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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys, it's me again. My van is giving me a hard time. I noticed it steaming a little, but knew I needed to replace lower radiator hose. So Jakub came by and changed hoses ( we did both lower). But radiator is still smoking and overheating. Thermostat is opening, water pump is circulating and we did compression test. Which all 4 show between 120/140. Radiator not leaking. Watcha think? Time for radiator replacement or something else? 89 caravan 2.5 turbo.
 

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Okay if it isnt leaking how it is smoking.
what is smoking? is it oil? or coolant?

if it is smoking coolant. coolant is out side of the radiator.
we call that a leak.

when driving where does the temp gauge sit?
when does it go up? on the highway? sitting still?

fan coming on?
 

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Please tell us when it is overheating.

In general terms, if it overheats in traffic only that is typically the auxiliary fan not coming on as it should. This can be caused by the fan itself being kaput, the wiring being toast, or the relay being cooked/inoperative. A bad temp sensor (the one on the thermostat housing) can also be the culpret but if the CTS has gone bad you typically get a fault code and the engine may also run poorly.

If it runs hot going down the road and when the engine is making power but seems OK at other times, then that is typically a partially clogged radiator, a restriction in the air flow through the radiator, a radiator cap that is loose or the gasket is leaking/gone, or maybe even low on coolant.

If it tends to heat up pretty quickly when started cold, get hot and stay hot, that is either a thermostat stuck closed or just barely open, or a clogged radiator, or a water-pump that isn't moving coolant, like the impeller came loose (rare w/our cars) or the impeller blades have corroded off (also rare w/our cars)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Trying to remember all your questions. 1st off, we changed fan last week when fan motor went out. Replaced with universal. Don't see any radiator leaks. After changing hoses, we put some fluid in, waited for thermostat to open, so we could put more in, van running, cap off radiator. When it opened and AF went down it was smoking/steaming out of radiator, so bad we shut van off, so to wait before we add more. Eventually adding more, to top off, let van run and smoke starts coming out of open radiator. No temp gauge just idiot light.
 

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It is going to run hot if you don't put the radiator cap on it. The cap allows pressure to build and prevents the coolant from boiling over. If you are seeing bubbles when you look down the radiator neck hole, I mean a constant stream of bubbles and it is producing smoke from the radiator next, that is almost always a sign of a blown head gasket. Check your oil as well and see if it looks like chocolate milk, check under the oil cap for signs of what might look a bit like melted ice cream. Any car that is run hot for long enough will blow a head gasket, crack a head or the block....just depends on the engine and the amount of heat and the length of time or number of times it was run waaaay too hot.

The temp gauge is controlled by the sensor over by the AC compressor and that is screwed into the front of the head, near cylinder/spark plug #2. The fan should turn on when the engine warms up, that is controlled by the CTS (coolant temp switch) which is over by the thermostat housing. If the car gets hot enough to show overheating on the gauge, the fan should come on. If it is not, then there is something going on with that fan. If the engine is running and you unplug the CTS, the fan should come on and stay on and you will get a check engine light. If you unplug the CTS and no fan, there is a problem in the fan circuit...wiring, relay, ground, connectors, even the engine controller.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm sorry I didn't mention that we did put cap on to let it cycle and pressure build up. Also fan runs constantly as soon as you turn on key, and doesn't go off til you turn off key, constant fan. That's another story, car was over heating at one time and guy in old neighborhood rigged it so it would run constantly and I could get home no problem. I would never push a car that has signs of overheating. Anyway, other mechanics didn't want to mess with his rigging, so it's been that way a little while. Jakub and I were recently talking about straightening it out. Since he just started working on my car a couple months ago. But it seems like we can't get to it because of all the other crazy things that have been going on. Anyway, no constant bubbling stream in radiator, no milky substance under oil cap. It's been 15 yrs since radiator was put in. So, I'm gonna go to my radiator guy and see what he has to say. Just put it out to see if anybody had any ideas if that could be the problem. I just never seen anything like it before. I guess I have to be a little more detailed when describing what's happening. We changed hoses, topped off radiator, closed cap for a few, until we thought thermostat opened, not to long, removed cap, steaming like crazy, shut car off, waited for steam to subside. Topped off again, started car back up put in more AF, put cap back on. Still see steam coming out a little, open cap, more steam. And from there we checked compression, which as I said was 120/140. Plugs didn't look too bad just average wear. So, that's where I'm at.
 

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before taking the cooling system apart.
grab yourself a head gasket checker kit.
check those bubbles for hydrocarbons.
it should not over heat witht he fan on 24/7.

would hate to see you pull the cooling system down and have the radiator checked just for it to be a HG.
 

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You replaced hoses...

1)Are you sure All air has been removed from the system?

2)Have you verified the engine is actually running hot?

PROPERLY DRAINING AND REFILLING COOLING SYSTEM




CHECKING ACTUAL COOLANT TEMP
Backprobe the CTS (Coolant Temp Sensor) and read the Voltage as the engine runs.


 

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Discussion Starter #12
Good news! I just came back from the radiator shop, (guy I absolutely trust, been going there for 35 yrs). I need a radiator. No blown head gasket, just a bad leaking radiator. Even though we couldn't see the leaks in my garage, he showed me at his shop. Corroded at top and bottom. So, now I'm on the hunt for a radiator. Thanks again guys.
 
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