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Car Overheats


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cars4chimps
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May 23, 2016, 6:40 AM

Post #1 of 24 (1026 views)
  post locked   Car Overheats  

My car overheats, the surge tank overflows and it goes in cycles. The car will be fine driving at 60-70 mph, but if I pull off the highway, or slow down, the temperature will surge to high and I have to pull over to the side of the road and vent the pressure valve at the top of the radiator for about 10 minutes. Then I drive for another 10 minutes and then the temperature spikes to high again and I have to pull over and vent again. I have to pull over several times like this before the surge tank is completely empty, then I can fill it with water again, and the car will run fine for a couple days. But after that, the overheating cycle starts all over again.

It's a 99 olds intrigue 3.5 GL with 165K and new radiator, water pump, thermostat and surge tank. I know cooling systems are a big mystery, but I do appreciate any help anyone can offer.


Hammer Time
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May 23, 2016, 7:18 AM

Post #2 of 24 (1020 views)
  post locked   Re: Car Overheats  

Sounds like you have a blown head gasket.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



cars4chimps
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May 30, 2016, 7:32 AM

Post #3 of 24 (983 views)
  post locked   Re: Car Overheats  

Would the car even start with a blown head gasket?


Hammer Time
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May 30, 2016, 7:36 AM

Post #4 of 24 (976 views)
  post locked   Re: Car Overheats  

Most of the time,yes. It would have to be very extreme to prevent it from starting.

The main symptom is it pumps hot exhaust gases into the cooling system and at the same time burns coolant which over time displaces the coolant with hot air.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



cars4chimps
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Jun 23, 2016, 9:12 AM

Post #5 of 24 (943 views)
  post locked   Re: Car Overheats  

You pretty well describe the symptoms there. When the temp goes to high, I have to burp a lot of gas through the radiator bleeder valve, and only then will it take more water, at least a gallon. Then it will run fine for a while, until the cycle repeats.

What do you think of Blue Devil? One guy on youtube recommends using a bottle every year. He has a little sports car and he was in the Navy.


Hammer Time
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Jun 23, 2016, 9:18 AM

Post #6 of 24 (942 views)
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There is no such thing as "Mechanic in a Can"



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Discretesignals
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Jun 23, 2016, 5:41 PM

Post #7 of 24 (937 views)
  post locked   Re: Car Overheats  

A gallon of water? Have you checked for leaking using a pressure tester when the engine is cold. If it is burning up a gallon of coolant, you should be seeing something come out the tail pipe or a slushy in the crankcase if you have no external leaks. You keep overheating it and you'll be putting an engine in it. If it is has straight water in it, it will boil at a lower temperature if the system can't pressurize itself because of a leak.

Usually if you have combustion gasses getting into the coolant system, it will overheat even while your cruising at higher speeds.

Blue Devil is a last resort thing, such as if the car was going to the bone yard or you really don't give a heck.





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Jun 23, 2016, 5:48 PM)


cars4chimps
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Jun 27, 2016, 6:09 AM

Post #8 of 24 (896 views)
  post locked   Re: Car Overheats  

So there's a test my mechanic can do for a possible blown gasket? Does it take long?


Tom Greenleaf
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Jun 27, 2016, 6:29 AM

Post #9 of 24 (892 views)
  post locked   Re: Car Overheats  

There are test strips for evidence of combustion gasses in the cooling system that in conjunction with other evidence you can blame a head gasket like problem.


You are adding water so much it's almost moot. If you don't see a leak dripping or it can't show up with a pressure test don't look for magic in a can. It doesn't exist!


High bet you do need serious work including a head gasket. Whether that was (if so) the result or cause you still need to find out.


Know this: Engine combustion makes serious pressures. You can't fix a leak of that pressure with tricks, most are still saw-dust and will claim they can but don't work and makes the whole thing that much worse,


T



Hammer Time
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Jun 27, 2016, 6:30 AM

Post #10 of 24 (890 views)
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There are a lot of different tests for blown head gasket. Most of them end up inconclusive unless it's real bad. One way of testing that is very accurate is to use an exhaust analyzer and sniff for hydrocarbons at the radiator cap.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
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Jun 27, 2016, 7:27 AM

Post #11 of 24 (884 views)
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So true: As Hammer Time said and I totally concur you test all ways possible to damn a head gasket unless you plain see it leaking OUT and know it's that gasket.


It's not the end till first diagnosed all ways makes me more comfortable for a job that still may show it needs more when it's apart.


This can be VERY costly and limping it along just adding water may have been an only choice for one time at any cost but wasn't good for it,


T



(This post was edited by Tom Greenleaf on Jun 27, 2016, 7:32 AM)


cars4chimps
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Jun 28, 2016, 7:15 AM

Post #12 of 24 (872 views)
  post locked   Re: Car Overheats  

How about visual inspection? Would I look under that plastic cover on top of the engine? Would I see leaking there? Wouldn't that be the first place to look?


Hammer Time
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Jun 28, 2016, 9:08 AM

Post #13 of 24 (871 views)
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No, you wouldn't. This is leaking into the combustion chamber and being burned out the exhaust.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



cars4chimps
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Jun 29, 2016, 11:13 AM

Post #14 of 24 (848 views)
  post locked   Re: Car Overheats  

What about a compression test? How long would that take?


Hammer Time
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Jun 29, 2016, 11:48 AM

Post #15 of 24 (847 views)
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Compression test won't tell you anything. You can remove the spark plugs and put the cooling system under pressure for a long time and see if any coolant gets into any of the cylinders.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



cars4chimps
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Jul 3, 2016, 12:23 PM

Post #16 of 24 (831 views)
  post locked   Re: Car Overheats  

So I took it to a mechanic and he did a compression test and he said two blown gaskets. Did he mean leaking in two cylinders?


(This post was edited by cars4chimps on Jul 3, 2016, 12:24 PM)


Hammer Time
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Jul 3, 2016, 12:39 PM

Post #17 of 24 (825 views)
  post locked   Re: Car Overheats  

That's what a blown head gasket does.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Discretesignals
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Jul 3, 2016, 12:42 PM

Post #18 of 24 (822 views)
  post locked   Re: Car Overheats  

Maybe he meant both left and right cylinder head gaskets were blown? If the gasket was blown between adjacent cylinders, the engine would have been running like crap. Huge job replacing gaskets on that thing. Book time is 17 hours for labor. That doesn't include parts and the cost of having the heads inspected and resurfaced.

Then you have to think about the underlying cause that created the condition for the gaskets to fail. You sure don't want that happening again.





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Jul 3, 2016, 12:51 PM)


cars4chimps
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Jul 11, 2016, 12:40 PM

Post #19 of 24 (796 views)
  post locked   Re: Car Overheats  

So the mechanic says I have blown head gaskets, but I don't get any of the other symptoms, like chocolate milkshake colored oil, or billows of white smoke out the exhaust, and I did the block test and there are no exhaust gasses in the coolant.

I also removed the thermostat to look at it and stuck my finger in the engine block just for the heck of it, and discovered a layer of mud and sand down there. I flushed out whatever I could, but it didn't seem to improve anything, even though it was almost completely blocking the passage.


Tom Greenleaf
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Jul 11, 2016, 12:56 PM

Post #20 of 24 (794 views)
  post locked   Re: Car Overheats  

Hammer Time's first response should have ended it. Now how many techs here and now one who looked right at it says "Head Gaskets" are the problem to convince you?


Now for waiting might mean an engine and probably not worth it. Tests can be inconclusive especially the CO one for in with the coolant,


T



(This post was edited by Tom Greenleaf on Jul 11, 2016, 12:59 PM)


cars4chimps
User

Jul 14, 2016, 10:48 AM

Post #21 of 24 (776 views)
  post locked   Re: Car Overheats  

If the engine runs fine (no sputtering or white smoke), then the leak is probably not in the cylinders. So where else would you look for a leak other than the cylinders?


Hammer Time
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Jul 14, 2016, 12:54 PM

Post #22 of 24 (771 views)
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OH really?

It sounds like you have all the answers. I'm going to close this now as you aren't listening to anyone.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
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Jul 14, 2016, 1:04 PM

Post #23 of 24 (769 views)
  post locked   Re: Car Overheats  

Again you've heard the news from someone who was right there - a forum can't compete with that just suggest away as we and I am.


You've also mentioned the mud mess, using water only now for some time so there's more than just gaskets for this engine now even if it wasn't the up front problem.


What we call a "Head Gasket Failure" is any which way coolant, oil, pressure of combustion or leaks of any seen or not can fail which could even be a crack you can't see.


It's slow - you said that so it doesn't have to leave typical or textbook evidence but proven by default IMO now.


You are burning it unseen out the tailpipe no doubt. It may not be much or at certain temps right now but it's a problem you can't ignore and said may be too late for this engine by what you've said already.


If you need to be convinced more for yourself I do this for this type complaint since forever. Cold engine: Feel pressure in a radiator hose and note what no pressure is. Start it up and feel hose which in some time (several minutes) warm up and feel the pressure of coolant expanding. This one would pressure up before it had time to warm up most likely - a real damning clue combustion gasses are getting into cooling system making pressure that quickly can exceed the rating of a pressure cap and blow out which it did already either just heat or the vapor of just gasses can't cool the engine so one makes the other worse.


Same leak the makes pressure can also draw in coolant (water now) and burn it. If excessive it would blow smoke. It could run ok but leave evidence that if slow enough tough to prove with obvious tests or quit it for a short time and repeat.


Overheating for any reason is a cause for these failures then just a full head gasket job if even possible when apart can tell better isn't even the cause of overheating in the first place so that still needs fixing.


The job cost money and a lot of time to do and has been diagnosed.


Now you've used just water and the mud and yuk you found is possibly new but more likely from lack of service long overdue so not much about the cooling system passages in this engine is going to look so good nor other items that are protected by coolant which is why I said you may be in need of a whole engine and still hoses, belt and assorted things.


No failure of this type has to behave the same exact way.

Decide what you want to do. Have it torn down (take apart) and see if salvageable to continue with this engine or not and decide from that what to do costs vs value of this exact car still worth something if only metal weight at worst.


You have your diagnosis now the concurrence from those of us looking on whether posting on it or not,


Tom



Discretesignals
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Jul 14, 2016, 3:08 PM

Post #24 of 24 (764 views)
  post locked   Re: Car Overheats  

Mud mess is common on a dex-cool filled GM products. Especially when there is a leak and air is mixed in to the equation.





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.






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