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Overheating Problem Pontiac Torrent 2007 3.4L


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Pwisdom69
Novice

Apr 23, 2016, 10:37 AM

Post #1 of 13 (720 views)
Overheating Problem Pontiac Torrent 2007 3.4L Sign In

I recently had my head gasket replaced on my 2007 Pontiac Torrent 3.4L AWD. Yhe result of my daughter driving it with a bad radiator. The shop also replaced the radiator because they confirmed it was bad. Ever since, I noticed the distinct smell of coolant inside the cabin. The vehicle ran OK for a couple months but the smell never went away. The heater eventually went out and stopped blowing heat. The engine also began overheating. We replaced the heater core and tstat. Now the engine overheats and the heater still blows cold. The radiator hoses get hot and the fans turn on when temp is hot. I'm wondering if the shop may have installed the head gasket wrong. The cooling system has an expansion tank with pressure cap. It is designed to separate air bubbles from coolant. I ran the motor until it came up to temp. I checkered coolant level and saw it started to bubble over so I put the cap on the expansion tank, thinking it was OK since it has an overflow tube. Any ideas?


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Apr 23, 2016, 11:01 AM

Post #2 of 13 (716 views)
Re: Overheating Problem Pontiac Torrent 2007 3.4L Sign In

? These repairs just went all wrong and doubt head gasket was really fixed. Pressure test indicated for leaks.
What debris blocked heater core that wouldn't flush out? It isn't going to blow heat while overheating or low on coolant if not sometimes only vacuum filled to be truly full.


The cap and recovery system really isn't a bubble separator but rather catches normal overflow from expansion when warm, does blow out air if at the exit to it and might not be and when cools draws back just liquid coolant. True - some this will self purge out air in a few cycles but you shouldn't have that much after work to purge out. Boiling means vapor and vapor alone hot as it is boiling hot doesn't exchange heat.


The odor was the clue ignored that it wasn't right perhaps not just gaskets but cracks or warped parts from overheating or possible water pump just can't pump water among things.


All things MUST work and hold pressure and be truly full.
Fans must work and on time.


Pressure cap must hold pressure and allow air back in when liquid returns via small hose if leaking there would eventually go low on you and show full at the recovery tank.
Must hold pressure as normal temps will exceed boiling points without, then vapor and real overheat possibly back to square one with failed head gasket job in total not just gaskets.
Outside problems are if cooling system working VERY hard and antifreeze near 100% doesn't exchange heat well at all and can overheat.


IDK - seems even though 9 years old seems old that it's early for clogged (if so) radiator or heater core if cared for at all.
Pressure check again. Make sure t-stat really opens new or not but think the work has failed or a serious debris problem not flushed out or wont flush out including certain sealers might need extra work to get out that never should have been used,


T



Discretesignals
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Apr 23, 2016, 1:16 PM

Post #3 of 13 (707 views)
Re: Overheating Problem Pontiac Torrent 2007 3.4L Sign In

Have you called the shop the repairs were made to have them take a re-look? Did you or the shop replace the heater core? Sometimes those engine need to be vacuum filled and ran with a big funnel to purge all the air out. That is one thing about overheating the crap out of an engine. You never know what secondary problems may show up later.





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 Apr 23, 2016, 1:18 PM)


Pwisdom69
Novice

Apr 23, 2016, 1:22 PM

Post #4 of 13 (705 views)
Re: Overheating Problem Pontiac Torrent 2007 3.4L Sign In

I'm really sorry but I am having difficulty understanding what I need to do. The information you gave me seems to be some real pearls and I wish I was more educated as a mechanic so I could follow what you're saying. What I think you're saying is as follows:

1. Original head gasket repair job may not have been done properly.
2. You asked what debris was blocking the old heater core that we removed? I think p the flap on old core was gummed up and stuck closed.
3. Expansion tank doesn't really purge air from cooling system or at least not adequately enough.
4. After head gasket repair job was complete, coolant odor may have been an indicator that other issues may have been present such as warped heads, cracked block, etc.
5. Water pump could be failing.
6. Fans do operate but they must come on at proper time.
7. Pressure cap must hold proper pressure and allow for coolant return when motor cools.
8. Antifreeze not diluted enough won't cool properly.
9. Could be a tstat problem even if it is a new tstat.
10. 9 years old seems not old enough for radiator or heater core to be clogged. There may be a serious clog in there. Cooling system could need a thorough flush/fill as there may be debris blocking such as certain sealants that should never have been used.
11. Should pressure check again to make sure there are no leaks.

I think this summarizes what you told me. Please let me know if I missed anything or if I got it wrong. I appreciate your time and help.

Pw


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Apr 23, 2016, 1:45 PM

Post #5 of 13 (703 views)
Re: Overheating Problem Pontiac Torrent 2007 3.4L Sign In

You paid for the work and shouldn't have to totally understand the whole job in full - they should have! I don't think this cooling system layout will self purge out all air and always be a problem is worked on and it was. I also don't think some "flap?" required a heater core that couldn't be flushed out?


Was it flushed at all? I doubt it. Was head sent out to be checked? I doubt that too. Machine shops check out heads for flaws you may not even see and as needed fix or declare one no good for re-use. That work get sent out for almost all full service shops as a sub trade - machine work.
OK: You are learning so you know what SHOULD be happening vs doing every detail yourself which is great to understand what you are paying for and if you are getting that.


This smack of air that never got purged out near certainly one of those that vacuum filling really helps to required. Air will just stay high and hidden. What vacuum does is whole system has below atmospheric pressure so no real air left such that when switching to fill finds all those hidden spots.


That list is valid. Of that the way too strong antifreeze probably isn't it. For a buck you can test the strength yourself with a cheapo small floating ball balls in a glass thing and count how many. Most are actually pretty close!
Rock and hard place with certain shops if you have one that doesn't already know or short cut the work they did. If you go in like a smart azz telling them what might have been missed it doesn't usually work out that THEY want YOU the customer do diagnose the problem but rather tell of exactly what you notice and let them decide. If they are short of know how you need another shop and tech simple as that.


To make this a one line list of why all this AIR in the system would explain almost all of it! The fix is now late as it's run hot long enough - for that matter once is too much IMO.


Stinks but at the moment I don't think all work was done properly if they knew how or not or just some bad luck thrown in?


T



Discretesignals
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Apr 23, 2016, 2:03 PM

Post #6 of 13 (700 views)
Re: Overheating Problem Pontiac Torrent 2007 3.4L Sign In

I think the first thing that needs to be done is to check for combustion gasses in the coolant system after verifying you have no external leaks using a pressure tester. You could replace parts and attempt to diagnose all those reasons, but if you have gasses getting into the coolant system, you'll be chasing your own tail.

There are two ways to find if there are combustion gasses getting in there. A block tester, which can be misleading, and an emission gas analyzer, which is more accurate.





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 Apr 23, 2016, 2:05 PM)


Pwisdom69
Novice

Apr 23, 2016, 2:35 PM

Post #7 of 13 (693 views)
Re: Overheating Problem Pontiac Torrent 2007 3.4L Sign In

Thank you. I am heading over to Auto zone to rent their pressure tester. Unfortunately I don't think the auto repair shop I took my car to will be much help. I've taken my vehicle back a couple of times because of the coolant odor problem. They checked it out the first time and told me they found no leaks and then said I need to watch the coolant level. The second time I took it back they said it was the underside of the coolant bottle and charged me for fixing that. They subsequently told me I could have a heater core problem and since it eventually stopped blowing heat, I asked a friend to replace it for me. I have not taken my car back there since because I don't think they would be able to fix what is wrong or wouldn't be honest with taking responsibility for repairing it properly. My thought is to take it to the dealer and pay the 100 bucks for a thorough diagnosis. Maybe I should take my car back to the original repair shop once I have a written, confirmed diagnosis from the dealer. That is of course if it says the head has issues. If they won't help me then I will be taking them to small claims court while I have the dealer properly repair it. Another 2K out of pocket. Eeks.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Apr 23, 2016, 2:57 PM

Post #8 of 13 (689 views)
Re: Overheating Problem Pontiac Torrent 2007 3.4L Sign In

First clue was the first shop not taking the coolant odor seriously if after the first day, maybe two should be done with that.
The clue I like for the combustion gasses which is real damning for head gasket problems is just feel the upper radiator hose upon cold start up. It shouldn't begin with any pressure or heat in the hose. Takes time - a few minutes or so for any pressure really but if you feel it right away that's a bad sign. While still too cold to be overheating careful release of pressure all this in seconds of initial start it pressure rebuilds right away again it's super high chance blowing combustion pressure vapor into cooling system.


You can see this also with the pressure tester but be ready to release pressure as ones I've always used you do that yourself - this tester doesn't and could blow out parts or hoses if way too much allowed to build up.


Great - Shop looked at the recover tank and said it wasn't low and probably did nothing more just to get you to go away. I can't blame anyone for anything from here or badmouth them but what smells like a fish, tastes like a fish probably is a fish!


A court case? IDK - you'll probably fail, most do I've known of. There's also a problem getting one tech to blame another and it's really hard to as they weren't there and a problem could be new by coincidence that confuses it.


So test away and tester should also test the cap that it holds at it's pressure rating as well.


Said earlier this shouldn't be up to you to totally understand just be given explanations of what is in need with complaint you brought in as a customer.


Good luck with what you can find. Here to help but this really is about what was missed IMO,


T



Discretesignals
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Apr 23, 2016, 3:19 PM

Post #9 of 13 (686 views)
Re: Overheating Problem Pontiac Torrent 2007 3.4L Sign In

Don't know how far your going to get if you go to court. Many techs that work at or own independent shops have also worked at the dealership level. Just because a dealership specializes in a certain make of vehicle doesn't make them the defining authority of automotive repair. I can tell you that from experience. You will pay more because you have "factory trained technicians" repairing vehicles using factory repair information and parts if you use a dealership. Believe it of not our shop has gotten many dealership screw ups in the past and will in the future. Some of the best mechanics in the world are at the independent level in my opinion. More so, because a lot of independent work on many makes and models of vehicle and "see it all". Another plus is that an independent tech on hourly pay can spend more quality time on a problem and do a much better job than a technician being rushed on a flat rate pay type system who needs to hurry up and fix it or not get paid what the job is actually worth.

The problem is the vehicle was overheated and driven around with a leaking radiator. Who knows how badly this was overheated and what secondary damage(s) was caused. Common sense tells you that there is no guaranty that a repair made to an engine that overheated won't have any other problems in itself or any of the systems related to it. Sometimes those after effects won't show up until days, months, or years later. 3.4L engines in the U platforms (torrent, montana, aztek, equinox, etc.) had or has many issues with their coolant systems including intake gaskets carriers turning to mush, Dex-cool turning to sludge, defects in factory castings that are supposed to be sealed, and etc that can cause an overheating situation. Our shop will usually recommend an engine if it was overheated to the point it warps head and blows gaskets especially on a vehicles such as yours. Most customers we opt in engine replacement end up junking the vehicle because it is high mileage and they are tired of all the problems they had with them, and it just isn't worth fixing.





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 Apr 23, 2016, 3:45 PM)


Pwisdom69
Novice

Apr 24, 2016, 9:18 AM

Post #10 of 13 (672 views)
Re: Overheating Problem Pontiac Torrent 2007 3.4L Sign In

So then, should I take the vehicle back to the shop? It's owned and operated by the same guy that has been there for years. The vehicle only has 99k miles on it and is in pretty good condition aside from the cooling issue so I would hate to junk it. I'm sure the shop owner will tell me they will go back into it to see what is going on but I will be responsible for paying for new repairs, even possibly a new fee for another head gasket job. I could try to argue the point that it wasn't fixed properly to begin with but that may be futile. My last resort may be to just find another shop and ensure they send out the heads for inspection and poss machining and follow up with a scathing attack of negative customer reviews in as many places as possible. Of course this may all be a moot point if I find out there is an air pocket hiding out in the system or if the pressure cap on the expansion tank is failing?


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Apr 24, 2016, 11:05 AM

Post #11 of 13 (669 views)
Re: Overheating Problem Pontiac Torrent 2007 3.4L Sign In

The scene stinks. If an air pocket they should have know but who can prove what now?
I'll try to be short. Once was asked to testify for a legal action on a custom rebuilt engine that failed early, done locally and TMK quite costly.
Mother of a son who had the problem. I didn't want to get involved at all just anyway but saw the car (A Pontiac Firebird V8) and instantly noticed inside of rear wheel wells coated in burnt rubber from obvious abusive "burn outs" to show it off. Said to Mother - I wont be helping your case having seen that! That car was so clearly beat to death how could I honestly say it was the engine place's fault? Leave me out of those. This isn't that type of thing exactly at all IMO but still not witness to it nor is this site about legal action nor should anything said be credible as a witness to a problem with a shop or tech.


BTW - If a 2007 car is otherwise in very good to excellent shape and if even needs a whole engine or partial. Maybe known well checked used if it's that bad should still be worth it not just junked.


This isn't there yet at all IMO,


T



Pwisdom69
Novice

Apr 26, 2016, 2:23 PM

Post #12 of 13 (643 views)
Re: Overheating Problem Pontiac Torrent 2007 3.4L Sign In

Hi,

I thought I would follow up and let you know what ended up with my vehicle. I ran the engine with the pressure cap to the expansion tank off to see if I could burp out any air pockets. After engine started warming up, I did see it begin to bubble up out of the tank. I just let it run for awhile and the fans came on and I noticed the coolant level went down a lot. I added a little more mix and let it run some more. The temp Guage showed temp drop, big drop. As motor ran more bubbles in tank. Bubbles eventually stopped but I ran heater the whole time and I did notice a small increase in heat but it still won't blow very hot. Not sure why cuz it's a new core. I'm going to see if I can burp it some more. Thanks.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Apr 26, 2016, 10:04 PM

Post #13 of 13 (635 views)
Re: Overheating Problem Pontiac Torrent 2007 3.4L Sign In

Not a conclusion of anything with your test:
Sorry for the long script but you need to know how systems work. You may have 12 qts. of coolant total. When it warms up it expands LIQUID normally and pushes that out to a tank marked "cold level" and "hot level" usually or just lines. That amount of change could be a qt. or so by volume, totally cold to fully warmed up.


Fine, but why was air in it at all now? No excuses now after it's been run a few times if burping totally worked it would only be liquid barfing out with pressure cap off. It would suck back in when fans came on as coolant got colder but not like letting it cool down for a couple hours.


Please know that operating temps without pressure can normally boil as fans may not kick on till about 230F above boiling point of coolant mixed even. With 15 PSI pressure it can't boil before 257F for plain water + a few degrees for having coolant in it.
(Note - pressure raises boiling point 3F per pound of pressure = 45 more degrees) 212F is basline for plain water I shouldn't have to say.
All things point to this putting combustion gasses into cooling system now but not certain quite yet. If a bubble can stay trapped and they can it would stay trapped not burp out for you in your test and all be fine.


High chance you have a blown head gasket or others involved in sealing combustion pressures still more to do to fully blame it. I told you jus to feel the hose which is VERY good info or with a pressure tester on it when just started up would climb right up before expansion would explain it.
The job failed or fault went unnoticed from the first fix by all odds,


T



(This post was edited by Tom Greenleaf on Apr 26, 2016, 10:08 PM)






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