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Strange end of commute heat spike

 
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Old 19 Jan 2015, 05:08 pm
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Angry Strange end of commute heat spike

I've been going through the back log of threads in these forums about overheating and have not found anything that quite matches what is going on with My 2006 PT Cruiser Turbo.

The Backstory: Had the Timing Belt and water pump changed back on January 2nd by my Mechanic. Also several leaks were discovered and repaired in this process, and the Radiator cap was replaced as it had been leaking.

When back in the following Tuesday, January 6th, as the Coolant system was overflowing. The Mechanics' assistant had put too much coolant in the system.

Head Mechanic did a pressure test, no problem, said to wait for the excess to dump out.

That night on the way home from work, and every night following until Friday within Five minutes of Starting the car would start to over heat, then drop back down. I Popped the radiator cap and reseated it, and checked the overflow tank. Everything looked OK.

It ran fine for a few days, then on Sunday, January 11, the car started to do an Odd over heat after coming off the freeway and then starting and stopping in city traffic. At the last light before turning onto the street where my work is the temp gauge would creep up to 3/4, then drop when I started up again.

Took it back to my mechanic (wednesday January 14) and he replaced the thermostat (the car had already eaten one with a prior cooling system problem 4 years ago) at no charge. Drove it to work mid day...same problem. He was convinced it was a fan issue so I left it with him all day on
January 15 where he was able to drive it around and test it in his shop, no problems. He even went on the freeway with it, up a steep hill comparable to the one I face at work...could not repeat the issue. When I went to the shop that night just before closing he thought it might be the fan sensor. We decided to let me see what it did on Friday...same issue.

My Commute is about 28 to 30 minutes. At Minutes 20-25 I come up over a first range of steep hills after getting off the freeway. Speed thru the hills is 45 to 55 MPH, Freeway is 65 to 70.

Saturday, January 17th, left the car with him first thing in the morning and he replaced the Fan Temperature Sensor by 10:30. Did not do any freeway driving all weekend, and the street level driving exceeded my 30 minute time limit with no hint of over heat.

This morning, January 19th, was the Acid test and the car failed...as I got of the Freeway and onto surface streets, going slower heard hot coolant bubbling into the reservoir. One thing I forgot to mention as that on Sunday, yesterday, when I went to fetch the half full bottle of Zerex from the Trunk hatch it was empty...one of the other mechanics at the shop had put another half gallon in. I had noticed that there was overflow this morning for yesterday afternoons long drive thru the city...drips from where the Overflow will overflow if over filled.

Before the Thermostat was replaced the car did try to over heat during the regular evening commute, but never got above 3/4ths. After the termostat was change no problem with that, just the spike at getting off the freeway.

This morning the temp went a little up as I hit the first set of hills, then down as I went down into a valley before going up. No problem with heat going up the hill, passed thru three lights and stopped at two...the first one a slight spike in temp...and at the second where I had to turn it went up to 3/4 hot while sitting there waiting for the signal to change, then dropped down to normal as I drove the final block to my office.

When I stop and park there is usually a dump to the overflow. Today was the first time that I heard it overflow getting off the freeway. Coolant and Oil Look good, no exhauts appears to be coming out the rad cap or the coolant cap. Collant system appears to be over filled again. There is a gurgling when it over flows, which I have read elsewhere sounds like air in the radiator or cooling system.

Here is the chronology again"

Jan 2/3 Timing Belt Replaced and Water Pump, Oil Changed, Thermostat gasket replaced on collant system.

January 3-5 over flow noted, but no heat spikes.
January 6: took back to mechanic for pressure test, no problems found
Janury 6 thru 9: Strange issue where Cooling system would spike up to 3/4th hot then drop down within 30 seconds. Apparently solved by reseating the Radiator Cap.

January 10 and 11 no problems until:

January 11, evening: Heat level jumped up above the mid line after coming off the freeway, on both legs of a 20 miles round trip.

January 12 and 13: Strange over heat behavior after getting off freeway, at both ends there are hills between 300 and 400 feet. Commute of January 13 the engine heat kept bobbing between mid line and 3/4 on the freeway, getting worse in stop and go traffic and up the final hill.

January 14: Thermostat Replaced. No in traffic over heat, but end of commute heat spike continued.

January 15: left car with Mechanic all day, could not get the problem to replicate...saw momentary flickers above the mid line that dropped down. Tried to replicate my commute driving but for only 20 minutes of road time at a time. At end of day said it might be the fan sensor.

January 16: Problem recurred during the morning commute, decided to have the fan censor replaced. No heat on a mid afternoon commute home to take wife to Doctor, or coming and going to the Doctor appointment.

January 17: Sensor replaced. Saw immediate improvement with engine cooling on city street driving only. Also on Sunday.

January 18: No city driving over heat, but did notice overflow drip at the end of the day and that my half bottle of Zerex had been emptied.

January 19th: Commute normal with lighter than usual traffic. End of Commute heat spike to 3/4 hot when stopping at lights returned.

In total I have spent close to $1000 total on this issue.

Any insights at to what is going on would be helpful. This all started after the water pump was replaced, which was starting to break and somewhat clogged when they replaced it. The Timing belt was intact, if showing signs of wear...it never slipped off...though the belt job had to be redone by the assistant mechanic doing the job...he had put it on too lose and it was knocking against the inner walls...before that was discovered he started it up and a spark plug broke in half and shot out. Other than shooting out 20 feet from the engine having to surgically remove and replace the other half the spark plug there was no apparent damage to that part of the engine.

As you may imagine, I am at my wits end on this.
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Old 19 Jan 2015, 05:19 pm
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Default Re: Strange end of commute heat spike

Have the radiator tested for exhaust gasses...this will tell you if the head gasket is blown or not.
If the cooling fan is shot, you wouldn't notice it at highway speeds...but you sure would once you stopped & with stop & go traffic.
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Old 19 Jan 2015, 06:25 pm
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Unhappy Re: Strange end of commute heat spike

An update on this...after sitting more than six hours I popped the radiator cap to have a look down. Fluid in there well above the Thermostat, but not all the way to the top.

The Overflow, now that the engine is cold, is still over the HOT FULL level.

Something new Not seen before...on the inside of the radiator cap and on the inside of where it fits into the intake, was a strange grit (attempting to add image of that) on part of the radiator cap and into where it fits into the intact. Took a pick of the cap and cleaned off the intake.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=1&theater

One thing that has not been done to the cooling system on this is any kind of cleaning system. I have been using the same mechanic for 12 years and have a good relationship with him, but the last time I had this problem it took three months and three bleeds of the system to resolve...that after an incident where DEX had been put into the system instead of a HOAT coolant. Have been running with Zerex since 2011 with minimal problems other than a slow leak which has been supposedly repaired finally

Spoke with one of my clients earlier who had a similar problem with a Chrysler where she went through four thermostats in a month.
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Old 19 Jan 2015, 06:33 pm
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Default Re: Strange end of commute heat spike

Head Gasket was what my Mechanic's son said as an off the cuff thing. But as the fan has been stalling coming on and the sensor was replaced I am hoping more for that. The strange grit has my wondering...it looks like crystalized HOAT/Zerex...an amber color. If that was getting in under the thermostat it could be causing a problem.

I have asked my mechanic if they did a clean of the cooling system and he keeps telling me it was bleed and replaced, which is not the same. And somebody at his shop keeps over filling the cooling system...it was an inch over hot full when I check it two hours after stopping.
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Old 19 Jan 2015, 07:27 pm
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Default Re: Strange end of commute heat spike

I'm with Lion - have test for combustion gas in coolant done and be sure fan works as it should.
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Old 19 Jan 2015, 08:17 pm
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Default Re: Strange end of commute heat spike

Make sure that your system is bled also , a good way is leave the cap off turn on the car let it heat up till thermostat opens up and it will push air bubbles out , let it do this a couple times , if you keep getting air bubbles more than likely your getting exhaust gasses trapped in
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Old 19 Jan 2015, 09:51 pm
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Default Re: Strange end of commute heat spike

Did a LOT of start and stop driving on the way home....a Parkway where the Speed Limit goes from 55 to 45...then a brief hop on the freeway to the next exit and a grocery run on the way home. No problems. Smooth sailing for the rest of the commute down the interstate until getting off and then a slight heat spike. no sound of the coolant gurgling into the the overflow, and no over flow on this run (the coolant was one inch about the Hot line 2 hours after the morning run) but as I was opening the gate to the drive way the fan was running hard and fast.
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Old 19 Jan 2015, 11:57 pm
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Question Re: Strange end of commute heat spike

the fan on my 07 comes on around the 1/4 mark of the temp gauge then turns off warms up to normal and cycles just under half in all types of driving conditions including with the ac on. Have you checked your fan to make sure its working at those temps?
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Old 20 Jan 2015, 12:16 am
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Default Re: Strange end of commute heat spike

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalandon View Post
the fan on my 07 comes on around the 1/4 mark of the temp gauge then turns off warms up to normal and cycles just under half in all types of driving conditions including with the ac on. Have you checked your fan to make sure its working at those temps?
I believe that what Dalandon is referring to is both low speed and high speed working correctly on the radiator fan? Does the fan work only intermittently or continuously when the PT Cruiser starts to overheat?

Is the radiator fan the original or the second radiator fan? I had replaced the radiator fan on my 2007 PT Cruiser already and I am having a peace of mind knowing that it reduces the chance of the fan being intermittently. I plan to replace it on my 2008 PT Cruiser soon even if its still working good as a radiator fan is much cheaper than a blown head gasket.
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Old 20 Jan 2015, 01:19 am
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Default Re: Strange end of commute heat spike

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptcruisersteve View Post
I believe that what Dalandon is referring to is both low speed and high speed working correctly on the radiator fan? Does the fan work only intermittently or continuously when the PT Cruiser starts to overheat?

Is the radiator fan the original or the second radiator fan? I had replaced the radiator fan on my 2007 PT Cruiser already and I am having a peace of mind knowing that it reduces the chance of the fan being intermittently. I plan to replace it on my 2008 PT Cruiser soon even if its still working good as a radiator fan is much cheaper than a blown head gasket.
Yes thank you I forgot it was 2 speed
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