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Engine running cold


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msaeger
User

Dec 23, 2013, 8:24 PM

Post #1 of 33 (3488 views)
Engine running cold Sign In

2002 Honda Civic EX
1.7L engine
172K miles

When driving down the road the engine will get hot enough to generate enough heat to heat the car. If stopped it quickly cools down. It will never warm up when at idle.

The temp gauge never goes higher than a little below center it used to go to center.

Radiator and overflow are filled to where they should be.

Upper and lower radiator hoses are never too hot to touch and even after driving on the highway I can remove the radiator cap and there is no pressure.

Hoping it's just the thermostat what are the chances I am right or what else could it be?


GC
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GC profile image

Dec 23, 2013, 8:53 PM

Post #2 of 33 (3478 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

Do you have an infrared thermometer to get an actual temperature reading from the thermostat housing? If started cold does the upper rad hose gradually warm up or does it stay cool and then warm up all at once when the tstat opens? Does your cooling fan run all the time?


____________________________________________________
Willing to help, willing to learn... Rob


msaeger
User

Dec 23, 2013, 9:09 PM

Post #3 of 33 (3471 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

I will check if the fans run. I can check the temp with the IR thermometer too.

The upper hose stays cool unless I drive the car then it gets warm but not as hot as it should be I could hold my hand on there all day.


Hammer Time
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Dec 24, 2013, 3:37 AM

Post #4 of 33 (3460 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

I would get the system pressure flushed, including the heater core specifically and then replace the thermostat. It sounds like you may have a combination of a partially restricted heater core and a thermostat opening too soon.



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DanD
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Dec 24, 2013, 4:56 AM

Post #5 of 33 (3455 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

X2 with everything said above and I'll also suggest replacing the radiator cap with the proper style and pressure rating.


Quote
even after driving on the highway I can remove the radiator cap and there is no pressure


Dan.

Canadian "EH"






msaeger
User

Dec 24, 2013, 12:34 PM

Post #6 of 33 (3431 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

I put the thermostat in because it's 7 bucks it's up to -2 now probably should have waited until it was warmer but it's in. Small spring end goes into the engine right?

Now I with it at idle I get heat in the car and the temp gauge is about 1/3 up from the cold side.

The lower hose which is on the thermostat is cold the upper hose is a slightly warm.

Now that I think about it is there anything telling the engine temp? It looks like the temp gauge in the car is getting the signal from a sensor on the thermostat housing so if the thermostat was stuck closed the temp gauge would read cold or is that not how it works?


msaeger
User

Dec 24, 2013, 1:28 PM

Post #7 of 33 (3428 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

I drove 10 miles and when I checked the lower hose it is still cold and the upper was just warm. There is pressure now if I try and take the radiator cap off now.
The temp gauge was about in the middle like before. I have not seen the fans come on.

Hopefully I didn't put the thermostat in wrong or something. Maybe it's so cold outside it doesn't need to open?


Hammer Time
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Dec 24, 2013, 1:47 PM

Post #8 of 33 (3427 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

The engine would have overheated by now if the stat was installed wrong. What temp stat did you use?



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msaeger
User

Dec 24, 2013, 2:24 PM

Post #9 of 33 (3417 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

This is the one it says 170 degrees online.


link deleted ....................... not allowed


(This post was edited by Hammer Time on Dec 24, 2013, 2:36 PM)


Hammer Time
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Dec 24, 2013, 2:28 PM

Post #10 of 33 (3415 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

Well, there's most of your problem. You put a cold thermostat in it. You're telling the engine to run cooler. I would put at least a 180 degree or maybe even a 195 for the winter.



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msaeger
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Dec 24, 2013, 2:34 PM

Post #11 of 33 (3410 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

That's the only one they had.

The way it is now my hose from the radiator to the thermostat is cold and the one on the other side is lukewarm so the thermostat must be closed then right?


DanD
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Dec 25, 2013, 3:36 AM

Post #12 of 33 (3392 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

Hammer I just looked up the thermostat for this vehicle and it calls for a 170. I know that seems cold but that's what the manufacturer wants?

Dan.

Canadian "EH"






Hammer Time
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Dec 25, 2013, 6:11 AM

Post #13 of 33 (3387 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

I looked it up too. The 180 is optional for that car. That why I suggested winter only for the 195. If the engine just isn't getting hot enough a hotter thermostat is about the only option he has. He's in an extremely cold environment.



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Discretesignals
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Dec 25, 2013, 7:16 AM

Post #14 of 33 (3381 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In


Quote
When driving down the road the engine will get hot enough to generate enough heat to heat the car. If stopped it quickly cools down. It will never warm up when at idle.


Would a thermostat cause that kind of symptom? If too low of a rated thermostat was installed, would it not even try to blow hot air while cruising?





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(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Dec 25, 2013, 7:16 AM)


Hammer Time
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Dec 25, 2013, 7:20 AM

Post #15 of 33 (3378 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

I don't see any other safe way of generating more heat. It's below zero there.



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Discretesignals
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Dec 25, 2013, 7:34 AM

Post #16 of 33 (3376 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

I'd get one of those spill free funnels and watch what is going on while the engine is running. See if you have flow going on or trapped air. Wouldn't hurt to pressurize the system to check for leaks and test or replace the radiator cap also.







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 Dec 25, 2013, 7:36 AM)


Hammer Time
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Dec 25, 2013, 7:41 AM

Post #17 of 33 (3373 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

Since the thermostat is in the return hose, that funnel would likely just fill up and overflow.

If the lack of heat was due to poor circulation or air pockets in the system, that would eventually lead to overheating and boil over. He said the engine cools down quickly at idle. It sounds like it's just running too cold for the environment.



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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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Dec 25, 2013, 7:50 AM

Post #18 of 33 (3371 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

You would think though if the thermostat was opening at lower temps, the heater would die out at cruising speed due to ram air through the radiator. Doesn't make sense to have heat while driving and no heat at idle unless you have low coolant level or air trapped in the core. If the T stat was opening too soon, the engine still should reach operating temps when stopped and revving the engine (with cooling fans off), but soon as you get some ram air through the radiator, you lose operating temps.





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 Dec 25, 2013, 7:51 AM)


Hammer Time
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Dec 25, 2013, 7:55 AM

Post #19 of 33 (3368 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

The engine is going to generate more heat at higher RPMs. He never tried to rev it up in Park as I suspect he would get the same result.



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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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Dec 25, 2013, 8:06 AM

Post #20 of 33 (3365 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

Either way, he needs to get one of those funnels. I love my coolant vacuum lift, but that funnel sure does come in handy. Especially if your DIY doing your own coolant servicing.





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


Hammer Time
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Dec 25, 2013, 9:00 AM

Post #21 of 33 (3360 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

Yeah, I have both



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msaeger
User

Dec 26, 2013, 8:11 PM

Post #22 of 33 (3336 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

So today it got up to 20 something I drove about 30 miles to work. When I got there I checked the hoses and both were hot so I think it's working as it should. I think the other day when it was -10 it was just so cold out it never got hot enough to need to open the thermostat. Even on the -10 day I did get heat and the engine stayed up to temp so I am happy with the level of heat now. Also now the system is building pressure so I think it was just the thermostat. When I compared the old and new ones the old one has the spring on the small end compressed more than the new one. (I am seeing this called the bypass valve?)

Engine would probably have been destroyed by now if I wasn't getting proper cooling so it must be ok :)

Thanks everybody for the help!


(This post was edited by msaeger on Dec 26, 2013, 8:39 PM)


msaeger
User

Feb 4, 2014, 5:55 AM

Post #23 of 33 (3215 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

 
Issue was that it would run cold and the coolant would get low. When I posted this I didn't really know it was getting low because after replacing the thermostat I filled it and it stayed full a few days so I thought it was ok. Replacing the thermostat did not fix it so I brought it to a shop.

They told me the radiator was leaking and replaced that. Problem was still happening so they looked at it again and said the lower radiator hose was leaking at the engine connection. They put another clamp on there and thought it was fixed.

It ran normal for two days now today it was running hot. I have never seen it run hot before. I pull over and open the hood and the upper radiator hose was leaking at the connection. It has a spring type clamp so I moved the clamp and it stopped leaking.

It took it to a different garage today and they did a pressure test, checked the fans, and checked the temp sensors with the scan tool. Everything was ok so they drove it and couldn't get it to run hot again. Then I drove it over a 100 miles and it ran at the normal temp.

The place I took it to today is guessing a head gasket but said they couldn't know for sure without taking it apart.

I am not seeing coolant in the oil or white smoke from the exhaust is there some way to tell if it is a head gasket leak?

Air is getting in there somehow. It seems like someone will mess with is top up the coolant then it will run ok for a few days before having a problem again.

Also would you guys replace the head gasket or swap the engine for a used one?


GC
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Feb 4, 2014, 10:22 AM

Post #24 of 33 (3202 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

Ahh a vital piece of information not included in the last thread. Coolant is disappearing...

There are a few different ways you can check for combustion leaks. Pressure testing, (overnight on a stubborn one, then scope into cylinder looking for moisture), block testing liquid can work well on hard to verify leaks (i dont trust it completely, as its easy to screw up), exhaust gas analyzer in coolant reservoir or radiator (expensive equipment). With a faulty cooling system for this long, I wouldnt be surprised that there is a combustion leak now, if not the original problem. Its probably going to be a pain to nail down though.

You would have to decide which route to go, based on the condition of the engine. Has it been maintained well? Any other issues? IMO you are kinda in the borderline area.... 170k miles, engine is not worn out, but getting up there. On the other hand, a used engine is always a gamble.. you dont know the history on it.

Get an accurate diagnosis first. You might need to find a good shop and even have to pay a fee to get it accurately diagnosed, as it could take a bit of time to do; unless you have the resources listed above.

If it has combustion leak, get a price for a head gasket job, and ask what it would cost if you need a new head as well. Make sure that the head is checked out as well and planed if needed.

No easy answer here, sorry.


____________________________________________________
Willing to help, willing to learn... Rob


msaeger
User

Feb 4, 2014, 7:49 PM

Post #25 of 33 (3189 views)
Re: Engine running cold Sign In

Wasn't trying to withhold info I didn't really realize it was leaking until after I replaced the stat then when I figured out there was a leak I took it to a mechanic.

I had one place tell me they could send in a coolant or oil sample and have it tested do you think that would help?

A new head says it's 450 at orilley's would it be a good investment to just replace the head even if the old one isn't warped so all of those parts would be new?

Not really sure the condition of the engine otherwise. All I have done engine wise is get the oil changed. It runs fine even now.


(This post was edited by msaeger on Feb 4, 2014, 7:53 PM)






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