Where to put engine coolant expansion tank - SailNet Community

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Old 11-01-2008
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Where to put engine coolant expansion tank

I need to move my coolant expansion tank, there's just no room to have it mounted next to the engine. The spot I'm thinking of, is on the other side of a plywood wall putting it under a counter.

My question is this, does the expansion tank need to be higher than the engine's heat exchanger? I'm wondering if siphoning would be an issue. ie Would the coolant siphon into the expansion tank and just fill it up, lowering the coolant in the heat exchanger. What goes on inside that heat exchanger cap (radiator cap)? Can it prevent siphoning? If so, then how does it draw the coolant back?

My guess is that it needs to be higher than the heat exchanger, can someone please tell me otherwise???
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Yes it does...and if you happen to have a water heater using engine coolant, it needs to be higher than that too.
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Oh come on..that's not the answer I'm looking for!

Anyone else?

I just looked at my cars today, and the expansion tank is about level with the radiator.

I don't know.
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The expansion tank also serves the purpose of seperating air bubbles, it has to be high enough that the air in the cooling system will migrate to it. On a car the top of the radiator will be above the highest water passage in the engine, so it does the same thing.

Too low, and the bubbles will form in the exchanger or the engine, and reduce heat transfer which can cause the engine to overheat.


Ken.
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Old 11-01-2008
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I wonder how important this is on a sailboat where the tank may be higher, lower or the same level as an exchanger depending on level of heel, waves bouncing around etc.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by preservedkillick View Post
My question is this, does the expansion tank need to be higher than the engine's heat exchanger?
You question was this, was it not???

My answer was Yes it does...what else or how was not this to your sufficience??

You then don't like my answer???

I know BY EXPEREINCE it does need to be higher..

When we installed my engine a new Yanmar in my boat, the water heater was installed by Vetus, and for weight balance we needed to install it in the stern which is higher than the engine..

Because the expansion tank wasa lower, the engine was allways hot, and sounding the alarm, as the water heater was behaving as the expansion tank..

We moved the tank one foot higher and fixed the issue...

The Yanmar installation manual (the ones Yanmar installers have, not the owner manual),clearly indicates the location, distance and height...my case was a lapse because the heater was installed higher..
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OK...preserved...you can mount it lower. Now you have the choice of two answers!
Of course one answer is probably wrong.
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If space is really tight, could you use a separate microbubble resorber like the Taco or Spirovent? Most models of the Spirovent can take an expansion tank screwed right onto the bottom -- or you can plug that port and stuff the expansion tank nipple-side up on a distant spur, as long as the spur slopes up from tank to circuit so it doesn't become an air trap.

Pressure tanks don't much care where they are located, but you do want to keep the air out of your system. A resorber needs to be located very close to the hot side of your system -- just after the coolant leaves the engine but before any water heater exchanger. In my solar hot water system, the resorbers are not at the highest point but do scrub the bubbles very effectively anyhow.
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Here's a third answer. I was told by a Yanmar certified mechanic that the expansion tank normal level (between the hot and cold markings) should be level with the hose port on the heat exchanger (the hose that runs to the expansion tank). It can be higher if need be, but you have to add a 1/4 turn shut-off valve so you can check the coolant level under the cap (no you can't just look at the tank). He did not say it could be lower than the hose port.

I don't know what engine manufacturer you are talking about, but for a Yanmar it should be at or above the top of the heat exchanger.
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I've had two that were in the cockpit lazaratte about 18" above the heat exchanger - completeley above the engine itself when level - maybe 6" or so. A third was mounted high & inside the engine compartent - maybe 12" above the heat exchanger.
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