cap..

Sep 25, 2011 | 2000 Ford Focus

1 Answer

Why did my 320d, E46, water hose burst?

It could be due to age. Split hoses aren't uncommon.
However, it could be due to either a radiator blockage or a cylinder head problem - which is allowing exhaust gases to find their way into the cooling system via a leaking head gasket. When this happens the cooling system becomes pressurised by the exhaust gases.

To check if your radiator is blocked, run the engine until it is hot. The coolant goes into the radiator via the top hose and into the engine through the bottom hose.

Carefully feel the top and bottom hose. If the bottom hose feels much cooler than the top hose, then that indicates a radiator blockage. If the bottom hose feels 'flat' and 'squashed' that is another indicator - though it also can point to head gasket problems.

To check if there are head gasket problems, first check the oil on the dipstick. If it is a 'creamy sludge' then that indicates coolant has found its way into the lubricating system via a leaking head gasket.

Also remove the cap from the raditor expansion tank (where you fill it with coolant/water). Is there any sign of oil/sludge in the expansion tank? Another sign of head gasket problems.

With a COLD engine, remove the cap from the radiator expansion tank and then fire the engine up. Watch the coolant as the engine ticks over ... at first bubbles will appear as air in the coolant escapes. The bubbles should stop after a few moments as the engine warms. If the bubbles continue -or there is 'violent bubbling' that's teling you there is a head gasket problem.

I presume that your car hasn't been overheating or 'running rough' at times, as you haven't mentioned that. Overheating and 'running rough' can also be symptoms of head gasket problems.

All being well .. no radiator blockage or apparent head gasket problems, it is more than likely that the hose burst due to age/mileage.

Aug 16, 2010 | 2000 BMW 3 Series

1 Answer

Overheating in Diahatsu Charade 92. EFI 16 Valve.

Did you burp the coolant? If not, you have air bubbles in the system that are trapped behind the thermostat, keeping it from opening. Run the car at idle until it's 3/4 of the way to overheating, then shut it down and let it cool. Pop the radiator cap and the air bubbles will burp out. Check the level of coolant in the radiator and expansion tank, top off as needed, and repeat a couple times, and you should be good to go.

Dec 09, 2009 | 1992 Daihatsu Charade

2 Answers

Daughters 1996 ford contour 4 cyl. died on the road.After sitting a while it started again then drove it home.It starts and runs good but after warm up it bubbles out the expansion tank, I replaced the cap...

dear sir,

the solution to your problem is simple. yes you say that it has a new water pump, but the reason that a vehicle bubbles out of the expansion tank is because the water pump is not circulating coolant, the coolant boils in the engine and bubbles out of the expansion tank. secondly the reason the fan never kicks in is because the temp sensor is not seeing the heated coolant because the water pump is not circulating the coolant through the cooling system. 3rd. the heater never gets hot because the water pump is not circulating coolant through the heater core in order for it to get hot and provide heat. and the temperature gauge never seems to go up because yup you guessed it, the water pump isnt circulating coolant in order for the engine temperature sensor to see hot coolant and thus send a signal to the engine temperature gauge as to the coolant temperature. i know you said it has a new water pump, but i have heard that this type of vehicle may come with a plastic fin pump. i would remove the pump and check the passages for foreign matter{ trash} in the passages as well as the condition of the new pump. also one last thing, the reason the vehicle died on the road in the first place was probably because it overheated. happy hunting and please post to see what you found. i am a mechanic by proffession.

Dec 17, 2008 | 1996 Ford Contour

1 Answer

Heating system

sonds like air in your pipes!!! run ya engine with the lid off your expansion tank and put your heater on low until water starts bubbling and may start going down in your expansion tank and if so keep topn up to max mark!!!

Oct 15, 2008 | 1994 Chevrolet Suburban

2 Answers


If the temperature gauge isn't moving you are either completely out of coolant or your coolant isn't circulating.

It would be worth your time to check your coolant level, then look for leaks. If you are also noticing that your heater doesn't work it would help to confirm this diagnosis.

Could be several things causing a lack of circulation: a blockage in your coolant lines somewhere, your water pump is not functioning, or you have a blown head gasket or warped cylinder head. An engine overheat can also cause the blown head gasket and/or warped cylinder head as well, so you would be best served by driving your car as little as possible until you've diagnosed the problem.

If you are out of coolant, you should check a few places for leaks. Obviously at your main coolant lines, but also along the heater core is a good place to check. If you can't find any obvious leaks, you may want to try flushing your radiator, since it's relatively simple to do and certainly can't hurt. Also change your oil: if it comes out looking opaque and like a milkshake, you're getting coolant into your cylinders, which means you've blown the head gasket or warped the cylinder head.


Aug 13, 2008 | 1993 Volvo 960

1 Answer


There's many causes of overheating (on all cars..).
The first and most obvious thing I would do after checking the coolant level in the radiator expansion tank was at the maximum level, would be to check for coolant leaks while the engine is running with a 'few revs' on a warm engine.

Hoses can split internally and also become soft and collapse internally through age. When this happens the hose becomes blocked and prevents the coolant from passing through easily. If a hose feels 'soggy'/soft and is easily squeezed flat by hand, it's suspect.

Coolant can also leak from the heater hoses, the heater unit, the bearings/seal on the water pump and of course the radiator. Nor is it always easy to see a leak let alone find it. If the in-car heater unit is leaking the carpets may be wet at times and sometimes, the windows may mist up when the car is standing - this is the coolant condensing on the interior of the glass.

Ok... you can't see any leaks while the engine is running. Is the car losing coolant when it stands? Or is it losing coolant when the engine is running? ( a split hose may only leak when it is pressurised with warm coolant) Or is it just losing coolant when it overheats?

Remove the cap from the radiator expansion tank when the engine is cold. Make sure that the water level is at maximum. Leave the expansion tank cap off. Leave the car standing overnight and next morning look at the coolant level. If it has dropped there's probably an unidentified leak somewhere. If the coolant level hasn't dropped, it points towards a problem that is caused when the engine runs.

With the expansion tank cap still off (get a flashlight to help you) start the engine and peek into the expansion tank. Watch what happens to the coolant (though do keep your face out of harm's way). As the coolant begins to circulate air bubbles will probably appear within the coolant. This is quite normal - air is 'bleeding out' of the coolant as it circulates. The air bubbles should stop after a couple of minutes.

As the coolant warms it will rise up in the expansion tank (keep your face out of the way ..). If the air bubbles continually appear or, there's a constant and continual stream of bubbles or a 'violent bubbling' then this may point to problems with a warped/cracked cylinder head or leaking head gasket (or both).

A defective cylinder head/gasket can allow exhaust gasses to be pumped into the water jacket (the coolant system) simply by the compression action of the pistons. Just like a hypodermic needle can inject air into your bloodstream. When this happens - pressurised exhaust gasses being forced into the cooling system - the cooling system itself becomes pressurised.

The coolant itself can find its way into the cylinders where it is vapourized and pumped out of the exhaust along with the exhaust gases. If you can't find any leaks - the missing coolant may be going out of the exhaust as steam (though you may not see any steam as such). A classic sign of cylinder head/gasket problems is overheating. Check your oil - if there's a yellowish/creamy mayonnaise/sludge that's another sign of head problems. The sludge is caused by coolant finding its way into the oil.

No leaks, no bubbling expansion tank - and if you're happy that there isn't a head/gasket problem, turn your attention to the radiator, thermostat and water pump.

With age, cooling fins on the radiator can corrode and crumble away, reducing its cooling ability. Whilst coolant still passes through the radiator it isn't being cooled sufficiently. Check the condition of your radiator. Radiators can also suffer from an internal blockage. With a warm engine that is switched OFF, feel the top radiator hose - it will be hot. Then feel the bottom radiator hose. If the bottom hose is cold it indicates that coolant is not finding its way down/being circulated maybe due to a radiator blockage or failed thermostat. Flushing may cure blockages.

A thermostat can fail in the 'closed' position. When this happens coolant is prevented from getting into the radiator via the top hose. The coolant in the block then overheats causing the temperature gauge to hit red. The thermostat is located (usually - it depends on make/model variations) on the cylinder head where the top radiator hose joins. They're very easy and cheap to replace.

The water pump can leak water when the bearings/seal fail. Coolant that slowly drips onto a warm engine soon evaporates making detection difficult. Way back, some water pumps had plastic impellers (perhaps they still do). The plastic vanes on the impellers used to wear away with age and use, leaving a spindle spinning uselessly in the coolant - not pumping it. Think of an airplane with a propeller. If the propeller blades wore away the 'nose cone' would just spin uselessly and no air would get moved ..

Before jumping to any conclusions and replacing parts unnecessarily, get a workshop to look at the car. A workshop will be able to test the coolant for exhaust contaminants within minutes (or pressure test the coolant system. If there's contaminants present - there's a head problem. No contaminants present - the fault lies elsewhere.

Back to the cylinder head:
It's a 2-3 day job to do the work yourself. A cylinder head must be skimmed prior to refitting. Refitting an unskimmed cylinder head back onto an engine cures nothing.

Years ago, here in the UK, there was a liquid additive called 'head weld' (and one for the radiator called 'radweld') which provided a TEMPORARY get-you-home fix. Head-weld was a liquid added to the coolant system. It contained fine particles in suspension ... these particles were carried to the crack/leak in the cylinder head and formed a 'dam' that was held in place by the water pressure until they (the particles) hardened.

Recently I noticed an advert for a product called 'steelseal' - here in the UK. The advertising blurb claims that it uses new technology without particles to form a permanent fix for cylinder heads/gaskets. It's a clear liquid that you just pour into the cooling system and then run the engine until its fixed. I've never tried it. At around 45 dollars a bottle it isn't cheap, though if it does what is claimed then it's a hell of a lot cheaper than having a cylinder head/gasket fixed. No doubt there are similar products on the shelves of car accessory and parts shops near you.

Aug 12, 2008 | 1992 Volvo 960

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