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Old 05-27-2019, 09:15 AM   #1
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Adding a coolant recovery tank/bottle

My MD2030 does not have a coolant recovery tank. There is an overflow hose that runs to the bilge; the radiator cap appears to be a standard cap rated for 13 psi. I would like add a tank, so I can more easily monitor my coolant level. Volvo Penta sells a setup that includes a tank, modified cap with hose nipples, and clamps (see pics). Unfortunately, the package costs over $300 (minus the electronic monitoring system)!

Is there an alternative product I can use? I am a little confused regarding how this set-up works. I assume there must be a pressure release valve in this modified cap. If not, how does it maintain pressure to avoid boiling?

Thank you for your help!
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Old 05-27-2019, 09:55 AM   #2
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A coolant recovery tank costs about $15 at Napa Auto parts or similar. The only issue is how do you get a hose to it from the pressure cap neck? I'm quite sure that Volvo sold MD2030 engines with this feature, might be worth checking the parts book to see what has to be swapped to get the neck with the hose barb.
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Old 05-27-2019, 10:02 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDW View Post
A coolant recovery tank costs about $15 at Napa Auto parts or similar. The only issue is how do you get a hose to it from the pressure cap neck? I'm quite sure that Volvo sold MD2030 engines with this feature, might be worth checking the parts book to see what has to be swapped to get the neck with the hose barb.

Thanks, DDW. I had contemplated running the existing overflow hose on the neck to to a plastic tank (it currently runs to the bilge) but wouldn't this just be one-way (i.e., only collects coolant that overflows)? This Volvo Penta coolant overflow set-up has a modified cap that doesn't appear to have a pressure valve.
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Old 05-27-2019, 10:12 AM   #4
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Greetings,
Mr. VT. On a previous Lehman we owned I did just that and yes, it WAS one way but it allowed me to monitor how much coolant was spewed out with a quick glance. Every so often, I would simply empty the remote tank back into the coolant reservoir. Not a big deal to do during the morning ER checks. At that time I was unaware of the coolant recovery tank available from AD for the Lehmans.
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Old 05-27-2019, 11:35 AM   #5
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My Detroits had a coolant overflow line that drained to the bilge as you've described, dribbling on the engines and everything else as it went, peeling paint, causing corrosion, etc. I bought heavy duty overflow tanks that connect to the overflow hose at the bottom of the tank. If the 'cold' line on the overflow tank is installed approximately at the same level as the top of the engine's coolant tank, then expansion from the coolant tank will flow into the overflow tank when hot and then drain back into the engine's coolant tank when cold. It works very well.
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Old 05-27-2019, 01:32 PM   #6
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While the overflow tank is the big visible change , the key is the recovery thermostat is different from the old standard units.

It is the thermostat that allows the suction from cooling , shrinking coolant to pull the overflow back into the engine.

Slowly as the system operates entrained air in the engine coolant fluid becomes more effective , radiators are about 25% smaller on cars with the system.
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Old 05-27-2019, 02:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Thanks, DDW. I had contemplated running the existing overflow hose on the neck to to a plastic tank (it currently runs to the bilge) but wouldn't this just be one-way (i.e., only collects coolant that overflows)? This Volvo Penta coolant overflow set-up has a modified cap that doesn't appear to have a pressure valve.
Any standard cap has that feature, provided the neck is a standard neck. The pressure cap seals on the surface inside the neck, under the overflow connection. If the pressure releases, it goes past that seal. There is a second seal at the top of the neck, which forces the overflow coolant down the hose. When the engine cools again, the vacuum created draws the coolant back the same route. This is the normal way pretty much every engine works. Certainly my small Volvo works that way.

The coolant overflow tank must either have the fitting at the bottom, or if at the top connected to a tube to the bottom, so that it sucks back coolant, not air. Again standard.
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Old 05-28-2019, 06:07 AM   #8
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I appreciate the response--they are most helpful. I will go the "non Volvo Penta $300" route and purchase a simple recovery bottle, but I will first check to see whether my existing cap is a recovery or non-recovery type. I am thinking it is the latter. I didn't realize there was a difference! I found this site helpful with explaining the difference between the two: https://www.allpar.com/fix/engines/cooling-caps.html
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Old 05-28-2019, 06:48 AM   #9
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After wrecking and rebuilding my dodge spirit multiple times in college, I didn't bother buying a new coolant recover tank for it. Instead I put a longer piece of hose coming off the nipple at the radiator neck and ran it to an empty 2 liter soda bottle wedged behind the headlight. Worked just fine.
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Old 05-28-2019, 09:20 AM   #10
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Just buy the kit engineered for your engine and forget it. Many times we obsess over the cost and spend far too much time worrying about it. Get the part number and shop around dealers for the best price, don’t forget truck and agricultural sellers. You might find nos or used.
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Old 05-28-2019, 04:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
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After wrecking and rebuilding my dodge spirit multiple times in college, I didn't bother buying a new coolant recover tank for it. Instead I put a longer piece of hose coming off the nipple at the radiator neck and ran it to an empty 2 liter soda bottle wedged behind the headlight. Worked just fine.
SNAP

That's the exact setup I used on the genset.
The main engine got the empty 5 litre coolant bottle upgrade.
Been working trouble free for 3 years now.
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Old 05-28-2019, 06:51 PM   #12
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Dont forget to mark the hot and cold level.
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Old 05-28-2019, 08:01 PM   #13
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Just a point of clarification:

A couple of posts to this thread mentioned the thermostat and how it was somehow involved in the overflow process.

My understanding is this - the thermostats role is to regulate engine temp_ when the engine is cold, the thermostat restrict the circulation of water around the engine to help it warm up quicker. As the engine/coolant heats up, the thermostat slowly opens till eventually it is fully open and allows full circulation ie engine is at its operating temp.
An overflow is caused by the coolant expanding (because it is hot) and it gets to the stage where there is too much coolant in the system - something has to give and it either pushes past the radiator cap seal and flows into the "coke bottle" or is pushed into an overflow bottle to be sucked back into the engine when the coolant cools(and contracts) via the double seal overflow coolant cap.
BTW radiators and or coolant systems without an overflow tank should have an air gap at the top of the header tank to allow for this expansion.. An overflow header tank should be filled to the top.

Here endeth the lesson
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Old 05-28-2019, 08:22 PM   #14
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FWIW, two CAT experts advised me not to check the coolant level by looking at the recovery bottle. Both said open the radiator cap and be sure the tank is full. YMMV.
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Old 05-28-2019, 08:53 PM   #15
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Just a point of clarification:

A couple of posts to this thread mentioned the thermostat and how it was somehow involved in the overflow process.

My understanding is this - the thermostats role is to regulate engine temp_ when the engine is cold, the thermostat restrict the circulation of water around the engine to help it warm up quicker. As the engine/coolant heats up, the thermostat slowly opens till eventually it is fully open and allows full circulation ie engine is at its operating temp.
An overflow is caused by the coolant expanding (because it is hot) and it gets to the stage where there is too much coolant in the system - something has to give and it either pushes past the radiator cap seal and flows into the "coke bottle" or is pushed into an overflow bottle to be sucked back into the engine when the coolant cools(and contracts) via the double seal overflow coolant cap.
BTW radiators and or coolant systems without an overflow tank should have an air gap at the top of the header tank to allow for this expansion.. An overflow header tank should be filled to the top.

Here endeth the lesson
As long as your hose reaches the bottom of the coke bottle or any old jug the engine will suck the coolant right back in when it cools back off, there is nothing magical about the overflow bottle. If there is any little crack or loose connection in the overflow hose, the vacuum will break and the engine won't be able to suck the coolant back in, this is why you need to open the cap and look in the heat exchanger to verify it is full when cold.

Many newer cars have a completely sealed cooling system which uses an expansion tank with a sealed lid versus an overflow tank open to atmospheric pressure, they tend to be harder to bleed the excess air out of.
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Old 05-28-2019, 09:10 PM   #16
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I don’t have a surge tank.
I use a Murphy Switch .. brand.
It’s plumbed into my exhaust manifold coolant chamber. It’s a heavy duty float switch. If the coolant level goes down a warning buzzer goes off. The buzzer only went off once for us but probably saved our butts. We had just pulled anchor in Treadwell Bay and had turned down Slingsby Channel when the buzzer went off. Went back and re-anchored. After a time I found the coolant leak. It was a cracked 3/4” bronze short nipple. Took out the nipple and subed two NPT to hose barb fittings and a very short hose `that I’m glad we had. So in about 15 minutes we were running 100%.

W/O the surge tank there is a bit of air in the top of the coolant jacket in the exhaust manifold. The air must act like a spring when the coolant expands. Since I have no aluminum in the system there is no corrosion (that I have seen) so I intend to stay w what I’ve got.

You can see in the picture there's an inlet and outlet hose from the manifold (lower hose). As the coolant rises in the manifold it rises in the orange and white Murphy Switch. One can see the coolant level through the clear window in the side of the Murphy Switch.
Note: It's not an Isuzu but a Mitsubishi engine.
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Old 05-29-2019, 06:00 AM   #17
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Just a point of clarification:

A couple of posts to this thread mentioned the thermostat and how it was somehow involved in the overflow process.

My understanding is this -
Here endeth the lesson
I think you nailed the basic understanding. +1
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Old 05-29-2019, 06:08 AM   #18
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I don’t have a surge tank.
I use a Murphy Switch .. brand.
It’s plumbed into my exhaust manifold coolant chamber. It’s a heavy duty float switch. If the coolant level goes down a warning buzzer goes off.

.
Hmmm, do you have the URL please?
So many buzzer.....
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Old 05-29-2019, 07:38 AM   #19
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"A couple of posts to this thread mentioned the thermostat and how it was somehow involved in the overflow process."

OOOPS ! MY Bad!! In post # 6 i wrote thermostat , instead if coolant recovery pressure cap.. Brain Fart !

Folks with enough room above the engine can simply install a tank with a hose from the bottom of the tank. This will keep the system air free and full of coolant at all times. A clear tank would make a system check a glance.
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Old 05-29-2019, 07:50 AM   #20
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Not sure why this particular engine needs all that crap for a recovery bottle. To the OP: can you post a pic of pressure cap housing with cap off? Is there a port connected to the side of the housing?
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