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Old 10-10-2005, 08:22 PM
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overheating problem

My brothers car, a 1997 pomtiac sunfire with a 2.2l motor is having a major problem. His car reached 240-260* in a few minutes. He got all mad came in and asked me what was wrong. I took him outside and told him to start the car, he wouldn't but I could smell the "lovely smell" of burning gaskets.
He wants me to fix this car for him, I laughed and asked how much money he had on him because he is probably looking at the expensive side. My entire family thinks that his thermostat is bad and that there is no other problem with the car. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think his water pump went out on him and he baked his head gasket. Would this be possible?

What would everyone think the problem is?
Thanks for the help anyone can offer,
Eric

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Old 10-10-2005, 08:25 PM
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Any number of things could have happened! He is your brother. Forget anything from the past and get out there and look at his car. even if you can't fix it you CAN tell him what's wrong and what it will cost to fix it! Show the love brother!
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Old 10-10-2005, 08:28 PM
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I help him fix this car all of the time, I'm even nice enough to do it for free and try to teach him. I was just wondering would a thermostat cause this problem.
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Old 10-10-2005, 08:36 PM
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Generally a thermostat will fail wide open and makes it hard to warm up the car.
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Old 10-10-2005, 08:36 PM
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I think his problelm is...... that he kept driving a car that he knew was overheating and toasted that critter.

Tell him your opinion, let somebody else fix it.
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Old 10-10-2005, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bracketeer
Generally a thermostat will fail wide open and makes it hard to warm up the car.
I have seen 3 x more stick closed than stick open.
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Old 10-10-2005, 08:38 PM
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Wouldn't suprise me but I'll teach him how to fix it if he has enough for the parts and machine work if he did burn his gaskets (wouldn't suprise me).
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Old 10-10-2005, 09:48 PM
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first is it full of water do you see any leaks if not pull the stat and see if it gets hot if not replace or just leave it out depends on the car and your weather
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Old 10-10-2005, 10:33 PM
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Once the guage says the car is up to operating temp, feel both the top and bottom radiator hose. If you notice a condsiderable temperature difference, either the pump is totally not pumping, or (more likely) the thermostat isn't opening.
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Old 10-11-2005, 03:38 AM
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Overheat

Doc here,

Pull the stat...it will only cost you two gaskets and your time of about 1/2 an hour to do..(one to test with and one when you replace or reinstall the thermostat... )

Boil a pan of water and use a kitchen thermometer in the pan to verify you are at 212 degrees...Carefully lower the thermostat in the water and see does it open wide up? If so let the whole thing cool down (or add ice) and watch the test thermometer..does the Stat close as it approaches 100 degrees? If so call it good...If not get another..

Meanwhile, (have your bro do the test, no mechanmical skill required) use your extra gasket, put the goose neck back on, Without the stat,fill the system , check for leaks, and fire that puppy up with the radiator cap off...Carefully (wear goggles) look into the filler neck, IS the water flowing AND does it squirt out the tubes? If so , The pump is working at least to some degree..

Check that water is it foamy, or have oil in it? If so you may have a blown gasket , warped intake, (intake bolts not sealing through the water jacket), Cracked head or block..

Check the oil is it milky? Sure sign something popped..

If no oil , but "bubbly", close the FULL radiator system , be sure the coolant recovery tank is full to hot, and let it expel air in there, If it was empty, or you don't have one, it will just draw back air instead of coolant to replace the trapped air and cavitate the pump and overheat..

Be sure the cap works..if it won't open under pressure it won't expel air...

Once your done, if good replace the thermostat, and test the system..If you decide you need to pull the thing down, get some K&W block seal, run that through the system, (no not to repair it) It has suspended copper in it, Everywhere the gaskets and surfaces leak, it will leave a gold stain, making it easy to find on pull down..BE sure to get it all out after you run it so it won't set up where you don't need it..

Try that let us know..

Doc
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Old 10-11-2005, 05:51 PM
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I'm not real "up" on these newer cars but if it's like the Cavalier it has a coolant jug on the passenger side with the cap on it. once you have checked the thermostat as Doc described fill it up using the coolant jug.
There is a air bleeder valve on the front center area of the engine, right infront of the exhaust. It says to bleed during coolant fill/refill but not to remove. Remove it {it has a tendency to get trash in it and clog the tiny hole}. Continue to add water until it is full, then start it and add water as needed until pure water comes from the bleeder screw. Replace the screw and cap.
This alone may fix the problem...these cars seem to do ok on loss of coolant.
if it still gets hot let us know!
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Old 10-13-2005, 02:27 PM
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Doc,
great idea about the copper seal to ID the leak..... thanks.

Old dogs can learn new tricks... lol

x
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Old 10-13-2005, 02:40 PM
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Head gaskets are a big problem on the 2.2 4cyl, so is head warpage and head cracks if overheated. Like stated above, I would start by filling full of coolant/water and do a pressure test on the cooling system. If there is a external leak start with that. Can you smell any coolant at the tail pipe? If so chances are good for a head gasket or head. I would not recommend that the car be driven much without the T-stat, the engine needs to see a certain temp and without it, it may never reach that temp. Good luck and don't overlook the basics.

Steve
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Old 10-13-2005, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xntrik
Doc,
great idea about the copper seal to ID the leak..... thanks.

Old dogs can learn new tricks... lol

x

Doc here,

xntrik,

Your welcome,

Learned that a long time ago, (When K&W first came out) Trying to Repair a 429 that toasted itself, I noted on pulldown, that everywhere it warped & popped a gasket, it was Flake gold..Made it real easy to fix.. and cheaper than a dye kit..

Doc
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