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Buick Rendezvous Overheating



  • 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!
  • @ Buddo9,
    I read your previous posting and understand what you're saying, unfortunately it won't help me fix my engine problems now. We've driven our RDV for five years, and now are having overheating issues. If the rubber seal was the issue, I would think the problem would of presented itself prior to five years and 80K miles of daily use.

    In addition to the heat buildup issue you are referring to, the gasket and coolant also have manufacturing or design defects that when put together, are causing the intake gasket to fail. If this was designed properly, there may not be a need to modify the rubber seal you refer to.

    The bottom line lies with Buick/GM, the seal manufacturer and the coolant manufacturer. Someone should step up to the plate and take responsibility for the overheating issues without the consumers having to modify every vehicle produced, or if they want the consumers to re-engineer every car, they should pay us re-engineering fees. (which will never happen.)

    Thanks for your input Buddo9, but my concern now is fixing the car my wife loves to drive on a daily basis (aka, fixing THEIR problem which has now become MY problem.)
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    I apologize for your frustrations. Have you taken the vehicle into the dealer? Can you email me with your VIN and contact information so I can look into this further. I look forward to your response.
    GM Customer Service
  • Hi I was hoping that you can send me a photo of what you are talking about cutting the e-mail is
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239
    edited August 2011
    I agree.

    In 2002/2003, GM did use a different intake gasket. The older version was thin material. The new replacement is much thicker and much better material. Also, Dexcool (GM's specialized anti-freeze) is much better today as well. Back then, Dexcool formula was too acidic (so I've been told). Today's formula is much more "gasket" friendly. GM recommends changing Dexcool every 5 years. My local mechanic recommends changing Dexcool every 3 years. Thus, less damage from its acid. Especially on the older gaskets. Yes. Heat kills. However, using Dexcool used more then 3 years on older intake gaskets kills much more. If wondering, my wife has a 2003 RDV and still on its original factory gaskets - because we change its Dexcool every 3 years and "drive it like a baby". And, its inner hood rubber seal remains factory as well. If I did want to add more hood ventilation, I'd add a $20 plastic hood scoop on its front hood. Thus, allowing proper ventilation - without allowing water / ice into its engine compartment...

    Hope this helps as well...
  • I've been traveling and finally returned to deal with this issue.

    Christina, I will e-mail you the information tomorrow and will look forward to hearing back from you. Thank you for posting up and for trying to help.
  • My mom's 2002 Buick RDV just started having overheating problems. As you said it could possibly be that the engine is not being cooled down properly due to the ventilation issue you talked about. Can u send me some pics of the custom cut away you did? I will try that first and then Ill go on to checking the other possible causes for the RDV to overheat.
  • ray80ray80 Posts: 1,643
    If your Mom's RDV just started overheating I think you are looking in the wrong direction with the mod. You would be better off correcting whatever the real cause is rather then trying to bandaid something. JMHO
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239
    edited September 2011
    If / when my wife's 2003 RDV over heats, I'd only take the vehicle to my local certified auto mechanic. They would focus on faulty thermostat and they would focus on Intake Gaskets leaking. These are the 2 most common problems on 2002/2003 RDVs over heating.

    The most common reason is intake gasket problems (in the early years of 3.4L engines). Don't believe me? Do a google search using "3.4 overheating" text string. Within the auto repair field, its common knowledge that early 3.4L engines with their older material intake gaskets and Dexcool ATF don't like each other. Thousands and thousands of threads on 3.4L "over heating / intake gasket problems" in GM mini-vans and many other GM 3.4L sedan vehicles as well..... Patterns don't lie. The pattern is NOT lack of airflow under the hood.

    As stated by previous person, get the vehicle inspected by "certified" auto mechanic. Don't be removing hood rubbers - thinking its the Root Cause. Just like I'd only get an electrical certified person to investigate my home's electrical problem - instead of applying something that an uncertified person recommended on the internet.

  • First off let me say....I love, love, love my Rendevous (2002 CXL, 110K miles) but I am not very happy with GM right now. I have never been advised about Dexcool or changing the coolant.
    Up until Monday my car has never had a problem with getting to hot. The temp has been consistant and reliable. For the two years I have owned it, when it is running, the guage sits right to the left of strait up and down (every time, all the time). Then monday it shoots to the top I have a red Engine Temp. Light and the warning bell going off. After having it towed to the shop I find out it has a "Blown Head Gasket", then they start to take it apart and tell me the "Cylinder Heads are Cracked". They are quoting me $2200.00. It does sound like my problem is the DEXCOOL(?) may have ruined the gasket(s). My concern is that I never had a problem with my car getting to hot before this. Any feedback would be helpfull.

  • buddo9buddo9 Posts: 18
    Good for ypu,
    Apparently your moter is vented well or this is some more propagada being bounced off of General moters for paid testimonials..... My CXL stayed hot from the day it was purchased! The only way to cure that was to give it a place to breath, ! Vented at the rubber guard near the windshield area! two years now and no problems!
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239
    Removing / cutting factory RUBBER from under hood area is very dangerious mod. Without this rubber, water and snow / ice is allowed to slide down the foront windshield and fall directly onto the hot engine. Hot engine being spashed with cold water is a very bad thing. Adn, it allows water into the engine cavity area as well.

    If "more cooling" is desired, recommend putting the factory rubber back. Just like I'd recommend putting door rubbers back as well. Rubbers are there for a reason. For increased air flow, its much safer to install a hood scoop on the hood. Turn it backwards - so its vent is facing the windshield. Using this mod, air flows into the front of the rad and out the hood scoop. Hood scoops allow NO water / snow / ice flows into the hood area as well. Thus, much safter on the engine. And, the many wires on the engine are NOT exposed to water either.

    Good for you for removing the factory hood rubbers. If you want SAFE cooling without risking damage to engine or engine wires, re-install the hood's rubbers and install an hood scoop (made for air flow) instead.

    For others thinking of removing the factory rubbers, do NOT do it. Simply lift the front hood, notice where this hood rubber is located and understand what it protects. Its there for a reason. Just like a hood rubber exists on many other vehicles as well... Adn, why door rubbers exist around doors as well.

  • Don't bother contacting GM. My wife sent customer service and email outlining the overheating problem. They gave a lot of lip service about not knowing about the problem and how they would track complaints and investigate. There was no recourse for Rendezvous owners because they know about the problem right before failing bankruptcy and left the customer holding the bag. Yet, my tax dollars bailed the company out and I have a car I can't drive when it is cold!!! I would suggest boycotting Buick and GM even though I have been a loyal customer for a long time. They are not aware of the American way! I will purchase a FORD!!!!!!
  • This GM vehicle sucks! It has multiple design flaws and the American consumer is the guinea pig for the company! We have tried for two years to repair the overheating problem to no avail. If you think that contacting the dealership of the company you will get lots of lip service but no satisfaction in dealing with the overheating problem. WE are still waiting on the claim number that GM's customer service rep was going to email us! This why this company needed a bailout in the first place. They produce second rate vehicle. Remember, FORD didn't need a bailout and their cars that had recalls were fixed by the company. You do the math!!!!!

    A disgruntled Buick Rendezvous Owner!!!!!
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251
    I apologize for your frustration. Each case is handled on a case by case basis.
    Here is a link that shows we can assist:
    Who did you speak with? Did you set up a case with GM Customer Assistance? If so, what is your case number? I look forward to your response.
    GM Customer Service
  • nothappynenothappyne Posts: 1
    edited November 2011
    Funny, we are having the SAME issues. Nothing but problems since purchasing our Rendezvous (we purchased it used). The gas gauge hasn't worked (told the dealer about it & they wanted us to put money towards it a week after buying the vehicle). Both front wheel hubs have been replaced. Front struts - replaced (with a note from the mechanic that the bolt holding one of the struts wasn't even the correct one). The automatic level control is bad - goes off every 30 seconds. Took the fuse out so it stops the noise - so it's useless. The sunroof leaks. The engine coolant overheating light started going on recently - twice on me today alone - had to pull over. Tried contacting Buick about many issues and all they keep telling us is to go to a Buick dealership and have them run a diagnostic on it - which I have to pay for. I don't have the money for this - I keep having to put money into repairs on this POS. I filed a complaint with the Attorney General for the state - sent a copy to Buick and they call and again tell us to go pay for a diagnostic. But, if it's a Buick issue, they'll pay for it (which we all know it won't be b/c they say so). Said they'd follow up in two weeks - that was two & a half weeks ago. It's a joke. I have no money. They don't get it. I'm stuck with a POS vehicle that I don't want because something is always going wrong on it. Hugely disappointed - was hoping we had found a reliable vehicle for our family, but nope, got a lemon. Talk about frustrating.
  • Nothappyne,

    Could I please get an update from you on how things are progressing? I would like to see how I can be of assistance.

    GM Customer Service
  • I'm interested. Any chance you're willing to share a picture? How's the car running today?
  • I also blew a head gasket @ under 70,000 miles. It ended up ruining the engine and I had to get a new engine. Fortunately for me I had an extended warranty; however I truly believe GM should be help accoutable. I got no warning for the head gasket. I was driving along a major highway and the car dinged I looked down and it was overheated and then smoked and wouldn't start after I left it cool down and tried to start it back up. Rendezvous are junk.
  • clm51clm51 Posts: 9
    My temp gauge was not working properly so took my 2005 Rendezvous to my mechanic since I was planning to be on a road trip to Fl. next week. Good news my engine was not running hot. Bad news is that the entire instrument cluster has to be replaced or rebuilt. Worse news is that there are not any available with no idea when one will be. Even an exhaustive internet search couldn't turn up one. So now I am faced with not only a big repair bill, but being without my car for up to 3 weeks! Anyone else had to deal with this?
  • tammilanitammilani Posts: 5
    edited January 2012
    Over the weekend, coming home from the beach, with dog in the back seat, the RED WARNING light blares at me "HOT TEMP" something and bing bings at me. I see the Temp Gauge is as hot as it can get. I immediately pull over. Towed to local dealer $, got a rental car $$, got a call from the dealer today $$$.

    This is the 3rd major repair in the 4.5 years of owning my 2002 RDV. I do love driving the car, but the repairs are killing me! 6 months into ownership, the BCM had to be replaced, $600.

    The day after Labor Day 2010 (15 months ago), it was making a funny sound on the freeway and i made it to the dealer for a $6000! repair. Yes, you read it right, $6-freakin' thousand dollars! They told me it was the transmission, $4,000. Then they had my car for 4 days.

    On that Friday, i went after work to pick up the car, and they walked me back to the service area when it was up on the lifts and nearly gutted, parts strewn everywhere. They then told me, bad news, it's the transfer case too, which is an additional $2000, but they are giving me a break on the price, since they only just found out and they felt bad for me because of the $4,000 i will already be spending with them. $6000 total now. They had my car for another week.

    They forgot to put fluid in the radiator before test driving and blew up the radiator. They had to replace that too. They didn't charge me for that, said it was their fault. 2 days later, my car was leaking fluid (water from radiator?) and i was scared to drive it, so it was towed back to the dealer. They said it was the water pump. I paid for that. I later heard from the men at my office that you should always replace the water pump when replacing the radiator. I guess when they replaced the radiator for free, they didn't want to be too generous.

    Now I'm facing the $2500 - $3500 bill on the overheating/gasket/valve incident. I am frustrated as there was no warning whatsoever. I had literally been driving the car for 5 mins before the lights and whistles came on.

    Even the dealer knows something is up, he is offering to split the cost of the rental car with me.

    GM Customer Service, any help?
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