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Hi guys, Ive tried researching as much as i can and I was really hoping that changing my thermostat would fix it, and im still hoping that now its just an air bubble in my coolant, (im hoping its not water pump) ...anyway here is what is going on... One drive last week after i got home, i noticed my fan was on after turning the car off (the fan that cools the engine) , ive never noticed it before, but I didnt think anything of it. The next drive, about 10 minutes down the road my coolant temp light came on, I switched over to view temp and it was 260s ...i pulled off and shut it down for a while...started it back up and proceeded home (less than 10 miles away) and would pull off everytime it got too hot (maybe 2 or 3 more times) ...so when I got home I let it cool off for a while (6 hours) ..I went out to check the coolant and it was very low (could this be because it got so hot it boiled/evaporated?) ...so I filled it up to where it should be and the next day started it up and drove it around and it started to get to hot again, so I shut it down. I then changed my thermostat yesterday and used DDMs burping procedure to refill the coolant (I may have made a few mistakes, after holding the reservoir tank up and puring coolant in until it came out of the nipple (and it was burping at first), I then lowered it and filled it to the proper level and put the cap on and started the car, Im not sure if I was supposed to leave the cap off when I first started the car, and im not sure if I was supposed to already fill it all the way up or waited for it to idle and filled it up) ...could these mistakes have kept an air pocket in? Also, I heard one time may not be enough, so if I should try the procedure again, can someone give me a photo or diagram showing how I drain the coolant? and can I do this without lifting, and can I fit a drain pan under the car and where do I put the pan?

...sorry for the novel ... also, I have read and have the service manual as to where I may need to clamp off the turbo line at the beginning of idling after a new coolant refill because if I dont the coolant may never reach the heater core (is this accurate, and could this be why I still do not have any hot air blowing)

...I also saw on here that there is a method of squeezing a radiator hose and if it sloshes to keep squeezing and this may get air out, can someone confirm this and tell me which hose to squeeze and how hard to squeeze it?

...I have a picture of the thermostat I took out (my old one) can someone confirm that it looks bad (so I dont feel like I changed it for no reason)

...I also have a picture of some of the lines that I touched after warming the car up (because I read that one should be hot and one should be warm) so I drew a red line on the one that was the hottest, a yellow line on the one that was warm, and a green line on one that was cold ...just to make sure that they are how they should be...


...thank you guys for looking, I honestly dont know very much at all about cars, and this forum has helped me a ton!




 

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Having the fan run after shutting down is normal. Many of us experience that every time we drive for extended periods of time in the summer.

Getting to 260 degrees is BAD.

The oil, even synthetics starts to break down at temps above 250.

I would not continue to operate the car until the cause is known and its fixed.

The way to test your thermostat is to put it in water and apply heat. As the temperature rises you should see it begin to open around 180 to 190 give or take. If you get to 200 and its not open, then you have a pretty good idea that the thermostat was not opening. That may not be the only source of your issue however so you still need to do some cautious testing to see if it overheats with the new thermostat.

If you are loosing coolant its either leading out via the water pump which has failed or its finding its way into the engine. Did you check the oil? Look for foaming and / or water in the oil. If you see that, then your head is leaking or you have a cracked block.

You really need to get the car looked at by a competent mechanic that you trust because it could be something simple, like the water pump or it could be serious. You cant tell without running the proper diagnostics.

Best of luck
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I dont not believe I am losing coolant other than the first time, (could it be because it got so hot that some evaporated?) ...I checked my oil level with the dip stick thats it (it seemed to be fine, but i wouldnt know if it wasnt, the level was fine...it is at 39% life so its about time to have an oil change anyway)

I have not been operating the car since this has happened, other than when I try a fix, I turn on and see if it stays cool or keeps warming up...it takes about 35 minutes and some revving at 2k to 2.5k to get it to 190 (if that makes any difference) then this last time I waited till it got to 213 and shut it off...
 

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Again, as I responded to your other thread (by the way, you should have added to that one, rather than started another - to keep the history)... "It's a sealed, pressurized, system. You should see no appreciable coolant loss over a period of years. If your level is down, you have an issue."

You must NEVER operate the car with the coolant cap removed, and NEVER remove the cap when the engine is warm. Either case will allow air into the system.

I think you at least need to perform the coolant bubble bleed process again per DDM (follow it exactly without making mistakes - if you make a mistake, do it over!).

Alternately follow the video by GS Stage 1 here (which shows the hand-job method): http://www.solsticeforum.com/forum/f59/overheating-problems-35246/index3.html#post957745

You can try the above and see if it fixes it, but I'm inclined to agree with Rob here, get your car seen by a tech. You lost coolant and are having severe overheating issues. I think you may well be beyond just bubbles in the system.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok, thank you both for the help! Do they charge just for looking at it? I was just hoping small things would fix it first because I wont be able to afford anything much. Can you help me locate where the drain plug is and where I need to put the pan to catch the coolant? Can this be done without lifting the car? Also could any of this have to do with just having a high flow cat installed?
 

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If you have a cracked block, or blown head gasket; the oil will look like what you see in this picture, laying on the table around the head. Pull the dip stick out and tap a little oil on your work bench, do this a couple times until you have enough laying there to see what is going on. If it looks like the oil in this picture, then you have found where your missing coolant went.

If your oil looks fine, then you probably just have a water pump going bad. Our cars have a known history of leaking coolant from a bad water pump while driving down the road; but then not leaking when idling or parked.

Yes: Pretty much every GM service center will charge a diagnostic fee. You local independent mechanic may not, but probably will as well. Based upon your lack of familiarity with the vehicle and general mechanic knowledge: I would strongly suggest you leave this to the professionals. These are not "simple fix" cars. They are complicated and sensitive.



 

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Discussion Starter #8
thank you, I will check the oil as soon as I get home...cracked block and blown head gasket sounds pricey :\
 

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:agree:
Again, as I responded to your other thread (by the way, you should have added to that one, rather than started another - to keep the history)... "It's a sealed, pressurized, system. You should see no appreciable coolant loss over a period of years. If your level is down, you have an issue."

You must NEVER operate the car with the coolant cap removed, and NEVER remove the cap when the engine is warm. Either case will allow air into the system.

I think you at least need to perform the coolant bubble bleed process again per DDM (follow it exactly without making mistakes - if you make a mistake, do it over!).

Alternately follow the video by GS Stage 1 here (which shows the hand-job method): http://www.solsticeforum.com/forum/f59/overheating-problems-35246/index3.html#post957745

You can try the above and see if it fixes it, but I'm inclined to agree with Rob here, get your car seen by a tech. You lost coolant and are having severe overheating issues. I think you may well be beyond just bubbles in the system.
:agree::agree::agree:

Paying a couple of hundred for a good diagnosis might save you thousands in repair costs.

The only time I have ever seen a kappa engine loose coolant level was due to a mechanical failure.
 

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thank you, I will check the oil as soon as I get home...cracked block and blown head gasket sounds pricey :\
The tune and the high flow cat in and of themselves should not affect the operating temperature nor cause loss of coolant.

The most likely cause is you have a water pump that is failing. If you are loosing coolant, its very possible that you are getting air into the system via the same leak source. Basically while you are driving the temp goes up and coolant is forced out of the system through the failure point. When the car cools, it can suck air into the system via the same means.

When you clear the air bubble, it is good to go until you go through a heat / cool cycle.

If you dont have money for a diagnostic, verify that your oil is fine. If it has coolant in it it will look like green foamy soupy crap. If you see oil, even if its pure black, then you probably do not have a cracked block or bad head gasket.

Personally I would take it to a certified GM mechanic who you know will execute the proper procedures and will warranty their work for at least a year. Tell them what the symptoms are and that you believe the water pump may have failed or is failing. They should execute the GM approved test procedures. Among them should be a pressure test and a functional test.

The pressure test should allow them to find the source of the leak even if its the water pump with no symptoms failure.

There is a lengthy thread on water pump failures and among them are several that exhibited loss of fluid but never leaked when parked. This went on for some period of time with no adverse impact on the car, until the failure progressed to the point where the water pump puked out all the coolant while parked one day.

You should also know that there are two flavors of water pumps. The Pontiac part number is something like $300 while the identical part with the Delco part number is about half that price. If / when the tech identifies the failure as the water pump ask them to use the Delco pump and save some significant bucks.

Also read up on the water pump thread that one of the potential issues with a mechanic that does not have the correct tools and training is the cam drive chain. Several members have had their water pump changed and the chain tensioner was not adjusted correctly which results in improper tension on the chain, a lot of whirring noise and premature failure of the chain drive mechanism. Another reason to choose a GM tech if possible because you have a better chance of the repair being done "by the book" and they warranty their work for a year so even if they do not execute the procedure perfectly, you are covered for any rework.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.:thumbs:

For your general edification read this

http://www.solsticeforum.com/forum/f11/waterpump-woes-58947/
 

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I'm going to go with air bubble in cooling system. Happened to me, your description sounds exactly the same. It comes on very quickly when it occurs. Easy fix.
 

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I'm going to go with air bubble in cooling system. Happened to me, your description sounds exactly the same. It comes on very quickly when it occurs. Easy fix.
But he did state that he already purged the system using the DDM method. Even if he didn't do it completely correctly: He should have got enough air out to prevent a temp spike as high as 260. That much of a spike would suggest a very large pocket of air. Typically with the smaller pockets of air, it won't get above 230-240.

Assuming he did get the majority of the air out, then the odds of a leaky water pump go up.

He really needs to consult a professional. We are throwing darts at a board at this point. Hell, is it possible to put a thermostat back in upside down, in these cars? Given the OP's statement of "I honestly don't know very much at all about cars"; I start getting a bad feeling fast, anything is possible.....
 

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JesseB you didn't say what type of thermostat you used to replace the original. Dave at DDM will tell you that only the ACdelco will work in our cars. If you put something in from your local parts store and it wasn't an ACdelco, take it out and replace it again with the right one.
You may well have other issues but you need the proper thermostat in there before you go any farther.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Hey guys, I used the AC Delco thermostat as recommended...I have not let it get to anything above 230 since I purged it, I have only driven it once and that was right after the thermostat replacement and the ddm burp procedure...It got to 230 ...it was kind of going up and down a bit, I didn't really ever get on it to much, but it seemed like at a stoplight, when it turned green and I accelerated that was when it dropped a few times...I did not do the install myself, I have a few friends here that build up old muscle cars with their dads and I let them look at that write up and it was easy enough for them...we did make sure the thermostat was the correct side as I had read of people putting it in upside down...I have showed them the write up DDM did for replacing the water pump, my friends dad is a professional mechanic and he said he would come down and help...I will be checking the oil today (for brownish soupy foamy) just to rule the blown head gasket/cracked block out...if the water pump replacement does not fix it, I will absolutely take it in for proper diagnostics...does this seem a smart move seeing as the majority of the cost for the water pump is the labor, and most people are saying it could very well
Be the water pump
 

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Ok, I am going to say this just one more time: These are not simple fix cars. I don't care how many friends you have that are "motor-heads". For the record: I am nearly 50 years old, I have been working on and rebuilding cars my whole life. And I have had a huge learning curve on this car. I take it into "professional GM service techs" and half the time I have to teach them.

You need a special tool to change the water pump, to keep the the timing chain sprocket in position. Or you end up screwing up the timing chain tension.

Check out this hyperlink: http://www.solsticeforum.com/forum/f11/waterpump-woes-58947/index3.html#post899595

Now go back and read through the entire thread: http://www.solsticeforum.com/forum/f11/waterpump-woes-58947/

From you latest posted description of the over heat issue: It does sound more like an air pocket in the system. The "temperature climbs while idling at the stoplight, but then goes back down as I drive off" is a classic air in the system symptom. Were you able to observe any loss of coolant level during the last test drive? And I mean did the level in the overflow tank drop significantly? (If there is air in the system, as it burps out; the overflow tank will level will drop a little each time. But if you have a leaking water pump, the level in the tank should be going down fairly quickly with each drive).

Might be a really good idea to jack up the drivers side of the car (see proper jacking instructions so you don't crush your fenders) and try the purge again. You can try my process that I have a 3 part video explanation posted-someone posted a link to it earlier. Or try the DDM method again.

Just changing the water pump for the sake of changing it without properly diagnosing the issue first; is not recommended given the complexity of the project.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you for the advice! I have all 3 of those videos saved and have been planning on doing it ASAP (it's snowing out now) ...honestly I have not seen any coolant loss since the first time it overheated badly and I checked it after (had not checked it for a few months) and it was very very low...the coolant actually raises when I look at it after a drive and lowers back to cold lie when I check it a few hours later...now I do have a weird smell when turning the fans on (no heat comes out but fans blow normal) this could be due to changing the thermostat when all of the coolant flooded out...TS has told me a few times coolant should never be lost in our cars, Which leads me to believe either there has to be a leak or, the fact that it got so high the first time (260+) that some had to have boiled? Or evaporated? I do have the step by step procedure that ddm made with pictures and do know about the half moon and full corcle tools for the timing chain ...I would love for it just to be the air pockets but if its not, then it's either pay to have someone look at it, or
Gamble and say I think it is the water pump, and replace that and hope it fixes, if not, then my only other option is to pay to have a gm tech look at it,...i have another question as well...if my oil comes back clean (when I check it) is anything hurting the car if I drove it to work and back (work is less than 5 min drive) and the temp barely gets above 100 for my drive
 

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I had my engine overheat at very low mileage several times. I had them install the one way valves in the heater hoses and it has never happened again.

You might want to consider that as well.
 

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If everything comes back clean you should be able to drive it to work.
I would also take this time to check the level of coolant before you go to work and after you get back. If the level before and after are about the same, then like it has been said you have air in the system.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I was reading about those check valves as well...is that a common needed procedure even on the 07 gxp?
Thanks everyone for helping btw
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks LV, I have been checking and the level sure seems to
Be staying constant at the cold fill line when I check it (after work & in the morning before work) ...if I had a leak, would that short of a drive, 5 there and 5 back be enough to tell a difference?
 
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