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Cooling Systems -- Problems & Solutions (Radiator, Fan, etc)



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    20 minute overheat is pretty fast. I'd say a circulation issue rather than a cooling issue per se.

    Best thing you can do is have the system pressure tested for leakage, and have the used radiator flow-testing for clogging. Also you can have the thermostat checked.

    I'm not sure if your car requires a special technique for adding coolant (bleeding air from the system as you fill). You might check into this and if you didn't do that, you can get overheating by having air trapped in the circulatory system.
  • plshelp1plshelp1 Posts: 3
    Thanks for the quick response to my question.
    I should correct myself, the total time it took to get to my destination was 20 minutes. The temperature gauge did not go past mid-point, and while driving there was no indication that there was a problem. The car just started to let off steam/smoke when I parked it and I noticed the pool of coolant underneath the car beside the right front tire.

    Is there a hose that is connected from the coolant system to the engine (towards the back of the car)? Because it was suggested that a hose might have burst or that there is a hole in a hose that is connected to the engine.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Possibly but the burst hose could be the result of overheating not the cause of it.
  • plshelp1plshelp1 Posts: 3
    Thanks again, I am going to look into all your suggestions.
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    Try to start the car when cold and let idle to regular temperature. (while hood is up and with a lot of light). Check for any visible leaks while engine is running, then turn engine off and look for any leaks and listen for any hissing sounds. If you don't have a pressure tester, this is one way to find a leak, although a pressure tester is the best way. Good luck.
  • dar2dar2 Posts: 1
    I have a 1999 Saturn SW2. I have the air conditioning on max. When I am driving the car above 55 mph and no stop lights the air conditiioning temp. gage I have in the duct reads 45 degrees. The Coolant gauge on the instrument panel will be in the zone just above the first line above the C. Now, when I am driving anywhere under 55 mph and have stop at lights the temperature gage in the duct will read 60 degrees and warmer and the Coolant gauge will be going towards the red zone. Now, at night when the sun goes down the gage in the duct will read 40 degrees. I have had the coolant flushed, new theromastat and gased it up as well. How can I correct the probelm. I know if I go to a saturn dealer with it, they will want to replace everything in the car and maybe tell me to get a new car. Also today the instrument coolant gage dances all over the gage. Help I live in Las Vegas and a heat waive is coming. Dar2
  • avrabelavrabel Posts: 1
    When my '92 Lebaron (V6) warms up to the point where the electric fan turns on, coolant starts pouring out. Prior to this, when the engine is cold, there are no visible leaks. I've replaced the thermostat, which did not solve the problem. The in & out hoses stay dry, and it almost looks like the coolant is leaking out of the middle/center of the radiator. I saw another post describing a pressure valve that opens when pressure builds due to a faulty radiator cap. Should I invest in a pressure tester and a new radiator cap, or is there a more serious issue lurking?
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    Help me understand. While you are cruising at 55 mph with out any stop and go, you have the air conditioner set at 45 degrees and the temperature gauge will read just at the normal range line above the C line. When your driving below 55 mph in stop and go traffic, stop lights, the air conditioning is set at 60 degrees and warmer and the temperature gauge will start to rise in the normal/high range towards the red zone H. At night the air conditioning will be set at 40 degrees with no over heat.

    Did you have the air conditioning on for each time that you described? I'm at a loss, since I know for a fact that the vehicle coolant get's a lot hotter then 60 degrees. So I am assuming you are talking about the air conditioning temperature setting. :)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Coolant should go into the coolant recovery shouldn't leak out of the radiator cap at all....if it does, sure replace the cap but that probably isn't the answer.

    You should check (on that car in particular) for a bad head gasket and also have the radiator flow-tested to see if it's all clogged up after all these years and all those miles.
  • leo88sldleo88sld Posts: 2
    Hello, I have a 2000 GMC Sonoma with the 4 cylinder engine flex fuel option.
    The problem that I am having is the following; If I put the ac switch on any of these selections; max a/c, a/c, symbol that shows air being directed to top and bottom of dash, I will hear a noise that sounds like someone shaking a can of bb's. If I put the same swithch in any other position besides off, I still here the noise(bb's being shaken in a can), but not a intense. This truck has 105,00 miles on it, and everything is all original equipment.
    My personal feeling is that its the bearing within the compressor. If I disconnect the wire going to the compressor/clutch assm, I can still hear the noise, but only a little. In all cases the noise is more prevalent at low rpm/idle than at any other rpm.

    How can I be sure it is the bearing in the compressor?
    If it is the bearing in the compressor, could I fix it myself, or should I purchase a remanufactured/new compressor?
    New/remanufactured compressors go for $350.00 and up for this truck, so I want to try and do as much of the work myself.

    Also, I have been having to add coolent to the overfill tank. The ac still blows cool air, but I think its just a matter of time before that bearing(if thats what it is) goes up.

    In any event, all recommendations/ideas for troubleshooting this problem would certainly be appreciated.

    Salisbury, Md. :confuse:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    How much coolant do you have to add to the tank? Every day or ??

    That noise you hear sounds more like a bad AC compressor clutch. We could talk more about that in the Climate Control Forum. This forum is for cooling systems, as in "engine cooling" not car interior cooling.


  • jxu158jxu158 Posts: 1
    Recently, I notice that after I drive hime from work and parked for a while, there is some water under the car on the passenger side.

    That "water" seems to be not the coolent, because the color is not kind of light green (the coolent color); when I touch it, it does not feel like some oil based. Basically, it seems like just be water...
    And my coolent reservor is on the driver side.
    In addition, seems, just seems to me there is no coolent leak from the radiator or coolent reservor, because coolent reservor is at its max level.

    So I wonder whether it is a problem? Because the warranty period will expire in about 2 months, I don't want to wait until next oil change to get it checked.

    I appreciate any help here.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    It's probably condensate from the air conditioning system.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I agree with that, too.
  • sally3sally3 Posts: 2
    I've had a leak there for some time. I can't trouble shoot it for the life of me because (I'm in Oregon) so it does rain alot, but it doesn't consistently leak when it rains. On the other hand it POURS water from the corner under the dash near the firewall when I run the AC. BUT I run the AC all the time throughout the year and it only seems to do this in the summer. I'm really not sure why this is happening and have had it looked at before. There is no consistency to the issue and so it's very hard to make a determination about why or when. Please help me. I've read thru all the water leak posts and don't see anything similar.
    I do not believe it is an exterior seal or door leak at all. I can actually watch it either drip or pour from the area in question.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    You should remove the windshield cowling (under the wipers) and inspect for clogged drain holes (easy, just pour water down there and see if it goes onto the ground through a drain, or into your car)---also check the little drain tube that is supposed to drain off the condensation from your AC evaporator---on some cars it is buried so that might take some doing.
  • angieatkyangieatky Posts: 1
    I have had my car about 4 months and now there is a marroon colored stuff coming out the radiator I check it everyday and it is always a little low and has this stuff. It is thick too. It smears like paint when I touch it. I was just wondereing if it was stop leak and if I flush it out I'm gonna have a hole somewhere. I think it keeps me from filling it all the way up. And thats why its low everyday.
  • jerryg2jerryg2 Posts: 3
    I have a 1998 Pontiac Trans Sport. The low coolant light came on, I added coolant, light went out for awhile - now the light flashes, Did not overheat and does not overheat.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    You should have that checked right away. Could be automatic transmission fluid (your radiator cools your transmission, if you have an automatic). If this is it (just a long guess), that would require a new radiator, and flushing the cooling system and the transmission. Do NOT delay. Find out what this is.
  • southiesouthie Posts: 1
    Recently I flushed the cooling system and changed the thermostat because the indicator was high. It remained midrange until I did serious highway driving. It then went high again. There is proper amount of coolant, in proper mixture, the cooling fan comes on at the right time. Any suggestions?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Okay, overheating at highway speeds only indicates a circulation issue, not a fan issue, since the air flow at highway speeds should be enough to cool the engine even with little fan action.

    So you have a clog or air in the system would be my guess. Some cooling systems require an air bleed procedure that must be followed---don't know if this is the case with your car however.
  • jerryg2jerryg2 Posts: 3
    Could air in system cause the light to flash and if so how do you bleed the air?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well I don't know, each car has a different procedure and I'm not even sure your car requires it. I'm just throwing it out there.

    Air in the system will definitely cause an overheat, as this interrupts the flow of coolant.
  • jerryg2jerryg2 Posts: 3
    I developed a big water and steam leak in the area of the water pump. Temp gauge never went above 200 degrees. I know that gauge only senses water temp not steam temp. I drove only about a 1/2 mile before I could park. Having van towed for repair. Ain't like the old days: an air wrench , a little time, few parts and problem solved( not anymore).

    I did not think to check for water movement in radiator to make sure pump and t-stat were working when light problem developed, I had no warning except low coolant light. Never had any problems with coolant loss in 7 tears. This problem only existed for two days.
  • anweranwer Posts: 1
    I have Lexus 1993, es 300. After driving on highway for an Hour, when it is parked, the coolant pour out from the recovery bottle. we dont know why does it happen. On highway at 70 M.P.H, when ac is on, engine heating needle goes up, and then we have to turn off the AC and turn on the heating so the needle goes down. Could you please guide us, what could be wrong with the system.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Sounds like either a clogging radiator and/or your electric cooling fans are not going on. On many cars, turning on the AC turns on an additional cooling fan. If your car has two electric cooling fans, one should go on when the AC goes on.
  • HI I am new here.

    I have a 1995 c280 mercedes and it's having a cooling problem every time I park the car it sounds like the engines is boiling over and water comes out he over flow tube from the radiator cap. The temp gauges reads normal and it dose not matter if it's how outside or cold it still loses water. Any ideas?? I just got the car this spring. The electric fans come on and but it never gets hot enough to turn them on normally the gauges all read normal. the car has 220 thousand miles on it.

  • I have a 94 chevy cav 4 cyl. i had a leak from the radiator hose to engine. ( fixed it) now the fan wont turn on. :mad: can't disconnect it. it wont come off, and don't know where the relay is or the fuse? PLEASE HELP :cry:
  • jmixjmix Posts: 4
    I own a hyundai accent 95 model (used car). As part of its routine maintenance check, I had oil change last July 19, 2005 and regular flushing and refilling of the radiator coolant.

    However, when I inspected my reservoir the next day, it was already empty. I checked on the radiator and it was still full (green in color). I don't understand it. The reservoir was full when I had it refilled. There was no sign of leak, otherwise, the radiator would have also been empty - but it was still very full.

    By the way, I used Jumbo Coolant. It didn't mention about the mixing procedures. But what my mechanic did, was to fill up the reservoir of pure coolant, and then applied 50/50 formulation of coolant and water in the radiator. What went wrong?
  • Hey

    I fixed it I got a new radiator cap seems to solve the problem....woohooo
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Posts: 421
    It is very well possible that not enough coolant was in the cooling system. You have to remember that the coolant goes from the radiator thru the bottom radiator hose, thru the water pump, thru the engine, thru the heater hoses and core, then back thru the top radiator hose into the radiator. I'd say check to see how much coolant your mechanic put in and see if that's what your cooling system holds. It sounds like there wasn't enough coolant in the radiator so it pulled all the coolant from the reservoir. Did you ever notice if the temperature gauge was at a steady temp. or kept moving up and down? ;)
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,306
    I don't know if this is the proper place to ask this question as I cannot find the "Add Discussion" link.

    My 1989 Cadillac Brougham (RWD) apopears to have developed a significant coolant leak. The car runs fine and doesn't appear to overheat. I have seen a small puddle of coolant on the floor of my garage and the leak appears to be coming from a spot between the rear edge of the oil pan and the leading edge of the transmission bell housing.

    What is wrong?
    What are the best-case and worst-case scenarios?
    What must be done?
    How much will this repair cost?

    The car is in otherwise extremely good condition so I want to keep it regardless of it's age. Any help will be greatly appreciated!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    There's really nothing back there but maybe a freeze plug. Are you sure it's not just a heater hose or something that connects to the firewall at the back of the engine and is dripping onto the engine/trans? If there were a freeze plug at the rear of the engine (just guessing there is one), that would be rather nasty to replace---maybe you could access it by dropping the trans off it's crossmember and tilting the engine backwards.

    Do you live in a climate that has freezing temperatures any time of year?
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,306
    I live in Philadelphia and we do get freezing temperatures from about November through the middle of March. However, the car is kept indoors in a heated garage that is part of my house.

    I don't see the classic sign of a blown head gasket - plumes of white smoke. I hope that this isn't, God forbid, a cracked block! I love this car and would foolishly spend a ridiculous sum of money on it regardless of my better judgement.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Blown head gaskets don't necessarily put coolant into the combustion chamber...they can leak externally, depending.

    I wasn't thinking "cracked block" but rather that the freeze plug might have been pushed a little over the years....also, they just corrode over time.

    Anyway, maybe you should have your cooling system pressure tested--that often reveals problems. Under pressure, and with the aid of a lift and/or good lighting, you might be able to spot the problem.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,306
    ...tomorrow. Will let everyone know what happened. I believe it's a freeze plug too, but I could be wrong. The car doesn't leak when the car is running, but as soon as I shut it off and the engine cools, the leak happens. I'm sure to clean it up because there is a cat who wanders around and I don't want her to drink it and get sick. Animals are attracted to the stuff for some reason.

    I don't drive the car very often. It is garaged and kept covered in a dry environment. It doesn't see snow or rain. Maybe something happened from it sitting so long. My girlfriend's brother from Colorado wanted to see the car so I took it out for the first time since early June. Fortunately, he didn't see the leaking fluid. It would've been embarrassing.
  • Hi, I have a 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited. It has been overheating for about 4-5 weeks now. It poured coolant after I gunned the engine to get up an overpass entrance. Since then I had the thermostat replaced since it seemed to be leaking around the thermostat gasket. It was still losing coolant and overheating so we replaced the water pump as there was coolant around that gasket also. It has quit losing coolant but still is overheating in stop and go traffic very quickly. I am hardly able to use my A/C without it overheating. I haven't taken it on any highway trips as I don't want to blow the engine. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Oh as a side thought, when we replaced the water pump we had to remove the air filter system to gain enough room. In the process a small hose was dislodged and we don't know where it came from, it is still attached near the front drivers side tire well. I also had the radiator flushed this past weekend. Thank you for any help.
  • ecoss11ecoss11 Posts: 1
    The cooling fan does not turn, therefore the car overheats while city driving. It has new thermostat, new coolant temperature sensor. The sensor is receiving 5.1V from the PCM. Relay is good and the fuse is good too. When turning AC on the fan still does not come on.When plugging in an Actron code reader and turning the key on. The fan starts up immediately so I think the fan motor is working. Yet the fan never turns on while driving.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    A blown head gasket?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Oh if it works when you plug in a code reader that suggests to me that a sensor is not grounding its circuit properly when it should.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Really FAST overheats are often head gaskets or cracked heads. Of course with this old a car the radiator could be plugged up and no flushing is going to fix that---the radiator could be flow tested and a compression test or cylinder leakdown test (better yet) would reveal a head gasket issue or a crack in an exhaust port (exhaust gases heat up coolant).
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,306
    I took my 1989 Cadillac Brougham to the shop this morning. I got a call from the technician about 20 minutes ago. He pressure-tested the cooling system and determined the problem was the heater control valve. The repair cost only $132. What a relief! I was envisioning all kinds of apocalyptic scenarios.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    phew! That's great. A pressure test is a really elegant way to find leaks.
  • bishop2bishop2 Posts: 1
    I have a 1990 olds cutlass supreme with about 70K on it and I'm having a cooling system problem. I went on a long road trip, about 1200 miles, and the day after i got back I had trouble starting the car. I drove it for a while on the highway and my low coolant, temp, and service engine light came on. I pulled over and coolant started spewing out of the reservoir. I tried to get myself back home and it died on the way back home. The next day I started the car and I noticed that hot coolant was not cycling back into the radiator so I replaced the thermostat. It started cycling around again so I drove it around town and the low coolant light would turn on for a few minutes and then turn off and over again. I noticed also that at a certain point the air conditioning would stop blowing cold air and I started to smell coolant. When I got home the coolant reservoir was full and coolant was leaking from the overflow hose. I cannot see any other visible leaks from the water pump, thermostat gasket or any where else. I am constantly keeping the coolant level high enough but my low coolant light still keeps coming on. What do I do?
  • chevy03chevy03 Posts: 2
    checked water pump, ok
    checked thermostat, ok (new)
    cheked heater core, okthink i have air trapped in system?
    best way to totally flush system?
    sounds coming from under dash by heater core?
    no leakage.
    any suggestions?
  • Ok. Borrowing real trouble, if it is the head gasket or the cylinders need new rings or anything like that, what would you all think to be my best option? I just got this jeep a few months ago and I really like it and I do not have even $1,000 to blow on repairs. Thank you.
  • I forgot to metion that there is a lot of moisture on the floor under the passenger side seat in the rear. One person told me that Jeeps have drain holes and that when the seal on them break you get moisture there. My first thought was the heater core. Would that be the case and would that effect the overheating?
  • jmixjmix Posts: 4
    Thanks, masterpaul1, for the advice. I will have to look into it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    no forget the heater core business...blind alley....forget rings and valves...also a blind alley.....

    Well, look.... chronic overheating is always a TOUGH problem and it needs step by step diagnosis. I could name 20 reasons for overheating, from the obvious to the truly weird. Sounds like you and mechanic have just been throwing parts at it without more methodical thought on the matter.

    I'd suggest making sure your cooling fan is going on at the proper time, and if that's okay, a radiator flow test and if that's okay a cylinder leakdown test. Since this is a FAST overheat, it has nothing to do with drips here and there. You can also test your coolant for CO gases (combustion gas in the coolant due to bad head gasket or bad head).

    If your radiator wasn't removed and dunked, it wasn't cleaned.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,306 Barr's Stop-Leak really work or do they do more harm than good? I was about to take this approach to the problem I had with my Brougham, but got scared. I was afraid it would clog the water passages in the block and plug the radiator. I don't think it would've worked anyway after I found out what the problem was. Anyway, how do these products work?
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