Car over heats only when I start to drive

Tiny
INKSLINGER
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 TOYOTA CAMRY
  • 2.4L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 166,320 MILES
Alright another over heating issue, this explanation will be long to cover all symptoms, issues and attempts of fixing from other forums. But I have read almost every other forum and post and still cannot find problem or resolve. Of course if I had money I would have it fixed already, but on a budget that is almost dry. History of car; bought from a public auction drove it home fine and to work for about a week no "serious" issues except coolant reservoir boiling and loosing water which I would just add more. But no over heating, wanted to fix this problem to have a reliable daily, so started to replace parts that lead to over heating problem. Found out radiator cap was all jerry rigged to stay open allowing it to loose heat and pressure (i am thinking so it would not overheat at auction/quick fix)and radiator opening was scared and messed with. So bought new radiator and cap, this sealed coolant system to function properly. Now it starts to over heat and loosing coolant from around water pump. So go a head and replace water pump and serpentine belt. Water pump was bad, lots of build up around "weep hole" and fins corroded. Still over heating so I replace thermostat. Still over heating so find all issues and resolve on forums to fix issue. I have checked thermostat. In boiling pot, both old and new one open up fine. I do a compression test, all cylinders 140-145. Lower than specs saying around 180. But this should not be a cause of over heating? As just worn rings. Next forums saying bad head gasket or faulty head cracked/warped. I do not think it could be this as there is no water in oil (milky liquid) or excessive amount of water out from exhaust pipe nor any visible leaking from anywhere. So I try my luck with Bars HG sealer anyways and still no luck. Find out about the head gasket leak test. I have gone ahead and did the test with the two chambered detector to get a more accurate reading. I unfortunately cannot get a confirmed positive or negative as the blue liquid is suppose to turn yellow for gasoline engines and green for diesels. Well the liquid turned green. Tried it a few more times to get better results still only turns green. Tested it with breath (as instructions explain) and exhaust pipe and can get it to turn yellow. So it does work. So not sure how to decide if I do have a faulty head gasket with the wrong color positive. Any help with this? So back to square one! Last attempt was buying the "fail safe" thermostat thinking the new thermostat I bought could have been faulty some how. Still no luck and now the symptoms are; top radiator hose gets piping hot and bottom will stay cold, not even warm. Will always start up car with hot air on funnel in radiator filled with coolant to do the "burping" process every time to rid system of any air but system will continue to "burp" up air from funnel in radiator; to the point of car reaching operating temperature but coolant will start to boil out where I will have to shut it down before all coolant is pushed out. Car cannot get more than a mile before it starts to over heat. And wont ever over heat at idle sitting, even revving up to simulate stress; only over heat when driving. So confirmed air getting in system and believe thermostat not opening correctly because of this. And no check engine lights come on and car runs and idles amazing other than overheating. I think I have covered everything if anyone can help out I would be unbelievably grateful as this is all my money in this car for transportation to make money. :( Almost broke and out of options. Thank you in advance!
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Saturday, October 8th, 2016 AT 12:46 AM

5 Replies

Tiny
AL514
  • EXPERT
Unfortunately, It sounds like you are getting gasses from multiple cylinders into your cooling system. The coolant system is over heating when you're driving because the car is under a much bigger load when driving. Now the low compression test readings (normal for this car is reading 198 psi, minimum 142 psi) in all cylinders suggests a warped cylinder head. I say this because you are getting just about the same readings across all cylinders. So it has to be something that is going to tie all the cylinders together. If it was just one cylinder for example, you could say a bad valve not seating. But this is not the case. And also with coolant being forced out of the system, this is being caused by compressed gasses being forced out of the cylinder head into the coolant system very fast. With a lot of these newer cars, the cylinder head is aluminum and the engine block is steel. So the problem gets worse when the engine gets real hot (like driving) because the two different types of metal expand at different rates. So a warped cylinder head shows its ugly face as the gap between the cylinder head and engine block expands and you over heating problem begins. You are not getting coolant into the oil because the system is pushing into the water jacket at this point and just making it into the oil journals yet. It all depends on where the cylinder head is actually warped. It has to be a problem that would effect all cylinders like that. I willing to bet if you did a cylinder leakage test (putting compressed air into the cylinder) you would get air coming out a different cylinder at the same time.
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Saturday, October 8th, 2016 AT 2:58 AM
Tiny
INKSLINGER
  • MEMBER
AL514: first off thank you and anyone else who reads my long post and help out. So I hoped you are/where right with the cylinder head because all I need is a confirmed problem to make my assessment to fix the confirmed problem as I don't want to have to remove the head and risk messing up or removing to find out there is nothing wrong with head or gasket. And spend more hours, time and money into a problem I don't have. Your cylinder leakage test wasn't detailed on how to if you don't have a youtube video link or something like this? But I went ahead and tried to what I assumed would be the way by removing one spark plug at a time and hooking up a compression test hose to it to my compressor at 120 PSI of compression. And making sure the valves where open for the exhaust side by feeling air coming out the tailpipe I had my brother hold shut the tailpipe to build pressure in the system. There seemed to be no other leaking of air anywhere else; all the while I did this test I had a funnel and coolant topped off coming out the radiator fill cap and no bubbles came up indicating a leak in head gasket into the coolant system. All cylinders where double checked this way and another compression test was taken COLD I know this is not the best way to get max compression but did anyways to double check compression since last check of 140-145 and adding the Bars leak. So the readings where cold at 1st cylinder 130, 2nd cylinder at 125, 3rd at 130 and 4th cylinder at 125. I imagine warmed up it would probably be at the 140-145 range. So this tells me there still within range of each other not being a bad HG correct? We sprayed a hose through the coolant system as well as some air, Seems to flow good through radiator and top hose through block and heater core. No gunk or debri, pretty much flushed the system clear of the Bars leak. Also did a second test of the combustion leak detector and did not get a positive yellow. So I don't see how it can be the HG. Only confirmed issues are; air constantly getting into the coolant system which I think is making it overheat by making the thermostat not run right and messing with the system. Is there any other way air could be getting into the system?
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Saturday, October 8th, 2016 AT 3:50 PM
Tiny
AL514
  • EXPERT
A cylinder leakage test is done with a leakdown kit. You can buy oneline prabaly amazon or where ever, but the idea is that you have the cylinder you're working on, on its compression stoke, therefore the both intake and exhaust valves are closed and sealed. That would make the cylinder at Top Dead Center. You then add compressed air to the cylinder and with the valves closed air will leak out wherever the problem is. Your compression readings are far too low for this car, by spec. The book was calling for 198psi and 142min. One thing though, are you removing all the sparkplugs when your run the compression test? And also another thing when testing, you must have the throttle plates open. So as much air as possible can get into the intake during your test. Retest and see what you get. But there is definitely something going on with the cylinder head if your compression reading are that low on all cylinders. Its all related. You have to have the valve's closed when doing a cylinder leakage test. Or the air is just going to go out the open valve and not out the problem area. Keep in touch I'm here to help you through this
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Saturday, October 8th, 2016 AT 4:08 PM
Tiny
INKSLINGER
  • MEMBER
AL514: I couldn't be any more excited and at the same time a little upset for the amount of work ill be putting in to fix this HEAD GASKET! Haha but thank you so much for suggesting the cylinder leakage test AL514 I think if anyone ever has an overheating issue or thought it could be a bad HG I suggest ONLY doing this test I could have saved 80$ from trying blue devil and Bars HG leak, as well as the 50$ from the other combustion gases test in the coolant that I tried multiple times never giving me a positive yellow im assuming because the leak was too small? But for any one else reading this forum; SYMPTOM was OVER HEATING, with all cooling system parts replaced(radiator, cap, thermostat, water pump) and other DIY tests done I could find and think of all coming up inconclusive and and not confirming a BAD head gasket or possibly cracked/warped head. But doing this "cylinder leakage test" gave me the confirmation to go ahead and start on fixing the headgasket. I will post pics of how I did the test with a type of DIY set up as I am running low on time and money to buy the actual kit or wait on shipping. The CONFIRMED reaction was putting 120PSI compression in cylinder 2 and getting bubbles come up out of the radiator telling me there is a leak somewhere in the head gasket or head getting into the coolant system. Which I can finally now buy the gasket hope its only the gasket and replace it with $50 for a gasket kit and a few hours of labor! But AL514 if you know of any good youtube videos or tutorials links to fixing a headgasket for my vehicle? Any ways thank you again! Please see below pics for the set up(for anyone wanting to do this test) which was a compressor with 120psi, valve attached to end with universal connectors to fit onto a "compression test" hose down into the spark plug hole. And all I did was turn the motor over till the piston I was on was at Top Dead Center. And stuck a rag in the serpentine pully to keep it from turning over the piston(also in pics). Than opening up the valve to push air that come out the radiator.
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Sunday, October 9th, 2016 AT 4:03 PM
Tiny
MHPAUTOS
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I will just add one thing here, I don't think that I saw anywhere in the post that the radiator was cleaned and I mean core cleaned and not just a back flush, especially now that you have used a stop leak, this can block radiator core tubes and this can cause over heating, and is often over looked as when flushed you still get flow but it is restricted and poor flow will give you your symptoms of over heating and cols bottom tank and hot top tank.
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Thursday, October 13th, 2016 AT 4:30 AM

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