Engine Overheating

Tiny
COLE MATTHEWS
  • 1999 CHEVROLET LUMINA

6 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic 160955 miles

This car is a hand-me-down to my 19 year old from Grandma. It has run like a champ-but hate to spend a lot of $ on it. Last week the Temp Gauge started running near orange as warmer weather set in. It progressed until it now over heats rapidly and starts to stall. I assumed this was a cooling system issue since it was in a front-end collision about 3 years ago. The radiator was warped but everything checked out and bumper/hood were repaired. There are still no leaks in the system, and coolant is contained- no drips or leaks except through the reserve tank overflow- nothing to indicate a water pump issue. One odd item, when sitting in park, just started up, you can press and hold the accelerator all the way down and the engine will rev and then slow, rev then slow- almost like a governor is kicking in.

Here's the kicker- my friend hooked up his DTC reader and it is telling us code P0401 Exhaust Gas Recirculation Flow Insufficient Detected. And no other codes. Now I am stumped- what can this be? My friend says the Cat Converter is plugged and results in no activation of the proper temp sensors for the cooling system somehow. I'm no master mechanic and have no idea where to begin.

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Saturday, May 31st, 2008 AT 1:20 PM

47 Replies

Tiny
MASTERTECHTIM
  • MEMBER

Does the coolant fan come on? Does the vehicle lack power when driving. It does have a rev limiter. Did you remove the rad cap and check level there?

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Saturday, May 31st, 2008 AT 1:49 PM
Tiny
COLE MATTHEWS
  • MEMBER

No real power issues. The two fans do activate, but it still heats up very rapidly. Coolant is full, but could be old.

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Saturday, May 31st, 2008 AT 2:03 PM
Tiny
MASTERTECHTIM
  • MEMBER

I would start by replacing the thermostat first. Thats the logical problem and cheapest to do. Let me know how you make out after the thermostat

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Saturday, May 31st, 2008 AT 2:09 PM
Tiny
COLE MATTHEWS
  • MEMBER

Thanks. That's what I was thinking- I used to be able to change thermostats on the older models. I went and bought one, then realized with the transverse mounted engine you have to pull the whole throttle control/air intake assembly just to get to the 2 bolts where the thermostat is mounted - unsure I trust my mechanic skills that much to not mess something else up. Looks like I'm headed to Pep Boys or someone like that. Crap.

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Saturday, May 31st, 2008 AT 2:17 PM
Tiny
DNAPRORACING
  • MEMBER

Yes you have to take the intake off, then you can reach the bolts with an extender. Not really difficult. Have faith in yourself. Intakes are easy to take off and put back on. Just be sure to flush er out really good before putting the new one on. You may want to check your hoses while you're at it. The clamps they use for them dont last forever, they get brittle.

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Monday, June 2nd, 2008 AT 11:40 PM
Tiny
CHARLES CRANE
  • 1999 CHEVROLET LUMINA
  • 180,000 MILES

The car goes about two miles and the the coolant needle goes way up and heater is still cold. Then all of a sudden the needle drops and the the heater works. Sometimes it then goes hot and the can even over flow. The thermos stat has been changed twice but that does not seem to help. My local repairman says I should junk it out. Do you have any suggestions?

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Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 AT 8:12 PM (Merged)
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
  • 4,195 POSTS

Which engine? And have any tests been done to see what is wrong?

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Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 AT 8:12 PM (Merged)
Tiny
SSB123
  • 1999 CHEVROLET LUMINA

CHEVY 99 IS OVERHEATING! I PUT A LITTLE WATER IN IT THE 1ST TIME IT HAPPENED, AND IT RAN OKAY FOR A DAY GOING SHORT DISTANCES. LATER THE SAME DAY, I WAS GETTING ON A LONGER STRETCH OF ROAD, AND GOING FASTER, AND IT OVERHEATED AGAIN. I'm not very good with checking my water/coolant levels. I just got car out of shop less than 2 weeks ago for turning off while I was idling.

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Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 AT 8:12 PM (Merged)
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
  • 28,980 POSTS

What's the question and symptoms?

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Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 AT 8:12 PM (Merged)
Tiny
SSB123
  • MEMBER

What does it sound like is causing the overheat? Could it be okay now that it is full of coolant and running fine? Do you recommend trying anything I haven't mentioned above?

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Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 AT 8:12 PM (Merged)
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
  • 28,980 POSTS

You haven't mentioned anything. How much water did you have to add? How long could it have been low? Do you see white smoke from the tail pipe? Does the radiator fan turn on intermittently? Does it only overheat when stopped in traffic or does it happen at highway speeds too? Is it not overheating at all now that you added water? What happens to the temperature of the air from the heater when the engine runs hot? Does the air burn your hand or is it rather cool? Do you see any puddles underneath the front of the car where you park it?

These are the kinds of things a mechanic would check to make a diagnosis. Since we're on a computer, you're going to have to provide all those details and observations.

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Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 AT 8:12 PM (Merged)
Tiny
SSB123
  • MEMBER

I added coolant only, and an entire unopened jug, until it was totally full. It could have been low for quite a while. There is no smoke coming from tail pipe, no puddles. Radiator fan seems to be running accurately. It does not overheat in stopped traffic, but it did once I got onto the highway. Since I added coolant, it has not overheated, but I only traveled approx. 10 miles to get home. Haven't had the air on, so not sure about that.

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Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 AT 8:12 PM (Merged)
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
  • 28,980 POSTS

Not referring to the air conditioning. If it overheats again, feel the air temperature from the heater. If it is really hot, at least we know it's circulating which means the coolant is going to the radiator. If the temperature is not hot enough, lack of circulation is the problem and that can be due to low coolant level.

You should not fill the reservoir to the top, just to the "max" line on the side. Most certainly there was some air in the cooling system so some of what you added went in there when you stopped the engine and it cooled down. It sounds like the cooling system and fan are working properly, and loss of coolant was the cause of the overheating. Fan problems will cause overheating only at slow speeds. A radiator plugged on the outside with a butterfly collection will cause overheating at higher speeds.

The thing to do now is keep an eye on the coolant level in the reservoir. It will go up shortly after stopping the engine because the heat is still going into the coolant and causing it to expand. After about a half hour the level will drop quite a bit but it should stay above the "min" mark.

If the level drops a noticeable amount in a few weeks or less, dye can be added to see where it's going. After driving a few days, you search with a black light including at the tail pipe. The dye will show up as a bright yellow stain. If it takes a month or more for the level to drop a quart, what leaks out could be evaporating fast enough to not leave a puddle. The dye will show that up too.

Also check at the 4" long rubber hose hanging down on the passenger side of the firewall under the hood. You might have to crawl underneath to see it. The open end will be formed into a thin slot. If you see dye there, the heater core is leaking. Typically that will get worse real fast and won't leave you guessing. Dye at the tail pipe means a head gasket is leaking. When that gets bad enough, you'll see white smoke from the exhaust.

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Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 AT 8:12 PM (Merged)
Tiny
BHATT3
  • 1999 CHEVROLET LUMINA
  • 17,000 MILES

Husband was driving car home from work. Stated that all of sudden coolant light came on, gauge went to red area and steam was coming from engine. Coolant was on ground when he pulled over. He had no problem at all driving it that morning and only smelled antifreeze when he got out after overheated. Does this sound like hose or thermostat. Car is old 1999 and has many miles. Hope not very expensive to fix.

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Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 AT 8:12 PM (Merged)
Tiny
FIXITMR
  • MEMBER

Sounds like hose. May have been caused by thermostat but not likely.

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Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 AT 8:12 PM (Merged)
Tiny
FIXITMR
  • MEMBER

Either case should not be too expensive. But you dont say what expensive to you is?

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Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 AT 8:12 PM (Merged)
Tiny
YOUNGGUN61
  • MEMBER

I had the same problem but it wasn't alot of coolant on the ground it turned out that my water pump went out and was flowing backwards.

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Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 AT 8:12 PM (Merged)
Tiny
KRMB92
  • 1999 CHEVROLET LUMINA

Engine Cooling problem
1999 Chevy Lumina 6 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 123000 miles

My grandma has had this car since she bought it at the dealership. She gave it to me since it had the overheating problem. Before I got it, she got a whole new transmission and heating/AC system thinking that was the problem. I got it and it was overheating still so we replaced the thermostat and radiator. It worked for a little while but then it would overheat again. I put water in it since it was empty so that worked makin me think I solved it but nope. It disappears and I don't see any visual leaks anywhere. When it overheats, the coolant has air bubbles, radiator is cold but the engine sounds like its boiling. Eveything else in that car is fine except this one little problem. Please help me, thank you.

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Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 AT 8:12 PM (Merged)
Tiny
LEGITIMATE007
  • EXPERT
  • 5,209 POSTS

There could be several problems, like a faulty water pump, something simple like a bad radiator cap. Or a plugged heater core, you should have it pressure checked, then they can determine where your problem is, most people would automatically assume a bad head gasket, but that usually is accompanied by bad performance and even white smoke coming from the exhaust

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Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 AT 8:12 PM (Merged)
Tiny
BHUNTER
  • 1999 CHEVROLET LUMINA
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 154,000 MILES

I have a Chevy Lumina that has been overheating. I've changed the thermostat and flushed the system. Local parts store said it has bleeder valves on it that need bled. How do I do that and do you think that may be the problem? Also does it matter which anti freeze goes in?

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Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 AT 8:12 PM (Merged)

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