Car Experts: Overheating?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Greg_S_H, Jul 24, 2002.

  1. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Okay, I'm driving along and everything's fine temperature-wise. I get to the drive-thru, order my food, and pull up behind the car at the window. Still, everything's fine. I put the car in Park, look down to get a tape and to fast-forward, etc., and when I look up, the temperature gauge is all the way over to H.

    Of course, I freak out (having overheated and cracked the engine block before, I'm not too happy to see this), turn off the engine, pop the hood. There's plenty of fluid in the reservoir, and the engine isn't even radiating any heat (it's a pretty short drive over to the fast food joint).

    Against my better judgement, I decide to turn on the car and move it out of the line so it can cool down. When I turn it on , it's back to normal. Everything's the way it should be. So, I drive home and decide to try an experiment. I leave it running and put it in Park. Within seconds, the needle's climbing again. I'm about to go out and check the fluid with a flashlight, but I really think it's cool. I'm then going to crank it and run it in Drive to see what happens.

    Assuming it stays at the normal level, what's going on? Problem with the gauge? Maybe the fan doesn't run in Park? I hope someone can help, because I'm really worried over here.
     
  2. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    sounds like a dead cooling fan or stuck thermostat to me. Do you notice if it is overheating when you're moving? is the upper radiator house hot? sounds like the T stat maybe.
     
  3. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    It's fine as long as I'm moving. I just tried it in Drive sitting still, and it began climbing again. Do you think I messed it up just now by driving home? Like I said, after I cranked it after it was all the way to the right, it was back to where it's supposed to be and was all the way back home. It only started heating up again when I let it idle.
    I don't know what a T stat is (I wish I wasn't ignorant about cars, but I am), but I'll go check if the radiator is hot. I'm not going to take off the cap just yet. [​IMG]
    EDIT: Oh, thermostat. I'm an idiot. [​IMG] What would that mean, if it was the case? That mechanically the car is in no immediate danger?
     
  4. Joel Mack

    Joel Mack Cinematographer

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    "T stat" is just shorthand for thermostat. I'd guess either that or the cooling fan, too. When you're moving, you're getting enough air cooling, but when you're stopped, the cooling fan is supposed to take over...
     
  5. Ryan Peter

    Ryan Peter Screenwriter

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    It's the cooling fan. Same thing happened to me. Unfortunately my radiator blew because of overheating so I had to have that replaced as well. Get it fixed ASAP and stop driving it.
     
  6. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I'm not cranking it for anything until morning, but how can I check the fans? I know the main one is supposed to run when the AC is on, so I can check that one. Is there nothing I can do for the other until it gets to a certain temp?
    BTW, thanks for the help so far, guys. I was feeling so sick because of all this when I first got home, I threw away the food that indirectly caused all this trouble.
    The good news in all of this is it is causing me to learn a few things. www.autosite.com has helped explain the thermostat to me. Again, thanks for pointing me to that possible cause.
     
  7. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    BTW when your car overheats, turn on the defrost, high, as hot as it'll go. Should help cool it (how much? I dunno, just always been told to do that [​IMG])
    if it's fine when you're moving I agree it's probably the electric fan. It could be the fan itself or the switch that turns it on, or a blown fuse maybe, never had one go on me so I'm just tossing off ideas I guess.
     
  8. Brad_V

    Brad_V Second Unit

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    If you have to drive it around, you might be able to get away with turning on the a/c when at idle to have that fan cool things down. Unless it's a really hot day, the engine shouldn't need both fans to cool down even with the a/c on.

    Obviously the main coolant fan isn't working, so either it's unplugged, the fan itself is broken, or the electrical connection is bad. Might be just an easy-to-see broken wire running from the fan.
     
  9. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I concur - sounds to me like a dead fan. Get it fixed pronto. You should be able to drive it to the shop for the repair.

    When you turn the heat on you cycle coolant through the heater core and other hoses and such that heat the cabin using the hot radiator fluid. It doesn't help much and is only a -very- temporary solution.
     
  10. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    Greg, run the engine in park, pop the hood, and watch for the fan to come on. It works intermittently, so you might have to watch it for several minutes. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge as well. If the temp climbs into the red zone, and the fan does not come on, the problem is within the fan: poor electrical connection, blown fuse, short circuit, etc. (Once the temp reaches the red, shut the engine off).

    Worst case (but relatively unlikely) scenario: blown head gasket. $$$

    Good luck,

    Jon
     
  11. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Thanks, guys. When I get a chance tonight, I'll definitely take a look at the fan. Hopefully, I'll get lucky and it'll be a blown fuse. Probably not, but. . . . [​IMG]
     
  12. Sean Conklin

    Sean Conklin Screenwriter

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    What kind of a car are we talking? The advice about the electric fan is good, it sounds like a faulty electric fan to me too.
     
  13. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    '93 Acura Integra. I saw the fan working about a week ago, but that, of course, means nothing. If it goes, it goes.
     
  14. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    It's not the head gasket unless you're losing coolant and there's no visible leak. Though there is a point here, is the coolant level low?

    If it's only getting hot when sitting idle, and the coolant level is normal, it's that the fan isn't working. If it gets hot even when driving, then it's the thermostat or the water pump, or the radiator is plugged.

    In my car, if I idle for an extended period of time (more than 10 minutes or so), the gauge creeps up toward hot, but when it's about 2/3rds over the fan kicks on (I can hear it) then the gauge drops and the fan shuts off again. And the cycle repeats until I start moving again, then the airflow takes over.

    Try putting the AC on and see if the fan runs. I'm pretty sure in my car (a Saturn) the AC and radiator use the same fan.
     
  15. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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  16. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I'm taking it in today. We'll soon know the problem. The guy thinks there may be something wrong with the sensor, as he can't figure out why it would show itself as being all the way hot and yet, less than a minute later, be sitting back down at the normal level. Just for closure's sake, I'll let you know what we find out.

    Thanks for all the help, guys. I really do appreciate it.
     
  17. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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  18. Ken Garrison

    Ken Garrison Supporting Actor

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    My van's temp hangs around the higher half mark when I'm in the city. I just put a new radiator cap on it, so it's probably a little stronger than the old one. Then I can hear the fan going. I have one of them fans that are driven by the engine. Once I get out on the road and going at highway speeds, I can hear the BLOWING noise of that fan go down. So, it must be cool enough to not need to be running. BTW, when I start my van up first thing in the day time and go, my fan is running at fullspeed. Then it slows down until the engine is warm enough to need it again. Is it one of these clutch fans, or the kind that has the fluid inside that gets thicker as it gets hotter? I do, however, feel a shock go through my spine while I'm driving and I take a look at my guage and seeing it off the RED mark. I was loosing water. Barz Leak fixed it though.
     
  19. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Screenwriter

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    If the fan(s) are working fine, then I'd replace the radiator cap. The cooling system is a pressurized system. If the radiator cap isn't holding proper pressure then the boiling point is lowered.

    You will be amazed at how many overheating problems can be solved by simply replacing an old worn out radiator cap.

    Mark
     
  20. Andy Hardin

    Andy Hardin Stunt Coordinator

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    *Exact* same thing happened to me in my 97 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP. Turned out to be the water pump. Just another thing for you to check

    I also had an 89 BMW with a bad T-stat. Would turn the heat on high when the temp got hot before I got it fixed. Worked like a charm, I could see the temperature go down as I did it. Sucked ass since it was the summer though. Got that fixed quickly
     

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