Lotus Elise SC: Anyone Changed the Thermostat? - Page 2 - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #21 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-24-2017, 02:18 PM
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A leak below the water line will drip, but a leak above the water line will cause the system not to pressurize and can cause localized boiling so you won't see the leak.
This term water line has been repeated by others in this thread, but I’ve never heard of it in this context. The pressurized portion of a properly operating automotive cooling system is completely filled with coolant - always, whether the vehicle is running at operating temperature and 15 psi or it is sitting stone cold at -40° F. There are no areas with air in them where a “water line” could form. Can you explain what you mean by water line?

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post #22 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-24-2017, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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This term water line has been repeated by others in this thread, but I’ve never heard of it in this context. The pressurized portion of a properly operating automotive cooling system is completely filled with coolant - always, whether the vehicle is running at operating temperature and 15 psi or it is sitting stone cold at -40° F. There are no areas with air in them where a “water line” could form. Can you explain what you mean by water line?

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I'm not 100% certain....but I think Roundabout is talking about the way Lotus' reservoir tank is set up. There are a myriad of hoses coming out of the tank and the tank, as far as I can tell, isn't entirely pressurized (it is compartmentalized from what I can tell). It has an "overflow" outlet on the front side of the tank as well. If I'm understanding him correctly, what he's saying is that you can have a pin hole (or larger) leak in that tank or in the associated hoses above the tank.....which would mean the system can't build the appropriate pressure to keep from overheating. In my case, (provided I'm understanding correctly...which is a big IF, LOL) that would explain why the temp is climbing in spite of the fact that I'm not losing coolant.

Just guessing though....I sent him a PM to see if he wouldn't mind elaborating.
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post #23 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-24-2017, 08:31 PM
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This term water line has been repeated by others in this thread, but I’ve never heard of it in this context. The pressurized portion of a properly operating automotive cooling system is completely filled with coolant - always, whether the vehicle is running at operating temperature and 15 psi or it is sitting stone cold at -40° F. There are no areas with air in them where a “water line” could form. Can you explain what you mean by water line?

Glen
I'm talking about the portions of the cooling system that experience drain-back when the engine is off and the system is cold. If you then pressure-test the system cold, leaks in these above the water level areas will be difficult to find because coolant will not readily leak out of them.

When the cooling system warms up, some areas of the system will be pressurized and some that have leaks will not be pressurized enough, resulting in localized boiling and steam exiting the holes.

In this case, there is no coolant loss, all of this seems moot.
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post #24 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-25-2017, 05:46 AM
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I'm talking about the portions of the cooling system that experience drain-back when the engine is off and the system is cold.
Are you talking about a pressurized cooling system with a leak? Then yes, air (or exhaust) could be introduced into the system through the same defect from which coolant escaped. Otherwise, there is no drainback.

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post #25 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-25-2017, 09:35 AM
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I'm not 100% certain....but I think Roundabout is talking about the way Lotus' reservoir tank is set up. There are a myriad of hoses coming out of the tank and the tank, as far as I can tell, isn't entirely pressurized (it is compartmentalized from what I can tell). It has an "overflow" outlet on the front side of the tank as well. If I'm understanding him correctly, what he's saying is that you can have a pin hole (or larger) leak in that tank or in the associated hoses above the tank.....which would mean the system can't build the appropriate pressure to keep from overheating. In my case, (provided I'm understanding correctly...which is a big IF, LOL) that would explain why the temp is climbing in spite of the fact that I'm not losing coolant.

Just guessing though....I sent him a PM to see if he wouldn't mind elaborating.
This whole bit reminded me of the "What Gus is saying" scene from the movie The Right Stuff.

With no coolant loss, I'm wondering now if you might have trapped air. When did this problem start? The PO changed out the TStat, and didn't you say that you have an all AL radiator?

Is the radiator hot when the rest of the system is hot?

The fans should come on and then blow hot air. Once the fans come on, the temperature will start dropping quickly, so if it keeps gettting hotter, you should shut the engine off.
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post #26 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-25-2017, 09:38 AM
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Are you talking about a pressurized cooling system with a leak? Then yes, air (or exhaust) could be introduced into the system through the same defect from which coolant escaped. Otherwise, there is no drainback.
Now, I'm confused. Since I said cold, are we talking about pressurized by a pressure tester applied to the coolant reservoir?
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post #27 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-25-2017, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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This whole bit reminded me of the "What Gus is saying" scene from the movie The Right Stuff.

With no coolant loss, I'm wondering now if you might have trapped air. When did this problem start? The PO changed out the TStat, and didn't you say that you have an all AL radiator?

Is the radiator hot when the rest of the system is hot?

The fans should come on and then blow hot air. Once the fans come on, the temperature will start dropping quickly, so if it keeps gettting hotter, you should shut the engine off.
Well, no coolant loss may not have been completely accurate. I can't tell if there is any. No obvious leaks....the reservoir seems to stay filled. I've owned the car since Dec. 2012....it had 3470 mi on it when I bought it. Now it has just over 8K. It's always run hotter than I'd like....205ºF in Phoenix even on the freeway. If you sit in bumper to bumper traffic...it can get to 220º if you're not moving.....that's been since I bought it.

I've had a few instances where the temp just pegged in those 5 years....like 230º and I had to shut it down. Upon cooling and restart, it was fine....which made me think "stuck t-stat".

In the last few months (you have to realize, I have 6 vehicles and I don't drive any of them all that much except for the DD....but I run them all for about 15 minutes once a week)....the temp problem has gotten worse while varying RPM in the garage for those 15 minutes. Sometimes, it would run fine....no issues with temp...A/C on or off didn't seem to make much difference. Fans would come on with A/C or without...though the temp had to be slightly higher (about 10º IIRC) to have the fan come on without the A/C running.

As for why it's taken me so long to work on the problem....again, I live in hell. Until recently, it's been 100ºF or more in Phoenix and I simply haven't wanted to sweat my butt off fixing the problem. Also, it's so hot during half the year here, I don't drive the Lotus anywhere during the day b/c the A/C can't keep the cabin cool enough for even relatively short trips to be enjoyable.

As for the aluminum radiator....I put it in when the front clam was off for some body work and did it in hopes of alleviating the (IMO) hot operating temps and even higher temps in bumper to bumper traffic. It didn't solve the problem, in fact, it didn't change the operating temp of 205º at all.....which made me think I needed the 170ºF t-stat. I could smell coolant which led me to believe the end caps on the factory radiator had leaked....which is why I put in the all aluminum ProRad. Turned out, the small bit of coolant was coming from the o-ring on the bleeder valve up front. Replaced that with a green HNBR oring. I wonder if that could be an issue....maybe it's not sealing, but I don't smell any coolant either so I assume it's fine.

After I did the radiator install....it took forever to *attempt* to bleed out the air. I ended up buying an Airlift to bleed it and that solved the problem of it running above 205º due to air in the system for a year and a half or so.....

The car is apart right now....I'm honestly not sure if the radiator is hot....never checked it before b/c I just ASSumed it was a stuck t-stat. I'll have to get it back together and then let you know.

Right now I'm debating putting in the 180º Duralast Motorad all metal t-stat I took out (it worked at the specified temp when I put in water on the stove), buying a new one (in case the one I have for some reason is intermittently sticking....doubtful, IMO) or putting in the 170ºF Motorad I bought to try and deal with the bumper to bumper traffic issue. Any opinion on that?

Thanks for all your help. Sincerely.....I'm kinda in the dark right now as to what could be the problem, but I really appreciate the advice.
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post #28 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-25-2017, 11:18 AM
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Sure sounds like air in the system to me.

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post #29 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-25-2017, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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Sure sounds like air in the system to me.
Shouldn't the Airlift have gotten in all out....unless there's a pin hole somewhere, right?
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post #30 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-25-2017, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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Is there an inline water pump somewhere in this system?
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post #31 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-25-2017, 01:43 PM
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Is there an inline water pump somewhere in this system?
There is an electric Bosch pump in the system that thankfully is running when you shut your engine down at 230 deg. It's designed to reduce localized boiling in the system. It is plumbed into some bypass hosing in the engine bay.

It's not a boost pump.

On an unrelated note, since you have the front clam off, there are a bunch of A/C mods that you can perform including the Tony Waa bypass mod: https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f92/...-wa-how-26740/

Last edited by Roundabout; 11-25-2017 at 01:52 PM.
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post #32 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-25-2017, 01:49 PM
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Shouldn't the Airlift have gotten in all out....unless there's a pin hole somewhere, right?
When I switched coolant, I had to fill and flush about 6+ times to get all the old OAT out. In the process I found that the Airlift didn't work as perfectly as it did on my other vehicles. I still had some temperature fluctations that indicated air bubles. I was able to get them out while idling the engine.
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post #33 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-25-2017, 01:55 PM
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Now, I'm confused. Since I said cold, are we talking about pressurized by a pressure tester applied to the coolant reservoir?
I give. Continue with helping Sean K - I know he appreciates your help.

@Sean K. - After reading this whole thread twice, I can’t tell what problem you are trying to solve. For reference, here is the page from the owner’s manual about coolant temps:



I don’t think anyone concerned about sufficient oil temperatures is going to recommend a 170° F thermostat ... it already takes a long time to get the oil warm enough with the stock coolant thermostat. Oil that is not warm enough and high loads are suspected in wiped cams for the 2ZZ. You can read a recent debate about oil temps here. If I remember correctly, the OP on that thread installed an oil cooler thermostat that opens 10° hotter than stock. None of this oil system info helps with the problem you are trying to fix, but trying to make your coolant colder may lead to very long times to get the oil up to normal operating temperature and could lead to a wiped cam.

I live outside of Denver at 8,000’ MSL and incur heavy engine loads (in my Elise SC) at air temperatures that often exceed 100° F, so I’m in conditions at least comparable to what you are going to experience in Arizona. I mention this only as background for my subsequent comments.

As long as your coolant thermostat fully opens below the higher equilibrium temperature of your cooling system, that equilibrium temperature (e.g., 205° on the freeway) is determined by the heat output of the engine and the amount of heat the radiator is dissipating. A colder thermostat isn’t going to change that number. Note that even the 230° F temperature you cite is still within acceptable limits according to Lotus. Your oil temp will usually lag behind the trend for coolant, but even if the oil is also at 230° F, it is within acceptable limits (for mineral oils and especially for synthetics like the Mobil 1 a lot of operators use in Elise’s and Exiges).

In short, I wouldn’t start changing things from OEM unless your coolant is getting up to 235° - 240°F under heavy load and looks like it’s going to keep rising. And unless your engine has been modified to produce a lot more power, if you are getting to 240° F, something is wrong with the stock cooling system that needs to be fixed first before you start modifying things.

Finally, a note about storing cars. I lived in Alaska for over 40 years and stored several sports cars 6 months out of the year, so I’ve had lots of occasions to deal with resurrecting vehicles out of storage. The worst thing you will ever do to any engine ever is to start it up cold. Even a few hours after the last shutdown, oil will have drained out of passages back to the pan, so many surfaces are running at no pressure until the oil system is filled. The oil isn’t warm enough to provide optimal lubrication, so even when the pressure comes up, the reduced volume of oil can’t keep metal-to-metal interfaces apart. On top of that, many metal parts are cold and at the wrong dimension ... interference fits are common in this condition. Cold start up is where well over 90% of the wear that ever happens to your engine will occur. So starting your engine up cold once a month for no reason other than to get it up to operating temperature is killing your engine. Don’t do that!

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Last edited by Glen; 11-25-2017 at 02:01 PM.
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post #34 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-25-2017, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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There is an electric Bosch pump in the system that thankfully is running when you shut your engine down at 230 deg. It's designed to reduce localized boiling in the system. It is plumbed into some bypass hosing in the engine bay.

It's not a boost pump.

On an unrelated note, since you have the front clam off, there are a bunch of A/C mods that you can perform including the Tony Waa bypass mod: https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f92/...-wa-how-26740/
I don't have the front clam off...just the rear. But I'll read over the thread regardless. Thanks!

Last edited by Sean K.; 11-25-2017 at 04:14 PM.
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post #35 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-25-2017, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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I give. Continue with helping Sean K - I know he appreciates your help.

@Sean K. - After reading this whole thread twice, I can’t tell what problem you are trying to solve. For reference, here is the page from the owner’s manual about coolant temps:



I don’t think anyone concerned about sufficient oil temperatures is going to recommend a 170° F thermostat ... it already takes a long time to get the oil warm enough with the stock coolant thermostat. Oil that is not warm enough and high loads are suspected in wiped cams for the 2ZZ. You can read a recent debate about oil temps here. If I remember correctly, the OP on that thread installed an oil cooler thermostat that opens 10° hotter than stock. None of this oil system info helps with the problem you are trying to fix, but trying to make your coolant colder may lead to very long times to get the oil up to normal operating temperature and could lead to a wiped cam.

I live outside of Denver at 8,000’ MSL and incur heavy engine loads (in my Elise SC) at air temperatures that often exceed 100° F, so I’m in conditions at least comparable to what you are going to experience in Arizona. I mention this only as background for my subsequent comments.

As long as your coolant thermostat fully opens below the higher equilibrium temperature of your cooling system, that equilibrium temperature (e.g., 205° on the freeway) is determined by the heat output of the engine and the amount of heat the radiator is dissipating. A colder thermostat isn’t going to change that number. Note that even the 230° F temperature you cite is still within acceptable limits according to Lotus. Your oil temp will usually lag behind the trend for coolant, but even if the oil is also at 230° F, it is within acceptable limits (for mineral oils and especially for synthetics like the Mobil 1 a lot of operators use in Elise’s and Exiges).

In short, I wouldn’t start changing things from OEM unless your coolant is getting up to 235° - 240°F under heavy load and looks like it’s going to keep rising. And unless your engine has been modified to produce a lot more power, if you are getting to 240° F, something is wrong with the stock cooling system that needs to be fixed first before you start modifying things.

Finally, a note about storing cars. I lived in Alaska for over 40 years and stored several sports cars 6 months out of the year, so I’ve had lots of occasions to deal with resurrecting vehicles out of storage. The worst thing you will ever do to any engine ever is to start it up cold. Even a few hours after the last shutdown, oil will have drained out of passages back to the pan, so many surfaces are running at no pressure until the oil system is filled. The oil isn’t warm enough to provide optimal lubrication, so even when the pressure comes up, the reduced volume of oil can’t keep metal-to-metal interfaces apart. On top of that, many metal parts are cold and at the wrong dimension ... interference fits are common in this condition. Cold start up is where well over 90% of the wear that ever happens to your engine will occur. So starting your engine up cold once a month for no reason other than to get it up to operating temperature is killing your engine. Don’t do that!

Glen
The problem is that the car's temp seems to want to run away...in other words, I haven't let it get to 240ºF+, but it's headed there as fast as it's climbing. For all I know, it's gotten well past 230º after shut down. It's not like it's just reaching a steady 230 and leveling off....it's on it's way up in seconds.....and it's that way pretty much every time the temp seems to be out of the norm. In short, there's definitely something wrong with the cooling system that's causing it to overheat....what I thought it was, i.e.; a sticking t-stat, now seems less likely....but I still don't know where the problem lies. I'm buying a pressure testing kit to try and find the source of any pin hole leak I may have. Beyond that, I'm at a loss as to what is wrong, unless the water pump is bad. In truth, I failed my due diligence in diagnosing this problem thinking it was a simple problem like it's been on every other vehicle I've owned. No such luck in this case, but it is what it is. Since you can't get to sh!t on this car without taking the clams off, it's not as easy as just holding a hose closed and feeling the radiator for temp....no excuse, I'm just lazy.

I can agree that the 170º t-stat is probably not a good idea, and I'll likely just put a new 180º in instead.

We disagree on storing cars....only b/c you have to pick your poison. Yes, engine wear is almost entirely caused at start up......but seal degradation is a very real problem....one I've run into extensively in AZ, whereas engine wear hasn't been an issue doing it this way for almost 20 years.
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post #36 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-25-2017, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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Hey Glen, what temp does your car seem to run at normally? Reading over other threads....a lot of guys even in higher temp regions where the ambient air temp is over 100ºF, only get into the upper 190ºs range. Just curious what temps you're seeing.
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post #37 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-25-2017, 06:48 PM
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@Sean K. - My 2011 Elise SC coolant runs at 194° F during steady-state, low-load conditions like cruising at 4,000 rpm. The outside air temperature has no effect on this number. Sitting in stop-and-go traffic at 100° F, the coolant will get up to 208° - 212° F and then cycle a few degrees above and below as the fans turn on and off. Working the engine hard on the track or at high altitude, I’ve seen temperatures as high as 225° F, but only during the high load. The very minute I back off, temps come right down. I do have dual oil coolers, so that is probably relieving some of the load on the water cooling. I’m running a Radium expansion tank and a 1.3 bar radiator cap.

As far as diagnosing your problem, I’d suggest first pursuing a cause that matches your observations regarding temperature. If you haven’t noticed a significant coolant loss, then look elsewhere because a coolant loss so small you can’t detect it is an unlikely cause. @Roundabout has already suggested one theory that would align with the very rapid temperature rise you’re describing: your cooling system may have air trapped in it and needs to be bled. Sorry, but all the talk about a “waterline” in your cooling system is distracting nonsense. If there is any air in your cooling system, it needs to be removed by bleeding it. After that, your (properly functioning) system will stay full of coolant whether it’s pressurized or not, hot or not, or in any other condition representative of a properly functioning cooling system. And with a full cooling system, there’s no “waterline.”

I have an Airlift system, but I’ve never had to use it to fill/bleed the cooling system on my Elise. After draining all the coolant and flushing the radiator, I fill the cooling system from the expansion tank. When it stops accepting coolant, I start the engine and continue adding coolant until it won’t accept anymore. When pouring the coolant in, I pour it in a slow, laminar flow stream that avoids adding any unnecessary air into the fluid. Then I bleed the block and coolant hose points, top off the coolant, drive it up and down a few steep hills, then check the coolant level. It usually takes about 1/2 cup more and I’m done. That’s it ... works every time.

If you want to use the Airlift for something, remove the rubber adapter and use it with an air chuck to put 15 psi on your cooling system (that’s about one atmosphere, a little less than your OEM radiator cap). It should easily hold that for as long as you want to hold the rubber cone on the tank. If it leaks down quickly, then you probably have a leak you need to chase down before adding coolant. I just did this the other day to find a (big) leak on another vehicle.

Once you have coolant back in the system and it is bled, you should also verify your electric fans are coming on at the appropriate temperatures ... this is a pretty common failure and would also be consistent with the symptoms you are describing.

Your thread started out with asking about the alternator. Having to remove the clam and wrestle with other parts in the way of a repair sucks. I’ve been there with my Lotus and many other cars. I rehabilitated the cooling system in my VW a few years ago and had to remove the headlights, front grill, bumper assembly, forward cross-member and engine mount, the supercharger, the alternator and probably a half-dozen other things I’ve forgotten just to get the radiator out. That shows a complete disregard for any sort of engineering aimed at maintenance ... it doesn’t have to be that way.

Glen

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Last edited by Glen; 11-25-2017 at 06:58 PM.
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post #38 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-25-2017, 08:52 PM
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I had this issue once before after a coolant flush and it was air trapped in the system. Had to squeeze the coolant hoses a few times along with bleeders open. Not sure if that's what fixed it exactly, but my car didn't over heat after that. I don't think a coolant air bleeder is necessary as the bleeders on the car should work fine.

I did that with a stock coolant tank, but most recently did it with the radium engineering coolant expansion tank as my OEM one was beginning to rot away. I would recommend upgrading to a metal one if you haven't already. Hope you get this solved soon -.0
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post #39 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-26-2017, 05:14 AM
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Shouldn't the Airlift have gotten in all out....unless there's a pin hole somewhere, right?
Right.

The problem you're having, most notably the temp rising super quickly can really only be 2 things; faulty signal or air. Never seen the temp rise super fast without it being one of these.

The airlift system is great, but also can cause weak areas to give, so a manual bleed should be in order.

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post #40 of 63 (permalink) Old 11-26-2017, 06:19 AM Thread Starter
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One question for all you guys saying it's air in the system.....how did it get there after 1.5 years (roughly)? I'd assume (and maybe I'm being naive) that *eventually*, any air in the system is going to work it's way back up to the reservoir and out through the overflow tube. Is that not the case?
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