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Is my Cruiser ACTUALLY Overheating?

 
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Old 22 May 2016, 10:37 am
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Default Is my Cruiser ACTUALLY Overheating?

After having chronic overheating issues, eventually "solved" (what's been replaced is below), my 2005 PT Cruiser Touring's temperature gauge indicates it's overheating, but is it? Symptom: From a cold start, in street driving conditions the temperature gauge will, after a couple of miles, quickly rise to just below red line. Upon pulling the vehicle over and letting it idle, the radiator cap is cool to the touch. There is no boiling or other physical indications that the vehicle is running hot.

Here's what has been done:

The vehicle passes a block test. There are no physical indications that there is any coolant in the oil, or oil in the coolant. There is no water vapor coming out of the tail pipe. Conclusion: Not the head gasket.

The water pump and timing belt was replaced a few months ago. The vehicle is NOT leaking coolant. The thermostat and radiator cap have recently been replaced. Conclusion: Water pump is OK.

The thermostat was replaced last week, as the gasket had disintegrated.

The "send unit" (does my mechanic mean coolant temperature sensor?) was replaced last week

Radiator was original to the car and was replaced two weeks ago. The Radiator cap was replaced along with it.

The physical symptoms indicate there's a false high temp, but I'm scared to drive it, because if it is indeed overheating, getting it to red line would blow the head gasket.

I'm at my wits end. At this point I'm in that awkward, "I can't afford to keep it, and I can't afford to replace it", so your help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 22 May 2016, 11:07 am
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Default Re: Is my Cruiser ACTUALLY Overheating?

First suggesting is to stop throwing parts at it. The more parts you replace the more potential problems you might get if the new parts are not working properly or not installed properly.

I would suggest you have someone verify that the temperature gauge is working properly. It would be good to know what the temp reading the computer is seeing. You need someone that has a code reader for that and a infrared heat gun to compare readings.

When did you start having the high temperature reading issue?

The link below is the Ultragauge website where I bought my Ultragauge to verify what the PCM temperature reading is on my PT Cruisers.

http://www.ultra-gauge.com/ultragauge/
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Last edited by ptcruisersteve; 22 May 2016 at 11:19 am.
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Old 22 May 2016, 11:39 am
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Default Re: Is my Cruiser ACTUALLY Overheating?

Gratefully, the parts thrown at the vehicle DID need replacing; it wasn't a process of elimination by treating something that MAY have been broken.

On another forum, a similar suggestion to yours was made, though yours was one better, cross referencing what the computer says vs. using the infra-red temperature gauge (a friend said, "laser". Which is it?). I'll open that dialogue with my mechanic tomorrow.
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Old 22 May 2016, 11:53 am
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Default Re: Is my Cruiser ACTUALLY Overheating?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mouselounge View Post
Gratefully, the parts thrown at the vehicle DID need replacing; it wasn't a process of elimination by treating something that MAY have been broken.

On another forum, a similar suggestion to yours was made, though yours was one better, cross referencing what the computer says vs. using the infra-red temperature gauge (a friend said, "laser". Which is it?). I'll open that dialogue with my mechanic tomorrow.
To find out if the temperature sensor is sending the right temperature reading to the temperature gauge there is LCD infrared thermometer temperature guns that you can use.

LCD Infrared Thermometer Temperature Gun

IR Laser Nice Infrared Temperature Thermometer Gun Digital Non Contact LCD | eBay

I have this one.

Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer With Laser Targeting
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Old 22 May 2016, 12:35 pm
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Default Re: Is my Cruiser ACTUALLY Overheating?

Spiffy. The price is right and we have Harbor Freight up here in the PacNW. Thanks for the assist.
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Old 22 May 2016, 01:04 pm
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Default Re: Is my Cruiser ACTUALLY Overheating?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mouselounge View Post
Spiffy. The price is right and we have Harbor Freight up here in the PacNW. Thanks for the assist.
You are welcome.

If you get a chance I would suggest you introduce yourself to the forum and tell us about your PT Cruiser.
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Old 22 May 2016, 01:24 pm
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Default Re: Is my Cruiser ACTUALLY Overheating?

Interesting that your PT has the same parts and problem?
Please Help!!!

You should verify the cooling system temperatures with a separate handheld thermal device/tool and compare to the gauge indication in the PT.

I use mine for many things including making my "perfect" cup of coffee!



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Last edited by NitroPT; 22 May 2016 at 01:47 pm.
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Old 22 May 2016, 02:01 pm
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Default Re: Is my Cruiser ACTUALLY Overheating?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mouselounge View Post
After having chronic overheating issues, eventually "solved" (what's been replaced is below), my 2005 PT Cruiser Touring's temperature gauge indicates it's overheating, but is it? Symptom: From a cold start, in street driving conditions the temperature gauge will, after a couple of miles, quickly rise to just below red line. Upon pulling the vehicle over and letting it idle, the radiator cap is cool to the touch. There is no boiling or other physical indications that the vehicle is running hot.....
Yep. As suggested, I'd verify the elevated temperature with a separate device or tool. An infrared thermometer gun is good if you have one. At least you may be able to get a surface reading of the coolant temp that way.

But a cheaper and possibly more dummy-proof method (for a big dummy like me) would be to just buy an inexpensive name-brand mechanical temperature gauge and then stick the probe down down in the coolant with the radiator cap off. If the thermostat is open and the coolant is circulating, that will give you a good idea of the real coolant temperature. Advance Auto has one for $17.99. Here's a link:

Buy Bosch Gauges Water Temp Gauge 2" FST 8217 at Advance Auto Parts

And if you buy it online for same time in-store pickup, you can get a discount.

I've done this many times over the years when I didn't trust the OEM electric gauge. And it normally works very well.

PS: You can use a cooking thermometer this way too. I've done this also. But I'd feel more comfortable trusting a name-brand gauge.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/King-Kook...B&gclsrc=aw.ds
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Last edited by Handy_Cruiser; 22 May 2016 at 02:06 pm.
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Old 22 May 2016, 02:43 pm
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Default Re: Is my Cruiser ACTUALLY Overheating?

...simply put it is easier and more economical to buy a handheld that you can at least take many readings of known object to verify it is accurate!
And you will have an additional automotive and household tool to use on more than just what is in the driveway.

And I am responding humming the tune

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Last edited by NitroPT; 22 May 2016 at 02:47 pm.
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Old 22 May 2016, 03:10 pm
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Default Re: Is my Cruiser ACTUALLY Overheating?

What is the baseline temperature of the coolant? That is, once the vehicle is at operating temp, what SHOULD it be?

If I use a laser sensor (I like the idea of other household applications!) where on the vehicle is the temperature taken? I understand, but don't have the specifics, there are various points in the engine compartment where this should be done to ensure that the coolant is at the correct temperature at all points in which it flows. Am I on the right track?
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