This is the dreaded coolant head problem;
basically this is cause by coolant getting in between the head
and the outer rubber head gasket (head side of the gasket). Slowly the
coolant make is way under the gasket and corrode the head mating
surface where the outer gasket meetís the head, and this will happen
before you see some coolant dripping under the van. When you see the
coolant dripping there is some good chance that the corrosion as
already begun. VW said that starting 1986/87 with the 2.1L, new head
gasket was supposed to solve this problem!!! Yea, my ass they did.
Many 2.1L owners had/have this problem.
The result is a pitted head, sometime to the point of NO return, in other
word itís to late to save the head.
Why!! the hell if I know why, I am not god. What I
know for sure is that the wasserboxer heads is not well design.
My opinion on this subject differs from
everybody I know. I think that
all O-ring, rubber seal and other flexible VW seals are of poor
quality compare to other company. So as we all know, with time (cold,
hot, warm, years) rubber as a tendency to harden and that is whatís
causing the coolant to go trough and under the head gasket, if those
one are not flexible anymore, they simply have no way of properly
sealing the outer portion of the head. So go put your finger nail into
your head gasket and if somewhat soft, youíre in business, if they are
hard like a hockey puck, youíre up for a gasket job very soon. Many
will say that non phosphate-free coolant are the main reason, I donít
think so!! I would say that old coolant and cheap coolant doesnít help
but the main reason is having a flexible head gasket.
The inner round flexible gasket (the one that
seals the combustion chamber and stop the coolant from getting inside
the cylinder) is less subject to this corrosion probably due to a
better design in that portion of the head.
would also speculate about VW poor head
material, I have done many engine head (leaking) gasket replacement
(Honda, Mazda, Toyota, Volks) and the only one with pitted / corroded
head are VW cars.
Head can be repair, before you buy a new head, bring it to a professional
head rebuilt company/shop and have their opinion.