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Well... It finally happened. what a mess


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So I'm talking to a local Porsche mechanic this afternoon discussing the merits of being proactive with the replacement of the coolant pipes. We decided to get back together tomorrow and see what kind of money I'd be looking at and whether or not my "extended" warranty would cover them should they fail. So tonight I decide to drive about 45 minutes away to take a fuel pump to a friend of mine who's old Toyota van needs replaced and has left him stranded. So I'm cruising at highway speed, just humming along, when all of a sudden WHAMMO! I get a "CHECK COOLENT LEVEL" warning. I immediately pull over and of course I smell coolant and see vapor/smoke billowing out of the car. The engine temp has always stayed around 180 or so never got past 1/2 way which is around 200 degrees. I called for a tow and luckily my extended warranty covered the tow about 30 miles back to the house. So.... now here I am.

I really don't think my POS extended warranty will cover it since "cooling" is not part of the 3 star coverage. naturally if they had sold me the 3 star plus... the cooling system would have been covered. So this is what I need help deciding. I really don't have the extra cash to pay for someone else to do the repair (unless it's too big a job to DIY) should I even contemplate doing it myself? I know there are some "how to's" on this forum but I'm not sure how comfortable I am going that route. What kind of cost could I expect from a dealership even if I get a "good deal"? what about an independent guy? I guess the other question is If the independent guy will do the work, where can I get ALL THE PARTS I NEED (for the best price I can find) and then pay them for the labor? does anyone have a "parts list" for this repair?

Please help!!!! I really love this car and I knew after reading the forum for a while, that this repair was probably inevitable. I guess I'm glad that it happened close to home. I was somewhat reluctant to take it on a "long" trip until I was able to fix this problem.

is there anything else I should replace while we're in there since it just rolled 61k... coils?

any help or direction is very very much appreciated.... BTW I'm just north of Dallas so if anyone can steer me to a good independent guy or dealership that would be great. I only know of Boardwalk and Park Place Porsche and I imagine they would be pretty expensive.

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First thing I'd do is take a deep breath. CHECK COOLANT LEVEL simply means that the expansion tank level is below threshold. If the water temp didn't go critical, then the engine didn't overheat and you're fine. Things'll just smell like maple syrup for a spell. :) I'm no expert on Cayennes, but I'm no stranger to coolant leaks so here goes.

Tell us what model Cayenne you drive, and where in the engine compartment the steam and coolant are coming from. I have a hunch that while you were thinking about being proactive with your cooling system, you may have opened the expansion tank cap to have a look at some point. Am I right? If the steam and fluid billowing out of your car came from the tank then it's very possible that either the cap is bad or its seal isn't seated properly. The caps are prone to fail, and you'd be amazed at what a terrible show they can make when they do.

I'd fill your expansion tank back to the specified level if it isn't. Check the cap you have: examine the black ring seal for damage and the threads for debris, then seat it properly and let the car run until it warms up to operating coolant temperature. Keep the engine compartment open and go have a look. Is there steam rising from the cap? Condensation? Is coolant pouring from anywhere near the top? All of these are probable signs that either the cap or expansion tank are bad. If there's nothing amiss then re-seating the cap has solved your problem. If not, start with a new cap, then new expansion tank. Both are relatively cheap.

If coolant is coming from elsewhere it could be your water pump, or the coolant pipes that others here have had issues with. If money is an issue it makes plenty of sense to do it yourself; the worst you'll need are a few tools and some patience. Give a yell here and someone near you might pitch in for a beer or two.

Mark

Edited by number9ine
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It's an 04 Cayenne S with 61k miles. I was just talking on the phone with the guy because of things I have read over and over here. I wish I could say that I messed with the cap to check the level but I hadn't touched it. the Temp never went above the 1/2 mark and the time between the warning and pulling over was no more than a couple of minutes and a mile or two at most. the tempeture had just started to rise by the time I reached somewhere to pull over. the smoke billowing looked like what's been described when there's a crack in the infamous "coolant pipes" I hope no damage was done to the engine as it starts up and "sounds" normal but I turned it off immediately

First thing I'd do is take a deep breath. CHECK COOLANT LEVEL simply means that the expansion tank level is below threshold. If the water temp didn't go critical, then the engine didn't overheat and you're fine. Things'll just smell like maple syrup for a spell. :) I'm no expert on Cayennes, but I'm no stranger to coolant leaks so here goes.

Tell us what model Cayenne you drive, and where in the engine compartment the steam and coolant are coming from. I have a hunch that while you were thinking about being proactive with your cooling system, you may have opened the expansion tank cap to have a look at some point. Am I right? If the steam and fluid billowing out of your car came from the tank then it's very possible that either the cap is bad or its seal isn't seated properly. The caps are prone to fail, and you'd be amazed at what a terrible show they can make when they do.

I'd fill your expansion tank back to the specified level if it isn't. Check the cap you have: examine the black ring seal for damage and the threads for debris, then seat it properly and let the car run until it warms up to operating coolant temperature. Keep the engine compartment open and go have a look. Is there steam rising from the cap? Condensation? Is coolant pouring from anywhere near the top? All of these are probable signs that either the cap or expansion tank are bad. If there's nothing amiss then re-seating the cap has solved your problem. If not, start with a new cap, then new expansion tank. Both are relatively cheap.

If coolant is coming from elsewhere it could be your water pump, or the coolant pipes that others here have had issues with. If money is an issue it makes plenty of sense to do it yourself; the worst you'll need are a few tools and some patience. Give a yell here and someone near you might pitch in for a beer or two.

Mark

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btw just went out and looked at the coolant level. It looks like it all leaked out. bone dry. can't see anything inside the reservoir. since I pulled over and shut off the car pretty fast ( just a couple of minutes after warning light) please tell me that my engine is probably fine.... and i just need to replace the cracked coolant pipes ( assuming that's what it is) Does anyone have some suggestions on isolating the problem? i guess in the am I'll fill it up the coolant, start the car and see if I can tell where the leak is coming from. any problems doing that? other suggestions?

It's an 04 Cayenne S with 61k miles. I was just talking on the phone with the guy because of things I have read over and over here. I wish I could say that I messed with the cap to check the level but I hadn't touched it. the Temp never went above the 1/2 mark and the time between the warning and pulling over was no more than a couple of minutes and a mile or two at most. the tempeture had just started to rise by the time I reached somewhere to pull over. the smoke billowing looked like what's been described when there's a crack in the infamous "coolant pipes" I hope no damage was done to the engine as it starts up and "sounds" normal but I turned it off immediately

First thing I'd do is take a deep breath. CHECK COOLANT LEVEL simply means that the expansion tank level is below threshold. If the water temp didn't go critical, then the engine didn't overheat and you're fine. Things'll just smell like maple syrup for a spell. :) I'm no expert on Cayennes, but I'm no stranger to coolant leaks so here goes.

Tell us what model Cayenne you drive, and where in the engine compartment the steam and coolant are coming from. I have a hunch that while you were thinking about being proactive with your cooling system, you may have opened the expansion tank cap to have a look at some point. Am I right? If the steam and fluid billowing out of your car came from the tank then it's very possible that either the cap is bad or its seal isn't seated properly. The caps are prone to fail, and you'd be amazed at what a terrible show they can make when they do.

I'd fill your expansion tank back to the specified level if it isn't. Check the cap you have: examine the black ring seal for damage and the threads for debris, then seat it properly and let the car run until it warms up to operating coolant temperature. Keep the engine compartment open and go have a look. Is there steam rising from the cap? Condensation? Is coolant pouring from anywhere near the top? All of these are probable signs that either the cap or expansion tank are bad. If there's nothing amiss then re-seating the cap has solved your problem. If not, start with a new cap, then new expansion tank. Both are relatively cheap.

If coolant is coming from elsewhere it could be your water pump, or the coolant pipes that others here have had issues with. If money is an issue it makes plenty of sense to do it yourself; the worst you'll need are a few tools and some patience. Give a yell here and someone near you might pitch in for a beer or two.

Mark

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there is a diy on rennlist, at the top of the Cayenne page, a porsche tech took lots of photos, you might want to take a look. it cost me 850 to get it done at the dealer but mine is quite cheap by all accounts.

My platinum warranty did not cover it as its classed as hoses

btw just went out and looked at the coolant level. It looks like it all leaked out. bone dry. can't see anything inside the reservoir. since I pulled over and shut off the car pretty fast ( just a couple of minutes after warning light) please tell me that my engine is probably fine.... and i just need to replace the cracked coolant pipes ( assuming that's what it is) Does anyone have some suggestions on isolating the problem? i guess in the am I'll fill it up the coolant, start the car and see if I can tell where the leak is coming from. any problems doing that? other suggestions?

It's an 04 Cayenne S with 61k miles. I was just talking on the phone with the guy because of things I have read over and over here. I wish I could say that I messed with the cap to check the level but I hadn't touched it. the Temp never went above the 1/2 mark and the time between the warning and pulling over was no more than a couple of minutes and a mile or two at most. the tempeture had just started to rise by the time I reached somewhere to pull over. the smoke billowing looked like what's been described when there's a crack in the infamous "coolant pipes" I hope no damage was done to the engine as it starts up and "sounds" normal but I turned it off immediately

First thing I'd do is take a deep breath. CHECK COOLANT LEVEL simply means that the expansion tank level is below threshold. If the water temp didn't go critical, then the engine didn't overheat and you're fine. Things'll just smell like maple syrup for a spell. :) I'm no expert on Cayennes, but I'm no stranger to coolant leaks so here goes.

Tell us what model Cayenne you drive, and where in the engine compartment the steam and coolant are coming from. I have a hunch that while you were thinking about being proactive with your cooling system, you may have opened the expansion tank cap to have a look at some point. Am I right? If the steam and fluid billowing out of your car came from the tank then it's very possible that either the cap is bad or its seal isn't seated properly. The caps are prone to fail, and you'd be amazed at what a terrible show they can make when they do.

I'd fill your expansion tank back to the specified level if it isn't. Check the cap you have: examine the black ring seal for damage and the threads for debris, then seat it properly and let the car run until it warms up to operating coolant temperature. Keep the engine compartment open and go have a look. Is there steam rising from the cap? Condensation? Is coolant pouring from anywhere near the top? All of these are probable signs that either the cap or expansion tank are bad. If there's nothing amiss then re-seating the cap has solved your problem. If not, start with a new cap, then new expansion tank. Both are relatively cheap.

If coolant is coming from elsewhere it could be your water pump, or the coolant pipes that others here have had issues with. If money is an issue it makes plenty of sense to do it yourself; the worst you'll need are a few tools and some patience. Give a yell here and someone near you might pitch in for a beer or two.

Mark

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Well hopefully this will have a happy(non-expensive) ending. I spoke with the small auto group that sold me my cayenne and told him about the problem i had. I them proceeded to explain to him my disappointment with the 'warranty" I was sold along with the car. During the buying process I made it VERY clear to the F&I guy that whatever warranty I bought must be thorough and cover the "most likely" problems that occur with the year and model. A quick glance at the TSB's would have quickly directed them to the appropriate coverage required. So after explaining to him my concerns... like the fact that I've made 1 payment and put less than 2400 miles since purchase, and the FIRST problem I have is not only expensive but EXTREMELY common and not covered with the warranty I was sold. He then told me that at purchase time in HIS conversations with the warranty underwriter he made it clear to them that it had to cover likely problems. He seemed genuinely concerned and a little pissed that "his guy" did not get the right warranty contract for the car. so now I wait..... BUT it does seem like they know a "mistake' was made and are going to try and work with me. Now the question of course is what are they willing to do about it. My suggestion was for me to pay the difference and "upgrade" my warranty to the 3 star plus which covers just about everything that might go wrong with the car

wish me luck

Check suncoast they have the aluminum tubes for $530.00 hope that helps. http://www.e-partssales.com/miva/merchant...._Code=955ttmain
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  • 4 weeks later...

Wow...a "platinum" policy does not cover the piping? Is there a platinum plus policy? Or maybe there is a triple platinum policy? This is getting rather ridiculous especially because particular coverage was requested per customer above. One of the things to think about or a point or argument with these warranty vendors is in asking them to state the maintenance schedule for the plastic pipes or at least sight a factory document that calls for an inspection and procedure for inspection (shame on all of us if there is a coolant pipe inspection procedure).

If the manufacturer "intended" the plastic to withstand the life of the engine by the lack of inspection procedure, then the most basic aftermarket policy should cover replacement. I might buy the "consumables" position if there are o-rings attached to the plastic pipes that are leaking but not the pipes themselves.

Shame on the manufacturer for not comping some of the cost or all of it together

Shame on the aftermarket policy/warranty companies for wiggling out of this as the piping should not be considered a consumable item

I really HOPE the aluminum pieces are the end all be all! Any competent shop should be able to replace the pipes and save you a bundle. I've seen the procedure and it does not seem to be a huge challenge if you know your way around an engine bay.

Please let us know how things turn out!

Edited by fredjchavez
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Never mind the warranty:

The leak is going to be from either a Hose, Joint or Core OPlug, assuming the radiator isn't holed...

Now parts wise, these things are cheap, but finding and fitting could be a bit more serious!

As you reckoned, fill the system with water (Free) and run it, watching for the leak.

Once found, fix whatever is faulty. If you can't handle it, take it to a garage.... :D

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