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OVerheating... Coolant spilling off


AliRaza

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There is a problem so they will have to find it if they are going to charge you, I would think. Sounds like the only thing you haven't done is check for bad head gaskets.

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But all the signs do not direct towards a head gasket.... No white smoke. No water in teh oil.

Today I ran the car on idle again. For more than twenty minutes. Took the rpm to 3000 rpm and kept it there. The temperature went up to 230 and kind of stayed there. So high rpm, idle (in park poition) the temperature is kind of holding at 230F.

Some of the things that I dont understand

1: What is causing the temperature to go up and why it starts coming down when I pull the car over and let it run for idle for some time?

2: Why there is air in the pipe going back into surge tank?

3: If it is the head gasket, why no white smoke, no water in teh oil, noemulsified oil?

4: Is there any hope for my car???

5: IF worst come to worst, how much a rebuilt Northstar engine would cost?

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AliRaza:

We have been following your saga with some sympathy.

Taking a fresh look at the symptoms, my gut level first thought is that your coolant circulation seems to be normal at idle RPM.

Are you 200% certain the water pump driven pulley, belt, tensioner, and cam pulley are ALL operating as intended? Several of your posts left me thinking the water pump RPM was not keeping up engine RPM.

Hang in there!!!!

Jim

Drive your car.

Use your cell phone.

CHOOSE ONE !

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Jim,

Thanks a lot for a kind post.

For water pump drive, I changed teh water pump becuase it was a suspect and also changed teh tensioner and the belt. So now the pulley from the engine shaft is moving with the engine. I checked and it is driving the waterpump fine too. However one thing that bothered me is that there is air in teh system as i can see water (coolant) being moved in the transparent tubing that I used to replace teh hoses from throttle body into the surge tank temporarily. This was just to check and I saw coolant plus air and the movement was not very steady. However teh movement of teh waterpump is fine.

I am hanging in here for now. I dont wanna loose it yet..

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There is always hope, anything can be fixed and a fix is almost always cheaper than a new motor. I'm not trying to scare you but a headgasket doesn't always steam out the tail pipe. IF it is leaking next to an exhaust port you would be pumping exhaust gas into the cooling system. That could posibly explain air (exhaust) in the cooling system. The break could also be at a place where it is not leaking into the crank case or is very small. I'm really just shooting from the hip here trying to come up with a logical reason for air in the bypass line. Have you smelled the surge tank for exhaust smell. There is also a test for exhaust gases in the coolant.

Another shot in the dark. Is it possible the surge tank is cracked above the water line somewhere thus venting pressure and lowering the boiling temp?

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Ali,

Here are two links on overheating that you may find helpful. The Steve Litt link is long, but my be right on the money based on what you have alrready done. He has several other links, but check out his "hypothetis".

http://www.enjoythedrive.com/content/?id=8287

http://www.troubleshooters.com/toverheat.htm

As Larry G. noted previously, The Litt link also discusses the possibility of exhaust gases seeping into the coolant. Further, it suggests that exhaust to coolant can occur - but not neccessarily coolant into exhaust - even when shutdown after being hot. It also suggests the block tester as did Larry, to check for hydrocarbons into the coolant.

The link also alludes to drilling a tiny 1/8" hole in the thermostat to allow collected gases to purge themselves, instead of "insulating" the thermostat from fluid. (I suppose this comment could wreak havoc on the web-site server, sorry bruce)

I don't know Mr. Litt, but if this helps what the heck!

Again, good luck!

Add power to leave problems behind. Most braking is just - poor planning.
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Here we go again.

It's not the pump.

It's not the pump drive belt.

It's not the thermostat.

You tested for hydrocarbons in the coolant looking for exhaust gases.

The engine is indeed over heating and not a bad readout on the guage

You replaced the radiator cap and verified the 15 lbs.

Let's revisit the radiator itself.

Check the radiator fins by touch or better yet measure the temperature distribution across the radiator. Be carefull that the cooling fans don't start. I'm thinking that even though you stated prevoiusly that the radiator had been cleaned That maybe some of the lines are blocked/clogged and not assisting in the cooling process. Why did you have the radiator cleaned in the first place? When the radiator was out of the vehicle it should have been easy to determine the flow rate of water passing through the core. If half the lines were blocked it's cooling capacity would be cut in half. At low RPM's the engine generates less heat. At high RPM's sufficient radiator cooling is not present. I could be barking up the wrong tree but it's a simple test to perform.

How much coolant (in gallons) are you able to add to the system after it was drained to bring it back up to the approiate coolant level. You never did answer my initial question of exactly how much coolant you added the very first time it started to overheat. You said two bottles. What size bottles. Reference your owners manual for the capacity of the cooling system, and does this make any sense when compared to the amount of coolant that your adding to the system after it was drained and refilled.

Let's also revisit the initial symptoms. You got the low coolant warning message.

The coolant had to go some where. Was there any coolant spots under the car. Was there any wet spots inside the engine compartment? Had you ever checked the coolant level since you purchased the car.

At this point I would take the car in for service.

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Thanks for your replies.

This is what I am going to do tonite.

1: Will go and check the fan connections to see if these fans are installed right or not.

2: Will check teh radiator fins for temperature distribution

3: I got the readiator cleaned becuase it was part of cooling system and just wanted to get it cleaned. The radiator guy however told the mechanic where the car was for a couple of days that one of the tank has traces of blowing back. I was not conviced that the radiator guy can tell ust by looking at teh radiator that the engine is bad or has a bad gasket.

4: I put in two gallons initially and drove for 5 miles and then fill it up with the third gallon. And after that I have filled in three gallons 50/50 whenever I did work like changing the water pump, changing teh thermostat, inspecting the hoses and what not.

ONE MORE THING THAT MAY BE OF INTEREST

To work on the cooling system, I removed the top cover from the engine. This means I can see the fans and other things. I read somewhere today that that covers helps in conducting the right amount of air in the radiator and surrounding areas. Just a thought....

Will get back to you again.

Anything else that can be done without spending a dime. I already spent close to $500 on this one since I got that car. .... and a lot of time......But I want it to run and dont want to give up.

Ali

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I know guys, Its driving me crazy too. But I am just holding on .....

Ok done my experiments....

Fan is pushing the air towards the engine. Both of them. I believe thats the right way. The paper flew towards the engine and when I threw more papers in front of teh radiator, it got stuck so fans are sucking air from the radiator and blowing it towards the engine.

It was hard for me to say if the coolant smells like exhaust or not. Being in teh garage it was smelling like exhaust anyways so I will do it again tomorrow with a fresh nose.....:)

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Bill,

I just did what you said and the hollow bolt and teh 3/8" hose are clear of any debris....

That path is as clear as it can be.

I will probably work on it a little more tonite (IF there is anything else to do) otherwise will see the rest tomorrow.

Ali

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Bill, Larry, Jeff and all of you

Thanks for all your help. I widh I could say I got it fixed or I fixed it but 'NO'.

However, any last minute recommendations before I take it to the dealer tomorrow morning and get the verdict from him.........

Right now I am prepared for the worst.

If it is a headgasket, Would you recommend to replace the gasket or should go for a rebuilt motor??? If it is the headgasket, what about the chances of engine warp, also how about the piston (Do theose need to be replaced ). I kind of giveup now....

Any other last minute help/recommendations / comments will be very helpful.

thanks

Ali

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I came in really late on this thread, but thought I would relate what happened to my 94 Concours.

While driving the car on the interstate the warning light and message on the dash came on that said the engine was overheating, shutdown, etc. I did that and had coolant spewing out of the recovery bottle. I let it cool down and restarted it and all seemed fine. I checked for low coolant and added what was necessary (which wasn't much). About 2 weeks later, it happened again, this time I had coolant blowing out of the back side of the engine and the overflow. I had the car towed to the repair shop.

The shop found that there were some O rings on the back side of the manifold that had blown, and they needed replacing. They replaced those, but found that the engine would run cool at idle, but would overheat at road speed--quickly. They ran compression tests and coolant gas analysis, but really came up with nothing. They thought it could have been a faulty waterpump, so that was also replaced. Still it would overheat at speed. Then, they thought the radiator was plugged, so that was rodded and pressure tested.

The short of the story is that the head gasket was indeed blown, but it was only leaking down when the car was running about 3500 rpm. Exhaust gases were then blowing into the radiator and overheating the car in short order.

The card had 185,000 miles on it at the time (about 20,000 by me). I sold the car for scrap for $2000 as I'd only paid $3800 for the car and did not want to put $2-3k into a head job and then worry about the head bolts, or $8500 for a crate motor.

So, my opinion of Northstars is not the best. The only way I would own a Northstar today is if I knew the COMPLETE history, or bought one new.

Marko

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The only last minute recomendation I can give is IF it is a head gasket, it is probably cheaper to fixrather than replace. Doesn't sound like it fot hot enough to do any warping damage. Just make sure if you get the gaskets done that they "timecert" ALL the head bolts or from what I hear you'll be back again in 10-20k (after the guarrantee is up).

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Hi larry

Not sure about the time serts although it sure sounds like good idea to do them better safe than sorry so to speak.I have actually seen a few northstars torn down for head gaskets and pistons etc. And after talking the the mechanic at the dealer who does these he says most of them do not need time serts. He mentioned he has done a lot of these with no comebacks The timeserts could open up a whole can of worms if not done rite. I would probably have them time sert my engine if it ever had to be opened up I imagine it depends on a lot of variables.I would trust this tech to open up my engine he is very good in my opinion. All in all what ever way you go to timesert or not to timesert is the question. The northstars sure do expand and contract a lot as with any alum. engine the thermal shock is what is the killer hot and cold..expand contract..could equal pulled out head bolts..in the future.In my opinion gm should have put a coarser thread on the head bolts like on other parts on the engine Just my thoughts but I am sure there was a good reason to use the finer threads on the head bolts..Maybe someone will read this and give some imput about the threads fine vs. coarse on the head bolts..

Cheers

Jim

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Hi Ali

Just a though since you checked everything. Maybe at this point as last resort you could try some Barsleak gold it may fix the leak You never know it may be worth a shot..Nothing to loose at this point.

Good Luck

Jim

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Well I said timesert ALL based on what I recall BIll sayinig in the past. I think he has always said timesert all headbolts when ever the heads are pulled. I recall a lengthy explanation regarding bolt stretch, thread distortion and such (way more than I can remember much less repeat).

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Right now I am prepared for the worst.

If it is a headgasket, Would you recommend to replace the gasket or should go for a rebuilt motor??? If it is the headgasket, what about the chances of engine warp, also how about the piston (Do theose need to be replaced ). I kind of giveup now....

Any other last minute help/recommendations / comments will be very helpful.

About five years ago I removed a head to repair a burned exhause valve.

I DID NOT time sert any of the head bolt threads. Didn't know anything about them.

About three years later I developed an overheating problem very similar to yours.

Checked everything you did.

Then Bill suggested maybe a headgasket. He suggested the method of using compressed air into the cyl., to check for bubbles in the rad.

I did not have any visual bubbles in the rad., however, from #5 cyl, you could hear the sound of bubbles.

To the point, I had three head bolt threads pulled (stripped).

I removed the head, time serted ALL threads and installed a new gasket and head bolts. That was a year and half ago. Still working fine.

As for damage from the overheating, there was none. I drove the car with the bad head gasket for about six months before it was repaired.

Just kept adding antifreeze and not pushing it on the hills.

Note, from the first repair, it took over three years for the head bolt problem to occur.

So, those who don't timesert the threads, may only be prolonging the inevitable.

Barry

2008 STS V8
2016 Colorado Z71
1970 Corvette LT-1 Coupe

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I didn't say I didn't like it, just that my opinion of Northstars is not the best if you don't know the entire history. The car was a great deal, and I did put a lot of cheap miles on it. Had fun while I was doing it. It really broke my heart to part that car out because it was perfect in every other way.

That said, I would NOT buy another Northstar unless I knew it's complete history. Do you not agree that would be prudent? Oh, add another $750 for the engine repairs I did make before they discovered the real problem, but that's another thread ;)

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I dropped the car at the dealer and now waiting for the verdict. i think he will come back with the headgasket problem. But who knows. I may be lucky......

Anyways, After reading all these replies, I feel better that there are so many people who have seen simillar problems and also so much help out there that even if I try to change the headgasket myself, I may be able to do that.

Well guys, I will let you know of the details this evening. I am leaving the town again tonite and will be back Friday. But will get the feedback from the dealer sometimes today..

Regards and thanks for all your help

Ali

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I would think you wouldn't want to buy ANY car without a 'complete' history of it. I bought mine with 74K for $5300! [guy wanted 6k]

It being my first car, I didn't know what to look for, how to do the OBD, etc. So I just went ahead and bought it.

I feel pretty lucky as all the problems I've had are mainly routine maintenance with a car gettin' up there in mileage [98K].

[brake line, AC compressor, alternator, battery]

Eric

93 Cad Seville 100K

95 Chev Blazer 143K [garaged summers] :)

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OK Guys,

Finally the saga is over........

It is the head gasket. Thats what the dealer told me. He just called and told me that it is the head gasket. His advise is to sell this car and get another one. Becuase pretty soon it will have stripped bolts and then new engine..... and etc etc etc.

So I would say its a new head gasket that this thing needs.

Now thinking about what JiMDTS said few posts ago, how about putting some gold lead bars in for the heck of it. Idont know if it is going to make any difference on the head gasket leak but I believe I can try it now.....

Also how difficult that change would be? With whatever I have done in this car, do you think I will be able to manage it myself? Do i have to take it to a mechanic shop to get it changed? Is there anything too difficult that may cause me to breakup in the middle of fixing process?

I am glad that it is finally over but I am depressed that I have a car with a blown gasket. Reality bites....

Ali

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