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08 cruiser overheating when stopped. But I've done all the standard repairs...

 
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Old 12 Jul 2016, 09:29 pm
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Default 08 cruiser overheating when stopped. But I've done all the standard repairs...

Ok, I'm losing my mind on this thing.

I work as a courier, and I blew up my last car. I found an 08 PT Cruiser for sale in my price range and decided to take the plunge. If you want a laugh understand that I bought it from a local reverend, an active preacher at a small church it Grand Prairie, TX.

I knew it had some mechanical issues, but I'm not afraid of handling a wrench. While not a mechanic, I'm one of those guys who's changed a water pump in a parking lot because it was cheaper than towing the truck home.

So anyways, I fixed it up well enough to pass inspection. I will readily admit that I did the majority of the repairs via information I found on this forum. Seriously, thank you guys.

I've driven it for 10,000 miles with no problems, but suddenly it's started to overheat when I'm stuck in traffic or at a stop light. It started by boiling off it's coolant if I was stationary for too long. Then it left me stranded 40 miles from home.

I did the usual. The radiator cap was bad so I replaced it, then replaced the thermostat for good measure. I bled the coolant system, though in a thoroughly craptastic fashion. I didn't have the right sized tubing.

It worked fine for about six hours then started overheating as soon as I ended up getting stuck in traffic.

I searched around a bit, found out about the issues with the fan. Sure enough, the fan isn't blowing, so I replace it. It works fine through a few hours of highway driving then overheats the moment I hit traffic.

The fan isn't blowing.

I take it to a local Midas and find out that the connector to the fan is bad. They replace it and everything seems to work fine, for about six hours.

I'm able to handle several hours of highway driving, but after I get stuck in traffic it starts to overheat. After it overheats it won't cool unless I'm driving at 60+ mph. Anything less than that and the temperature gauge keeps climbing.

It took me six hours to get home.

Ok, back to the mechanic it goes. The fan is blowing, both high and low side. The water pump is circulating coolant. The thermostat is working. They rebleed the system, finding a bit of air in the system.

And everything seems to work, for five bloody hours.

After they rebled the system they drove it for half an hour, with no problems. I sat with it idling in a parking lot for half an hour. It worked with no problem. I drove it for the next four hours, mostly highway miles, and it didn't have a problem.

About 3pm I ran into heavy traffic on the Dallas North Tollway. It started to overheat so I pulled off and started driving the back roads. Every time I ended up stopped at a stoplight the gauge started rising. Once I started driving 50+ mph everything would start cooling down.

I make a pick-up in Carrollton, and can't make it to the delivery. In two stoplights I had redlined.

After passing the order to another driver, I start to work my way home. I let it cool for 2 hours and start driving down the highway. I'm driving about 12 miles. It redlines once I get stuck in traffic about halfway home. It seriously took me 4 hours to drive 12 miles.

I have absolutely no idea what's wrong with this thing. THe only thing I can think of is that the previous owner had flushed and filled the system with 50/50 Universal Coolant. At this point we have replaced virtually every other component in the cooling system.

Any ideas? I'm seriously at my wits end with this thing.
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Old 12 Jul 2016, 09:59 pm
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Default Re: 08 cruiser overheating when stopped. But I've done all the standard repairs...

First I would suggest a coolant compression test. We need to make sure the coolant system is sealed.

If the coolant system is sealed I would suggest checking the radiator flow. Your radiator might be restricted.

If the radiator flow checks out good I would suggest a block test.

When you get a chance introduce yourself. Tell us about your PT Cruiser and how you came across this forum.
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Last edited by ptcruisersteve; 12 Jul 2016 at 10:25 pm.
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Old 13 Jul 2016, 07:07 am
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Default Re: 08 cruiser overheating when stopped. But I've done all the standard repairs...

I agree with Steve. BUT I want to also add that you consider checking that new radiator cap too. It might not be the correct pressure for your PT. I don't know that the OEM one was rated for, but the new one should be the same. If that checks out okay, check the hose from the radiator neck to the overflow jug for cracks or holes. If it's sucking air, it can drive you NUTS! Are you getting any gurgling or boiling water sound in the overflow? If so, the thermostat, cap or hose is suspect IMHO. I'm no ASE mechanic, but I've been keeping my cars going for 45 years.
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Old 13 Jul 2016, 07:53 am
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Default Re: 08 cruiser overheating when stopped. But I've done all the standard repairs...

I just noticed that this is in the system twice. I posted in the other thread. I agree with the problem being radiator.
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Old 13 Jul 2016, 08:30 am
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Default Re: 08 cruiser overheating when stopped. But I've done all the standard repairs...

How many miles on it? Has timing belt/water pump ever been replaced?
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Old 13 Jul 2016, 10:17 am
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Default Re: 08 cruiser overheating when stopped. But I've done all the standard repairs...

The curious thing is he is fine on the highway. I believe the PT rad fan is programmed to shut off at 40 mph as the belief is at that speed, you have more than enough air running across the radiator. Would this not imply he has adequate cooling at higher speed? If the radiator is blocked, it is blocked no matter the speed.
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Old 13 Jul 2016, 10:46 am
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Default Re: 08 cruiser overheating when stopped. But I've done all the standard repairs...

Quote:
Originally Posted by alanrw View Post
The curious thing is he is fine on the highway. I believe the PT rad fan is programmed to shut off at 40 mph as the belief is at that speed, you have more than enough air running across the radiator. Would this not imply he has adequate cooling at higher speed? If the radiator is blocked, it is blocked no matter the speed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thisbloodycar View Post
I'm able to handle several hours of highway driving, but after I get stuck in traffic it starts to overheat. After it overheats it won't cool unless I'm driving at 60+ mph. Anything less than that and the temperature gauge keeps climbing.
This implies either a possible coolant flow problem or possible air getting into the coolant system.
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Old 13 Jul 2016, 11:02 am
Fk5 Fk5 is offline
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Default Re: 08 cruiser overheating when stopped. But I've done all the standard repairs...

Is it losing coolant? You keep quoting 5-6 hours before a problem. Do you just never get stuck in traffic or a light for 5-6 hours? Is it possible that it is leaking out and at that point the coolant level is low enough to cause a problem? I doubt you would be okay on the highway if that were your problem, but who knows?
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Old 13 Jul 2016, 02:14 pm
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Default Re: 08 cruiser overheating when stopped. But I've done all the standard repairs...

Next time it starts to overheat pull over somewhere safe and confirm the fan is blowing. If you hold your hand between the intake and fan you should feel the hot air blowing toward the engine.
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Old 13 Jul 2016, 02:19 pm
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Default Re: 08 cruiser overheating when stopped. But I've done all the standard repairs...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fk5 View Post
Is it losing coolant? You keep quoting 5-6 hours before a problem. Do you just never get stuck in traffic or a light for 5-6 hours? Is it possible that it is leaking out and at that point the coolant level is low enough to cause a problem? I doubt you would be okay on the highway if that were your problem, but who knows?
Excellent point. He could be losing coolant over that 5-6 hour period. As was pointed out, you need a pressure test to make sure the system is sealed. If it is and you are not losing coolant, the fans need to be checked.

BTW guys, what about a bad coolant temp sensor?
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