How is oil getting into my water reservoir, 1984 vanagon

Asked by Sep 26, 2015 at 12:46 AM about the Volkswagen Vanagon

Question type: General

I checked the water reservoir, and it appears to be fresh clean oil??
What could be going on here?? Fairly new rebuilt engine.

8 Answers

It could be the intake manifold gasket that happened to my car recently

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Best Answer
86,775

Sounds like a blown head gasket, maybe the head wasn't torqued properly during the reassembly or it got too hot recently.

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20,175

i had that issue once...i wont go into it...butdont worry yet...clean and flush out the reserver.and refill it with new coolant, recheck it in a week....

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20,965

Look, if you are one of those people that think a Vanagon is just the coolest thing to ever roll on 4 wheels, you should be prepared to pay the high price of being cool- they are mechanical nightmares- and that thing will bankrupt you- I don't see the attraction- just get an old Type 2 if you need that Teutonic fix-

4,525

If your the contaminant is truly oil (gold in color), you may have a pinhole leak in the oil cooler. This is an aluminum block mounted between the oil filter and the engine with to coolant tubes. It uses the coolant of the engine system to bring the oil up to temperature quickly and also cool it under heavy load. These can fail. They are not expensive and not difficult to replace. Get that done, then have a professional cooling system flush and fill done at a reputable VW mechanic. That process involves elevating the front of the vehicle 2 feet to collect all the air in the system at the radiator in the front. This allows proper bleeding of air from the system. Don't skimp on coolant as the VW specified fluid is designed to handle the issues caused by having a magnesium engine block and aluminum heads (galvanic corrosion). The coolant must be flushed and changed every 2 years to reestablish the corrosion preventative capability. If you are performing most maintenance on the Vanagon, you really should get a Bentley service manual in order to perform procedures properly. Good luck. Enjoy your Vanagon! (I miss mine).

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Thank you, it all make sense too me now.

vanagons are NOT hard to work on and parts are readily available. if you can turn a wrench you can fix most everything by yourself with help of bentley, youtube and thesamba.

your issue is probably dry rotted head gaskets/piston seals. easy and can be done without dropping the engine. flush the system with distilled water and use PHOSPHATE FREE 50/50 coolant/replace every 2 years. there is no oil cooler on 84. this started with 2.1L engine in 86

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