1990 Other Chevrolet Models Runs hot only a mile down the ro

Tiny
TREXXXXX1
  • MEMBER
  • 1990 CHEVROLET
Engine Cooling problem
1990 Other Chevrolet Models 4 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic

I have replaced the radiator radiator cap water pump hoses thermostat and it still running hot. Its a new motor I bought from auto zone. The truck is a 1990 Chevy c1500 Scottsdale with a 4.3 liter v6.
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Friday, May 7th, 2010 AT 1:10 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Hi trexxxxx1. Welcome to the forum. It's a little confusing to make out with no punctuation. Did you replace the water pump hoses or the water pump AND hoses? Check that the radiator fan is turning in the proper direction and blowing air backwards toward the engine. On some applications it is possible to route the serpentine belt the wrong way around the water pump pulley.

Feel the upper and lower radiator hoses. If the lower one is cold, the thermostat is not opening. Feel the two heater hoses. They should be too hot to hold onto for very long. If they are cool, suspect a plugged heater core. Coolant must circulate through the heater to aid in opening the thermostat.

There could also be an air pocket under the thermostat. The thermostat will not open in response to hot air. It must be hit with hot liquid. Some thermostats have a tiny bleed hole in them to speed up the hot coolant getting over to it. You might have to remove the housing and lift the thermostat while filling the coolant up to that point to remove the air pocket.

Caradiodoc
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Friday, May 7th, 2010 AT 1:44 PM
Tiny
TREXXXXX1
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I replaced everything I typed there sorry for the confusion. The hoses wasn't really hot but I will ask my dad. Where is the heater core is that in the radiator because I bought a new radiator. Also it was running hot without a thermostat in it with just water in my engine. I flushed my motor and then put antifreeze in it with the thermostat and ran hot quick down the road. Once I was able to get home we took out the thermostat and filled it back with water, and it never got past the midway point idling, but it did with the thermostat and coolant in it. My dad thinks the fan clutch might be bad it will stop turning when the engine killed with resistant when we try to turn it.
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Friday, May 7th, 2010 AT 3:18 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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The heater core is in the dashboard. Two small hoses go to it, about an inch in diameter. They will be black or dull orange and attach to two nipples sticking through the front of the firewall on the passenger side. Both of them should feel hot. At the same time you should be getting nice hot air from the heater. If the engine is hot but the air from the heater is just slightly warm, the heater core could be plugged with sediment. You can remove the two hoses from the engine and run water through them from a garden hose in both directions until it flows freely. Avoid removing the hoses from the heater core itself. You can flush it that way too, but GM is famous for using heater cores with plastic nipples that become brittle and break very easily. That will lead to even bigger headaches.

Did you check if the fan is turning in the proper direction?

Caradiodoc
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Friday, May 7th, 2010 AT 4:46 PM
Tiny
TREXXXXX1
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We looked in our book for the truck and we have the belt running the right way. My heater will burn u out so I don't think its that. I just took my fan shroud off and spun the fan blade to the left at first it was resistant, but after a few turns it spun like 3 times before stopping. I went to check the air flow after I read your post and I felt air coming over the top and sides toward the engine, and also felt air through the front. Do you think I could have a bad fan clutch because that's what my dad keeps saying. And he says that the system is running the coolant through the system properly.
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Friday, May 7th, 2010 AT 5:23 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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I'd have to agree, the fan clutch sounds like a possibility. There are two things to look at. First of all, it will normally be rather noisy when the engine is cold. It will sound like a lot of air flow, (roaring sound). As the clutch warms up and the fan spins faster, the sound level will go down. I know that sounds backwards.

The second thing you might consider is holding onto the fan while the engine is running. Do this at your own risk. I've seen it done but I'm too chicken to use my fingers. I hold them with a light rope or heavy string. There is always the chance, although very unlikely, that the clutch could suddenly seize up and the fan will start spinning and take your fingers with it. If you use the string approach, don't wrap it around your fingers for the same reason. Don't use wire either because of the damage it can do if it starts spinning around with the blades.

When you hold the fan and a helper starts the engine when cold, you should feel a slight tug, then the fan will relax. You'll be able to hold it with a couple of fingers. After a few minutes it will start to tug harder but it still won't be too hard to hold. If you don't feel that tug, the clutch is not working.

Caradiodoc
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Friday, May 7th, 2010 AT 9:11 PM
Tiny
TREXXXXX1
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I'm just going to buy one I'm not putting my hand any where near that thing. Do you have any other idea other than the fan cause if not it's getting a new one.
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Friday, May 7th, 2010 AT 9:46 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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After thinking about this some more, did it run hot while driving on the highway? If the fan clutch is defective, the engine should not overheat at highway speed because of the natural air flow.

The engine also should not overheat in less than a mile after starting up cold. If you see bubbling in the coolant reservoir, there could be a leaking head gasket or less likely, a cracked head. The clue is there will be no steam to go with the bubbling. You'll need to find a mechanic with a "leak sniffer" to check for combustion gases in the cooling system. I can describe that in more detail if necessary. A leaking head gasket can also introduce an air pocket that prevents the thermostat from opening.

Caradiodoc
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Friday, May 7th, 2010 AT 10:51 PM
Tiny
TREXXXXX1
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Yes it did with and without the thermostat in te truck. If I had a head gasket leak wouldn't I lose fluid because it's alway fill of coolant. With the thermostat installed it got hotter faster and would overheat just idiling. Without it would hot while driving but not while idiling. Futhermore after I installed my motor I had to take it to the shop and they they couldn't get it completly in time because of my bad radiator. Could timing issue cause this. It crank fine and runs good.
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Friday, May 7th, 2010 AT 11:54 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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Yeah, I really wouldn't expect you to have a bad head gasket but I had to throw that out there. The 4.3L isn't known for head gasket issues. As a side note, it IS possible for engines to overheat, or at least run hotter than normal without a thermostat due to the hot coolant not staying in the radiator long enough to cool off. Doesn't happen on every vehicle but it is something to keep in the back of your mind.

Let's get back to the basics. If the fan is blowing the right way, the water pump is pumping the right way too. There can only be three possibilities; insufficient coolant flow, insufficient air flow, or insufficient heat removal.

1. Carefully feel both radiator hoses while the engine is running. If the bottom hose is cold and the top one is warm near the radiator and much hotter near the engine, there is insufficient flow of the coolant. The warm you're feeling at the radiator is just migrating over from the hot engine without really circulating. Suspect blockage someplace, a stuck thermostat, or broken water pump impeller. I know the water pump is new. The impeller is very common on Volkswagens, but worth mentioning. Something really embarrassing to not overlook is a plastic cap that might have been on one of the tubes of the new radiator. A fairly sharp mechanic got stung by this one a few years ago. The radiator shop installed the protective plugs, then painted the radiator. Since the bottom plug got painted too, he didn't see it.

Feel the radiator from top to bottom. If it gets progressively cooler the further down you go, you can assume coolant is flowing. You should also see the coolant flowing when you remove the radiator cap. The flow through each tube should be about the same as a weak drinking fountain. It must not be just a little trickle.

2. If both radiator hoses are hot, suspect insufficient air flow through the radiator. The most common cause is running without the shroud. Air will bypass the radiator or come back around and go through again. The air will continue to heat up instead of removing heat from the coolant. This can be misleading because you will feel the heat and mistakenly assume the heat is leaving the coolant. Also look for a rubber strip under the front of the hood. On some vehicles it is clipped on over the core support from fender to fender. Its job is to seal the gap between the hood and core support to prevent air from bypassing the radiator. This will usually not cause it to run hot at idle because it is necessary at times to run the engine with the hood open, and you don't expect it to overheat then.

3. If the lower hose is still hot but not as much as the top one, not enough cooling is taking place within the radiator. The things to look at are physical size and the number of rows of tubes. Radiators are referred to as "single core", "double core", or "triple core". That has to do with one, two, or three rows of tubes from front to rear. You might be able to see and count them through the radiator cap opening, otherwise you'll have to look at the top or bottom tanks where the tubes go in. Your new radiator might be for a four cylinder engine. I can't say for certain, but I would expect your truck to use a two-core radiator at a minimum, but probably a three-core.

One last note. A 50 / 50 water / antifreeze mixture is best. The antifreeze has anti-corrosion and water pump lubricant additives that last about two years, but it does a poor job of moving heat from the engine to the radiator. Because of its low ability to absorb heat, its temperature goes up real fast so it takes very little BTUs over to the radiator where it gives up that little bit of heat very quickly. Water can absorb a lot of heat and carry it to the radiator but obviously it freezes and doesn't have any of the additives. If the coolant has too high of a concentration of antifreeze and not enough water, it won't be able to move enough heat from the engine and overheating will result. The clinker is if you use an antifreeze hydrometer to measure the freeze point, you will get a false reading. You can prove this to yourself if you have this tool. Use it to measure straight water and you'll see it shows a freeze point of 32 degrees. Use it on straight antifreeze and you'll see it shows a freeze point of around minus 80 degrees, but in reality it freezes closer to minus 5 or 10 degrees. It's when you mix them that the freeze point goes lower. The discrepancy between the reading and the freeze point of straight antifreeze is due to the fact the hydrometer doesn't actually freeze the liquid to test it, it compares the weight of the liquid to pure water. Antifreeze is much heavier than water, therefore the more antifreeze in the solution, the more balls will float in the hydrometer or the higher the pointer will go. So while too much antifreeze in the mixture makes the freeze point appear to be lower, in reality it is going back up AND the ability to carry heat away from the engine is reduced. About the best you can hope for is to hit around minus 40 to 45 degrees. Once the hydrometer shows minus 50 or colder, there is too much antifreeze and not enough water.

The inexpensive hydrometers with floating balls or a pointer work fine but for real accuracy, there is a refractometer. You place a drop of coolant on the tool which must be perfectly clean, then close a cover and look through a sight glass. Part of the viewing screen will be light and part will be dark. The line between the two areas indicates the freeze point, and there's a scale on the side. These are REAL accurate because it doesn't measure according to the weight of the mixture, but most mechanics have never even seen one. I have no idea how they work, but they do.

Caradiodoc
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Saturday, May 8th, 2010 AT 3:36 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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Just had a power failure due to a freak snow storm. It could happen again. Also, I'll be out of town tomorrow. Will check for your reply when I get back.

Caradiodoc
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Saturday, May 8th, 2010 AT 3:39 AM
Tiny
TREXXXXX1
  • MEMBER
The radiator is specific for my motor and truck Dad says the flow is going right. If the clutch does not work I'll just bring to the shop. Cause I would have bought all new stuff to keep it cool.
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Saturday, May 8th, 2010 AT 9:54 AM
Tiny
TREXXXXX1
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It was the clutch
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Sunday, May 16th, 2010 AT 2:48 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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Dandy news. Happy to hear it's fixed. What steps led you to find it?

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, May 16th, 2010 AT 3:16 PM
Tiny
TREXXXXX1
  • MEMBER
Well it was the only old part on my truck plus when I would spin it with the blades on it was very hard. After I got the new one, and put it on it wasn't to hard to spin. The new fan clutch is bigger than my old one I bought the one for use with a ac guess the other one wasn't for that. I took it for a spin the other day and got into some cool weather and the temp gauge actually drop to 150 from 210.
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Sunday, May 16th, 2010 AT 11:40 PM

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