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Buick Rendezvous Overheating



  • I have a 2003 rondezvous, and wife has stated that the over-heat lite comes on and off, and the heating goes cold. have also had air bag lite come on,and tire preassure lite as well. Took to dealer,and they could find no problem on the computer. took to a electrical place, and he said he could find no problem as well. This is a totally "come and go" problem. Can anyone offer any advice? If there is a wiring problem, shouldn't buick call a recall on these vehicles?. dealer wanted nearly 3k to replace wiring harnesses,what a rip-off. :cry:
  • ray80ray80 Posts: 1,233
    If the heater blows warm then cold without any changes to controls I might suspect a low coolant situation, shouldn't be any electrical issue with that. The air bag light may be connection issue (perhaps under the seat) or that and the other light could be an issue with BCM.
  • I have a 2005 Buick Rendezvous with the "34" engine. Recently it has developed a problem where the car says it is overheating, the dial runs all the way to "H" the red light comes on, chimes sound and all that. There are no leaks anywhere, and when I pop the hood the coolant reseviour is full and it bubbles. It is NOT bubbling because it is hot. If I pop the cap on the tank and wait about 2 - 3 minutes the coolant finds its way back into the system and off I go. It used to happen just once in a while, but now with the colder weather it happens quite frequently. I will be driving along with hot air in the car, then it suddenly turns cold, the guage will move to "H" Sometimes it will also just go back on its own and hot air will flow again in the car. I replaced the radiator cap so far and that has not helped much. Any thoughts anyone? I want to drive the car again, but am a bit concerned. Again, there are NO leaks in the system anywhere that I can see. Thanks!
  • ray80ray80 Posts: 1,233
    Kind of sounds like low coolant or air in system. If coolant was added at some point it 'could' have been low enough to allow air in and system would need to be bled again
  • I am looking at a 1999 Camry for my son and I suspect there is a short when ignition is in the off position (or key is removed). When we went to see the car the battery was nearly dead. Owner said it had been started about a week earlier. It was a new battery, owner said her mechanic said it was a faulty battery, he replaced in on warranty.

    I am skeptical that that was the issue.

    Can I check for a short with a multimeter (e.g., remove ground cable and check with an amp meter) or a code reader?

  • Navigating this forum is as clear as ...... facebook.

    I am trying to post a question in the Electical forum, how the heck does one do that?

    I've only been using computers every day for work for 24 years so I need some help.

  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,999
    Try here:

    Toyota Camry Fuse and Electrical Questions

    Go to the last page of the discussion and you'll find a posting box.

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • Have you figured out anything with your car. I have a 2005 rendezvous also and I am having the very same problems. I had taken my car down to the shop and they told me that my exhaust is getting into my coolant and causing my thermostat to shut down and then my car overheats. The thermostat shutting down explains the cold air that starts blowing out of the vents because its not allowing the hot coolant to filter through the car. I was told that I need to have my engine removed and new gaskets put on my car and then they have to have my heads checked for cracks and stuff. I was quoted a starting price of $1500 but they wont know more until they start the work! If you have any other information that might help me could you please email me at you and good luck with your car
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239
    When vehicle's temp goes into sudden cycles of extreme hot to extreme cold (even while sitting at a stop light), it's either a sticking thermostat or blown gaskets. If "no air" within the system, then it's a stuck thermostat. If "air" in the cooling system, then it's blown engine gaskets.

    If wondering, one of my previous vehicle's had blown engine gaskets. It took $2,000 to repair / replace its gaskets as well. Thus, their price range of $1500 + taxes is reasonable cost of repair. If getting gaskets replaced, ensure they "plane the flat surfaces" as well. Thus, getting a much better seal. And, to remove any warps - that might have been created from over heating...

    Good luck....

  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,055
    Can you please email me your VIN, current mileage, and involved dealer? I would like to look into this further for you.
    GM Customer Service
  • Sorry to be a bit slow on the response here...I have not been able to figure it out yet either. The car is in the driveway because I cannot afford to have my mechanic go "hunt" for the problem. I know in having it looked at so far that it is not a problem with head gaskets. (Whew!) Everyone who has one of these Rendesvous needs to know that getting at the thermostat to replace it willl take TWO HOURS as a section of the exhaust pipe has to be removed just to change the thermostat. (That is my dilema now as I cannot afford that at the moment) And based on what I have seen in this thread, others with a similar problem, changing the thermostat did not work. It is VERY perplexing what is going on, as after the car warms up ALL the coolant ends up in the resivour (sp?) tank. I would also welcome an inquiry from the GM Customer Service rep! I need help with this one...
  • mrfsramrfsra Posts: 3
    On my rendesvous it was the head gasket. On my aztec it was gaskets on the intake manifolds I think. Seems to be a recurring theme.
  • buddo9buddo9 Posts: 18
    The problem with the Buick Rendezvous Overheating is from a bad compartment design, The engine sits high and has no breathing room or a place for heat to escape..
    I purchased my 2002 Rendezvous knowing I could fix the problem, the original owner told me replaced a head gasket but it was still running to hot! So much so, it blistered some paint on the hood!
    I fixed the problem by simply cutting an inch away from the rubber seal at the highest point of the hood area.. (1" x 2 feet from center..)
    I've never had a over heating problem since......... Bud Coopersburg PA
  • I had the same problem in 08. took car to a dealer to have fixed. problems still arose thru the years.finally took car to a private mechanic this week.he informed me that one gasket was gone, and they (the dealer mechanic)had left the old gasket under new gasket that was put on.bottom line people,DO NOT TAKE TO DEALER!.these guys are totally incompetant,and it seems all they do is cause more problems down the road..better to find a HONEST private mechanic. dealers do NOT care about what they do,all they want is your money...I would, and I will boycott all dealers from now on. If they can't be honest,and fix the problems the right way, the first time, they need to be put out of business. I am totally disgusted about what we found out on this car,that has been going on for 3 yrs. till now..
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239
    edited March 2011
    IMO - Removing a small area of the rubber seal from the inner hood's upper compartment area is a bad DIY mod. The more I think about it, the more "too risky" comes to mind. This factory rubber seal is used to stop ice / rain from sliding down the windshield, into the wiper arm cavity area, melting and water dropping / draining on TOP of the hot engine. Hot upper engine, water and melting slush / snow in that specific area that contains lots of electrical wires is a very bad combination as well. Too risky in my books.

    Instead of cutting away factory rubber seals (that is used to protect the engine from water / cold slush), perhaps it would be much better to install a low profile air vent on top of the factory hood. Instead of facing its opening forward (like on race cars), simply have its hood opening facing to the rear (to the windshield direction). Thus, natural air flow into the vehicle's front rad, across the engine and "out" this low profile hood vent. And, no factory rubber seals are "cut away" either. If wondering, many hood vents have filter screens. Thus, eliminating (dramatically reducing) water from entering into the hood opening.

    For a few pictures of low profile / afordable hood vent, surf: - - hite-p-53666.html

    Note: Instead of installing this low cost hood vent with its opening facing forward, simply install it facing backwards. And if vehicle is driven in super hot climate, install 2 x low cost hood vents instead.

    Also.... Not too sure about "over heating" being only a Buick RDV problem. If you do a google search of "3.4L engine gasket problem", you'll see lots of gasket problems on this specific engine. For example, Venture van, Aztek, GM cars and other Pontiac / Chev vehicles. Some say its the poor gasket materials used in 200-2004, some say its from Dexcool's "too acidic" formula and some say its from a bad design engine. And, some certified mechanics say its from all 3 reasons (regardless of vehicle model). Thus, not too sure if installing a hood vent (to create more air flow / cooling) under the hood is a proactive "fix all" for everyone. I'm sure it will help reduce the risk in super hot climate areas and in all, don't think its a proactive fix-all for everyone (with the older 3.4L engine).

    Good luck with your Buick RDV....

  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239
    edited March 2011
    Sorry to hear that it took "that long of time" to identify a head gasket problem within your 2008 RDV vehicle. I do agree that "some" auto dealers are useless. At times, my one GM auto dealer was useless as well.

    For example... My new GM vehicle kept having a dead battery after the vehicle sat for 3+ days. They checked this, they checked that. I kept telling them my vehilce's battery didn't hold a charge after sitting for 3+ days and they kept thinking it was a charging problem. I told them to "park it" for 4 days, remove its battery cables and "let sit". On day 4, they connected its battery cables, turned its key and as predicted, "click - click". Unknown to their belief, the brand new Delco battery wouldn't hold a charge after sitting for 3+ days. And it took 3 x visits for them to realize the customer (me) was right. Man, they should have had a V8 slap in the head thing as well...

    Sorry to mumble on..... I do agree with you. Some GM dealers are useless in even simple diagnoses. Like diagnosing a dead battery. Sad to say but true....


    If wondering, my wife has a 2nd generation 2003 Buick RDV with 3.4L engine. Unknown to some, this configuration has a high risk of blowing its intake and head gaskets. My local mechanic tells me to drive the vehicle "softly", change its Dexcool every 3 years (instead of every 5 years) and don't pull a trailer with it. If / when its gasket goes, we either fix it or trade the vehicle in. Which ever is a better "cost analysis wise" - at that point in time.

    You might want to implement the same proactive items on our Buick RDV as well. re: Change its Dexcool fluid every 3 years, drive "softly" and don't over stress it (like pulling a utility trailer). So far... No gasket blowing problems on our 2003 RDV....

    Good luck with your RDV.....

  • buddo9buddo9 Posts: 18
    Not risky at all`!! ! covered that base when I did it ...
    You only cut half way down leaving the shelf fo drain any water, like any of the older models. I did a test spraying water over the windshield with great pressure, not a drop got on the engine!
    For cars left out doors and ice forming , put a windshield cover over that area.. (Any auto store sells them..)
    My car has been this way for a year and runs pefectly cool now..
    It is the only way! The encine sits in it's own heat and will destory itself..
    The old addage was "Heat destroys engines" Good luck!
    If you cut .. One Foot to the right and left from center will do it.. I could send a photo if you like,, buddo19ATPTDdotnet Bud
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239
    edited March 2011
    Guessing you don't live or drive with snow / ice county and had the opportunity 1st hand to see wiper blades "pull" snow downward - into the wiper blade cavity area. Guessing you've never had to clean that area out with you own hands. Or, see that cavity area ice up so bad, its stops the wipers from returning to their home postion.

    Yes. Heat destroys engines. Adding "more air flow" around an engine is a great idea. However, not too sure if cutting factory rubber seals (instead of safer means like vented hood vents) is a good thing to do. Especially if one lives in snow / ice covered driving condutions - that exists in upper USA regions.

  • carshowpjcarshowpj Posts: 4
    edited August 2011
    The same just thing happened to me and my family this weekend. We ended up stranded 200 miles away from home by the head gasket issue. In speaking to a local repair person, he mentioned the Dex-Cool coolant seems to be causing the head gaskets to deteriorate prematurely. His recommendation was to remove all the Dex-Cool coolant and replace it with "regular" coolant.

    I know Buick & GM are a great car company with a long and decorated history, so I'm very surprised they would put a product out that would cause so many problems to the owners and tarter their reputation. I would think they would force the gasket manufacturer or the coolant chemical company to stand behind their product a bit better.

    It costed me over $500 to rent a hotel room, rent a car to drive my family home and to tow my car home. I would of repaired it where it was, but since I was in a different State, I didn't know anybody there nor the repair shops.

    Total repair bill was quoted around $1800 and may go higher. For a vehicle with under 85K miles, this is excessive. I've had many other vehicles over the years and head gaskets have always lasted well over 125K and as high as 200K miles. This is a surprise for Buick.
  • buddo9buddo9 Posts: 18
    I went to great lengths to help "all" with overheating problems, ( Which seems to be anyone owning a Rendezvous.. ) The problem is not head gaskets! That is the outcome of the heat problem, Heat is a disaster to any engine!
    The problem is a bad engine compartment design! There is almost no vent above the engine, causing the engine to overheat bathing in it's own "heat chamber"
    I did this as I know about heat related problems in automobiles..
    1> The rubber guard just under the hood near the windshield is approx 2" deep..
    Why? To keep water form rain and whatever off of the engine...
    2> How to remedy this! Cut from the center of that guard one inch deep and one foot to the right and left form center ! A good sharp knife will do!
    3> You will now have a great vent space as most all cars do at that area!
    4? No fear of water getting on the engine as the one inch left will keep the water running off before hurting anything!
    5> After I was done, I sprayed water with as much pressure as I could on the windshield to be sure water is not getting on the engine! NOT A DROP!
    6> I did this to my 2002 and it has not overheated since that process! Two years now! Cool!
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