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Cold weather creates engine pudding!

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  • Cold weather creates engine pudding!

    So, a couple of frigid winters in Indiana have resulted in very strange behavior from my engine compartment. I need to know how to resolve these issues before my engine fails due to neglect.

    First Problem:
    When checking my dipstick, the first 5-6 inches down the shaft past the seal has become heavily built up with rust (!) Even cleaning it down to good metal and wiping it with oil doesn't guarantee I won't find the same rust buildup at my next weekly oil check. Is this heavy condensation within the block from radical temperature change? (All day outside while at work, all night in the garage while at home.)

    Second Problem:
    When removing the oil cap from above to refill, the cap, valve cover neck and inner lip are coated in a water-beaded goo with the color and consistency of vanilla pudding (!!) Again, is this the result of engine oil and condensation fighting for dominance?

    This can't be good for my engine. Will this problem be solved with better seals at the stick and oil cap, or is there a type of chemical compound I can use to "winterize" my block?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Always British Racing Green

  • #2
    Provided you don't have another issue (leaking head gasket, for instance), getting the engine up to a good operating tempearature and running it long enough should solve those problems. Start with an oil change and go to a lighter oil for the coldest weather.
    The more I know about Minis, the more I know I don't know about Minis.


    • #3
      I'm game to replace the head gasket, and I've got a new rubber gasket for the rocker cover. I'll just have to drive it a bit more in the snow after work. (Wheee!)

      I'm guessing Castrol 10w30 should be light enough?

      Also, is there such a thing as a gasket for the oil cap? Paper or rubber bands, maybe? I've got the stock type, complete with raised lettering of different oil brands, but it doesn't fit very snug, and running the Mini hard tends to result in oil blown onto the valve cover.
      Always British Racing Green


      • #4
        that cap should have a rubber seal. Dont change the head gasket unless you have too.(that is the one UNDER the head between it and the block). New valve cover gasket will help with oil leaks. But will not help with engine condisation. As Chuck said....get the engine up to temp. You may need a different thurmostate or a winter frunt for the grill (like the big trucks) is you can't get the engine hot enough.
        "remember, in this country, they drive on the wrong side of the road"
        ‘64 Austin Countryman-???
        '60's Austin mini truck - the chicken truck
        '60 Morris Van - Marvan
        '55 Chevy wagon- the heavy Chevy


        • #5
          Yah, I figured changing the head gasket was a bit much, but it's almost the only thing left I haven't replaced on this engine yet!

          Maybe I could get creative on that grille dam concept. Wasn't there a Mini cartoon character called "Snorty" that had a grille shaped like a set of teeth from Wallace & Gromit? (I think the cartoonist even did the same to his own Mini, come to think of it...)

          Plastic sheet cut to fit and fastened down with zipties? Probably better from behind for esthetics.
          Always British Racing Green


          • #6
            Hi Toby, et al, on the white foamy condensation residue, Mayonaise, the water cooled VW's are also very prone to this. So, I've dealt with it before, alot. Some possible tips ( poss repeated from above discussion):

            Definitely get it warm and running at that temp for longer periods if at all possible.

            More frequent oil changes during cold and wet times.

            Consider a seafoam type of engine flush prior to your next oil change.

            Determine whether crankcase breathing is at optimum levels.

            For a while, vw had notes in their manuals about the occurance of mayonaise "especially when the vehicle is run at high rpms in wet weather." They just recommended most of the above possible tips, but went on to discuss the "PCV" related components. ( So, breather stuff on your car Toby. )
            Hope it works out well. Go easy on the seafoam mixed into oil - a little goes a long way.
            Best regards,
            All Together Now..... Everybody.......