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  #1  
Old 01-16-2011, 04:44 PM
benhogan's Avatar
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My coolant is BROWN-with pics

Tranny fluid is pink, Engine oil is black but the dang coolant is brown.

Here is what I know- it looks like oil or some sort, I can see the 'fat lobules', whatever it is is lighter than water.

I have flushed the coolant about 6 times already with a solution of distilled water and cheapo walmart coolant. When I first drained it, it was dark brown, it progressively got lighter brown. I am out of water and coolant now and will do it again tomorrow after I get resupplied.

Here are the pictures...It is not rust. Does anyone have any idea what it is?
Attached Thumbnails
My coolant is BROWN-with pics-sam_3225.jpg   My coolant is BROWN-with pics-sam_3228.jpg   My coolant is BROWN-with pics-sam_3226.jpg   My coolant is BROWN-with pics-sam_3229.jpg   My coolant is BROWN-with pics-sam_3227.jpg  

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1987 190d 2.5Turbo
1983 300 turbodiesel
1991 Yardboy 2 stroke mower
2006 Schwinn Scooter


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  #2  
Old 01-16-2011, 04:49 PM
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If your trans cooler is in your radiator might be time to be think about swapping out your rad. How pink are we talking?
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  #3  
Old 01-16-2011, 04:50 PM
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Yep, bad headgasket
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1977 300d 70k--sold 08
1985 300TD 185k+
1984 307d 126k--sold 8/03
1985 409d 65k--sold 06
1984 300SD 315k--daughter's car
1979 300SD 122k--sold 2/11
1999 Fuso FG Expedition Camper
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  #4  
Old 01-16-2011, 04:54 PM
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headgasket? sounds like the wrong symptoms to me...
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  #5  
Old 01-16-2011, 05:13 PM
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That looks like oil floating in the coolant.....not a good sign. Send some oil in for analysis and see if it comes back positive for coolant contamination, then you'll know for sure.
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'82 300SD 322k -mine (OC-323,450) -for sale
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'05 C240 4matic Wagon - 136k - wifes (OC-139,500)
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  #6  
Old 01-16-2011, 05:20 PM
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Is that coolant or trans fluid in the blue jugs?
If it is coolant, try & decant some of the oil off the top. You can soak it into some paper towel. If its pink/red its trans fluid.
Try a flush with straight water & see what you get.
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1967 230-6 auto parts car. rust bucket.
1980 300D now parts car 800k miles
1984 300D 500k miles
1987 250td 160k miles English import
2001 jeep turbo diesel 130k miles
1998 jeep tdi ~ followed me home. Needs a turbo.
1968 Ford F750 truck. 6-354 diesel conversion.
Other toys ~J.D.,Cat & GM ~ mainly earth moving
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  #7  
Old 01-16-2011, 06:32 PM
mach0415's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by josha37 View Post
If your trans cooler is in your radiator might be time to be think about swapping out your rad. How pink are we talking?
Yeah, pink trans fluid is a sign of water contamination. Trans should be red to dirty red, depending on mileage since the last service. Have you noticed lower/higher than normal fluid levels?
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Mark in NC
"Spark plugs?...We don't need no stinking spark plugs!"
1985 300SD "Der Silberne Schlitten" 247,000 mi
1985 300SD 359,000 mi

Wish these were diesel:
1989 Ford Ranger For Sale 170,000 mi- SOLD to a fellow Benz owner
1999 GMC Suburban 240,000 mi
2003 Ford Club Wagon 130,000 mi
1947 Plymouth 69,000 mi
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  #8  
Old 01-16-2011, 08:20 PM
Mechanical Hyphochondriac
 
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Once all of this is resolved, a citrus flush might help clean out the rest of the contamination.
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  #9  
Old 01-16-2011, 09:38 PM
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More pictures

the first picture shows two blots of ATF- the lighter one came directly from the tranny dipstick, the second came directly from the Dextron III container (does this w201 use Dextron III? is it the proper baseline shade? ). Clearly the shades of pink are different.

the second picture shows what gunk is in the coolant. I just dipped a clean paper towel into the reservoir. looks more brown than red.

Next question- is the radiator for the 1987 190d 2.5 the same as the radiator for the 1987 190d 2.5 turbo? the parts guide does not make a distinction.

All comments are welcome. I'd like to just get the car rolling again.
Attached Thumbnails
My coolant is BROWN-with pics-sam_3231.jpg   My coolant is BROWN-with pics-sam_3232.jpg  
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Ben
1987 190d 2.5Turbo
1983 300 turbodiesel
1991 Yardboy 2 stroke mower
2006 Schwinn Scooter


Unless you like doing repairs twice, stay away from URO parts!

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  #10  
Old 01-17-2011, 05:11 AM
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Ben,
If you flush & fill with straight water what color is the gunk in the water?
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Grumpy Old Diesel Owners Club group

I no longer question authority, I annoy authority. More effect, less effort....

1967 230-6 auto parts car. rust bucket.
1980 300D now parts car 800k miles
1984 300D 500k miles
1987 250td 160k miles English import
2001 jeep turbo diesel 130k miles
1998 jeep tdi ~ followed me home. Needs a turbo.
1968 Ford F750 truck. 6-354 diesel conversion.
Other toys ~J.D.,Cat & GM ~ mainly earth moving
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  #11  
Old 01-17-2011, 05:36 AM
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I'm not sure if you would want to do this - it is a lot of work - but I'll suggest it anyway.

Why not disconnect the transmission oil cooler lines from the bottom of the radiator and plug them to stop fluid loss. Then fill the radiator with more coolant / water (though don't leave it in there for long) and see if the radiator holds pressure when the engine gets warm?

If the radiator is leaking into the oil cooler side you'll soon see it.

Failing that pressure test the radiator with proper kit if you can get hold of it.
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1981 W123 300D ~ 100,000 miles / 160,000 km - project car stripped to the bone

1992 W201 190E 1.8 171,000 km - this one should be the daily driver

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Last edited by Stretch; 01-17-2011 at 05:36 AM. Reason: spelling
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  #12  
Old 01-17-2011, 06:18 AM
mach0415's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Lawndale, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benhogan View Post
the first picture shows two blots of ATF- the lighter one came directly from the tranny dipstick, the second came directly from the Dextron III container (does this w201 use Dextron III? is it the proper baseline shade? ). Clearly the shades of pink are different.

the second picture shows what gunk is in the coolant. I just dipped a clean paper towel into the reservoir. looks more brown than red.

Next question- is the radiator for the 1987 190d 2.5 the same as the radiator for the 1987 190d 2.5 turbo? the parts guide does not make a distinction.

All comments are welcome. I'd like to just get the car rolling again.
If the trans had not been serviced in awhile the fluid will be brown, as with most any car or truck. And, most all trans fluid (ATF) I have seen is red. Therefore, I would be looking toward a fluid exchange/contamination issue in the radiator. Replace it, but be sure to flush the system. You will also need to service that trans (fluid purge, refill, purge and filter) and get all water contamination out if the fluid is pink, It sounds like it needed to be serviced anyway. Good luck!
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Thanks,
Mark in NC
"Spark plugs?...We don't need no stinking spark plugs!"
1985 300SD "Der Silberne Schlitten" 247,000 mi
1985 300SD 359,000 mi

Wish these were diesel:
1989 Ford Ranger For Sale 170,000 mi- SOLD to a fellow Benz owner
1999 GMC Suburban 240,000 mi
2003 Ford Club Wagon 130,000 mi
1947 Plymouth 69,000 mi
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  #13  
Old 01-17-2011, 06:25 AM
mach0415's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Lawndale, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Army View Post
I'm not sure if you would want to do this - it is a lot of work - but I'll suggest it anyway.

Why not disconnect the transmission oil cooler lines from the bottom of the radiator and plug them to stop fluid loss. Then fill the radiator with more coolant / water (though don't leave it in there for long) and see if the radiator holds pressure when the engine gets warm?

If the radiator is leaking into the oil cooler side you'll soon see it.

Failing that pressure test the radiator with proper kit if you can get hold of it.
This is another good use for the mighty vac. If you disconnect both cooler lines at the radiator and plug one fitting on the radiator, pulling a vacuum on the other end with a mighty vac with the fluid canister in line would tell the same thing. This leak could be so small that it could take a while for results to show with a pressure test. With A/C systems, we pull a vacuum for a given period of time for multiple reasons before we charge with refrigerant. One of those reasons is to check for any leaks. Another slower way to test is to add trans fluid dye to the trans and see if it shows up with a black light in the radiator...automotive CSI.
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Thanks,
Mark in NC
"Spark plugs?...We don't need no stinking spark plugs!"
1985 300SD "Der Silberne Schlitten" 247,000 mi
1985 300SD 359,000 mi

Wish these were diesel:
1989 Ford Ranger For Sale 170,000 mi- SOLD to a fellow Benz owner
1999 GMC Suburban 240,000 mi
2003 Ford Club Wagon 130,000 mi
1947 Plymouth 69,000 mi
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  #14  
Old 01-17-2011, 07:56 AM
benhogan's Avatar
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Chapel Hill
Posts: 966
how do you plug the connection to the radiator? will golf tees work?
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Ben
1987 190d 2.5Turbo
1983 300 turbodiesel
1991 Yardboy 2 stroke mower
2006 Schwinn Scooter


Unless you like doing repairs twice, stay away from URO parts!

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  #15  
Old 01-17-2011, 04:28 PM
mach0415's Avatar
Diesel Weasel
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Lawndale, NC
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Perhaps, but usually you get a vacuum plug/fitting assortment with a mighty vac kit. As long as it seals, it should work. You can also try the golf tee trick.
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Thanks,
Mark in NC
"Spark plugs?...We don't need no stinking spark plugs!"
1985 300SD "Der Silberne Schlitten" 247,000 mi
1985 300SD 359,000 mi

Wish these were diesel:
1989 Ford Ranger For Sale 170,000 mi- SOLD to a fellow Benz owner
1999 GMC Suburban 240,000 mi
2003 Ford Club Wagon 130,000 mi
1947 Plymouth 69,000 mi
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:28 PM
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