Water drops under oil cap - MG-Rover.org Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 11:05 Thread Starter
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Water drops under oil cap

Just been checking my oil and water, and I found water droplets under the oil filler cap.

Is that normal? I know condensation can form in there when doing a lot of short journeys, but the car gets plenty of long journeys that allow the engine to properly warm up.

I have been losing coolant and oil, which despite following the guide on here, I haven't been able to determine why.

I took a picture of it:

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 11:23
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Just looks like condensation to me. If your coolant mixes with the oil you'll get a Mayo type deposit under the cap.
I wouldn't worry about it.
On another note how much oil and coolant are you losing?
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 11:25 Thread Starter
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Just looks like condensation to me. If your coolant mixes with the oil you'll get a Mayo type deposit under the cap.
I wouldn't worry about it.
On another note how much oil and coolant are you losing?
Thanks.

Oil drops from Max to Min line about every 800 miles.

Coolant drops from Max to Min about every 400 miles.

No excessive smoke, and no signs of any leaks.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 13:19
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That's just condensation.

Oil consumption isn't too bad, coolant a little high.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 14:42
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What mileage has the car got? If there is no smoke and no obvious leaks I wouldn't worry.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 15:22 Thread Starter
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What mileage has the car got? If there is no smoke and no obvious leaks I wouldn't worry.
Just reached 93k.

Suppose I will just keep topping it up then
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 16:57
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cap looks ok , but shouldnt be using any oil or water , i would be looking for external leaks ,
have you placed some card board under the car engine bay over night to see if anything drops on it.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 19:24 Thread Starter
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cap looks ok , but shouldnt be using any oil or water , i would be looking for external leaks ,
have you placed some card board under the car engine bay over night to see if anything drops on it.
Yes tried that and got nothing.

There was a stain from the rocker cover that I thought could've been oil leaking and then dropping onto the manifold and burning off. So I cleaned the engine up, but as of yet the stain hasn't reappeared.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 19:30
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is it rough when first starting in a morning some times?
could neeed inlet manifold gasket doing.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 19:48 Thread Starter
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is it rough when first starting in a morning some times?
could neeed inlet manifold gasket doing.
No its fine starting. Never have any problems with it.

I changed the expansion tank cap to see if that makes any difference to the coolant.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 20:47
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I'm going to disagree with the previous replies - I don't think it is 'nothing to worry about' at all.

I used to have a similar amount of condensation in the oil filler cap on my old ZR. As here, people kept telling me it was "just condensation due to short runs in cold weather, and perfectly normal".......except that I wasn't doing short runs, and like you, my coolant level was dropping from max to min every few hundred miles. I was also getting residual pressure in the expansion tank when cold, and eventually started to see signs of emulsion in the coolant too. Head gasket was changed, and lo and behold, no more condensation in the oil filler cap.

Similarly, my current ZR (which had a failed head gasket when I bought it) has never had any condensation at all in the oil filler cap since the new head gasket was fitted (even in the winter) in spite of nowadays doing a lot of shortish runs and being parked outside overnight, (and the coolant level has never needed any topping up in 4 years and 25000 miles).

My opinion (for what it's worth) is that you have a slight seepage of coolant past the head gasket - not serious at present - I continued to run my old ZR with a similar coolant loss and condensation in the oil cap (as well as residual pressure in the expansion tank when cold indicating probably HGF at the fire rings) without serious problems developing for almost 2 years, before appearance of traces of emulsion in the expansion tank finally prompted a head gasket replacement.

The rate of coolant loss needs frequent monitoring and any sudden increase, or the appearance of traces of mayo in either the oil filler cap or the expansion tank should prompt more definitive checks for HGF and subsequent replacement.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 20:16 Thread Starter
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I'm going to disagree with the previous replies - I don't think it is 'nothing to worry about' at all.

I used to have a similar amount of condensation in the oil filler cap on my old ZR. As here, people kept telling me it was "just condensation due to short runs in cold weather, and perfectly normal".......except that I wasn't doing short runs, and like you, my coolant level was dropping from max to min every few hundred miles. I was also getting residual pressure in the expansion tank when cold, and eventually started to see signs of emulsion in the coolant too. Head gasket was changed, and lo and behold, no more condensation in the oil filler cap.

Similarly, my current ZR (which had a failed head gasket when I bought it) has never had any condensation at all in the oil filler cap since the new head gasket was fitted (even in the winter) in spite of nowadays doing a lot of shortish runs and being parked outside overnight, (and the coolant level has never needed any topping up in 4 years and 25000 miles).

My opinion (for what it's worth) is that you have a slight seepage of coolant past the head gasket - not serious at present - I continued to run my old ZR with a similar coolant loss and condensation in the oil cap (as well as residual pressure in the expansion tank when cold indicating probably HGF at the fire rings) without serious problems developing for almost 2 years, before appearance of traces of emulsion in the expansion tank finally prompted a head gasket replacement.

The rate of coolant loss needs frequent monitoring and any sudden increase, or the appearance of traces of mayo in either the oil filler cap or the expansion tank should prompt more definitive checks for HGF and subsequent replacement.
Interesting what you say about the residual pressure in the expansion tank. There is always a slight hiss when I take the top off. Even when the engine is completely cold.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-05-2017, 13:15 Thread Starter
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Checked it again today. Done about 200 miles since the last time I checked.

Water drops were back under the oil cap. The last journey in the car was a 40 mile round trip on the motorway, so surely that can't be condensation?

Oil had dropped a third of the way the dipstick.

Coolant was on Max line, but I had slightly overfilled it last week. So it has dropped, but that might have just been it releasing some do to it being overfilled.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-05-2017, 15:01
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If your worried the HG has failed the best way to determine it is to take it to a garage and ask for a sniff test or a combustion leak test. They will put an instrument with a blue liquid above the header tank and suck the fumes from the tank through the liquid. If the liquid detects combustion gas it will turn yellow. This indicates your HG has prob failed.
Your vehicle does seem to be using a lot of oil and if it is not leaking then it must be burning it or it's leaking into the coolant.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-05-2017, 17:58 Thread Starter
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If your worried the HG has failed the best way to determine it is to take it to a garage and ask for a sniff test or a combustion leak test. They will put an instrument with a blue liquid above the header tank and suck the fumes from the tank through the liquid. If the liquid detects combustion gas it will turn yellow. This indicates your HG has prob failed.
Your vehicle does seem to be using a lot of oil and if it is not leaking then it must be burning it or it's leaking into the coolant.
Its due an MOT & Service next month, so I will see if they can do a sniff test at the garage.
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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-05-2017, 18:00 Thread Starter
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Could this be my problem? Radiator has been like that the whole time I have had the car, even when it wasn't losing coolant.

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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-05-2017, 18:27 Thread Starter
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This is how the coolant looks



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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-05-2017, 20:51
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My suspicion would be that the black deposits on the filler neck and the housing for the coolant level float is oil - which isn't a good sign.

Whilst the damage to the rad looks severe in the pic, if there are no signs that coolant has been leaking in that area (either damp patch, staining or powdery deposits), I would think the damage hasn't ruptured the rad core, so not a particular problem (it may result in a rupture in the future).
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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-05-2017, 12:28
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Looks to me like it's just rusty water in the header tank. I take it you only top it up with water as it has been leaking so badly.
To me I can't see any oil contamination in the header tank but it's hard to tell with all the rust in the tank too.
I'd get a sniff test and go from there.
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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-05-2017, 20:06
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....To me I can't see any oil contamination in the header tank but it's hard to tell
I was referring to the black deposits around the inside of the filler neck, and a similarly black coating up the tube which houses the float for the coolant level sensor (unless you are viewing the pics on a decent sized screen (ie. a PC monitor), it probably doesn't show up clearly). I had similar deposits in my old ZR in the run up to getting the gasket replaced, and they were definitely oily. Traces of oil in the coolant don't necessarily result in a thich emulsified scum - that usually appears when greater quantities of oil have got into the coolant. .
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