[Vwdiesel] Overheating 81 Rabbit NA diesel

W. Kennedy it0mat0 at email.com
Thu Apr 8 14:33:58 EDT 2004


I just bought a *clean* 154K mi. '81 diesel rabbit.  After about 5 miles, the temp gauge is in the red, and steamy coolant is coming out from under the radiator cap.  The guy I bought it from said the thermostat had been replaced recently (not that he's to be trusted..).  There seems to be very high pressure in the top radiator hose, at least compared to my memory of my 84 Jetta diesel.  

I suspect it may just be a pressure issue from an old radiator cap (the seal itself has been flipped over due to grooves on the original side), coupled with air mixing in from the radiator overflow line (3/8" OD tube running from top of radiator)  The hose could be pulled off by hand if I tried.  I've watched what's happening inside the reservoir, and literally FOAM is coming from that narrow diameter hose.  

There is also evidence of previous overheating in dried spewage in the engine compartment (should I assume my head is warped?), and addition of some copper-flake-looking radiator sealant.  It's a Florida car, and has apparently had hard Florida water run in the radiator for 23 years, because there are signs of lime scale.

My question is; what can I do to eliminate the immediate overheating problem?  There seem to be several potential culprits.  

More details:  Other hoses i.e., to/from heater core, lower supply line on radiator do not have the squeeze resistance as the top rad hose.  I have not done a compression test.  The oil (changed yesterday) showed no signs of coolant contamination, and the exhaust smells like a diesel should - no obvious sweet coolant smell.

Any links, comments, "Hey, go read this diesel overheating FAQ", or emails are greatly appreciated..

Thanks for reading! VW diesel power...  ACTIVATE!

Are there any recommended H20 VW shops in Tampa?
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