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sunfire losing antifreeze


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sherrie
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Jun 14, 2012, 2:07 PM

Post #1 of 12 (2315 views)
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2000 pontiac sunfire 2.2 130000 miles
low fluid light started coming on, and it was losing fluid
then it started to overheat
replaced water pump and thermostat
temperature does not stay contant, goes up or down, not overheating since replacement of thermostat
have had it pressure tested, can not find out where fluid is going
oil is clean, nothing out the tailpipe, floorboards are dry
can hear fan coming on
steam from overflow does not smell like exhaust
mechanic ruled out head gasket
what is the problem?


Discretesignals
Veteran / Moderator
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Jun 14, 2012, 2:29 PM

Post #2 of 12 (2296 views)
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Quote
steam from overflow does not smell like exhaust

Don't understand what you mean by this.


If it isn't leaking externally and your continuously losing coolant, the engine is probably burning it. How did your mechanic rule out the head gasket?





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


sherrie
Novice

Jun 14, 2012, 2:32 PM

Post #3 of 12 (2292 views)
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he pressure tested it, held pressure
made sure nothing was coming out my exhaust
when overflow cap was off steam did not smell like exhaust
thank you for bearing with me, i am a woman and know nothing about cars


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Jun 14, 2012, 2:36 PM

Post #4 of 12 (2289 views)
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Not quite sure how your mechanic is so sure it's not a head gasket? Odor may not smell of exhaust at the recovery tank but could be tested for combustion fumes. Any significant vapor in the cooling system will be erratic at first to a full overheat and can do this without seeing it leak. I'm not so pleased with seeing "steam at overflow" as you put it at all,

T
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Long retired now


Tom Greenleaf
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Jun 14, 2012, 2:38 PM

Post #5 of 12 (2286 views)
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You have two of us at onceWink - the pressure check is low pressure. If combustion gasses can get into cooling system that's much higher pressure and if taking a little at a time may not be dramatic enough for classic real obvious gasket leaks,

T
_________________________________________
Long retired now


Discretesignals
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Jun 14, 2012, 2:43 PM

Post #6 of 12 (2280 views)
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You either need to use a chemical testing to determine if combustion gasses are getting into the coolant system or use an exhaust gas analyzer to pick up HCs in the coolant system. He must have a really sensitive nose if he can tell a blown gasket by smelling the coolant.

Sometimes pressure testing doesn't pick up on head gasket problems.

Did he pressure test the coolant system when the engine was cold?





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


sherrie
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Jun 14, 2012, 2:48 PM

Post #7 of 12 (2270 views)
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engine was running when he checked it and i believe the car was at temperture


sherrie
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Jun 14, 2012, 2:52 PM

Post #8 of 12 (2267 views)
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ty bothSmile
i am not exactly trusting my mechanic. my car is not going back to him.
going to try to get it in to someone else. i have been concerned about the head gasket all along, just hope it is not a cracked head.
will it hurt to drive my car for a couple of weeks with this problem? I don't go far, watch my gauges and keep water in it?


sherrie
Novice

Jun 14, 2012, 2:55 PM

Post #9 of 12 (2264 views)
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failed to mention that the car runs great except for this problem.
if that is any help to you.Smile


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Jun 14, 2012, 2:56 PM

Post #10 of 12 (2264 views)
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Probably both of us hitting again. I wouldn't drive it till verified or can stay stable which I doubt. Pressure checking for leaks really shouldn't be done with engine running and if that's all that was done it's inconclusive.

You lost coolant with no evidence found and may not be a head gasket but sure will be if you overheat this enough. AYOR to use it more or not,

T
_________________________________________
Long retired now


Sidom
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Jun 15, 2012, 3:42 AM

Post #11 of 12 (2204 views)
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DS hit the nail on the head......The only time pressure testing with a hand pressure tester is any good is when the gasket is blown so bad that the pressure will drop but when it's get to the point you don't need to pressure test the system because by then.....it's pretty obvious of the internal failure.....

Chemical testing is a good way to catch early ones. Some shops will use a pressure transducer or FLS sensor, those are sensitive enough to catch early ones but not a lot of places are using these. But this, like any other method isn't 100% so other tests need to be run.....






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sherrie
Novice

Jun 15, 2012, 9:05 AM

Post #12 of 12 (2190 views)
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Thank you all very much. You have been most helpful.
I have scheduled an appointment to take my car in for further testing.
Going to a different mechanic.
I will keep you folks posted.
Have a wonderful day!




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