Mechanics

CAR OVERHEATING WHILE IN PARK--AIR CON

2006 Pontiac Torrent

Engine Cooling problem
2006 Pontiac Torrent 6 cyl All Wheel Drive Automatic 45k miles

While at the car wash I was parked with my car on and I started to notice the ac was blowing hot at times then cold--then I noticed that the temp gauge had shot up almost to the red. I quickly left the car wash and headed for a gas station to check fluids--but while I was driving down the road, the air was cold and the temp went back down. At the stop light, it started to do the same thing. All the fluids were full in the car. Any ideas?
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Hey8732whatitdo
June 20, 2009.




Hi hey8732whatitdo, my 2006 Pontiac torrent its overheating as well, did you ever found the problem, in my case both of the fans are working properly, I have replaced the thermostat and water pump, but the problem its coming back again, the fluids levels are ok.
On other forums Ive read about a gasket issue that makes the coolant to leak inside the cylinder chamber, others says about a bad coolant sensor, others says about bad headers.
It has 80,000 miles on it.

Tiny
Roco
Aug 12, 2010.
I am coming back just to leave reference on my issue, it turns out that the issue was a broken head gasket, I will describe at the end a simple test to perform, to find out if this is the root cause of your problem.

There are some references on the web that claim that the formulation of the OEM coolant was "disintegrating" the gaskets after some time, and this is why the manufacturer changed the coolant formulation for later models.

This problem is hard to diagnosis due the fact that everything seems to be normal on the vehicle, fluids are "correct" (when checked), the fans are working properly, but as others, I first tried to correct the problem by changing the thermostat, then the water pump, and finally look out after the broken head gasket issue, all this has to be done with a small mechanic shop as the dealership service area, came out the first time with the incorrect diagnosis of an "intermittent fans failure" , they wanted to change both fans and wire harnesses at a higher cost, and I decide to look out for myself, at the end it will cost me less than half of the dealer's quote for the "intermittent fans failure" , and this includes changing the thermostat and water pump on my first attempt to solve the problem, I am assuming right now that both (the thermostat and water pump) were working correctly, but cannot go back in time, anyway not been an expert on the matter has a price.

It's good to mention that despite my 2006 Pontiac Torrent AWD has almost 80,000 miles, it's been quite reliable, no other problem at all since I bought it about 5 years ago.

As explained by the mechanic, the broken head gasket leads to overheating by some reasons, some are; it reduces the coolant level while been driving, generates "air bubbles" in the coolant system reducing its performance, and increases the friction at the combustion chamber. Even if you check the coolant/water level before driving, it will be consumed while driving, leading to the engine to overheat, and not the other way as I thought, that the coolant/water level got low because an overheated engine.

The problem will be in and out at the beginning or even later on as the crack on the gasket gets bigger, and for many factors as the driving conditions, outside temperature, etc. This is also why this issue its very hard to diagnosis. On my case it will appear when driving back home after work in a hot afternoon throughout the city downtown, with several traffic lights on my way, no been shown when driving directly back home from work using the highway, nor early in the morning/ late night.

At least you have to change the head gasket, and coolant, but its good to make an oil/filter change as well as it can be contaminated with coolant, also you might be forced to change -at an additional cost-, the exhaust, intake and valve cover gaskets, as the mechanic can not commit to reuse the same ones, they can be broken when disassembling the engine. And its strongly advised to change the exhaust, intake and valve cover gaskets as well while the engine its tear apart, as you don't want to come back latter on with an oil leak. There is also a small chance -small chance, but still a possibility- that the engine head has a crack, that in most cases can be repaired, or you must be forced to buy a brand new one. The worst case scenario its that you broke down the entire engine by running it too hot, for too long, on all this the labor cost its for more the most expensive portion.

One key indicator of a broken head gasket -besides the overheating problem- is that when starting the engine in the morning and after a long overnight rest to let it cool down enough, you will notice that the engine shakes more than usual, just like when a spark plug its faulting, this will go away after a few minutes when driving and in most cases it wont come back until next morning, the reason of this is that when the engine its cool enough it allows the coolant into the combustion chamber overnight and to stay there, once you start the engine first thing the next morning the engine will be shaking until the water/coolant its consumed inside the combustion chamber, then the engine will behave regular, if this is also happening to you, this is a simple test to diagnosis the broken head gasket issue: Let the engine rest overnight to let it cool down enough, early next morning, remove the spark plugs and look out for any coolant/water residues on the spark plug tip, if not for sure, ask a friend to attempt to start the engine while you look for coolant/water residues "splashing" out of the open holes where the spark plugs were removed, if there is coolant/water residues, it will be very evident, even for a non-expert eye.

Also others recommends to check your exhaust after you have ran for about 5 min. And see if you smell burnt antifreeze, other recommend looking for white "smoke" coming from the exhaust, that is nothing else but water steam.
Since similar engines are shared across different GMC brands (i.E. Pontiac Torrent, Chevrolet Equinox, Pontiac Aztec, etc.) Chances are that this will be the same root cause for an overheating engine issue on those other brands.

Good luck.
Tags: Pontiac Torrent Overheating, Chevrolet Equinox Overheating, Pontiac Aztec Overheating.
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Tiny
Roco
Aug 24, 2010.
I just wanted to thank roco for his follow-up.

We have a 2006 Pontiac Torrent. About 3 months ago, it began overheating at stop lights and in traffic. The heat would blow cold air and the temperature gauge would rise. After parking, the engine fan would remain on for a while, until the engine had cooled down.

The initial diagnosis was the thermostat. After that was replaced, it worked fine until yesterday. We were driving and the temperature gauge begin to rise again, and after pulling over we could smell burning coolant. The fan remained on, and slowly the coolant compartment began to drain.

I googled the symptoms and found this page, which seemed to be dead-on. We took the vehicle in today and the mechanic independently identified it as a broken head gasket. Whether it failed because of the thermostat failure earlier, or it was always the head gasket, we're not sure.

He quoted us $1100 to repair it.

Tiny
Craig_a
Sep 6, 2011.
Wow! I have the same story as above , I googled it and found this site and I dont want to go through with the payments of the thermostat first then the fans and the wiring kits. But I will let yall know my follow up. I have a PONTIAC TORRENT 2006 WITH 118,560 and I am having these problems and that quote gives me a good idea of what to bargain for! I want to say thanks and I will let yall know how well it will go for me too : D

Tiny
Moonholderfield
Sep 11, 2012.

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