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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This past weekend as part of my DE seasonal preparations I checked my coolant level. As you know if you've ever checked it, there's a "max" and "min" level mark, but unlike traditional coolant recovery tanks where you can actually see the level and can determine just how low it is, we'll only see that it's not at minimum, as mine was.

Since I've never seen a puddle, exhaust steam nor other evidence of a coolant loss, I thought it was probably a few oz down. To my surprise it took 40 oz of a 60/40 mix of Porsche's pink coolant to get to the min mark. Obviously my coolant was going somewhere it shouldn't.

My car went to my dealer today. They found 2 head gasket leaks, apparently from the water jacket to the outside of the engine where the coolant evaporated/burned away leaving nothing to drip onto the ground.

My car at 22k miles is the 3rd local, relatively low mileage, CS I know of that has had a similar head gasket failure. My '06 warranty is up this July so I'm glad it was caught under warranty. If you don't regularly check your COLD coolant level, I suggest you get in that habit. It's simple, takes a minute, but may catch a serious and expensive to repair reported problem such as a head gasket or water pump failure. Certainly you should have these components checked before your car warranty expires. Do NOT dismiss a need to add coolant as "normal."
 

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Thanks for the heads up. I had to add a papercup full of coolant from the initial low factory fill (below min). In the last two years (18K miles) I've had to top off another 1/2 cup.

This and the power steering fluid level (and of course oil) should be on the checklist for everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Other than the low coolant level, are there any other visual signs on the engine that one might have a leak?
I had done an inspection for leaks when I had the top engine cover off to check PS fluid and didn't see anything unusual, but that was before I discovered the low coolant and I was focused on water pump & recovery tank cap leakage. Apparently the head gasket leakage leaves a residue trail down the side of the engine, but I've not seen it. The lesson is that if you need to add more than a few ounces of coolant, don't ignore it, but instead suspect a problem needing more investigation.

BTW, since the gasket failures I mentioned were between the water jacket and the engine exterior, not oil passages or cylinders, there's no water in the oil, no exhaust steam, no reduced performance, and not even bad leakdown numbers. Something to keep in mind for a used car PPI.

Andrew - you going to the Audi Club's HPT DE in May? A bunch of STL Cayman owners will be there.
 

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This past weekend as part of my DE seasonal preparations I checked my coolant level. As you know if you've ever checked it, there's a "max" and "min" level mark, but unlike traditional coolant recovery tanks where you can actually see the level and can determine just how low it is, we'll only see that it's not at minimum, as mine was.

Since I've never seen a puddle, exhaust steam nor other evidence of a coolant loss, I thought it was probably a few oz down. To my surprise it took 40 oz of a 60/40 mix of Porsche's pink coolant to get to the min mark. Obviously my coolant was going somewhere it shouldn't.

My car went to my dealer today. They found 2 head gasket leaks, apparently from the water jacket to the outside of the engine where the coolant evaporated/burned away leaving nothing to drip onto the ground.

My car at 22k miles is the 3rd local, relatively low mileage, CS I know of that has had a similar head gasket failure. My '06 warranty is up this July so I'm glad it was caught under warranty. If you don't regularly check your COLD coolant level, I suggest you get in that habit. It's simple, takes a minute, but may catch a serious and expensive to repair reported problem such as a head gasket or water pump failure. Certainly you should have these components checked before your car warranty expires. Do NOT dismiss a need to add coolant as "normal."
Glad you caught it before things got more serious! You know a brief article in our Articles section on how to check/fill your coolant level might be handy, would you want to do something like this?
 

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On new cars many of us have to add 2-3 pints in the first 2000 miles. Lots of people have noticed this. Once the level stabilizes though it seems to stay that way. If the level starts going down after being stabilized for >1000 miles I'd have it checked by a Porsche tech.
 

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I added a pint of water 12 months ago. It will be a good time to check again. Thanks for the reminder. I will also check PS fluid level which has before stayed nice and flat.
 

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On new cars many of us have to add 2-3 pints in the first 2000 miles. Lots of people have noticed this. Once the level stabilizes though it seems to stay that way. If the level starts going down after being stabilized for >1000 miles I'd have it checked by a Porsche tech.
On my 09 CS I just added this week about .5 pints and I am at 2600 miles so the level should stabilize now. I remember checking it a few weeks after purchase and the level was between the min & max. I will make it a habit to check it once in a while.
 

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Hmm, I had to add 600 ml. (I think that is 30 oz.) yesterday. That was well after one year since I bought the car.

I am worried.
 

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I added a pint of water 12 months ago. It will be a good time to check again. Thanks for the reminder. I will also check PS fluid level which has before stayed nice and flat.
Tomasz:

Add only distilled water. Tap water has a lot of stuff in it that can grind up your water pump. Calcium and iron...stuff like that.
 

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Tomasz:

Add only distilled water. Tap water has a lot of stuff in it that can grind up your water pump. Calcium and iron...stuff like that.
Interesting. Dealer told me to add tap water. Going there now to buy the real stuff. But what about distilled water plus Water Wetter?
 
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Tomasz:

Add only distilled water. Tap water has a lot of stuff in it that can grind up your water pump. Calcium and iron...stuff like that.
is that what makes the bearings go bad in the pump ?
 

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Interesting. Dealer told me to add tap water. Going there now to buy the real stuff. But what about distilled water plus Water Wetter?
Water plus W/W is OK. W/W even has some lube in it to help the pump keep turning. I've had it in my motorcycle for 3 years....with distilled water...not spring water, not tap water. Distilled is...just water with nothing else.

With a low RPM engine, you can sometimes get away with tap water for a while, but with sports cars and bikes, you don't want that grit in there unless you like replacing water pumps a lot.

Water only should not be used long term because there is nothing slick in it to lube the pump. Better safe than sorry.

If you're running tap water now, avoid high RPM and replace it all before you button it up for good and you should be OK.

I think some of these techs have gas station or farm backgrounds. We are not running tractor engines or even Chevy 283s. Everything is built to be light weight and for high RPM.

Like Guiness compared to Miller Lite..more demanding, but more rewarding too. :cheers:
 

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i believe they stopped using water to lube car water pumps in the 1930,s
 

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Distilled water and Porsche coolant in a 60/40 mix, coolant to water is the correct mixture. Water Wetter is OK and possibly might lengthen the life of the pump. Distilled water is available at most grocery stores in plastic gallon jugs for less than $1.
 

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Hope everyone subscribes to "there are no stupid questions" philosophy......so here it goes....I just checked my coolant level and added 24 ounces of distilled water (.75 liters) to bring it ever so slightly above Minimum level. Since the cooling system holds 22 liters (704 ounces), per the owner's manual, that means I added approximately 3.5% to the coolant volume. Is it safe to assume that a small amount like that has essentially no impact to the coolant quality and other than keeping an eye on it, no dealer call is needed? I would normally not worry about such a small addition but after all this is my baby and I don't want to hurt it.

Thanks.
 

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My dealer told me that if you drive the card hard for pro-longed times as the coolant heats up and expands some of it gets dumped - overflows. And basically most Caymans after few hunder half miles will show no coolant when checked via the Min-Max marks. All of tehm will need approximately .75 liter - 20 oz I think.

He recommends to either take engine cover off to check or wait for the low coolant light to lit up before any action is taken...

But basically, he feels that if you go by the min - max thing you will continually add coolant and car will continually dump it.
 

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I had this happen to my engine. A very slow leak on the left cylender head. Caught it at a DE inspection. The car only used about 10 oz to fill it up.
 

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I had this happen to my engine. A very slow leak on the left cylender head. Caught it at a DE inspection. The car only used about 10 oz to fill it up.
You know, I'm started to doubt the wisdom of buying a Cayman for ANY track use. I just spent an awful lot of money preparing my car and this thread and another one about all those guys who've had engine failures, even our founder, Ken. It's kind of ridiculous for a sports car like this that is obviously supposed to be optimized for turning corners very hard can't handle a few track days.

Sounds like, even with the extensive mods I've done, I still may have trouble. Leaking head gaskets? Blown con rods? Oil starvation even with MVOS and extended sump? I think I'm gonna be sick.
 
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