2003 Nissan Altima stalling and over heating

Tiny
DUSTINBOBBITT
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 NISSAN ALTIMA
  • 2.5L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 170,000 MILES
My 03 Altimas been great, this morning I took my brother to work which is about an hours ride from my house and about half of which is 60 mph. The car did fine there and back but today on my way to pick him up when I was almost to his work my car suddenly started to kind of whistle, I pulled to a yield sign and the car died. It started to get hot so I immediately cut it off. Under the hood the water in the top radiator hose was rapidly bubbling and the bottom hose was cold any ideas?
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Thursday, February 12th, 2015 AT 7:28 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Gonna need more to go on. First of all, was the radiator fan running? The cold lower radiator hose is a dandy observation that indicates no coolant is flowing. That can be caused by low coolant level, but a leaking cylinder head gasket is a possibility to. With that, combustion gases can pool under the thermostat and prevent it from opening. Thermostats have to be hit with hot liquid to open. Hot air won't do it.

You may see air bubbles in the coolant reservoir too if the head gasket is leaking. To check for that, your mechanic can perform a quick chemical test. That involves drawing air from the radiator 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.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, February 12th, 2015 AT 7:45 PM
Tiny
DUSTINBOBBITT
  • MEMBER
The fan was on when the car was running and cut off when I cut the car off. Just yesterday I took my car to the shop and had my oil changed and my fluids toped off. They said only my windshield washer fluid was low and they made no mention of water in my oil. I suspect a bad thermostat. My car has 2 thermostats should I replace both? Is there an easy way to roadside test them?
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, February 12th, 2015 AT 8:05 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
There's no easy way to test a thermostat. A former coworker was warned by three of us when he put one in a soup can, then heated it with a torch to see at what temperature it opened. The new thermostat had already solved the no-heat complaint. That stunt was the last straw and it got him fired for wasting so much time. (This was not an isolated incident).

Thermostats can fail by sticking open or closed, but they rarely close after the engine is warmed up and has been running. I won't say you can't have a bad thermostat, but I'd be very surprised.

Coolant in the oil is not how head gaskets usually leak. 90 percent of the time you'll get exhaust gas in the coolant and a loss of coolant out the tail pipe. When you DO lose coolant and can't tell where it's going, you can add a small bottle of dark purple dye to it, then search a day or two later with a black light. The dye will show up as a bright yellow stain that you can follow back to the source. If you find it inside the tail pipe, the head gasket is leaking.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, February 12th, 2015 AT 8:16 PM
Tiny
DUSTINBOBBITT
  • MEMBER
Water pump was seized, I went ahead and threw in the new thermostat anyway. Thank you so much for your advice!
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Friday, February 13th, 2015 AT 12:41 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Dandy. Happy to hear it's solved.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Saturday, February 14th, 2015 AT 8:50 AM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Recommended Guides