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not Rover P6 specific oil in coolant question

Discussion in 'Engine 4 cylinder' started by Richard Zahra, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. Richard Zahra

    Richard Zahra Member

    Note to admin - If you feel this doesn't belong here please delete, I understand.
    I am posting this question on this forum because I think the members here are very knowledgeable and might be able to help me out.
    I have recently bought a 1975 Alfa Romeo 105 series Spider and apart for a 5 mile test drive I don't have any history to the car because it is an overseas import.
    I have yet to drive it locally since I am still waiting for registration papers but as most of us would do I have been poking around. The problem I have is that I have found engine oil in the radiator at the neck. The oil in the car is fairly clean and my impression is that the oil in the radiator is dirtier. When I was looking at the car prior to purchase I had opened the radiator cap and did not see any oil, the only thing I didn't do was poke my finger.
    I am not sure if the problem had occurred before and was repaired but the radiator was not flushed properly or if the problem is there now.
    The engine doesn't smoke and when running , no bubbles are seen in the neck of the radiator and it doesn't misfire either. In the test run it ran beautifully.
    If I had to replace the oil and add food colouring to the new oil , firstly will it do any damage to the engine if left for say a maximum of 20 miles, secondly would I see the coloured oil in the rad? Is there any other way I can confirm if the problem is there? In the meantime I will be flushing the cooling system a couple of times.

  2. cobraboy

    cobraboy Active Member

    There are kits available that sample the coolant for combustion gasses to test for head gasket failure, try one of those.

    The main thing is not to panic and start pulling things apart - don't try to fix wot aint broke !
  3. harveyp6

    harveyp6 Well-Known Member

    That will only tell you something if its combustion pressure forcing the oil into the water, if it's a leak from a pressurised oilway into the water jacket you'll be none the wiser.
  4. cobraboy

    cobraboy Active Member

    Fair point.
    But you are trying to apply logic to something Italian................... come on !
  5. harveyp6

    harveyp6 Well-Known Member

    I blocked the fact that it was Italian out of my mind....
  6. ghce

    ghce Well-Known Member

    Water pump oil leak?
  7. j_radcliffe

    j_radcliffe Member

    Is there any kind of oil cooler in the radiator? Does it look like the radiator was replaced or repaired recently? We had truck at work, that developed an oil leak into the cooling system. After the two Wit brothers (dim wit and half wit) had blown the motor sending a conrod through the side of the block we had the motor replaced. There was still sufficient oil in the heater core and coolant likes that we had to flush the cooling system several times to get it clean again with the residual oil.

    I would suggest pressure testing the cooling system and see if it holds pressure. If it does not hold pressure then that could be an indication that oil is moving from the oil way to the jacket. This would assume that the oil pressure runs higher than the cooling system pressure.
  8. Vern Klukas

    Vern Klukas Member

    I did an Alfa once with that symptom and it turned out to be a head gasket. That would of been early 1980s and the car wasn't new so I think it's the same motor.


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