I think I have a major problem related to my cooling system and need advice! Since I think I am in trouble, I am posting this to both the BCM and Eagle International boards. I know both boards have members with great technical knowledge.
Ever since I got the bus running with the Series 60 (over 50K miles ago), I have had to add coolant to the surge tank at about 1500-2000 miles. Usually had to add about 1 gallon. I assumed I had a small leak somewhere. On my last trip I installed a temporary catch bottle on the hose coming from the surge tank pressure valve. It filled up in a few hundred miles (1 quart).
I had been wanting to convert the Eagle system to from the over-center locking cap with the remote pressure valve to a typical automotive radiator cap. I blocked off the pressure valve opening and adapted an after market radiator filler. I installed a 7 pound cap and a temporary 1 gallon catch bottle.
On our trip today, I checked early for leaks and then sat back to enjoy the trip. Less than 100 miles into the trip, the check and stop engine lights came on. Turned out to be low coolant level. I checked the catch bottle and it was nearly full. To make matters worse, I had only filled the surge tank about ¾ full, so expansion was not an issue – besides the surge tank had emptied itself regardless of the amount of fluid in the tank.
To make matters worse, the antifreeze was gray in color. That can't be good
. Tonight I drained a bit of antifreeze from the bottom of the radiator and it was gray as well.
I have no other signs of problems. Engine runs cool, no water in the oil, power seems reasonable.
My guess is that I have a bad head gasket. What do you folks think?
Is this a show-stopper? I can nurse the situation by emptying the catch bottle back in the tank, but I wonder what the bad antifreeze will do to the engine.
I think the situation is worst today because of the 7 pound cap. I suspect that pressure valve had a higher pressure release. I don't want to put a higher pressure cap on the system unless you folks think that is the thing to do. However, that will only mask the problem.
I should add that after the first event, I checked the bottle quite often. I would go for quite a ways with no significant filling. Then after some long pulls in the Wyoming hills on I-25, it would all of a sudden be pretty full. I pulled into Douglas tonight and the bottle had very little in it (refilled about a bit less than 100 miles ago.
I welcome any thoughts!!