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Over heat, need some help

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 27 Dec 2009, 06:17 pm
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Default Over heat, need some help

Just got this PT Cruiser for my daughter, put it on the road Christmas eve.
Today temperature gauge went to overheat and warning siren sounded. Went to get my daughter, waited for it to cool down, checked antifreeze in radiator and it was full? Radiator and hoses are brand new (cars an 01) don't know if thermostats any good or been changed. When I bought the car I smelled antifreeze, previous owner said that it was from radiator (assured me no leaks) which he just had replaced. Guys any idea's, help
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Old 27 Dec 2009, 06:54 pm
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Default Re: Over heat, need some help

There's a number of reasons why the PT (and other cars) overheat. The main cause for the PT is the radiator fan itself. There's two speeds and usually the higher speed brushes burn out.

Other causes are: the water pump, thermostat, radiator cap, air trapped in the coolant system, blockage in the radiator or blown head gasket.
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Old 27 Dec 2009, 07:22 pm
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Default Re: Over heat, need some help

Welcome to the forum, hulk2 IMHO I's check out the fan motor B 4 I'd do any thing else.
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Old 27 Dec 2009, 08:32 pm
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Default Re: Over heat, need some help

When I got the car, I smelled anti-freeze thinking it might be a head gasket.
Doesn't leak from what I can see and no water in the oil. When I popped off the radiator cap, no anti-freeze was lost (my daughter said temperature gauge was pegged and an alert, siren went off). Previous owner said radiator and thermostat (could still be faulty still) are brand new. I want to look into the fan like a couple of you guys suggested. Thanks I will let you know how I made out.
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Old 27 Dec 2009, 08:40 pm
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Default Re: Over heat, need some help

Quote:
Originally Posted by hulk2 View Post
Just got this PT Cruiser for my daughter, put it on the road Christmas eve.
Today temperature gauge went to overheat and warning siren sounded. Went to get my daughter, waited for it to cool down, checked antifreeze in radiator and it was full? Radiator and hoses are brand new (cars an 01) don't know if thermostats any good or been changed. When I bought the car I smelled antifreeze, previous owner said that it was from radiator (assured me no leaks) which he just had replaced. Guys any idea's, help
Where are you located? What was the outside temperature? This can matter. It is more likely to be thermostat if it was, say, 0 degrees F outside than if it was 65 degrees F. If it was fairly balmy, I would say it is more likely to be the cooling fan.

The easiest thing to check first is the fan. It's even easier with two people.
1. Open hood and prop up. Loiter near the engine, keeping hands, arms, tie, etc away from the fan.
2. Have second person get into car and start engine.
3. Have second person turn on air conditioning all the way cold.
4. If the cooling fan does not come on with a roar, the fan assembly is bad. I think this the most likely culprit.

My next guesses would be:
1. Air in the system. Simple to bleed using the fitting at the bottom of the radiator cap stack. Download the free manual from this website. I don't think this is likely.
A diagram showing the bleed valve is in this thread, right here---> heat - defrost problems
2. Thermostat. Could be partly sticking. Cheap to replace. I strongly urge a dealer part or a name brand made in USA.

Note: Check the coolant installed by the PO--Previous Owner. If it is DEX-Cool (orange juice), drain it all and replace it with MoPar HOAT or compatible antifreeze. The MoPar for a 2001 is pale yellow. DEX-Cool WILL clog your radiator over a short time. (Go ahead. Make my day. Ask me how I know this.)
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Last edited by Matt42; 27 Dec 2009 at 08:44 pm. Reason: Found diagram!!
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Old 27 Dec 2009, 09:21 pm
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Default Re: Over heat, need some help

With the engine running and warmed up, check the upper radiator hose...if the engine is hot and the hose is hot, then coolant is flowing. If the engine is hot but the hose is cool, then coolant is not flowing...the thermostat is a likely problem. Make sure the thermostat is installed properly (not upside down), the spring side should be pointing down towards the engine. If the thermostat has a little bleeder ball valve, the valve should be aligned with the notch in the thermostat housing. Also, since work had recently been done on the cooling system, there may be air trapped in the system.
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Old 27 Dec 2009, 09:29 pm
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Default Re: Over heat, need some help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl48 View Post
With the engine running and warmed up, check the upper radiator hose...if the engine is hot and the hose is hot, then coolant is flowing. If the engine is hot but the hose is cool, then coolant is not flowing...the thermostat is a likely problem. Make sure the thermostat is installed properly (not upside down), the spring side should be pointing down towards the engine. If the thermostat has a little bleeder ball valve, the valve should be aligned with the notch in the thermostat housing. Also, since work had recently been done on the cooling system, there may be air trapped in the system.
Good points. I had forgotten how easy it can be to install a t-stat upside-down. Did the car's PO do the work or have it done? And, if the PO did it himself, did he know what he was doing? For that matter, if done by a repair shop, did the shop know what it was doing. (It was a Midas repair shop that put the DEX-cool in the 01 PT that I later bought.)
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Old 27 Dec 2009, 09:54 pm
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Default Re: Over heat, need some help

With respect to the electric fan and whether it could be the problem, keep in mind that it is only effective below 35 mph or so. In other words if you are still overheating at 40 mph or more it is probably not the fan.
Also, is this a new radiator or a used one?
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Old 28 Dec 2009, 08:17 am
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Default Re: Over heat, need some help

Another thought regarding the thermostat...if you do suspect the thermostat and end up looking at it...even if you find it was installed properly you might want to test it since you went to all the bother of removing it. Put it in a pot of water on the stove top and bring the water to just short of a full boil...the thermostat should be fully open by then.
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Old 28 Dec 2009, 10:00 am
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Default Re: Over heat, need some help

Good point Carl.
You can actually use a candy thermometer to check the exact open temp (if you're compulsive like me).
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