I've been reading this forum since I got this car in May. The problems that I'm writing about come up on google with tons of threads to this forum and I've read most of them. Beating a dead horse would be an extreme understatement BUT, you guys are the experts so I'm going to run my symptoms by in hopes that maybe I'm missing something. By now you must realize that I'm heading down the blown head gasket road ( I felt I needed to get that out now so anyone that wanted to jump off can without investing another minute.)
I picked up my 1997 Eldorado in May this year with only 88,000 miles on it. Black on black real nice shape but the AC didn't work (compressor leaks) and there were some running issues that I figured out again thanks to this forum ( fuel pump relay= cold start and fuel pressure regulator=hot start). So I had this caddy that ran good now, looks great and gets 22 mpg (i travel 30 miles each way to work 6 days a week). Some time around the end of June I go to start the car and my coolant low warning comes on. I check it and sure enough I need about a 1/2 gallon. I keep my eye on the coolant level for a few days and found a constant wet spot under the expansion tank were the hose connects so I replaced the tank after determining the hose was okay. At this point I had no issues for a few weeks even took the car on a trip (yes without ac) and had no problems.
One day on the way home from work it starts to get hot, I pull over into a nearby parkinglot shut it off and pop the hood . Coolant is boiling out the overflow hose. I wait and let it cool down dump the left over coolant I have in go on my way. Not even a mile down the road it gets on again, I pull over pop the hood and this time the coolant is comming from the drivers side. I call a tow truck and get her home. I get on the forums and start reading about the crossover housing gaskets and the heater hoses by the firewall but after checking everything out it turns aout the water pump was leaking. So I figured I would take a shot at replaceing the water pump , and thermostat.( I replaced the upper hose also because I didn't like the way it came off).
Everything went smooth replacing those parts ( I got the waterpump socket and that made it real easy). no leaks. Car was running good. Then one day I was on RT 80 heading up a big hill in 86 degree weather and she got hot again. This time it happen real fast , I pulled over as soon as I could and waited. after about 20 minutes it cooled back down to normal operating temp so I started on my way (didnt have any coolant to put in it) and it started getting hot again this time I hit the limp mode before I could shut it down. I called my wife, had her pick up some coolant and bring it to me. A little more than a gallon later and Im back on the road. The car was running fine for the next couple of days until I got stuck behind a school bus going up a hill. Again it got hot to the point of the car going into damge control (270 degrees)
The car runs fine except for extreme loads on hills, and now if I catch it going up I pull over put the heat on ( at this point I checked the fans and they were working) let it idle for a bit and it will come back down to normal and Im good to go. I replaced the water pump, thermostat, expansion tank, then changed the cap on the tank several times (3 caps total) checked the purge line going to the top of the tank (coolant runs out when the car is running) checked the water pump belt and tensioner. The fans dont come on when I put the ac on because theres no freon in the system but when it gets hot they come on.
Now I know my next step should be testing for exhaust gas in the coolant system but I cant afford the test kit right now. Maybe there is an issue with the coolant fans because the ac doesnt work? Or maybe there is air trapped in there somewhere? Point being, if I cant afford the test kit right now then theres no way I'm gonna be able to do head gaskets even if I do it myself. So if there might be just the slight bit of hope I'm willing to listen to suggestions ( other than test for exhaust gas and report back. I will do that once the funds allow it).
I would like to thank anyone that made it to this point and an even bigger thank you if have any suggestions.