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Author Topic: Water in EGR Valve and housing??  (Read 13751 times)
colin4255
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« on: January 30, 2011, 03:23:08 pm »

Today while I had the grille off changing a headlamp bulb, I noticed something wet around the bottom of the metal pipe that goes from the head to the EGR valve housing, so I took it off. Looked like oil, so I got concerned about turbo seals and removed the valve.

It was wet through, bit on closer inspetion, it was not oil, it was WATER. It didn't smell of oil, was far too runny and there were water droplets in the valve??  Anyone got any ideas.  For now I have cleaned it out and put a spare clean valve in there, ( I would have removed the housing, but I just don't have the tools to ge at one of the hosuing bolts). I am loathe to drive it far until I figure this out?

The car  has no water in the oil.  It has no oil in the water (expansion tank anyway does not smell of oil and there are no bubbles I can see when its running). It is not overheating, and the heater etc are all working normally.  I did put a very small amount of water in it about a week ago, but that was the first time I'd realyy checked it and topped it up in six months.  It does not seem to have used any since and the hoses are not going hard and the system does not seem to be pressurising at all.

Is the water pump failing?  How can water get into the valve housing? Its very strange. Any help appreciated before I end up with a huge bill

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roy4matra
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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2011, 10:31:34 am »

Today while I had the grille off changing a headlamp bulb, I noticed something wet around the bottom of the metal pipe that goes from the head to the EGR valve housing, so I took it off. Looked like oil, so I got concerned about turbo seals and removed the valve.

It was wet through, bit on closer inspetion, it was not oil, it was WATER. It didn't smell of oil, was far too runny and there were water droplets in the valve??  Anyone got any ideas...

... How can water get into the valve housing? Its very strange. Any help appreciated before I end up with a huge bill


It depends on the quantity but it could be normal if the engine was cold.  When an engine is running one of the products of the fuel burning is water in the exhaust, but this is normally in the form of a gas - steam.  When it is cooled it turns back to water obviously.  Since the EGR is fed from the exhaust, could this be some of the water in exhaust gas from an engine that was hot and has cooled overnight?

Roy
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colin4255
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2011, 10:54:50 am »

Its possible I suppose, just never seen it before,  but to my mind there was rather too much of it for that.  The EGR valve was soaking wet, the housing was soakinng wet in this kind of black soot - ie mixing the black carbon with water.  I took some pics on my phone and as soon as I get an adapter to allow me to put them on the PC, I will post them here.

The top end of the exhaust gas pipe where it fits into tiop right side of the head was dry, it  was only at the housing end everything was soaked.  Though I have no idea how it got there. 

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colin4255
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2011, 02:09:59 pm »

Car is going to garage tomorrow so they can have a look see and do sniff tests etc. just to make sure we don't have a head gasket leak. 

I did not think there was any way water from the engine could get into this area, but  so I understand how this system actyually works, I realise the pipe coming out of the bottom of the housing goes to the turbo, but where does the  housing go upwards from the EGR valve?   Does it draw air from anywhere?  Could a water leak be finding its way in from the top of the housing?

I can't think of any other reason for that much water being in there?
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colin4255
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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2011, 11:06:56 am »

OK, see if this makes sense.  The intercooler is blocked.  Whats covering my EGR valve is actually a kind of frothy partially condensed oil, which is why is has the consistency  closer to water than oil.

The garage where I took this apparently see this all the time, but more usually, and often much worse in Audi and Ford diesel engined cars. They took one look at it and saie, 'we know exactly whats causing that'

We are going to remove the thing tomorrow and see how bad it is, but Roy, you were right it seems, it is condensation, but made very much worse by the intercooler not working. 

Take a look at the image of the EGR valve I took out. This actually all washed off with warm water and soap (The EGR was cleaned and replaced only a month ago)
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roy4matra
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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2011, 07:26:14 pm »

OK, see if this makes sense.  The intercooler is blocked.  Whats covering my EGR valve is actually a kind of frothy partially condensed oil, which is why is has the consistency  closer to water than oil.

The garage where I took this apparently see this all the time, but more usually, and often much worse in Audi and Ford diesel engined cars. They took one look at it and saie, 'we know exactly whats causing that'

We are going to remove the thing tomorrow and see how bad it is, but Roy, you were right it seems, it is condensation, but made very much worse by the intercooler not working. 

Take a look at the image of the EGR valve I took out. This actually all washed off with warm water and soap (The EGR was cleaned and replaced only a month ago)

That's interesting Colin.  Normally these inter-coolers tend to split and leak, losing pressure.  Since yours was blocked the pressure should have been going higher, but whatever, it seems the water was being compressed out of the atmosphere and giving a higher than normal liquid content.  I can't say I've seen this before on the Espace, but I couldn't think of how else water was getting in there.  Thanks for the feedback.

Roy
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colin4255
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2011, 11:30:37 pm »

I will let you know more when we get the intercooler off. It looks like we have to remove the intercooler, radiator and air con rad all in one and then split them? Its not very clear even from the files in the vault, but the vague instructions suggest they all come off as one unit?

The car is running Ok basically in any case, though I have not driven it very far.  Consensus is the intercooler is at least mostly blocked and everyone seems to think this is the cause of the high levels of condensation (as no other explanation seems to fit so far as water just can't get into the system from anywhereeven  if its leaking). If the intercooler  had split, the car would have little or no turbo boost and would surely run like a bag of nails?

I have reported elsewhere on this forum an on-going issue with the air mass meter and its inability to read airflow and temperature accurately. Renault fitted three of them now under warranty after the first new one failed and cannot figure it out. People have told me a partially blocked intercooler could cause this issue too, so maybe it is indeed the problem?

Interestingly, I dumped that gooed up valve into a jug of brake cleaner last night, let it soak for a while, rinsed it off and despite its appearance in the photo, most of what was left in the fluid was water with only a small amount of black sooty deposit. I'll bet there were three tablespoons of water sat at the bottom of the jug?
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renaultbiler
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« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2011, 09:31:06 pm »

The intercooler can be taken out separately, to prevent draining ac and cooling system - but its not designed to be done like that so you just need to work your way around it. Did this on an Avantime 2.2 dCi last summer, its identical in all ways both intercooler assy and the front of the car.
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colin4255
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« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2011, 10:40:51 pm »

Thanks Renaultbilier, thats intersting to know. The garage who are going to do this are not a renault dealer, so any further info would be quite useful. They tested the intercooler today and it has a very slight leak. Not enough so far to drop the turbo boost pressure very much,  which is why the car stilll seems to run OK, but it would explain the condensation in the EGR housing at least.  I am taking it back in a few days for them to replace the intercooler so if there is a way to do it without draining the a/c and water system, that would obviously save time and the size of my final bill!!

Is there anything specific they should look out for or be careful with?  They are a very good garage, but I sincerely doubt they have ever taken one of these apart before

Thanks
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colin4255
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2011, 08:23:23 pm »

Got the espace back today with its new intercooler fitted. Its like driving a different car! Considerably more power and it pulls way better. Intercooler had split - not very much, but lets see if it cures the condensation issue. 

Had to top it up with water when I got it home. Catch tank was almost empty.  Am, assuming it wasn't bled properly - lets see.  Hope nothing has gotten damaged in the removal of the radiator??

More when I know it.
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colin4255
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« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2011, 10:15:31 pm »

Me again...  It seems that when the garage bled the water system they had the heater turned off. Some checking reveals its likely the heater matrixes had an air lock in them.   Its fine now.  We put about as much extra water in it as 1 and half expansion tanks worth and its not lost any since.  Now interestingly Renaultbillier told me in another post on this forum that my air mass meter issues may be down to a failing intercooler. He was 100% correct. Without even telling me the garage re-connected the AMM when they replaced the intercooler and I have driven about 200 miles with it working perfectly. I should have listened 3 months ago!!! Take note guys... the people on this forum know their stuff.

I will keep you posted, but as a matter of interest we cut open the intercooler and apart from having a small split at one end, it was about 75% blocked solid with crap.  My guess is its not ever been changed in the 9 years the car has been on the road. I have had it 4 years and religiously serviced it, used the best oil, changed my air filters every 7500 miles, and only ever put top quality diesel in it like shell V-power or Total Excellium etc. yet it just goes to show how much crap these things put through the EGR system??

One final point. The garage that did this job were a company called BE Automotive based in Louth, Lincolnshire, UK. They charged me £390 including taxes, £160 of which was the cost of the intercooler which they supplied at cost and showed me their suppliers bill. At the same time, I had them fit a new A/C Compressor I had bought a while back (as mine had a crack in the casting and was losing gas). They fitted a new drive belt and tensioner, re-gassed the air con system, cleaned out the EGR housing and valve and all the Intercooler and turbo pipes - in fact did an outstanding job all for the £390. 

And they had never done this job on an espace before and I am guessing it took them quite a long time to sort out.

I will keep you all posted!
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roy4matra
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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2011, 01:07:19 pm »

Got the espace back today with its new intercooler fitted. Its like driving a different car! Considerably more power and it pulls way better. Intercooler had split - not very much, but lets see if it cures the condensation issue. 

Had to top it up with water when I got it home. Catch tank was almost empty.  Am, assuming it wasn't bled properly - lets see.  Hope nothing has gotten damaged in the removal of the radiator??

More when I know it.


Glad to hear it's now sorted Colin.  The intercooler being split is quite common, and it does not surprise me.  My guess is that drop in coolant level is just an air lock - these are notoriously difficult to bleed as are most modern Renault which is why the dealers were issued with a new vacuum tool (they vacuum the system totally and suck all the coolant in).  Unfortunately other garages won't necessarily have these and some of the dealer mechanics don't even use them!  They do make the job much easier, with no more air locks every time if done properly.  Anyway, just keep an eye on the level for a few journeys.  As long as it remains the same after those, it should be fine.

Roy
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