UGGHH, introduced air into the cooling system - Page 2 - Pontiac Solstice Forum
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post #16 of 145 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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122k, but everything was great and it never went about 195 during my spirited driving before. This is definitely the result of me stupidly opening the cap while hot. I swapped out the blower motor resistor (already had it in hand)

I just drove it around and it hit 250, so I am still having the issue and the heat does not function so there is clearly still an air pocket.

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post #17 of 145 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by laser411 View Post
Shouldn't the pressure just puke out the excess and then pull a vacuum?
Not sure what you're asking there.

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Should there be steam bubbles?
Probably not, but you DID 'ingest' (actually, create) a lot of bubbles when you released the pressure.

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I just ran the car for about 6 minutes at 2500rpm and then idle for 3 minutes and it kinda sat at about 220 degrees in 85-90 degree weather (in the sun). What is the normal?
That's on the high side, but don't forget that the temperature sensor is only at one point in the system, not an average. If you have poor coolant flow due to bubbles, whatever you see is probably off.

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Does it make a difference that my blower is not currently functional? will that prevent the heater core valve from opening?
No. There is no heater core valve, it's always in flow. HOWEVER, an empty heater core is often a reason why these cars will not 'burp' properly. DDM have found that manually disconnecting the heater core tubes and refilling the core manually, can help problematic cars.

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These problems are typically an indication that you have a water pump that's on its last legs. How many miles are on the car?
Not necessarily - remember he took the coolant pressure cap off while the car was hot.
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post #18 of 145 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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I have some gnarly hills near me, what is the best angle for me to park at that would have the best success rate with air escaping the heater core?
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post #19 of 145 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 02:01 PM
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Like you have it in that pic. Tank just needs to be higher than the top of the engine.

Have you done the "hand job' method? Wrap your fingers around the main coolant hose where it enters the engine (top, front, on driver side) and squeeze like you were milking a cow. If you hear squishing/gurgling, keep squeezing and releasing until you don't hear anything any more. That will get one of the major bubble issues out (though not necessarily ALL the issues). Note: you'll probably have to remove the engine cover trim to get hold on the hose.

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post #20 of 145 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, but it wasn't parked on the hill at that time, but the reservoir was raised. Could I have done damage that's causing it to overheat now? There's nothing in the oil and nothing leaking on the ground. I see no indication of a bad head gasket or leak.

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post #21 of 145 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 02:09 PM
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250ļ isn't damage-causingly hot. But, it's pushing it. I wouldn't drive it.

All indications - as seen from the other side of the InterTubes (ie, we're not there so we're all guessing, albeit mostly-educated guessing) - are that there's still air in the system.

I suspect a failing water pump because of the initial problem: lost coolant. BUT, it doesn't sound like the thing is really dead as of yet, and it's working well enough for the moment. I doubt the pump is causing the immediate issue.

@TomatoSoup does the car need to be running (or at least above thermostat temp) when squishing the hose? There's no heater core valve, but there's still a thermostat. (Also, I just learned that there's no heater core valve. Thanks!)

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post #22 of 145 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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250ļ isn't damage-causingly hot. But, it's pushing it. I wouldn't drive it.

All indications - as seen from the other side of the InterTubes (ie, we're not there so we're all guessing, albeit mostly-educated guessing) - are that there's still air in the system.

I suspect a failing water pump because of the initial problem: lost coolant. BUT, it doesn't sound like the thing is really dead as of yet, and it's working well enough for the moment. I doubt the pump is causing the immediate issue.

@TomatoSoup does the car need to be running (or at least above thermostat temp) when squishing the hose? There's no heater core valve, but there's still a thermostat. (Also, I just learned that there's no heater core valve. Thanks!)
The coolant was low when I bought it (a week ago), and the car had been sitting for a year, the light would just come on once in a while when I was on a hill. I drove it for about 200-300 miles with no issues at all, no smoke, nothing over 195 degrees. I'll continue to try and burp it and if it goes over 230 on the way home, I'll pull over and have it towed.

With the vacuum system, do I have to drain the system first in order to not have air in the lines or will it literally pull the bubbles out?
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post #23 of 145 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 02:28 PM
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It'll pull the bubbles out. It's basically a Venturi with some valves and fittings.

Basically, it goes like this:

1. Insert the tool into the top of the reservoir in place of the cap. They come with a set of rubber cone-shaped fittings, one of which should fit nicely in place of the reservoir cap. There'll be a knob to turn to tighten the tool-reservoir interface. Don't overtighten it.
2. Might have to cap off the overflow outlet.
3. Connect your air compressor to the tool. (I hope you already have a compressor. If not, get the next thing larger than a pancake compressor at Big Box Store, figure about $130.) (Or borrow your neighbor's compressor and return it Real Soon Now.)
4. Turn on the air. It'll pull a vacuum on the system. Give it a few minutes for the reading on the gauge attached to the tool to stabilize.
5. Turn off the valve on the tool, disconnect air. Wait ~10-20 minutes to make sure vacuum is stable. If it's not, you have a leak somewhere. Could be in the tool-to-reservoir interface, or elsewhere in the system. If there is a leak, you may likely see coolant coming out somewhere. If that happens, fix that leak before proceeding as the rest of this won't work without a stable vacuum.
6. Attach a hose to the tool, with the other end in a bucket (or jug) of coolant mix.
7. Open the valve on the tool. The vacuum will suck the coolant into the system until the vacuum is exhausted, at which point you know the system is full. Reinstall your reservoir cap and go enjoy the car.

If you run out of coolant in the container during the "sucking" phase (sorry), start over with more coolant in the container. This setup will not pull in more coolant than is required.

Having said all that: some cars can't be properly bled by this or other methods without the check valves. But, that is for some cars. I recommend installing them, but that takes time for shipping, etc. As an engineer, I find it disturbing that this works in some but not all cases. I prefer deterministic systems.

The reason this works is that air weighs less than coolant. Surface tension in the coolant allows the air bubbles (pockets or whatever) to exist. Applying vacuum sort of overrides that effect. (Physicists, please chime in here.) But, that assumes that there is a clear, uninterrupted circuit that the vacuum is applied to. Any blockages - like, say, a closed thermostat - impede the operation of the device.

I imagine that this has been a very frustrating experience. Although this is a tricky issue to fix, it rarely comes up. If the car was sitting for a year, there will be some issues. That said, we have a number of cars running around with way more miles. One guy at Blackhawk last year had something like 200k miles. My GXP just hit 112k. Runs like a top. (After a water pump, high pressure fuel pump, two wheel bearings, 7 hub bolts, and a bunch of mod work.) Stick with it.

And keep an eye on the coolant level once this is fixed.

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post #24 of 145 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 07:09 PM
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The coolant level is WAY too high in that video. The level should be at, or just above, the molding join half way up the container......
I agree. In fact, mine runs slightly below the joint.
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.....Even if the blower isn't working - btw, that's a common problem with an easy fix that costs about $30 and takes half an hour - having the HVAC controls set to full heat and fan on should do the trick.........
Does this matter? There isn't a water valve in the system is there? I think that the heater core is a constant flow, and temperature regulation is by air mixing. Unless you are trying to pull heat out of the system using the HVAC.

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post #25 of 145 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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I have an update, something has started to leak coolant (steady stream) on the right side (turbo side) of the engine. I don't have the energy to post the video right now so I'll do it in the morning. The image attached is from beneath the car. I can't tell exactly but it's in the general vacinity of the back of what I believe is the water pump.

What are the odds, cracked head pouring coolant out or bad water pump pouring coolant from the back of the water pump?

How do our water pump/ WP bearings fail? I was pretty sure the noise I've heard since I bought the car was a bearing (though I thought it was the belt tensioner) but it couldve been the water pump.
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post #26 of 145 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 08:27 PM
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Well, that's a lot of coolant. But, it could have come from spillage while working on the car, over-filling, a cracked radiator hose, a cracked radiator, a bad radiator hose clamp (I have a very long story about that one)... there are a lot of options.

If you had a UV dye kit sitting around, you could put some in the coolant, run it for a few minutes, and see exactly where the leak is. They may sound like snake oil, but they work incredibly well.

Failing that - everything would be a guess. If it ran fine for the past few hundred miles, I'd say that the head and gasket are most likely fine. Nothing you've posted indicates that the engine got hot enough to blow a gasket, much less crack the head.

But, I wouldn't put a ton of time and money into a water pump replacement - it is nontrivial on this motor - without knowing where the leak is. A shop would inject some dye and then see where it is coming out, because that's the most efficient way of determining the problem without unnecessarily tearing things apart and randomly replacing parts.

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post #27 of 145 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 08:46 PM
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So some questions....have you added coolant in the last few weeks to it? Have you noticed any coolant on the ground before? If it IS your WP, it was a catastrophic failure judging by all that coolant. You had to have had some previous indicator that it was going...if it's the WP. Of course, you might have overheated the engine and warped the head and that could be doing this. But with that much coolant, I'd think you would have white exhaust or a bad miss.

So you said it hit 250.... How "well" do you know your car? Do you know when it's overheating? If you can hear the engine note change when it gets to 220 or so, then you would have known it was overheating.... As I posted on another thread...I'm VERY in-tune with my cars...always have been. That's why I made a great service writer..but hated it. I know when my car is getting hot (above 220). The engine note changes as does my exhaust note. And the power starts to lag a bit...it's not quite as responsive. When it hit 250, did it slowly increase to 250, or was it rapid (10 to 20 seconds...maybe 30)? If it was slow...chances are you killed it. With an air bubble, when it moves, the temp gauge will rapidly increase...without an airbubble, you would see: 190.......192.........194......................... .196...................198,

With an airbubble you will get:
190.198.200.205.215.225......

If the later happened within seconds and went to 250 you're probably okay...but from my air bubble experience, if it was the first way....the damage might be worse then a WP.
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post #28 of 145 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 12:33 AM
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..205...215..305, in my case. Yay.

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post #29 of 145 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 06:35 AM Thread Starter
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It is absolutely leaking with loss of coolant now, it's not spillage. It slowly crept up to 250 and once the high temp light came on, i shut it off and let it sit. It seemed if i was on an incline it would shoot up rapidly. There is no smoke, no coolant in the oil, no changes in engine note or behavior.

It's a steady stream when hot/under pressure. I can't tell the exact location but it's coming from turbo side, in the front, directly behind what i think is the water pump. See this video

I will reiterate that this car had a funky bearing grinding type noise before that seems to be magically gone now. I'm wondering if the bearing is basically gone, leaking coolant through the weep hole (do we have that?) And now that the bearing has a constant stream of coolant coming out of it, it's lubed and not making the noise anymore?

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post #30 of 145 (permalink) Old 08-17-2019, 08:06 AM
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It is absolutely leaking with loss of coolant now, it's not spillage. It slowly crept up to 250 and once the high temp light came on, i shut it off and let it sit. It seemed if i was on an incline it would shoot up rapidly. There is no smoke, no coolant in the oil, no changes in engine note or behavior.

It's a steady stream when hot/under pressure. I can't tell the exact location but it's coming from turbo side, in the front, directly behind what i think is the water pump. See this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZ4TDbKZod0

I will reiterate that this car had a funky bearing grinding type noise before that seems to be magically gone now. I'm wondering if the bearing is basically gone, leaking coolant through the weep hole (do we have that?) And now that the bearing has a constant stream of coolant coming out of it, it's lubed and not making the noise anymore?
Yes, there is what amounts to a weep hole on the bottom side of the pump. It should be easy to tell if that is the problem. It could also be something simpler like a hose or O ring failure at the water pump which would leak onto the ground in the same general area. (front right side of engine.)
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