1996 Honda Civic overheating

Tiny
BAXTERANDREW
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 HONDA CIVIC
  • 1.6L
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • MANUAL
  • 147,000 MILES
So I have a 1996 Honda Civic with the d16y7 motor and I replaced the radiator, the thermostat and the radiator hoses and my fans are working but it is still over heating I'm going to change my water pump next but I'm not sure if that's the problem what other things could it be or how can I tell if it's my water pump or not?
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Tuesday, September 29th, 2015 AT 6:57 PM

6 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
An impeller broken free on the water pump is extremely uncommon except on some VWs that use plastic impellers. The more likely suspect is a leaking cylinder head gasket. If combustion gases get into the cooling system, they can pool under the thermostat and cause it to not open. Thermostats have to be hit with hot liquid. Hot air won't do it.

There's a chemical test that can be done at the radiator to check for a leaking head gasket. That involves drawing air from the radiator, while the engine is running, through a glass cylinder with two chambers partially-filled with a special dark blue liquid. If combustion gases are present, the liquid will turn bright yellow.
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Tuesday, September 29th, 2015 AT 7:27 PM
Tiny
BAXTERANDREW
  • MEMBER
Do you know roughly how much that test will cost me and if any shop can do it?
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Tuesday, September 29th, 2015 AT 7:31 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Once the hood is open, the test takes just a minute or two. By the time the mechanic finds your car, drives it into the shop, does the test, writes up what he found on the repair order, and drives the car back outside, it's easy to use up a half hour.

At the very nice family-owned Chrysler dealership I used to work for, we had the owner's blessings to do this for free on our lunch hour, as a customer goodwill gesture. It doesn't cost the shop any resources other than the mechanic's time.
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Tuesday, September 29th, 2015 AT 7:50 PM
Tiny
BAXTERANDREW
  • MEMBER
Okay thank you. If its not the head gasket are there any other things it could be?
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Tuesday, September 29th, 2015 AT 7:59 PM
Tiny
BAXTERANDREW
  • MEMBER
I took it to a shop to have the problem diagnosed and they said I had a small leak in the thermostat housing and the water pump but they didn't say anything about my head gasket so im guessing they did a pressure test. Wouldn't that show them that the head gasket was bad?
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Tuesday, September 29th, 2015 AT 8:04 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Usually not. The cooling system can only develop 15 pounds of pressure. That isn't enough to push coolant into the combustion chamber unless the leak is really bad. The combustion chamber develops hundreds of pounds, and it's real hard to keep that pressure contained. If it can sneak into the cooling system, it's going to.

The pressure tests is one method of finding an external leak in the cooling system, but it's not the best way for small elusive leaks. At issue too is if you're having to add coolant.
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Tuesday, September 29th, 2015 AT 8:25 PM

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