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Chevrolet Cavalier Coolant System Issues

xcrossroadsxxcrossroadsx Member Posts: 5
edited July 2015 in Chevrolet
2000 Cavalier 2.0 Liter . Started loosing coolant. Pressure tesed no leaks. Found system pushing coolant out of overflow hose like a garden hose. Replaced thermostat, same problem. Fan runs @ 190 OK. I can only think there is a restricition in the system causing the backup. Before replacing hoses (upper and lower over $100 and special order wanted to see if anyone else has had this problem.

See also: How To Maintain Your Vehicle's Cooling System


  • spr0utspr0ut Member Posts: 1
    my 97 cavilers' water light remains on now that I've added water. I have just bought the car, when I bought the car both engine & water lights were on. The car runs fine except when u first start it up. It sounds like the car is only firing on 2 instead of 4. When taken down to the local parts store we put it on a code reading devise, it read no code were on then the engine light went off. The water light remains, I only added water instead of antifreeze. Could this be the problem, is this a common problem and, is there an easy fix to this problem??????
  • jth543210jth543210 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 Chevy Cavalier with 105,000 miles on it. I've had the coolant replaced at around 75,000 (which I later discovered was a mistake on my part, but the dealership suggested it and was happy with the $$$)

    Ever since then, my engine has been running hotter than before, and at 105,000 miles, I had a tuneup and requested the coolant strength tested. After I did that, the engine now runs even hotter without the fan turning on. I decided to let the engine idle for awhile to see when the fan kicks in and it starts at about 215 degrees, runs for 10 seconds and the temperature falls to around 205-210 and doesn't take long to go back to 215.

    It makes me nervous with any car, where the temperature raises above the half-way mark on the dial. I called where I had it serviced in the first place, and then I contacted the Chevy Dealer. Both places ask "Is it in the red zone? Does the fan turn on? Does the engine start to cool?" and as long as I say the engine is not in the red zone, they're like "Don't worry about it, then." It doesn't help that the "red zone" is about 260 and the max temp on the gauge is 265. And when I try to say "Well, the temperature didn't used to get that hot" and I have to answer that the fan kicks in and cools the engine back to 210, I get treated like an idiot again.

    All I know is that for 5 years, my car has been running around 180-190 with the fan not letting it get above 195 and I want it to run the same as before. How do I get the dealership to do anything for me, or how can I fix the problem myself?
  • gonogogonogo Member Posts: 879
    Actually the fan comes on at about 228 deg F, this is normal. I know of no fix for factory programing. With the A/C on the fan will run all the time under 40 MPH.
  • bobsubobsu Member Posts: 1
    I returned home after a 200 mile trip and had to add a half gallon of coolant. My mechanic says that this is caused by a faulty thermostat. How is a faulty thermostat a cause of this coolant loss? Driving around town does not cause coolant loss.
  • chevy_man76chevy_man76 Member Posts: 9
    First thing, did your mechanic pressure test your cooling system ? If not, request it.
    If you are having to add a half gallon of coolant after a trip then you have a leak. A pressure test can help determine where the leak is coming from. The most common places for a leak is around the head gasket and around the water pump or through the water pump seep hole. Also, another suggestion would be to check your oil. If it looks milky, you have an internal coolant leak. If you have an internal coolant leak, get it fixed ASAP before serious engine damage occurs. Also, white smoke & a sweet smell are a good indication you have a coolant leak. On another note, your mechanic is wrong. Your thermostat is not causing the coolant loss. :shades:
  • chevy_man76chevy_man76 Member Posts: 9
    Sounds like a plugged radiator. Same thing happened to me last year in my 1994 cavalier. :shades:
  • xcrossroadsxxcrossroadsx Member Posts: 5
    I had the same issue with a 2000 Cavailier. Mount a small plastic container and run the overflow hose into it. If coolant is coming out of the hose before buying another radiator cap do a compression test. If all cylinders are not up to pressure it could be the head gasket. Unfortuntely that is what was causing my coolant loss
  • nooklearwinternooklearwinter Member Posts: 2
    ive recently had my thermostat replaced and my radiator flushed, i have a 2001 cavalier, instead of dex cool they put in the green type of coolant after the flush, but instead of my tempurature staying at 195 (exactly half), it goes up to 3/4 about 230 degrees, is this because of the different coolant (doubtful), the aftermarket thermstat, or the summer heat, it never done this in all these years since ive had the car i am the only owner..a mechanic said it WAS NOT a head gasket problem, please help
  • sunkillsunkill Member Posts: 1
    My 2000 cavalier is loosing some serious coolant. There is no sign of external leakage and I've checked the oil and it's normal. There isn't any smoke either. Where is it going. I'm also loosing power and it's getting hard to start. The heater blows hot on and off, the thermostat has been replaced and the temp. gauge is on red and fluctuates. Please give me a clue! :confuse:
  • xcrossroadsxxcrossroadsx Member Posts: 5
    Disconnect the radiator hoses, run water through the hoses and ensure no blockagein radiator or hoses. If blocked flush or remove and boil. Take the overflow hose from plastic resivoir & duct tape a soda bottle to it and wedge in engine compartment. If soda bottle fills up after driving car after enssuring radiator is not blocked run compression test. Most likely head gasket.
  • litestorm17litestorm17 Member Posts: 3
    Mine has been loosing coolant too. I suspected the head gasket, because my oil was smoking when I removed the cap, but it was still the same color. Also I couldn't smell any coolant burning in my oil. There wasn't any leaks on the ground, but I went and had it pressure tested, and it turns out that it was my water pump that has a small leak on it. I would have it pressure tested before you throw away tons of money to get a new head gasket, because that may not be what is wrong.
  • carmanghiacarmanghia Member Posts: 4
    It sounds like you may have air trapped in the cooling system. The Cavalier has a bleed screw located on the high part of the metal coolant pipe in the front of the engine.

    From: 2carpros.com forum...

    "Always bleed air from cooling system after replacing coolant. Set heater for maximum heat. Remove radiator cap. Loosen drain plug and remove drain bolt (if equipped) from engine block. Drain coolant reservoir. Fill coolant reservoir to MAX mark with 50/50 water-coolant mixture. Loosen bleed bolt and fill radiator up to base of filler neck. Close bleed bolt when coolant flows out without bubbles. Tighten bleed bolt. With radiator cap removed, start and operate engine to normal operating temperature. Add coolant if necessary and check for leaks "
  • shekire4shekire4 Member Posts: 9
    How can you test a relay so you know if it is bad or not?
  • tabz4u2tabz4u2 Member Posts: 1
    My low coolant light has came on too with my 2000 cavalier. I keep on putting in anti-freeze, and have recently put it in 3 times within the past month and a half. I checked my oil and nothing is wrong with my oil, and my engine seems to be running fine; its not over heating on bit. What possibly could be wrong with it? Its leaking somewhere, but I'm not sure
  • xcrossroadsxxcrossroadsx Member Posts: 5
    Tape a small plastic container to your overflow hose and see if the water is boiling out your overflow hose while you are driving. If so I would do a compression test, sounds like a head gasket.
  • kbkrunkkbkrunk Member Posts: 1
    Try replacing your water pump they are only $20 dollars! I have a 2001 cavalier and When I was driving it I dint notice coolant leaking! BUT when the car was idle It leaked by the gallon! I replaced the water pump and the car runs better then ever!!! also if you installed the thermostat the wrong way that would cause loosing coolant!
  • gchecksfieldgchecksfield Member Posts: 36
    There is a leak due to corrosion in an elbow in the coolant system in my son's 2002 Cavalier 2.2. The upper radiator hose connects to the elbow, which goes into the engine (block?). How is this elbow replaced? Does it simply pull out from the engine? Is a new elbow reinserted with a high temperature sealer? Thanks for any help.
  • northern_fannorthern_fan Member Posts: 1
    Where are the coolant temp sensor and fan relay located on a 2004 2.2L Cavalier?
    Mine runs continuously, even from a cold start.
  • dixieman82dixieman82 Member Posts: 1
    i was wondering if anyone had a 2003 chevy cavalier and what the idle speed was when just sitting mine is at like just below 500 rpms i think thats low
  • edro911edro911 Member Posts: 2
    my 1992 chevy cavalier 2.2l 4 cylinder starts making a gurgling sound when i turn off the engine i checked the coolant in the radiator and it is low and i refill it it does this every time i drive the car and i keep adding coolant and the coolant bottle gets full i drain it each time and some times while driving the car i can smell the anti freeze it while the windows are downit has over 98,000 miles any suggestions
  • supermexsupermex Member Posts: 2
    my son has a 2004 cavalier that is blowing white smoke in the morning and fades away as the car warms up. it is also using coolant as he has to add some periodically. there is no sign of a coolant leak on the pavement. my guess is its leaking internally and after talking with a mechanic on the phone he seemed to think that it may be a blown head gasket. my question is could it be something else? or if is is indeed the head gasket i know that there is some products made for this problem but its recommend that all the coolant be drained before using it. my 2nd question is how do you completely drain the system? also there is no radiator cap. please help
  • xcrossroadsxxcrossroadsx Member Posts: 5
    White smoke can be a transmission problem also, but if your losing coolant it is most likely a head gaske, especially if it's a Cavilier. Adding products to a cooling system with a leaky head gasket will only make the problem worse. The head has to be pulled and the gasket replaced before you end up with a cracked head or worse.
  • supermexsupermex Member Posts: 2
    you maybe right but at this point im willing to try anything that might help. ive heard from a mechanic and also a friend that talks from expirience that a product called liquid glass is very good and also alot cheaper than the 900 dollar job of getting a new gasket put on. what do you think? are you a mechanic? thanks for the advice and i hope to hear from you soon.
  • unicorn2010unicorn2010 Member Posts: 2
    son just had a steering box just replaced- $274.49- work and everything- works great
    now for the problem- it seems to over heat- just replaced thermostat- still is staying up in the high zone. does it need to be flushed? mechanic said low compression- does it need and oil change? car is great- don't want to leave him stranded- help??
  • unicorn2010unicorn2010 Member Posts: 2
    son has another problem- engine shakes 3 times at light or stop sign then the oil light comers on-- what is up?
  • salesguy2009salesguy2009 Member Posts: 1
    My daughters 1998 Cavalier has had the heater core replaced 4-5 times in the last 2 years, the latest one only lasted about 2 months. She is now driving it without heat as the core keeps failing. Part is cheap, replacing it is tough. What would cause this. (I've had it replaced by a mechanic each time) He thinks it could be the head gasket and the car isn't worth that repair.

  • white91white91 Member Posts: 1
    i have never heard of a "band aid" fix for this problem but im sure it exists. However, it is best to get the head gasket replaced because if u temporarily fix this it will just do the same thing in a few months also, coolant entering the combustion chamber WILL damage the vehicle so the problem should be remedied ASAP
  • storm18rstorm18r Member Posts: 1
    my 2000 cavalier 2.2l is leak coolant on the back side of the engine on the passenger side but theres no smoke coming out the exhaust or milky oil. Is this a blown head gasket?
  • natefloresnateflores Member Posts: 2
    I have a 1992 Cavalier with 159,000 miles. Recently I've been getting a faint to moderate scent of anti freeze in the car via the vents. There is no coolant leak and the vehicle runs and drives fine. I was advised by a co-worker that it could be the heater core. Does that sound accurate?
  • natefloresnateflores Member Posts: 2
    I have a 1992 Cavalier with 159,000 miles. Of late the bettery light has been coming on during normal driving, but It tends to shut off after a few moments. Does anyone here know what could be causing this? It's been happening a bit more often and I am a little concerned.
  • haleymarie08haleymarie08 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 Cavalier. It recently has been over heating. I have to put coolant in it every few days. Then tonight, my lights were dimming and the car was making funny noises. And when I parked, smoke was coming from the passenger side under the hood. I have no idea what it going on!
  • custom2003zcustom2003z Member Posts: 1
    Thermostat is gone or water pump, have you noticed your heat gauge isn't working properally, this is most likely this problem.

    if you get underneath of it and look up on right side motor underneath is Water Pump and Left side of the Engine from looking underneath is the thermostat.
  • big_mario420big_mario420 Member Posts: 1
    my 2002 cavalier 2.2l is leaking coolant on the back side of the engine on the driver side. today i noticed while driving the car's temp was going up and when i pulled over i popped the hood and some smoke was came out and a milky oil like fluid was coming out where the dip stick goes. do u have any idea on what the problem is?
  • ravelravel Member Posts: 1
    Ok, so, the AC (the fan) in my car seems to work, but the air coming out of it isn't very cold at all; I was wondering if there was anything I can do to make it colder? Is it also something I can do myself? The heating works, in case you're wondering.
  • sonyasuesonyasue Member Posts: 1
    this same thing happened to me , it was a blown head gasket
  • eddie_veddie_v Member Posts: 1
    Check your A/C condenser, If its bad then your AC wont work right also did you recharge it? usually when they bad or about to you get a funny smell when you turn the A/C on.
  • wmthornewmthorne Member Posts: 2
    I have a 02 Z24 in good condition, however when I shift from 2nd to 3rd gear the car sounds and feels as if the manual transmission is slipping (high rpms and little to no power). Dose anyone have an idea what the problem could be.
  • grlztoy49grlztoy49 Member Posts: 1
    edited June 2012
    I added coolant to my 03 Cavalier and my overheating light is on again? Not sure what to go to next? Thermostat or how to see why the light is on and the temperature is going up again on the gauge?Please help ASAP as I have doctors appointments and need the car.
  • cavaliernutscavaliernuts Member Posts: 7
    Put car up on ramp or jack up enough to put 5 gallon bucket underneath to collect most of the coolant as you remove the thermostat housing. Take the thermostat to cook stove, put in sauce pan fill higher than thermostat. bring to medium heat and slowly watching the candy thermometer slowly rise to 180 degree and see if the thermostat start to open. if it get to 185 plus degree and still doesn't open than it's a bad thermostat. Now remember to take it to parts store and get the same height and size. Some cheaper stat will be shorter in height causing less coolant to flow leading to hotter engine. Taller stat lead more coolant flow and less heat buildup in block and head. Put stat back in and if it still overheat-next check the water pump. I bought a use cavalier from lady who use straight tap water (RUSTED IN EXPANSION TANK) (no coolant/distill water mixture) lead to water pump fins to completely disappear and then no water flow AT ALL! LEADING TO DESTROYED HEAD GASKET AND WARP HEAD. USE DEXCOOL (ORANGE COOLANT) WITH 50/50 DISTILL WATER. NO--NO--NO---> TAP WATER--THEY HAVE MINERAL IN THEM THAT WILL DESTROY MOST OF YOUR YOUR ENGINE COMPONENT LEADING TO EARLY ENGINE FAILURE. CHEAPER TO BUY RIGHT COOLANT/DISTILL WATER THAN EXPENSIVE ENGINE OVERHAUL!!!
  • budjrbudjr Member Posts: 1
    Replaced water pump and thermastat on 2002 cavalier about five months ago. Everything was fine untill about a week ago i noticed a antifreeze smell from the engine and now the coolant seems to slowly leak from somewhere again because iv had to add coolant twice in one week. Its not the head gasket and im not sure if its the water pump again. Theres a small amount of coolant on the ground about the same area it was when the water pump was leaking before. Could the pump have gone bad again already or could it be something else? Its hard to pinpoint do to its been raining for the last few days. Anyone got any ideas?
  • cavaliernutscavaliernuts Member Posts: 7
    Did you use High temp gasket sealer (red/orange) color? take off water pump and use the gasket sealer with the gasket. Coat the pump (clean surface/no oil or residue, clean it with denature alcohol) ) side thin smooth with clean finger, add gasket to it, clean engine block where the water pump goes and apply thin film on it and then attach water pump. I usually don't use must the gasket by itself, I like to use the sealer with the gasket for LONG maintenance free job. Should last another 100,00 miles. Is your gauge more than halfway? 180 degree-190 degree is normal. You should not have to remove anything else to get to water pump usually took me 25 min to complete the job! Wait 6 hour before adding coolant. Should not have to torque it anymore than 15-20 pound with torque wrench.
  • romeo2891romeo2891 Member Posts: 1
    edited July 2013
    I have 2000 Cavalier 4 door with a 2.2, I just replaced the water pump and radiator inlet pipe. After getting it back from having radiator inlet replaced...it was fine for a few days and now its leaking again and overheating. Today I noticed some steam or something coming from engine and I just need this fixed...my roommates and I think the leak is coming from water pump, since its directly under it and it doesn't just leak a little....it pretty much dumps it. Any advice or ideas would be helpful.
  • cavaliernutscavaliernuts Member Posts: 7
    1-how many miles is on the head gasket?

    2-have someone being using straight water causing massive rusting? If so then the tiny holes in the head gasket is plugging up with rust crust causing choking of coolant flowing upward thru the head gasket as the water pump is pushing the water into the lower block first. Hot coolant runs out the pipe on the left side by the serpentine belts that flows into heater core and back into the thermostat housing and back into the engine and as the temp start to get 180 degree then the thermostat opens up allowing COOL coolant to flow into water pump into the block.

    3-replaced the thermostat which the lower radiator hose runs into an inlet? THERE ARE NO THERMOSTAT ANYWHERE NEAR THE HEAD OR OUTLET HOSES.

    4-try flushing out the system by disconnecting the heater hose that runs into the thermostat housing and use jet water hose and flush it out BOTH ways to get gunk out the heater core as well, you can also do that while the engine is running with parking brakes on, wheel chock and don't anyone in the front seat while flushing. Keep flushing BOTH WAYS till you will see clear water and then rehook it up and use DEXCOOL coolant GM recommendation. 50/50
  • jchavirajchavira Member Posts: 1
    i just replaced water pump, thremostat, upper/lower hose, radiator,and flushed its still overheating what can be the problem
  • cavaliernutscavaliernuts Member Posts: 7
    did you find rusty water in tank that hold coolant? Highly likely is that rust has build up around the holes in the Head Gasket that let coolant flow thru is now plugging up and restricting flow of coolant therefore letting it over heat. Take out the thermostat for now till you can get to replacing the head gasket. Even though it will run cold but the better than warping the head and having more to deal with.
  • cavaliernutscavaliernuts Member Posts: 7
    It could also be that the heater core is plugging up. NOTE: the heater core coolant is a full time flow that mean it runs in a loop constantly from the engine back to engine and not when you want heat in the car in the winter. I know it a stupid setup!
  • cavaliernutscavaliernuts Member Posts: 7
    To find out if the heater core is plugged up-- follow the hose coming out of the firewall that supply coolant to core and disconnect them at the closet point and use a garden hose with a taper nozzel and inject it one way and the other way next and it no or little flow mean it plugged up, it full flow after cleaning it out mean the core is not plugged up.
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