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  1. #1
    Light Load Member RogueX's Avatar
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    Please help with antifreeze in oil...

    I have a simple question to ask, can anyone answer it for sure? I have asked a few mechanics and called a few dealers and gotten equal opposite responses....here it is...

    Can the EGR cooler on a Volvo VED12 engine allow antifreeze to leak into the engine oil?

    My most recent oil analysis at Speedco showed a "severe" amount of sodium and an "abnormal" amount of potassium in the oil. According to them, this means antifreeze is contaminating my oil.



    A little history on the truck, 2007 Volvo 780, former Interstate Dist. Co. truck, bought in october 2011, 593,000 miles, now has 684,000. In that time I have had an overhead done, replaced the water pump, crankcase pressure sensor, alternator, #1 EGR valve, wiper motor, tires, alignment, and finally today I took it in for a antifreeze leak near my EGR valve and got to spend $2800 replacing the EGR cooler...(yes, a used Volvo, Im so ##### glad I bought one! ) So, is it possible the EGR cooler is what was leaking antifreeze into my oil as Speedco and the Volvo dealer in Indy suggested? Or is it like a few others stated and that the leaking coolant could only blow out the exhaust?

    Whatever the answer is, please tell me how it can happen, or why it cannot happen, Thank you very very much.


    PS, if it is definitely not the EGR cooler, what are the other possible causes of the coolant contamination or high sodium level?

  2. #2
    Crusty old ###### Cranky Yankee's Avatar
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    not familiar with many truck engines had 5 volvo marine 70 series engines
    anytime i had contamination it was an oil cooler or a head gasket

  3. #3
    Papa Murphy joseph1135's Avatar
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    Take it to a shop immediately, preferably the dealer. You have a big problem and you do not want to have it go out on you on the road. That will be extremely expensive, especially if you have to replace an engine.

  4. #4
    Light Load Member larry2903's Avatar
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    EGR is exhaust gas recirculation. So yes a leaking egr cooler can contaminate your oil with antifreeze.When an EGR cooler is leaking it is releasing antifreeze into the exhaust flow recirculating back thru the engine, that is how antifreeze is showing up in your oil analysis.

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  6. #5
    "Old Fart" Big Don's Avatar
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    I'm not a mechanic, (but I once knew one. . .), anyway, I'm wondering if it could be a cracked engine block?

  7. #6
    Light Load Member RogueX's Avatar
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    I should specify that the amount of coolant I was losing is minimal. Less than a quart per week, some if not most was leaking out near the front egr valve, dripping down onto the turbo. If that makes a difference. Also, I have been checking my dipstick and never seen any milk or evidence of an abundance of coolant. Nor do I use any oil really. I do my pm's every 20k, and have never had to add more than a half gallon to keep it full. If the block or head was cracked, wouldn't I be burning or leaking more oil?
    Last edited by RogueX; 07.09.2012 at 10.21 PM.

  8. #7
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    The EGR valve or cooler malfunction can cause the antifreeze to get into your oil.

  9. #8
    Light Load Member larry2903's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RogueX View Post
    I should specify that the amount of coolant I was losing is minimal. Less than a quart per week, some if not most was leaking out near the front egr valve, dripping down onto the turbo. If that makes a difference. Also, I have been checking my dipstick and never seen any milk or evidence of an abundance of coolant. Nor do I use any oil really. I do my pm's every 20k, and have never had to add more than a half gallon to keep it full. If the block or head was cracked, wouldn't I be burning or leaking more oil?
    Yes. I dont think you have a blown head gasket or cracked block, I would agree with the Volvo dealer, bad egr cooler.

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  11. #9
    Road Train Member chalupa's Avatar
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    My 2 cents....... don't know Volvo but do know this......the antifreeze in the oil at any level of ppm will destroy you mains and rods. ( bearings ) You are definitely shortening the life of the bottom end with continued operation be it a quart a week or a gallon an hour. No amount is acceptable. The oil is not near hot enough to boil off the antifreeze mix entering it therefore it will collect and the numbers will rise accelerating the process.

    20k oil changes are way to high IMO. My data is old and the test results are from the 90's however the line in the sand was 12k . It didn't matter who's oil or who's filter in any combination. The metal content in the oil per the spectrograph went through the celling at 12k miles.

    JMO

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  13. #10
    Light Load Member RogueX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chalupa View Post
    My 2 cents....... don't know Volvo but do know this......the antifreeze in the oil at any level of ppm will destroy you mains and rods. ( bearings ) You are definitely shortening the life of the bottom end with continued operation be it a quart a week or a gallon an hour. No amount is acceptable. The oil is not near hot enough to boil off the antifreeze mix entering it therefore it will collect and the numbers will rise accelerating the process.

    20k oil changes are way to high IMO. My data is old and the test results are from the 90's however the line in the sand was 12k . It didn't matter who's oil or who's filter in any combination. The metal content in the oil per the spectrograph went through the celling at 12k miles.

    JMO
    According to Volvo, based on my usage the recommended service interval is 25k. So I figured 20k was adequate. I do a dedicated run from Indy to Laredo TX and back once a week. All interstate, between 55-65 mph. I'm no lead foot super trucker. The pm showing the high level in my oil was done yesterday and the Egr cooler was replaced today, so hopefully I have not done much damage. Though I was going through small amounts of coolant for several weeks prior to this, I thought it was just due to the external leak I could see until having the oil analysis done. But, as I said, hopefully it is fixed now. Thanks for your input.

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