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Sporadic Overheating - Help!

 
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Old 23 Mar 2013, 05:43 pm
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Default Sporadic Overheating - Help!

Hi everyone, first I want to say that I appreciate your time in reading my post.

My PT Cruiser is overheating, hopefully someone here has gone through the same thing and knows what the cause may be. Here are the details:

1.
3 weeks ago took a drive on the highway (normally I just drive around town). Car started to overheat. I checked the coolant level as in the past it leaked coolant, but that was fixed with a stop leak product. The coolant level was full. I continued on my trip, however the car continued to overheat and I had to pull over a few times to let the car cool down. What I did notice is that even after just 30 seconds with the ignition off, the car would manage to cool down 1/4 when it was started again. Which leads me to think that maybe the fan relay is defective somehow and that turning it off and on would reset the computer? The temperature would dip up and down throughout my trip. Sometimes it would be fine, and then it would go up again. When it red lined I would pull over. Also, it was -4 degrees Fahrenheit outside and I was driving 75mph. So it was plenty cold outside, and the engine was still overheating. When I got into town, it continued to over heat sporadically, sometimes it would be fine, sometimes it would dip up.

2. After much reading online, I assumed that my radiator was clogged, as that seemed to be a common issue with PT Cruisers. I went to get my radiator flushed and new fluid pumped in. My car ran fine for 3 weeks without overheating.

3. Yesterday it started to over heat again. Nothing major, but it was dipping up to 3/4 and back down to 1/2, and sometimes it would stay just over 1/2. I checked my fluid level and it was VERY low, so I refilled it. Also I noticed a leak in the upper metal portion of my radiator that was spitting fluid.

4. Today I pulled over when the heat was between 1/2 and 3/4 to see if the fan was working, and it was. Even with the fan on the car was overheating. Also, I've noticed that the heater inside does not blow HOT air, it blows warm air, but not hot, which leads me to believe that there is a problem with circulation.

So my thoughts are:
1. There is trapped air in the system.
2. The crack in the radiator is preventing the system to fully pressurize, lowering the boiling point of the fluid and causing it to boil in the engine and over heat (theory based on what I've read).
3. The radiator is rotted out and clogged (possibly from the stop leak). However if that is the case, wouldn't it permanently overheat and not be off and on as it has been?
4. It could be the thermostat, but if it was stuck closed, would it cause the temperature to fluctuate?
5. Water pump seems fine since it is not leaking and has not made any noises.

I'm at a loss here. This is my families only source of transportation right now. I appreciate any help or insight you can give me.

Thank you,
Peter
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Old 23 Mar 2013, 07:54 pm
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Default Re: Sporadic Overheating - Help!

Additional Info:

Today I was paying close attention to the heat blowing inside. It was cold, even though the temp gauge was at half. Then once the temp gauge got between 1/2 and 3/4 it started blowing hot air and it would cause the temp gauge to settle a bit.

I bought a 7lbs radiator cap to help stop the leak. I put it on, and this time the temp gauge was going to red line. I pulled over, put the old cap on, and again, everything started to circulate and I got hot air in the cabin with the temp gauge just past half.

Sounds like the radiator is clogged. Because under pressure there is some flow, but with little/not pressure there is none.

Thoughts?
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Old 25 Mar 2013, 03:43 am
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Default Re: Sporadic Overheating - Help!

You have air trapped in the system. The water pump will circulate coolant regardless of the pressure cap value.
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Old 25 Mar 2013, 03:52 am
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Default Re: Sporadic Overheating - Help!

look up how to bleed the air out of the system.
I think it real easy.
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Old 25 Mar 2013, 03:54 am
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Default Re: Sporadic Overheating - Help!

I found this it should help Bleeding air from cooling system
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