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512TR Coolant in cylinder

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by rjnavion, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. rjnavion

    rjnavion Karting

    Nov 1, 2003
    128
    Gate, OK (western O
    Full Name:
    Ron Judy
    I'll cut right to the sad bottom line. I apparently have anti-freeze in a cylinder on the right bank. I have a Tubi where the banks are isolated, so know it's the right side.

    I hope to hear from those that has seen this happen and have a working knowledge of the TR and/or 512TR engine. Several that I pay particular attention to are Steve Magnusson, Brian Crall, William H, Bill Bakowsky, Colin, and another owner in FL that did his own belt change on his 512TR. There are others I can't think of at the moment. Your advice and knowledge is most helpful.

    What happened is the radiator coolant sensor (#158655) failed and the fans did not come on. I was in a little traffic but had some speed allowing air to flow through the radiators, but it apparently got too hot before I got stopped. I think about 225 degrees was tops; the book cautions about 239 degrees which it never reached. When I got off the road and shut down, I lost some coolant past the cap and out the overflow tube. After letting it cool, I added some anti-freeze and on start-up had smoke from the right exhaust for a few seconds.

    I drove on home, about 70 miles at speed on the highway and it stayed cool. On a cold start there is no smoke. But on a hot start after being parked about 30 minutes or more, there is considerable smoke. It looks light colored in the mirror but my wife, looking from behind, said it was dark. The coolant level is down very little, so how do I know it is coolant? When the new sensor arrived I moved the car to the shop with a run of about 2 or 3 minutes (cold) and a small puddle of anti-freeze appeared on the floor. It had leaked from the exhaust joint between the pre-cat and test pipe.

    Can I be lucky enough for this to be a head gasket or is it more likely a cracked head? What is the next step? Would a leak-down test or compression test be in order before pulling the engine? My son says there's a test where the coolant system is pressurized to a low pressure. My son and I plan to do the work as there is no dealer for nearly 500 miles. We are not intimidated by doing it as we've both had considerable mechanic experience and he is a super engine builder, having done numerous race car engines. But not Ferrari engines.

    A word of advice. If that water temp gauge goes past 195 and the fans don't come on, get off of the road NOW and SHUT DOWN. DON'T HESITATE! That $21.18 sensor can cost you thousands times more than its cost. There are actually five things that can shut the fans down. 1. The above sensor 2. Fuse for each fan (although it would be rare for both to fail at once) 3. A relay for each fan (again both probably wouldn't fail) 4. Lost of relay "S", "Key Controlled Services" I have lost this relay about 2 years ago and besides failure of the fans, the air conditioning and heater quits plus some more other minor stuff. I was able to get on the highway at speed and keep the temp below 185 until I got home. 5. Failure of fans themselves (probably rare)

    Now another angle I have. I've wanted a 512M transmission for quite some time after hearing of failures of the 512TR tranny. Let me describe my driving and some of you, William H in particular, tell me if I'm in any danger of tearing the tranny up. I do not do burn-outs, I do not track the car, but I enjoy full bore acceleration in 2nd and 3rd gear up to about 6800 rpm after the clutch is fully engaged. The engine is stock except for Tubi, opened pre-cats, and test pipes and it is running very strong. Am I in danger, and what has to be replaced to make it more bullet proof? The entire gearbox or just some of the shafts and gears? What about the clutch, clutch shaft, rear gearbox, and propeller shaft? Now is the time to do this while the engine is out if it's really necessary. Where is the 512M tranny available from or do I send my old one somewhere for them to build up. Any help along this line will be appreciated.

    My problem is going to cost dearly but the hardest thing to take is the down time of the car. I drive it every chance I get, work and weather permitting. I've done 8500 mi. in a little over 2 years and every mile has been a delightful experience and I feel half my age when behind the wheel. I want to drive NOW, and can't! Thanks for listening and let me hear from some of you.

    Ron Judy
     
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  3. Sean F.

    Sean F. F1 Rookie

    Feb 4, 2003
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    A compression test or leak down will just tell you there's a leak which you already know.

    You could just have a blown head gasket which would cause the fluid leak and smoke on start up. No way to know without pulling the head and don't you have to pull the engine for that?. I think so.

    Just don't let whomever does the fix do a "might as well also" on you or it will cost 2x as much as it should.

    EDIT: A compression test or leak down would also tell you everything is OK and it could be something else. It would also be much cheaper than pulling the engine to discover it's not the head gasket after all.
     
  4. thecarreaper

    thecarreaper F1 World Champ
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    Sep 30, 2003
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    Ron, i am no expert of 512 tr's specifically, but 225 isnt "that" hot, not enough to cause such a failure on its own. 240 and i would be scared, but 225 in an aluminum flat 12 seems like it should not cause a headgasket to fail. aside from your sons advice on the coolant test i would respectfully suggest a compression test, even done cold, you should be able to tell where the fault is if its in the head gasket. remember to remove the plugs, kill the ignition and hold the throttles wide open. if you have had race cars this should be easy for you and your son to do together. i am sure our expert guru's will chime in soon to help you. best of luck to you.
     
  5. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
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    It sounds to me like you have done a pretty good diagnosis. Ferrari head gaskets in the modern cars like yours are very little trouble but they, like anything, can fail. I am less inclined to believe a crack is the problem but if the head comes off I would go to the slight extra trouble and expense to have it tested.

    I would just for laughs though try to retorque the head before pulling the motor to see if that cures it. I don't think the chances are great but worth a try.

    Once the motor is out the head comes off rather easily.

    On the trans. There are several updates depending on when yours was made. If you wind up pulling the motor I would be happy to get the information to you. Several of them are worthwhile in improving the durability.
     
  6. Horsefly

    Horsefly F1 Veteran

    May 14, 2002
    6,929
    If the compression test shows low compression, how are you going to know whether the compression is low because the pressure is leaking out through a gap in the head gasket, or leaking out through a crack in the head?
     
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  8. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
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    You are correct but on the TR 512 Ferrari quit recommending retorque of the heads even at the 1500 mile service and that was just suicide. The heads on those do come loose especially on the lower row (exhaust side) of studs.

    All the flat 12's should be retorqued at majors.
     
  9. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
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    The way to do it is to put a pressure tester on the rad and do a leak down test. If the rad pressure goes up....Bingo.

    The problem with that is the leak is sometimes not there at all temps.
     
  10. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
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    As regards cracks. If it did not get hot enough to melt the spark plug connectors (it didn't) my money says it isn't cracked.

    I'm outa here until tomorrow.
     
  11. Boxer12

    Boxer12 Formula 3

    Jun 1, 2003
    1,672
    Sorry to hear about that. I too have had a sensor go bad, and seen the temp rise. It could have happenned to anyone the way you describe it. Hopefully, its just a gasket. Why do you necessarily have to drop the motor to work on the heads? You might not want to jump into that, if time out of the seat is your biggest concern. I would figure out what's going on first, unless of course, you are do for a major anyway.
     
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  13. kx5fast

    kx5fast Karting

    Jul 4, 2005
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    RP
    Ron, you can PM me if you want. Pulling the motor on your 512Tr is very straightforward. I have gone through my entire transmission, it has some quirks, but also is very straightforward. I am pulling my motor again next week and can help talk you through it and I also have some great guys that can chime in. It really is, if you enjoy mechanics, a fun job.

    Rod
     
  14. Miltonian

    Miltonian F1 Veteran

    Dec 11, 2002
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    Milton, Wash.
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    Jeff B.
    I should think that you are playing a dangerous game by starting the engine at all if there is coolant leaking into the cylinders though a bad head gasket, or a crack, or loose head bolts, or whatever. If you get coolant into a cylinder that doesn't happen to have a valve open on the next stroke, the hydraulic lock could do massive damage, certainly more than you have at present. If it were my own car, I would pull all of the plugs out and look for signs of any plug that displays evidence of the presence of water. Then I would crank the engine over with the plugs OUT and see if coolant shoots out of any of the plug holes. If you can do this test while you have a pressure tester on the coolant tank, all the better.

    Just my opinion, I'm not experienced with the 512TR.
     
  15. Bertocchi

    Bertocchi Formula 3
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    Jan 28, 2004
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    New Orleans, LA
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    David Castelhano
    Most good auto parts stores sell a simple kit which detects exhaust gases if they are present in the coolant. Easy to use an fairly accurate. Remember regular TR engine comes out the bottom with rear subframe. 512TR comes out the top. I agree with others regarding the cracked cylinder head possibility. This would be a very rare case. If the car had been subjected to extreme cold for long periods of time with no antifreeze,maybe.
     
  16. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

    Nov 1, 2003
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    Hi Ron, I've had coolant leaks on the 512TR & 512M before, luckily no damage so hopefully you are as lucky as I was

    RE the trans, as long as you take it up to 5 mph Before you stomp on the throttle the trans should be fine.

    They are pretty tough but Ive subjected mine to abuse on the track so thats a whole different story than just accelerating hard on the road

    Good Luck
    WH
     
  17. thecarreaper

    thecarreaper F1 World Champ
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    excellent info, i had not thought of the expansion versus cooling difference that aluminu, engines have. heck we re-torque certain thing on aircraft every so many "hours" of use. i would imagine a stressed high reving engine would need the same care.
     
  18. Sean F.

    Sean F. F1 Rookie

    Feb 4, 2003
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    If it's one or the other, he'll have to pull the engine to get the head off.
     
  19. patpong

    patpong Formula 3

    Jul 6, 2004
    2,170
    Bangkok, Thailand
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    Patpong Thanavisuth
    Ron,........ I was right there in your shoes four months ago. The temp never came cooler as the car was rolling. The pressure got inside the ignition chamber and explored the water hose. In my case, the head gasket got rusted badly the water found the gap and entered to the chamber. It's the garage queen car. They suspected that the car must have been left sitting dead without turning ignition for year.... I had the whole engine overhauled and changed every gaskets, seals... all rubber parts, right down to liners seals. Now, the engine runing rock solid cool even in "heavy Bangkok's traffic".

    From listening to your condition, your heads and block should be ok since you stopped at 220 degree. It should be the gaskets or seals thing. But, it should be tough to determine which was the exact one; that'why in my case, I had the whole thing renewed.

    However, there is one very sad TR in Bangkok, apparently, the owner drove the overheated car and never stopped or even looked at meter reading. He kept on driving untill the car knocked over and came to a stop by itself and never fired up. The heads and block melt and could never be taken aparted.... The car now is in the back of the garage at Ferrari Thailand with car cover over it for four years now.... waiting for another engine... The owner lost hope of seeing it alive again.

    You are right......... if you see water rise in your Ferrari and never came cooler, stop the car and have it towed.... period!!!
     
  20. Birdman

    Birdman F1 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2003
    6,687
    North shore, MA
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    THE Birdman
    Back when I first got my 308, the radiator fans were flaky. I eventually figured out it was the fuseblock. Before that, I was thinking it was a flaky temp switch at the radiator. (I replaced both, just in case!!) But I made a simple connector that I keep in the tool kit "just in case". It's just two male spade connectors with a short wire between them so I can circumvent the temp switch. You can make one for less than $1 and keep it in your tool kit. If you are ever on the road and the fans don't come on, just pull the two wires off the temp switch in the radiator, short them together with this little adapter, and the fans STAY on. That will get you home without being stranded or needing a tow. I'm not sure if the TR fan control is this simple, but if so, it's a good thing for anyone worried about this.

    Birdman
     
  21. rjnavion

    rjnavion Karting

    Nov 1, 2003
    128
    Gate, OK (western O
    Full Name:
    Ron Judy
    Thanks for all of the input. I'll print it out and study it at length before we proceed. The engine had a major with belts and the heads were torqued 8500 miles & 2 1/2 years ago. David, you're the one that worked on it.

    There was not enough heat in the engine to burn the plug wires. But I do believe that whatever damage was done was caused by the heat as there had been no problem at all before that. It has had strong enough anti-freeze every winter so no damage from that. About 1000 miles ago we changed all of the fluids and worked hard bleeding the coolant lines so am certain there were no air pockets. The car is driven regularily and mostly on trips of 50 miles or more.

    The puddle of coolant on the floor came from about 2 weeks sitting cold and may have been a couple or three tablespoons. My experience is that a cracked head doesn't seep that much fluid while cold, but again I'm just guessing on this one. Yes, I have thought of a hydrostatic lock if too much goes in a cylinder. My son says that aluminum heads sometimes crack around the steel valve seat insert. That could be letting the fluid out closer to the exhaust port. Would that be the reason it doesn't smoke when cold but does on a hot start after sitting a little while?? Just reaching for straws and trying to rationalize what the symptoms mean.

    As soon as my son returns home we'll do the tests on compression and try to rig up a pressure tester for the coolant tank. We'll do everything possible before pulling the engine, but believe it's inevitable. The upside is that it's halfway to needing belts, tentioner bearings, and major service which we'll do when it's out.

    Keep the suggestions coming. They're appreciated. I'll give reports when we get into it about what we find.

    William H, you said you'd had coolant leaks on these engines before. Do you mean in the cylinder and out the exhaust? What type of leak?

    Ron Judy
     
  22. vincenzo

    vincenzo F1 Rookie

    Nov 2, 2003
    2,928
    You said;
    "I have a Tubi where the banks are isolated, so know it's the right side."

    Are you seeing condensation out the right bank in the colder weather and assuming it is coolant?

    The TR will oil SMOKE on occasion during start up - sometimes surprisingly badly. This is normal operation. Does NOT mean a worn or damaged engine.

    The TR always puts out lots of vapor that is only apparent in colder weather. This is normal operation.

    Check for exhaust gas in coolant (chk w/ a radiator shop).
    Pressure test the cooling sytem
    Check the oil for contamination.
    Check your plugs.

    Drive it & enjoy.

    Rgds,
    Vince
     
  23. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

    Nov 1, 2003
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    This is true

    I only had leaks due to pierced hoses, never had the engine leaking coolant
     
  24. jselevan

    jselevan Formula 3

    Nov 2, 2003
    1,858
    Ron - some thoughts.

    First, I would not rely upon the temperature gauge or sending unit to draw important conclusions. IF accurate, these readings may not provide information concerning transient temperatures at the head. I doubt that the transducer/gauge is accurate to +/- 10% at either end of the scale. You do the math.

    Second, I believe that head gaskets don't leak unless the head or block is warped, which would be the mechanism of action in this case (aluminum head). Too much pressure could lead to gasket failure, but as your overflow cap was functioning correctly, too much pressure seems unlikely.

    Third, there are many hoses and clamps that could have leaked. Are you sure that it continues to leak, and from where? The water that you see on the floor may be running along a path from somewhere else.

    Finally, in that you are psychologically along the path of an engine pull, why not drive the car for a while to confirm the need. I agree with those that suggested a simple diagnositc of pulling the presumed spark plug(s) to make sure that you do not have a cylinder full of coolant, but absent that, I see little danger (nor additional damage) in driving the car in a test/diagnostic mode. By this I mean that you drive reasonably, paying particular attention to coolant level and oil color. Drive it for a few miles, check the levels. Drive a few more miles, check the levels, etc. As you become confident that you are not evaporating coolant out one exhaust port, you may decide to not pull the engine at this time.

    Retorquing the heads may help, but this is not an easy thing to do in the TR with the engine in place.

    In summary, if my car, I would not be concerned about testing on the road, and driving the car until I am convinced one way or another that I either have a problem or not.

    My thoughts. Jim S.
     
  25. rjnavion

    rjnavion Karting

    Nov 1, 2003
    128
    Gate, OK (western O
    Full Name:
    Ron Judy
    Thanks guys.

    I'm aware of the normal smoking on start-up with a cold engine. It's always done that, but this is only from one bank and while the engine is hot. And lots of smoke for several seconds.

    The little puddle of anti-freeze definitely came out of the exhaust joint between the pre-cat and test pipe due to a slight leak in the cone shaped gasket. It had anti-freeze smell and I left it on the floor for hours with no evaporation, so it wasn't condensation.

    I check the fuse block regularily for corrosion or burned terminals. One one occasion (I believe it was for the "Switch controlled Services"), I did have to re-solder one terminal I was suspicious of. Before installing the new sensor I shorted between the wires at the sensor and the fans came on, so it definitely was a bad sensor. When I put the new sensor in and ran the car, the fans came on at 195 degrees. I am so paranoid about it that I've run a wire from the + terminal of the sensor plug into the engine compartment and when this whole operation is completed will route it into the interior console to a tiny aircraft switch where I can ground the wire and activate the fans. I already have a wire there going to the starter solenoid that I had to use on occasion to start the car until we traced the problem to a very shoddy and well concealed wiring terminal that some shade-tree mechanic had installed. Being paranoid again, I believe the sensor should be replaced on all of these cars if it's never been done before. It's easy to do and less than $30 with shipping.

    We've kept an eye on the oil, as anti-freeze in the oil is a disaster. I've been there before with a truck engine. I've had numerous blown head gaskets and some experience with cracked heads, but all on very simple, economical engines. I've had cases where the combustion fire was getting into the coolant and the vehicle overheated badly.

    I've made one more trip in the car and it ran very strong with no detectable loss of coolant from the tank. I'm measuring it very carefully with a cardboard stick as I've done often every since owning the car. Only symptom on the trip was the severe smoke on a hot start after stopping for lunch. I'm starting the car often to clear anything out before it accumulates and I may drive it again as suggested and keep measuring the coolant level.

    We definitely will do the tests with the plugs out as I want to know exactly what cylinder it is if we have to pull the engine. It may be something obvious but could be a crack in the exhaust port where the coolant chamber cools the exhaust valve and this could be hard to detect. I want a look at the compressions on the left bank also.

    I keep searching for something simple here, but with coolant out the exhaust??? Will keep you up to date when there's more to report.

    Ron Judy
     
  26. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
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    Brian Crall
    Retorqing the heads in the car is a piece of cake with tool #AV1393, also goes under part # 9971393. It is the tool used to get at the head bolts on all 4 valve motors and you will need it to get the head off anyway. I have seen them for sale on Ebay several times. I have done head torque jobs on TR's and TR512's hundreds of times.

    You say the heads were torqued recently, then thats a complication because that makes you a candidate for the Guiness book. With an occasional retorque head gasket failure on any late 2 valve or 4 valve motor is VERY rare, almost unheard of.

    Find the cyl in question and try the test with the leak down tester and cooling system tester as I said. Just bear in mind that radiators, heaters and waterpumps were built to take 15 lbs not 150 lbs.
     
  27. rjnavion

    rjnavion Karting

    Nov 1, 2003
    128
    Gate, OK (western O
    Full Name:
    Ron Judy
    Thanks, Brian. Did a quick search of eBay and no AV 1393 tool on there right now. I see a picture of it in my Workshop Repair Manual. Who knows where I can get one? I'll need it eventually if not right now. Next week I'll call some of the parts suppliers and see if they have it. As a last resort I think my son can fabricate one.

    I started the car today with no symptoms of the problem. Unless I see a drastic reason not to I'll probably drive it tomorrow on a trip of 50 miles and check the coolant after it cools before coming home, and observe the smoke on start-up.

    Ron Judy
     
  28. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
    27,114
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    Brian Crall

    For the tool try Ricambi America, then T Rutland. BTW I had the part # wrong, it is 95971393.

    If you do need to make one I can supply dimensions, pictures etc.

    If it does turn out to be a head gasket don't lose too much sleep over it. It won't cost a bundle in parts, just some time.
     

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