[Vwdiesel] Overheating 81 Rabbit NA diesel

Chuck Carnohan CCarnoha at itd.state.id.us
Thu Apr 8 15:16:23 EDT 2004

Try it without the thermostat.  If it still gets hot, stick another
radiator in it.  Sounds like the PO had overheating issues prior to the
sale.  From what you report, it sounds like your engine is still OK or
you would have oil/water mixed somewhere.  One other thought, is the
water circulating well in the overflow tank?  If not, it could also be
the water pump.  You should see water stream back to the tank as soon as
the thermostat opens.  The radiator sounds like the culprit- either the
heater core was leaking (any evidence of that?) or the radiator and they
put some of that radiator plugging sealant in.  You should be able to
find a good radiator at the yard reasonable.  Hope this helps!

-----Original Message-----
From: W. Kennedy [mailto:it0mat0 at email.com] 
Sent: Thursday, April 08, 2004 12:33 PM
To: vwdiesel at vwfans.com
Subject: [Vwdiesel] Overheating 81 Rabbit NA diesel


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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