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Temp gauge/losing coolant


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DianaBGKY
Novice

Mar 21, 2016, 7:56 AM

Post #1 of 10 (900 views)
Temp gauge/losing coolant Sign In

I have a 1995 Toyota Corolla with 175K miles. I don't know the engine size.

About two months ago, it was very low on coolant (Jan 18), and I had no heat. The shop put antifreeze in, and I made an appointment to go back that weekend (Jan 23), but snow kept me from getting there until another week had passed (Jan 30). I'd lost coolant in the interim. A pressure check was run, and no leaks were found. I was told the radiator hose was bulging, and I replaced that.

About a month later (Feb 25), as I drove to work, the temperature gauge went up into the red. I babied the car to the shop. Another pressure check was run and again no leaks were found. They decided I was losing coolant through the radiator cap and replaced it. About a week later (Mar 3), I went to the shop and my coolant level was fine. I was asked about heat, but I hadn't run it a lot as it wasn't very cold here during that period.

This morning it was cold again, and I turned on the heat. My car never warmed, and the temperature gauge started going up again...I don't think it ever got into the red before I got to work, but it was inching there. I shut off the car and when I started it again, the temperature was in the middle, but I did not drive away.

I'm taking it to a shop (a place I've always trusted) in about two hours. I'm hoping I can drive it--about 3-4 miles, city traffic.

Does anyone have any ideas? Someone at work said the water pump, maybe? Would that lose coolant? (I'm assuming I've lost coolant again, but should know in a while if a co-worker checks it for me before I go.)


DianaBGKY
Novice

Mar 21, 2016, 8:16 AM

Post #2 of 10 (894 views)
Re: Temp gauge/losing coolant Sign In

A co-worker just checked. I'm down a little in coolant but not much. He thinks it's the thermometer. Your thoughts?


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Mar 21, 2016, 8:35 AM

Post #3 of 10 (889 views)
Re: Temp gauge/losing coolant Sign In

Hmm? Pressure checks are failing to find this and it does consume coolant.
Well, a trusted shop has looked at it and found things that needed doing but don't think the cause. What can is head gasket either blowing into cooling system acting like exactly air, displacing coolant which could blow out usually these things leave some evidence OR same problem with head gasket can burn coolant and still might pass a pressure test either way.
Coolant mix under pressure from radiator cap should boil over till about 250F which would read hot then lose coolant someplace not yet found.


Fan to radiator may not work, or other item not that hard to determine so think you need another shop or tech to check this out and probably expect a head gasket job and more that should be done while there including a water pump which is probably driven by timing belt (you don't know which engine) and can fail.


You are hiring pros to find this with no luck who are there in person. We are not which is a natural disadvantage to being there checking it.


Another shop and another tech to check why it loses coolant which would cause loss of heater alone but isn't the diagnosis just the problem you notice first,


T



DianaBGKY
Novice

Mar 21, 2016, 8:55 AM

Post #4 of 10 (883 views)
Re: Temp gauge/losing coolant Sign In

Thank you, Tom.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Mar 21, 2016, 9:06 AM

Post #5 of 10 (881 views)
Re: Temp gauge/losing coolant Sign In

Good luck. Explain what you did here to the tech and not just the service writer so you each know what has happened clearly and ask for an estimate up front before over a set amount by you as some work could be quite costly and you should be able to decide to do it or make another decision like another car?


T



DianaBGKY
Novice

Mar 21, 2016, 9:08 AM

Post #6 of 10 (877 views)
Re: Temp gauge/losing coolant Sign In

I thought that all sounded expensive. I will get an estimate--they are great about that at the shop. But there is no money for another car. :-(


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Mar 21, 2016, 9:13 AM

Post #7 of 10 (875 views)
Re: Temp gauge/losing coolant Sign In

Not yet. I has the potential to exceed the cost of another car and if so you have to figure that out but make sure it's checked out prior to any money exchanges on used cars. If zero money and zero income you have a problem that isn't mechanical for us to fix,


T



DianaBGKY
Novice

Mar 22, 2016, 6:51 AM

Post #8 of 10 (849 views)
Re: Temp gauge/losing coolant Sign In

Good news (I think, I hope). My coolant level was good, so they checked the fans, and they were okay. Then they checked for air in the system, and there was some. They burped her and got that out. So far, so good. They said air probably got in when I had a bad radiator cap. (Someone at work at suggested this as a problem, but it seemed pretty far fetched to me. LOL.) No charge yesterday. Thanks for the ideas!


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Mar 22, 2016, 7:12 AM

Post #9 of 10 (847 views)
Re: Temp gauge/losing coolant Sign In

Let me explain how it works so you understand:
Any air inside system AFTER or BELOW radiator cap (the pressure cap) isn't good news!
The tank you fill is a "RECOVERY" tank and is NOT an accurate idea of system level UNLESS there are NO issues at all. It's just saving the expanded coolant in a tank to return later when it cools down - that's it.


Always a "but" - If a hose to that from radiator leaks it could normally push the expanded extra out to that tank and not suck it back in rather sucking in air. That would confuse things BUT you really should be seeing the recovery tank over full as it takes coolant and doesn't return it a single way it could confuse a problem.
So YOU are NOT expected to be totally mechanically savvy for this stuff but ARE supposed to know something isn't right and seek help which you have and do need to explain or show the problem YOU noticed at times.
If anything I've said is confusing you please say so!
At this point the issue isn't totally known as I see it nor totally understood by you - no problem you are asking.
Happy to help describe more if you wish as best I can,


Tom



Discretesignals
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Mar 22, 2016, 12:18 PM

Post #10 of 10 (839 views)
Re: Temp gauge/losing coolant Sign In

Question is is where was the coolant going? Probably has a head gasket problem and putting combustion gasses into the coolant system. Time will tell.





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 Mar 22, 2016, 12:20 PM)






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