: What Went Wrong ???



GCEE
05-01-04, 03:03 PM
Hi Everyone. Yesterday while I was driving I experianced something very strange. I was a block away from my home, with the air-conditioning on, when all of a sudden a MASSIVE amount of steam started coming out of the vents. I proceded to drive in my drive way and turn the car off. The steam continued to come through the vents for an additional ten minutes in smaller amounts. I opened the hood and didnt notice anything strange visually, exept the outside tempature meter inside the dash read 30degrees when it was ateast 85 degreees. I was runing late for a dinner so after the steam stopped , my wife and I attempted to eave. I figure something in the air-conditioning went out , and I'd deal with it later. As soon as I pulled out of the driveway the overheating gage came on and the car started to feel weak. I immediatley stopped the car. I got a ride to the dinner and have touched the car since. Does anyone have any idea what could have happened??? What the heck happened??? Thanks in advance

El Dobro
05-01-04, 03:33 PM
Sounds like your heater core blew. Have you checked your coolant level?

GCEE
05-01-04, 03:41 PM
Sounds like your heater core blew. Have you checked your coolant level?

Thanks for the quick response. I noticed sometime back that at times there would be a light mist on the windows from time to time after parking. Was that a pre-sign of heater core problems?

I checked the coolant evel and it is quite low but not bone dry. What cuased the car to everheat? Where do I go from here? Would this have any effect on the engine? Can I drive it today? Thanks once again for everything. Gil

El Dobro
05-01-04, 04:21 PM
It sounds like it was on it's way with a small leak and then finally let loose. The only driving I'd be doing in that condition is to a shop. You don't want things to get worse.

BeelzeBob
05-01-04, 06:15 PM
Sounds like the heater core was leaking and the system is low on coolant as a result and overheated....


Fill the cooling system with 50/50 coolant/distilled water and drive it to a service place to get the heater core replaced and the system pressure tested to see if there are any other leaks .....

GCEE
05-07-04, 07:36 PM
Let me first start of by saying thanks. Now, I had the heater core replaced. Now I am having problems with the car overheating. The "coolant level low" reading pops up when there is sufficent coolant and the car gets hot very fast. What going on now? I NEVER had any overheating problems prior to the Heater Core going out. Any ideas whats going on??? Heads went bad because of initial problem? Sensors went bad because of initial problem? This is frustating

El Dobro
05-07-04, 09:10 PM
Are the warning lights coming on telling you you're overheating or is just the low coolant light coming on.

GCEE
05-07-04, 09:44 PM
Are the warning lights coming on telling you you're overheating or is just the low coolant light coming on.

BOTH :want:

BeelzeBob
05-08-04, 03:31 AM
Well, several things to check...


First, make positively sure that the system is filled correctly. It may be that the system was not filled completely after the heater core was replaced and it has air in the system that is stalling the pump. When the engine is cold fill thru the pressurized surge tank until full. Start the engine and rev it to 3500-4000 RPM slowly up and down several times to clear the system of air. Then fill the surge tank to about 1.5 inches from the cap and put the cap on.

Double check the concentration of the coolant in the system. Possibly somewhere along the line with the overheating and such the system got plain water put in it that diluted the coolant. IF the coolant is not 50/50 then premature boiling and overheating symptoms will occur. The coolant concentration MUST be 50/50 or good to -40 for freezing protection....that would indicate 50/50 mix. Check it with a refractometer, not just a hydrometer (the floating balls type) as those are notoriously inaccurate. Worse than useless...they are misleading. Find someone with a refractometer and have them check the coolant concentration.

Check the water pump drive belt and tensioner. That is at the rear of the cylinder head on the left/front bank of the engine. There is a small belt just for the water pump. Possibly something happened to the belt and the water pump is not turning...causing overheating that may have increased the pressure in the system and caused the heater core to fail originally.

Check/replace the thermostat. If it has 100K or close on it just replace it as preventative maintenance. The stat may have stuck closed/failed and caused the original overheat...that caused excessive pressure that blew the heater core out.

The heater core failing may have been a secondary failure after something else failed and caused the engine to overheat. The system would still not exceed 15 PSI even if it overheated...but maybe the heater core was weak for some reason and was going to fail anyway...but the overheat just hastened it. You didn't notice the overheat as such since the heater core let go...but maybe that was a byproduct of a stuck stat or a failed water pump drive belt/tensioner.....

The other thing to check is the vapor vent line from the water pump cavity to the surge tank. At the surge tank you will find a 3/8 hose with a clamp on it connecting to the surge tank itself. Take that line off when the engine is cold. Start the engine momentarily with the hose disconnected. You should observe a strong, steady flow of coolant from the 3/8 hose itself. If not, then determine the blockage. That is the vapor vent line from the water pump and if it is not flowing the pump cannot rid itself of air/vapor and it will lock up and not pump. So...that hose has to always flow when the engine is running. IF it is blocked the engine will overheat due to lack of flow. The hose fastens to the engine at the upper radiator hose fitting. It is connected to a fitting that is acutally a hollow bolt. If there is no flow, take the hose off the bolt and see if the bolt passage is clogged.

GCEE
05-10-04, 07:54 PM
Weelllll.....The initial mechanic who did the heater core job sent the car his friend who owns a radiator shop. His advice was to have the radiotor cleaned and make sure the problem wasnt coming from there. I just spoke to the guy from the shop and he claims that due the excess pressure from the engine the radiator plactic reserve busted??? WTF??? He claims it might be due to a head gasket leak. Does this make any sense whatsoever. I figure it wasnt broke before I took it there therfore they are responsible. Someone else told me that the overheating problem might me due to air being trapped in the system. Could this have caused the plastic reserve to bust??? NOW WHAT???

BeelzeBob
05-11-04, 12:54 PM
Did you check any of the things above...??? Or have the shop check them to see if they could be part of the problem.??

How did "they" determine that the pressurized surge tank was leaking..??? That would be pretty obvious as the surge tank is on the fender and coolant leaking from it should have caused an obvious drip.

If you read my post again I raised the possibility that something (like a leaking surge tank...????) could have caused the system to run low and overheat and the overheat event stressed the heater core and caused it to fail.... Maybe the heater core was not the first thing to fail...just the most obvious. If that scenario makes sense then, sure, the surge tank could now be found to be leaking and no one would have damaged it...possibly it was the leak source all along....