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VT Commodore - Brown Sludge, in overflow tank reservoir.

Discussion in 'VT - VX Holden Commodore (1997 - 2002)' started by Bronson3, Apr 25, 2015.

  1. Bronson3

    Bronson3 New Member

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    I've got this brown sludge in the bottom of my coolant overflow tank where the dipstick is, since I've owned the car.

    I flushed the radiator and refilled it, but it's still there and really bothers me... I've heard that it can be from mixing coolants and seeing as I didn't flush the heater core, it's probably made the problem worse. (but no obvious change, it does look better since my flush of the radiator about 5 months ago when I got the car)

    I can flush a radiator and all that, but my main question is how to flush the heater core. I've done some research and they say don't use chemicals, don't use compressed air, don't use high water pressure, etc. But my problem is that I don't know where/which hose I'm meant to be flushing through or disconnect either.

    Does anyone else have a VT comoddore that'd be willing to take a couple photos for me to help out. My car doesn't overheat or anything, it's running perfectly, but I don't like the fact that it's there and could be slowly creating more problems for me in the future and more problems = more $$$

    Thanks Guys.
    Bronson.
     
  2. dirty hands

    dirty hands Active Member

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    if it aint broke dont fix it

    thats normal most holdens have that brown gunk

    mine has been brown for years and been no problem

    i would no do anything to the heater core ..cleaning it make cause a leak
     
  3. commodore665

    commodore665 expat Saffa

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    Hey Bronson , if it's only the over flow tank it's fine , if the radiator fluid ( check when the car is cool ) is not like a chocolate thick shake its OK , and welcome to the forum also .
     
  4. lout

    lout Well-Known Member

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    have a look at your radiator cap
    if you have an oily residue like vaseline
    you probably have worn lim gaskets
    if you use the holden pellets you will get a brown residue
    if it is pinkish trans coolant pipes in radiator may be coroded
    my money is on lim gaskets
     
  5. lignum1966

    lignum1966 New Member

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    I got that after a mechanic at work told me to put the waxy pellet thing in after a cooling system flush - and flushing the system with mukowt didn't seem to get rid of it !
     
  6. Nut Kracker

    Nut Kracker Kamikraze

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    If the radiator's coolant is ok, then as said above, don't worry.
    People drain and flush their radiators, but seem to forget about the recovery tank.
    Mainly, because it's either in a prick of a spot to get to, they forget about it, or don't bother.
    And over the years, it's bound to build up some gunk.
     
  7. billythakid

    billythakid New Member

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    Start the car and turn full lock right turn off and get under the passenger wheel arch and undo the three screws , drop out overflow bottle . Rinse bottle out up side down with hose , refit and refill . 10 min job
    Check the overflow hose for splits/ cracks while its out
     
  8. BlackoutSteve

    BlackoutSteve Member

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    If a V6, my money is on the intake manifold gaskets as these will allow the mixing of oil and coolant when they fail.
    Get your cooling system pressure checked.
    See how much pressure it holds and for how long.
    Roughly, at 20psi it should not lose more than 2 ~psi over 2 mins.

    Easiest check right now would be to check the torque of the intake manifold bolts..
    If they are not tight, it's very likely the gasket has perished and "relaxed" -removing the bolts' preload.
    If the bolts are lose, torquing them now may stop or reduce the sludge you are seeing, but it also means that replacing the gaskets is imminent.

    Don't go gang-busters on them, they only need about 20ft/lbs.. :)
     
  9. Bronson3

    Bronson3 New Member

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    Thank you all so much for your help I might just empty the overflow, clean out the reservoir and fill her back up, could be a possibility that it's only in there, I replaced my cap when I did a flush 4 months ago so I guess there is really no point in flushing it again and buying more coolant :)

    Cheers everyone.
     
  10. Bronson3

    Bronson3 New Member

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    Very insightful response always appreciate new suggestions, thanks!
     
  11. Bronson3

    Bronson3 New Member

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    11173441_436430463184307_1574753992_n.jpg 11178400_436430479850972_1689531362_n.jpg

    2 pictures of the brown sludge, it's now under my cap :S so it's pretty bad :(
     
  12. lout

    lout Well-Known Member

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    thats definitely lim gaskets
     
  13. SavVYute

    SavVYute Active Member

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    Why don't you scrape a sample off and sit it out in the sun.
    If it is oil it will stay oily.
    If it's the pellet residue (ground up walnut shell) it should turn to a dry crust.
     
  14. Bronson3

    Bronson3 New Member

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    Are they expensive to fix/replace? hard to do? no idea what they are, but I pride myself on being a good learner and always willing to give it a shot :D
    I google'd the symptoms:

    X Coolant leaks.
    X Red, green or yellow fluid underneath car.
    X Engine runs rough.
    ~ Check engine light is on. - - - - - The electrical fault light comes on, I think that's because of my alternator though :3

    I don't have any of those, but I'm trusting your expertise my friend, would you be able to elaborate on other ways I could diagnose this as the problem?

    EDIT: Just did more research... UNSTEADY IDLE can be a symtpom, which I do have...
    many of my problems could potentially all be linked to one :OOO

    ++
    This guy has a video of what looks similar:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1ZQSLpxwX0

    But mine looks alot more like mud as opposed to his looking very oily :S
    Another way to describe his would be more of rusty water, mine being... well mud, haha no better way to state it :/

    Great idea, thanks for that mate, I'll see how I go with that tomorrow :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2015
  15. lout

    lout Well-Known Member

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  16. Bronson3

    Bronson3 New Member

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    I've been watching this guys videos:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fn73uh67Zp8
    That's part 3, he does all this extra stuff, but would you know what tool he needed that he speaks about need to buy, it's to disconnect one of the hoses at the back of the engine. It's at " 1:06 " of this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_jWF9yp44s

    I run the risk of being made a fool of but are rocker cover gaskets and lim gaskets the same
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015
  17. billythakid

    billythakid New Member

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    Nope , Lower intake manifold gaskets are between the heads and intake manifold in the " valley"

    Without watching it the Tool needed would be a fuel line disconnection tool for the 3 fuel /return lines at the firewall .
    Do your thermostat while its apart as well
     
  18. Bronson3

    Bronson3 New Member

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    So I have gotten EVERYTHING off, except the fuel lines, I'll need to get the tool tomorrow because I ran out of daylight, is there another way to get them off? I don't exactly know how to get them off either, I take them off at the wall, but I don't see a connection where I am supposed to slip the tool into at all...
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015
  19. lout

    lout Well-Known Member

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    i just undo the rail from base of plenum and lean it out of the way
    pulling injectors out of lim
    i can never find my line tool
     
  20. BlackoutSteve

    BlackoutSteve Member

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    Tha gaskets through GMH are about $190 + tax.
    If you can wait, perhaps buy genuine through Intense for US$55 plus post. Browse their site, you're bound to find more reasonably priced GM engine bits.
    INTENSE Racing: Lower Intake Gaskets (L36)
    Double check, these are for L36 engines.
     

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