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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey everyone. I will start off by saying that I am new to this site, so please be gentle with me. Ok, I have a 1996 Chevy S-10. About 4 years ago I replaced the water pump and then about 3 years ago I had to replace the radiator due to a crack in the side. Just recently the temp gauge was getting a little high and it was blowing cool air, so I checked the over flow tank for the radiator and it was full, but the radiator had a little coolant left if it. I also notice a lot of rust colored water when I added some to get to the shop. Note- when I opened the radiator cap, the coolant shot out of the over flow tank, so it should not be clogged. I ended up taking it to the shop and the guy had me replace the thermostat and flush and fill. A pressure test showed that I was not loosing pressure. I also had the hoses replaced. Well, a week and a half goes by and the temp gauge has now started to get high again and the coolant in the overflow tank is full, but no hot air. I do seem to smell a little coolant when I get out of the truck. My heater coil is located in the cab right under the console and I have not seen any coolant leak onto the floor nor smell any coolant inside the truck. Any ideas of whats going on?

Thanks,
cahillnnc
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I can't say that I have ever seen any film on the windshield, but I plan on taking the cover off the heater coil tomorrow to see if there is any sign of leakage. Why would the over flow tank still be full and the radiator only a a little coolant though? Would that be like some kind of vacume problem?
 

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I am no expert, kinda a backyard mechanic, but I dont know that vacum plays a part in the overflow tank, I dont remember all that you had replaced....but did you replace the radiator? The last time I had a similar issue with a vehicle I flushed the sysytem out for over an hour with a water hose while it was running and the heat turned on wide open so it would circulate through the heater core, ended up finding out that the entire lower half of the radiator was blocked, so I replaced the radiator and the thermostat and that solved the problem with mine. It definetly sounds kind of weird. I do also know that if the heat is warm while its being driven or whhen you rev it up then cools at idle that the thermostat is bad. Hope I gave you a couple helpful ideas, i'll also ask a couple of friends of mine and see what they say.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The heat works as soon as I fill the radiator back up with coolant, so I don't believe to heater coil is messed up. As for the rust in the radiator, I would have thought the radiator would have lasted longer than 3 years when I replaced it. I have a feeling thats what I will end up having to do.
 

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My guess is a leaking head or intake gasket gasket that is allowing the coolant to be forced out the exhaust or intake valves Once the coolant gets low in the radiator, there is enough compression pressure to pressurize the coolant system, which forces the recovery tank full early in the cycle. This is a tough one to diagnose because there is no visible leakage exterior to the motor and rad, especially after you replaced hoses and rad. They are still strong enough to withstand the over pressurization. Continued driving will result in a warped head. You should do a compression check to check for a possible head gasket leak. For checking if it is an intake gasket leak, remove the rad cap when the rad is at its near empty/ recovery tank full mode, fire up the engine and hold your hand over the filler hole to see if you detect pressure (cold engine for sure) The compressed air will travel past the closed thermostat, but don't expected immediate pressurization because it will take a short period of time for the pressure to build to a detectable level.

There are enough professional mechanics on this board that probably explain this a lot better than I. They may even have personal experience on S 10s

Trees
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You actually hit it on the head. I checked the recovery tank and it was the full, but the radiator was almost empty. I ended up filling the radiator up with water and it kept going down. I ended up finding water dropping from the back of the motor onto the exhaust pipe "hence no water on the ground" I took it to Firestone and the guy that worked there actually knew what he was doing. It ended up being the cylinder head gasket leaking at the back of the motor. He quoted a price of around $700.00, but I think I should be able to find a cheaper price.

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cahillnnc
 

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If cheaper is your only criteria for who you let fix your car then you will probably end up disappointed and may have to end up spending the money to do it over again right. Do you want cheap or good? You seldom get both. Let the experienced shop do the job and forget bargain hunting when it comes to this type of thing.
 

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Before you do a head gasket replacement I would also consider this... I`ve found with both the V8 and V6 versions of Vortec engines (pre 2000 year gen 3 engines) that the intake gaskets are the real culprits and not the head gaskets... I also agress bargain hunting is not the way to go with car repairs but honesty and a good reputation cost much less... ;)
 

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The intake is a good possibility.Any where aluminum and steel meet up is a good leak point.I would definitely perform a compression check to make sure before I just replaced the intake gaskets though.$700.00 is not a killer amount to pay for that job.If it was brought to me in my garage I would charge about the same.
 

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Re: coolant loss

bracketeer said:
If your oil is turning beige you have a gasket leak. If you leave the vehicle idle in the driveway for 15 minutes or so and water puddles form behind the exhaust. You need a head gasket.
All cars with catalytic convertors create condensation in the exhaust. Any leakage can be detected with a little detective work. If it is going into the combustion chamber it will show on the spark plug reading, if it is going into the oil, you will see foamy oil. And of course the obvious external leak. But as mentioned before it may hit the hot pipe and evaporate before it hits the ground. An inspection of the underside would reveal this.
 
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