Overheating problem PT Cruiser

Tiny
CRASH
  • 2001 CHRYSLER PT CRUISER
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • MANUAL
  • 129,000 MILES

Ok here goes. Car overheating problem. Owned car for two years, my buddy owned it for 4 years before that. No issues, but neither changed radiator fluid. So went ahead, did flush, replaced thermostat. Still overheating. Watched during flush/fill for engine to heat up and watched water flowing correctly in radiator. Car runs fine for first 8 to 10 minutes, with water temp in mid-range as always. Then it takes off and overheats. Only way to stop car from boiling over is to turn on heater to full blast. Air is super, super hot. Funny thing is, after it heats up, if I return car to slower speeds (under 50) with heater on, car does not over heat.

So question is, does this still suggest bad or poorly working water pump? Is it possible for this to be a pin-hole leak in head gasket? Crack in block? Fluid is still green and no apparent oil in fluid, no water in oil as that was recently changed as well. This one is really baffling me! HELP?

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Thursday, July 7th, 2011 AT 6:22 PM

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Tiny
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When the car is running hotter then normal is the radiator cooling fan on?Did it overheat before you replaced the coolant?Do you have a temp gun and multi-meter? First, I would have a leak down test done by a shop to verify head gasket condition. Then I would check the radiator for flow. You can do a temp check from one side to the other. The last part would be checking the water pump. Have not seen many impeller issues with these.

First, the pressure tester I am referring to is a special on that goes in where the spark plugs are that measures the amount of pressure loss over a period of time.
You need a temp gun that will tell the temp of the radiator. This is done externally.
The tools are available for this at a parts store but it is cheaper to spend 34.99 to have a shop check it. The tools will run you 150-200 bucks.

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Thursday, July 7th, 2011 AT 6:27 PM
Tiny
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Great questions. Prior to the fluid change, the fan would run. To be honest, not sure now post fluid change. Easy to find out. It does not take much to get the engine running hot. Let me go and find out. Yes on multimeters (I have several) but No on temp gun. Locally AutoZone has them for under $30 (checking harbor frieght now)

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Thursday, July 7th, 2011 AT 7:54 PM
Tiny
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Lets start with if the fan comes on and also get a temp gun so we can see how hot it gets and what temp the fan is coming on.

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Thursday, July 7th, 2011 AT 7:58 PM
Tiny
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Also you never answered if the engine overheated before the fluid change?

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Thursday, July 7th, 2011 AT 8:00 PM
Tiny
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Ok good news and bad news. First, good news is fan is coming on properly at mid-range temp. Bad news, car is still overheating.

Yes car did overheat previously. That's what prompted the fluid change. On out of state trip for funeral from Baltimore, MD to Akron, OH, all was well until 3/4's the way on return trip. Car overheated. It was very hot day, so pulled over, ate at a restaurant to let engine cool down, went rest of trip (100 miles) using heater to keep engine cool. It worked. That's what prompted fluid change. Fluid looked dark brown and nasty. So changed fluid with flush and replaced thermostat.

So not that fan is working, headed to Harbor Freight for leak down tool and hopefully infrared temp gun.

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Thursday, July 7th, 2011 AT 8:24 PM
Tiny
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Dont worry about the leak down tool that is used to find a loss of compression in the engine mostly. You can rent a chemical tester from auto zone for free all you have to do is buy the fluid for it for about 8 dollars that will tell you if you have a blown head gasket. Which doesnt sound like you do I think the fan isnt coming on at the correct temp or lack of correct flow or there is sand debris blocking air thru your radiator.

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Thursday, July 7th, 2011 AT 8:33 PM
Tiny
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Ok, do you have a part number or name for this chemical tester? Can not find anything like this on autozone website search.

Any suggestions for clearning or cleaning the radiator? While I am suspect that this is the issue due to the sudden onset of this condition after a long trip.

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Friday, July 8th, 2011 AT 2:04 AM
Tiny
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http://www.autozone.com/autozone/accessories/Tools-Garage-and-Equipment/Block-Tester/_/N-25dh
Do you have a air compressor ?If so get a blow nozzle like one of those plastic blow nozzles with the metal tips and blow the fins of the radiator and a/c condensor out.Use your temp gun to see what temp the fan comes on at.Measure the temp right where the upper hose goes onto the engine.

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Friday, July 8th, 2011 AT 4:56 PM
Tiny
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Just got home. Block tester from AutoZone immediately indicated yellow. Ran it 4 times. Air was so hot going in there it warped the plastic chamber :(

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Friday, July 8th, 2011 AT 8:29 PM
Tiny
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Question: Will a "block sealer" additive to the radiator fluid help? Does it really work? Is there one brand better than another?

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Friday, July 8th, 2011 AT 8:54 PM
Tiny
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Honestly I dont belive in those block sealer/head gasket sealers or the coolant leak sealers.I have never used them and never will use them. So as far as that goes I wont promote any of the brands most of the ones I have seen people use do more damage then good.

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Friday, July 8th, 2011 AT 11:05 PM
Tiny
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That's what I am afraid of. How difficult is replacing the head gasket on this vehicle? I have rebuilt an engine or two previously. Anything I should watch for on this one?

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Friday, July 8th, 2011 AT 11:59 PM
Tiny
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Looks pretty straight forward what is the 8th digit of your vin?

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Saturday, July 9th, 2011 AT 5:20 PM
Tiny
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B is the 8th digit of Vin.

Question for you. I spoke to a couple of machine shops about potential costs for dipping, pressure testing and crack testing of the head. Both shops told me that they have never found a crack on this type of head in their experience. If this is the case, could I get away with simply pulling the head and replacing the head gasket, or is any type of basic work recommended for the head or block?

Would it make sense before tearing down the engine to do a compression test to discover the relative area of the faulty gasket?

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Tuesday, July 12th, 2011 AT 7:20 PM
Tiny
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I posted a how to remove and replace the timing belt so you will have that when you need it. As far as having the head pressure tested I would do it if it was my head because if it is leaking you would be doing all that work for nothing by replacing the had gasket. As far as a compression test goes that will just tell if your rings and valves are seal.A cylinder leak down test would tell if the head gasket was sharing compression or leaking from one cyclinder to another. Also if there was coolant leaking into a exhaust port etc. But if you do the pressure test on the head your good with all that. Also have them check your head for being true and not warped.I would also get a straight edge and make sure you block is straight and look at the condition of the block.

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Tuesday, July 12th, 2011 AT 9:14 PM
Tiny
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Are these postings here something I can open?

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Wednesday, July 13th, 2011 AT 4:32 PM
Tiny
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Yes you click them and they will get larger just like the other one I posted a a few posts back.

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Wednesday, July 13th, 2011 AT 4:44 PM
Tiny
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***HELP***

How in the world am I supposed to line up the timing marks when I can't see them? There is like 2mm clearance between the cover and the side body. My Chilton's manual is of no help. Googling says to drop the engine, but how? I currently have the front of the car up on jack stands, probably a good 12" off the ground. Guys, how in the world do I either raise or lower the engine so as to line up the timing marks?

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Sunday, August 21st, 2011 AT 9:28 PM
Tiny
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You would use a floor jack with a block of wood between the floor jack and the oil pan and jack the engine up and down with the engine mounts out.

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Sunday, August 21st, 2011 AT 9:33 PM
Tiny
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Guys, I did not see the very first picture on here, sorry. I will give that a try. Thanks!

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Sunday, August 21st, 2011 AT 9:35 PM

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