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3rd gen Coolant System problem

 
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Old 04-16-2012, 06:06 PM
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3rd gen Coolant System problem

Okay guys, I hate to be a bother with a coolant problem here, but I have searched the forum and cannot find a good answer to my problem. Okay, here's the deal. I formerly had a problem with a sticking thermostat, but I replaced it around 6 months ago. Up until about a month ago everything has been fine. Then, all of a sudden my car started the whole fluctuating idle deal, and I wondered what was wrong. I figured out that I needed coolant, so I filled it to capacity and my problem was fixed. Now, about a week after, my car starts to overheat, I get home, car is smoking. Check the coolant level. Gone. I research and research, then I'm led to believe the cooling fan has failed. I take it to my uncle's, where we change the relay and it begins to work. Then, we bleed the system. I have heaps of air in the head and bleeding it out has become a mix of about 70% air to 30% coolant. After bleeding it, uncle believes one of the hoses has a hole or is bad, but it is hidden close to the bottom and not visible without taking off the distributor among other things. I use Stopleak which a lot of people say is a mistake, but I use it anyway, take it to my dad the following week, he says there is no more leak that he can notice. I drive to a local city the next day, stop at a Sonic, and hear nothing but steam and smoke under the hood. Let it cool, go up to Walmart, out of coolant almost. Fill it up, begins to overheat before I get home. Stop on the side of the road to fill it. Finally get home. Think the fan relay messed up. Take it to my uncle yesterday, fan still works. He believes the air is not allowing the coolant to trigger the thermostat for the fan to come on. Leak is apparently still there. Can anyone help? I'm sorry for this tl;dr thread, but I'm in dire need of help.
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Old 04-16-2012, 06:51 PM
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Re: 3rd gen Coolant System problem

First of all, try a new radiator cap. They can cause all types of strange symptoms when they go bad. Then fill and bleed your cooling system and see if runs any better. But do not drive it anymore if it's overheating. You will only damage the engine.

Now for the potential bad news. You might have overheated the engine enough to damage the head gasket, or worse (warped/cracked head). If the radiator cap doesn't fix the problem, the next thing you should do is a compression test. That will probably show if there is a problem with the head or head gasket. All 4 cylinders should have about the same compression, ideally over 165 psi. When testing compression, pull all 4 spark plugs and hold the throttle wide open while cranking the engine over.
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:15 PM
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Re: 3rd gen Coolant System problem

I haven't drove it to the absolute point of overheat, just once to the point of it getting close before I pulled over. Thanks, I will probably get a radiator cap ASAP. How exactly do you test compression?
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Old 04-17-2012, 01:33 AM
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Re: 3rd gen Coolant System problem

First of all you'll need to buy or borrow a compression tester. Make sure to get the type that threads into the spark plug hole, and not the type that you have to hold there. What I like to do is first make sure that you can loosen all four spark plugs with the engine cold. You don't want to have a problem removing them when the engine is warmed up. Then tighten them back down and warm up the engine. Shut the engine off and remove all four plugs from the engine. Some people also like to disable the fuel system at this point. Thread the compression tester into one of the spark plug holes. I usually start with #1 (nearest the timing belt). Then turn the engine over while holding the gas pedal to the floor until the compression stops increasing on the compression tester gauge. Record this reading and repeat for the other cylinders. Then compare the readings from all four cylinders. They should be within about 10 psi of each other. If they are more than 15 psi apart then there is a problem. You can then try squirting a little bit of oil into the cylinder that was low and retesting. If the pressure increases you have a ring problem. If it doesn't you have a valve or head gasket problem.

I've tried to hit the high points of compression testing. You might want to google it and learn more about it on your own before you test. Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:35 AM
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Re: 3rd gen Coolant System problem

Luzer's right. Would it hurt to just sit there with a camera rolling so we can see what the issue is? Personally replacing the hoses would probably been the end of the problems, and you didn't check the radiator empty to see if it's still good. Those things disintegrate from the inside all the time.

Do the compression test , also check to see the radiator didn't rot out and clog the system. If both the radiator is good, and the system is not clogged, replace the hoses. Then fill the radiator to capacity, put on the new cap if that was the Problem. Run car and watch the gauges.

The overheating is bad any way you look at it, the temp gauge is late to tell you by 5-20 seconds, and some brand new cars can take it. Post a vid if the problem persists with an assistant to cut the engine the second you hear hissing.
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:40 AM
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Re: 3rd gen Coolant System problem

Well it sounds like you haven't actually checked all of the hoses and traced the leak. It shouldn't have anything to do with your fans if your system is always drained of coolant. If you can find where it is leaking (whether its a hose or the head gasket or whatever), fix it and you should be fine
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Old 04-17-2012, 02:13 PM
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Re: 3rd gen Coolant System problem

I will most likely try to get some kind of video up to show you what my problem is with this thing. I wish I could take it with my phone, but of course it doesn't allow me to send to email.
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Old 04-17-2012, 03:52 PM
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Re: 3rd gen Coolant System problem

yea, find the leak. I had a pinhole in the coolant hose going from the iacv to the head right next to the thermostat housing. Cause me to leak coolant and overheat. Once I replaced it and got a new radiator cap, all my overheating problems went away. Got the hose from HONDA for like 15$
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:01 PM
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Re: 3rd gen Coolant System problem

You said that you had noises and steam at a Sonic. Didn't happen to get out and see where it's from, Did you? Water pump good?
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:17 PM
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Re: 3rd gen Coolant System problem

I had noises and steam there, and it started while my uncle and I bled the coolant system. The water pump is good. Where it is coming from seems to be far down around the area to the left of the head. It isn't visible, so it isn't a hose that is easy to get to if it is a leak.
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