On of the most important things to do with a Rover / MG / Freelander K-Series engine is to check the water regularly – a problem caught early could save you a lot of money! So you have been regularly checking your water level and all has been going well, until one day you check it and it has used more than normal. What could it be?
If all other driving conditions are as normal – that is you have not been working it harder than usual so it may have naturally used more water – then there are a few places where the water could be escaping from:
- It could be your head gasket. If this is the case you may see a leak around the cylinder head, however the water may be escaping into the oil – this would show up as a mayonnaise coloured residue within the oil, often seen on the oil tank filler cap.
- It may be that your water pump leaking through a worn seal or bearing. In this situation you would tend to find that it drips after the car has been driven. On a Rover / MG / Freelander K-Series engine the drip would be seen on the drivers side at the front of the engine; on the Rover / MG / Freelander K V6 engine the drip would be seen on the drivers side at the back of the engine.
- Your thermostat housing may be cracked or have worn seals. If water is escaping from the thermostat housing you would expect to see the water drip from the back of the engine underneath the inlet manifold for a Rover / MG / Freelander K-Series engine. With the Rover / MG / Freelander K V6 engine the thermostat housing is in the centre of the V so the water would drip into the V and then may drip out at the rear of the engine. With the K V6 engine it can be difficult to tell from where the drip is whether it is the thermostat housing or the water pump.
- The leak could be from the radiator, hence it would be dripping from, well, the radiator!
- The cooling system pipes could be weakened, causing them to split, or the clips holding the pipes have loosened and are no longer strong enough to hold the pressure of the water as it expands. In either of these situations it is a case of checking for drips from any of the cooling system pipes in the engine bay.
- There may be a leak in your heater matrix. Generally if your heater matrix is leaking you will find the foot well inside the car becomes damp.
- The leak may be coming from your inlet manifold gasket. Check for water dripping from around the inlet manifold.
- In a Freelander water could be leaking into the IRD if the cooling plate has been damaged. Check the breather hose for the IRD unit – if this is the case then you will not see a drip of water as the leak is internal to the IRD unit.
- Perhaps the worst cause of a water leak is a crack in one of the cylinder liners. In this situation water would be leaking into the engine itself. Often only small quantities of water are escaping into the engine which may mean that traces of water in the oil are not obvious.
For effective cooling the Rover / MG / Freelander K-series engine requires the red coolant to be used, and when it comes to determining where a leak is this can often be very beneficial as if the leak is dripping externally it will leave pink stains around the area of the drip.
But don’t panic, we can help!