Countach cooling questions | FerrariChat

Countach cooling questions

Discussion in '' started by erica, May 12, 2023.

  1. erica

    erica Rookie

    Jun 10, 2019
    Full Name:
    Eric Altendorf
    Hey all, I’m a relatively new owner of an ‘85 downdraft Countach. I took it for a drive the other day and had some cooling system issues, and now I have a few really basic questions.

    Background: it was about 70F out and I was doing a twisty mountain drive at low speeds, 20-30mph. Temp reading on the dash was maybe 90-100C. I stopped and stepped out for a photo, letting the engine idle since it can be finicky to start when hot. Of course someone had to stop and talk to me about the car and within about 2 minutes I saw coolant dripping from the engine bay. I shut it off and let the engine cool. No coolant leaks visible on brief inspection, definitely not from the reservoir tank in the upper left corner of the bay, but I did hear trickling around the back of the engine for a bit. It soon stopped dripping, and since the car only lost maybe a half quart of coolant overall, after about 30m with the engine cover open I started it back up and drove back to the garage, watching temps carefully, and stopping once to check for additional drippage. On the way back, temps were around 60C at highway speed, but when I got to town and stop lights temps got up probably above 100C – basically to the line on the gauge just below the red line.

    • Where is the cooling system supposed to let off extra pressure? The cap on the reservoir tank doesn’t appear to have an overpressure valve.
    • Any specific areas to look for coolant overpressure leaks?
    • What are normal and dangerous temps for this engine?
    • Should the car be able to keep itself cool at idle?
    • Any recommended cooling upgrades, e.g. upgraded electric fans?
    Thanks a bunch all,
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  3. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky F1 World Champ
    Consultant Professional Ferrari Technician

    Sep 18, 2002
    The Cold North
    Full Name:
    Sounds like an over filled expansion tank and the cap doing its job venting the excess coolant.

    Keep your eye on the temp gauge and be sure both cooling fans are working. If the temp creeps above 3/4 and still no have an issue that needs to be investigated
  4. erica

    erica Rookie

    Jun 10, 2019
    Full Name:
    Eric Altendorf
    Thanks! Forgive the noob questions, I’m still trying to understand how this car works.

    Does it actually have an expansion tank? There’s a reservoir tank but as far as I can tell no pressure valve for expansion into it. Based on the diagrams it looks like the tank is just pressurized along with the rest of the system. It’s not clear to me where overpressure is supposed to be released. In any case, the coolant didn’t seem to spill from the cap of the tank, the tank was dry.

    One other clue, I didn’t see any steam from the engine bay at any point, so I don’t think it spilled on the tank and evaporated, but I could be wrong.
  5. JohnMH

    JohnMH Formula 3

    Jan 28, 2004
    Dubai / Bologna
    That seems quite hot to me. Neither of my 2 valve cars gets much above 80-90c, even in traffic on a hot day.

    A Countach has a pretty good cooling system, just remember to bleed excess air from it.

    If in good condition it should be able to keep the engine reasonably cool idling for an extended period. Make sure the fans are working (I recently upgraded mine to far more efficient spal units) and the thermostat is opening.
    joe sackey and Spyder-Man like this.
  6. sp1der

    sp1der F1 Rookie

    Jan 10, 2009
    Full Name:
    Simon Ashley
    The only place it can really leak around the back of the engine is if jubilee clips have come loose to the various hoses, or the connector on the back of the heads that has 2 o rings to seal is loose
  7. Michael Call

    Michael Call Formula Junior

    Mar 6, 2008
    S.L.C. Utah
    Full Name:
    Michael D. Call
    The coolant reservoir located at the front top left corner of the engine bay has a pressure relief tube near the cap. If there is too much pressure in the system, coolant will burp out of the hose that goes from the tank to the ground. If your coolant leak is coming from the rear of the engine bay, you may have a water pump that is on its way out. They are designed to weep coolant for a bit before they fail completely. Also check all hoses and clamps in the vicinity, as they are potential points for a leak. 90C is about as warm as it should ever get if the cooling system is working as it should.
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