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Truck Repair/International Oil/water Stop engine light


Hi Jeff,

I have a 1996 International with a Cummins engine. I recently noticed some water residue on the dip stick of the truck and it led me to believe there had to be a leak of coolant/water to the engine. I have been putting a lot of water/coolant lately and that's what lead me to believe was the problem. I didn't drive it for 3 days and then took it over to the local mechanic. He drained some of the oil, and after observing it, we did see very little water but not as much. We then plugged a air pump to the reservoir and pumped it with 15psi to test where the water/coolant was going. We saw water coming out of the hose that connects to the radiator. We thought that may have been the problem and tightened the clamp. Our theory was the engine was probably not getting enough water due to the leak which was causing an increase in the engine temp and perhaps water entered through the seals that would shrink due to excessive heat.

So we took it for a test drive. On the freeway after hitting 50/55 or on a uphill, the oil/water light begin to flash followed by the stop engine light. It would then shut off the engine. The engine would not always shut off after the oil/water warning. However, whenever it came on we pulled over to the side. I saw the blowpipe underneath and noticed white smoke/steam coming out with a few droplets of water.

I'm thinking there was a small crack somewhere in the engine manifold. After applying 15 psi, the crack may have gotten a little wider and now water is entering the engine at a her rate causing the sensor to detect it. Could this be a cracked head gasket?

Water could be going a few places. Could have bad injector cups after removing your injectors look down into the injector hole and see if there's antifreeze in the cylinders. Next stop down would be head gaskets you can tell that by inspecting where the coolant ports are. It will show if the gasket was blown. Final stop would be liner O-rings. only other thing besides that would be a cracked head or block and I would doubt that unless you've seriously overheated the engine.

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Jeff Drumm


I Can answer any question pertaining to semi trucks and trailers. Have no experience in the automotive field so not able to help in that area.


My experiences in Semi Trucks is. I own my own truck and i presntly maintain a 80 truck fleet. Can handle any questions pertaining to a truck have tore apart and rebuilt every aspect on them. Fleet I deal with is Mainly Volvo trucks and a handful of freightliners. Work on automated transmissions on a daily basis along with carrier apu's. With engines my specialty is the 60 series Detroit but do work on the cummins isx the n-14 and the ism. and also the Volvo engines.

Have a College Degree from university of northwestern ohio in diesel and agriculture mechanics. Have 10 years behind the wheel driving a truck and 4 years working on trucks full time. Also have grown up on a farm so have been tinkering on trucks and tractors all my life.

Awards and Honors
I've gone through online schooling and have received certificates from webb wheel, Timken and Volvo academy.

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