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Old 11-24-2007, 04:35 AM   #1
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Expansion Coolant Tank Replacment Nightmare

When I purchased my 2nd 986, it was low on coolant. I thoroughly inspected the car from top to bottom, no signs of a leak. I filled the coolant tank with Ĺ gallon of distilled water, plus I had the car inspected at a Kansas City Missouri Porsche dealership before leaving on my trip home, no issues were reported to me. No problems the entire way, an inspection throughout the trip home and after a total of 1200 miles showed a full expansion tank. Around the 100th mile of being home, the smell of Ethylene glycol reeked through the cockpit. Water pump I feared, coolant tank I hoped for. I got exactly what I had hoped for. Pulling up the carpet reveled the start of my nightmare. After contacting three local dealerships and garages, the bill was going to be around thousand dollars, $375.00 for parts, $600 for labor. I figured I could tackle this ďDIYĒ project on my own, man was I wrong.

I began by removing all of the carpet and disassembling the tank top. I removed the bolts and interior hoses. The impossible lower hose that attaches to the bottom of the tank was too much for me, after about three hours, I cut through it to remove the tank! Now Iím in trouble! I was able to latch on my hose clamp pliers and loosen the clamps around the hoses. Even with the clamps removed, those hoses were not budging! I spent another two hours loosing and removing the hoses from their connections.

On Day 2 (Thanksgiving) I decided to see if I could reassemble from beneath the car, so, I jacked her up and set her on stands. Iím sorry, but for those of you out there that say you can at these connections from beneath, IMO, are wrong. In order to be able to even begin to believe you could, you would have to put the car up at a 45+ degree angle, sorry, I treasure my life more than to end up like that witch on the Wizard of OZ. So I safely lower the car and contemplated my options.

1. Give up with a totally disconnected car, have her towed and repaired late next week at the stealership
2. Reassemble what I could to save on labor, find a local garage (non-Porsche) willing to put her back together sooner than the dealership

I chose option two. First, I went out and purchased about three feet of hose to replace the one I cut. After cutting the hose to match the size needed, I clamped it on the new tank. I reattached the interior hoses, oil tunnel, tank, and firewall gasket. I slid the disconnected assembly back through the firewall, attempting the at least catch the oil tunnel. I attached the bolts loosely, installed the rubber gasket on top and marveled on my accomplishment that it at least looked almost fixed.

On Friday, I called for a flat bed to tow her to a local Meineke for reassembly. I know, it was the first time they had ever had a Porsche in their garage, however, they looked to be in their 50ís, so at least they werenít a bunch of kids. They estimated five hours at $60 bucks an hour. $300 dollars later, they called and said she was ready. Okay I thought, not overly optimistic, I picked her up and drove away. Over the next 50 miles, I stopped and had to pressurize the tank a few times. An inspection this morning has revealed no leaks and a full tank!

The moral of this story is to be VERY careful with the DIY projects you decide to tackle on your own. Iím keeping my fingers crossed that Iím waking up from this nightmare.



The river of coolant



Found a golf ball under the rug on the other side, hopefully it wasn't holding something together



The parts



The spot you never want to be in



The crack



The result

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Last edited by tboyer; 11-24-2007 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 11-24-2007, 04:46 AM   #2
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Tboyer,

I've been following your thread...thanks for the writeup on the expansion tank...where is the crack come from?

I am hoping to get an 03 or later S next year.
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Old 11-24-2007, 06:41 AM   #3
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Just had mine done at my local Porsche Mechanic... Cost was 260.00 for parts and 350.00 for labor. I am not sure it is fixed yet because when I went to pick up the car the first time, I had noticed they damaged my deck lid in the process. One of the techs shut the deck lid on a prop and put an outward dent right in the middle of the lid. So now a week later, still no car. The shop assures me that they will fix it. I am leery. Anyway, hopefully it is mechanically fixed by now!

I feel your pain... there was no way I was going to tackle that one.
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Old 11-24-2007, 06:45 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poorshoesless
Tboyer,

I've been following your thread...thanks for the writeup on the expansion tank...where is the crack come from?

I am hoping to get an 03 or later S next year.
Looks to me be a result of vibration against the rear wheel well. Also, notice the coolant is green??? The "magic" Porsche coolant is pink. My question is, does the pink eventually turn green? If no, then maybe the issue was due to the corresive nature of standard off the shelf coolant? Is this why only the "magic" Porsche coolant is recommeneded?

Eventually these tanks will wear out, I wonder if a careless previous owner filled it with standard coolant at some point which helped it fail sooner than later. Who knows, I know now that only the recommened coolant has been installed, so, crossing my fingers.

Good luck on your S purchase, do you have a Boxster right now?
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Old 11-24-2007, 10:17 AM   #5
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Too late for you. http://www.renntech.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=6675 I also had problems with the rubber hose from the tank to the metal tube in the engine compartment. I got the clamp off but the hose was "glued" to the tube and I could not pull the hose off. But later we all learned it is better to do this from the top.

As for the coolant color, Porsche started using the pink stuff when the 987 came out. Then after a while the parts department only sold pink.
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Old 11-24-2007, 07:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tboyer
Looks to me be a result of vibration against the rear wheel well. Also, notice the coolant is green??? The "magic" Porsche coolant is pink. My question is, does the pink eventually turn green? If no, then maybe the issue was due to the corresive nature of standard off the shelf coolant? Is this why only the "magic" Porsche coolant is recommeneded?

Eventually these tanks will wear out, I wonder if a careless previous owner filled it with standard coolant at some point which helped it fail sooner than later. Who knows, I know now that only the recommened coolant has been installed, so, crossing my fingers.

Good luck on your S purchase, do you have a Boxster right now?
No Boxster yet, I was just looking for a weekend toy and my first interest was the 01 or 02 BMW M Roadster (my brother have one), but they are way over price so I started to look at the Boxster and I like it more....just taking my time, making sure I get a good one....I am in no rush....w/two kids under five, I might be lucky to drive it once or twice a month....but I want a toy before 40....
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Old 11-25-2007, 03:06 AM   #7
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Ahhhh, took a little road trip with my wife last night, car ran great! Nothing drives and feels like a box.
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Old 11-25-2007, 08:49 AM   #8
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so did you fit it?
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Old 11-25-2007, 09:10 AM   #9
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Coolant hoses can get pretty welded into place. It's good you used the correct coolant, having the wrong coolant can cause corrosion in your engine as I understand it as well as reducing the efficiency of your cooling system.
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Old 11-25-2007, 11:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by djomlas
so did you fit it?
FIXED! Meineke Car Care took care of it for half the price in record time I have a new found respect for those guys, who by the way, work on Saturdays too!
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Old 11-27-2007, 04:31 AM   #11
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FIXED!
Yea, not so fast...I will NEVER say "FIXED" again (other than this time), after my post I headed for the garage, did a quick look under and noticed a new puddle. S**T! Water pump has failed, the 2nd I've replaced on two Boxsters in 5 months. Irritating to say the least... Gotta love how some sellers are savvy enough to sell just at the right time...Good news though, RMS is dry and clean
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Old 11-27-2007, 11:51 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by tboyer
....and noticed a new puddle. S**T! Water pump has failed, the 2nd I've replaced on two Boxsters in 5 months. Irritating to say the least... .....
Tboyer,

I don't have a Boxster yet, but hope to by next spring.

2 water pumps in 2 boxsters?... maybe u might want to consider using a different coolant than the 'magic' porsche stuff.....

In the motorcycle world, we look for 'silicate-free' coolant, as that is supposed to be easier on the seals in the pumps. Me personally, I use the Dexcool compatible stuff.


I've replaced the water pumps (preventatively in our vehicles at around 100-120,000km range.)

P
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Old 11-27-2007, 12:36 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by petee_c

2 water pumps in 2 boxsters?... maybe u might want to consider using a different coolant than the 'magic' porsche stuff.....
The R/R were on new to me 986's, both failed within the first 1500 miles of ownership, not much I could have done....

BTW, I still have the same leak after the new pump was installed, guess this one was preventative....goes back in tomorrow

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