Head problems- like car like owner

Tiny
COFFEE
  • MEMBER
  • CHEVROLET
My 1990 chevy cavilier z24 has about 240,000 miles. It is a six cylinder. I bought it for 700 dollars a couple months ago from a private seller. After mostly running quite good for as many milels as it has suddenly it over heated: I let it cool put water in it, drive it home. A few times later I notice a leak in the radiater. I tried Bars Leak but that only worked for maybe a couple days. Car is still constantly running hot but I still have to take it to work 15- 20 min away using the highway. This last time I was on my way to work and it overheated. Letting it sit all day I come back to it and still its hot as well as all the way home. At times before and this time the same, the steering seemed it would suddenly be difficult, and something with the gas when accelerating. The next morning I try to start it nothing. After a new battery and jb weld on the radiater I then notice the even bigger leak from the bottom of the head, out of a spark-plug wire(?). The oil seems just slightly bubbly but no oil in the resovoir. Any suggestions what is wrong; gasket leak or head blown? Much thanks for any reply.
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Monday, September 17th, 2007 AT 10:41 AM

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Tiny
BIGBADPIRATETOM
  • MEMBER
If you have bright headlights and a well charged battery, you might have frozen the engine from all of the heat. Bearings are often made of lead. Lead melts at about 300 degrees. Going over 212 is very risky. You should never drive a car when the engine is overheating. Also, as much as I hate to say this to myself, using radiator sealers for permanent repairs is poor economy. You can usually find a rather affordable radiator at places like Napa and Autozone. Replacing the radiator is always the best economy. Modern radiators are very easy to remove, too. They usually have two retainers on top, with some bolts, and on the bottom they fit into rubber supports. The difficult part is removing hoses and fans, which isn't usually too difficult unless the engine compartment is crowded.

Sorry to say it, but if the headlights are bright, and the starter motor is engaging, then your motor is likely frozen. If you can get at the crank pulley, try turning it with a wrench (ignition switch off!). I can turn the crank on my 1951 Chevrolet 216.5 fairly easily with the fan. Some modern engines have much higher compression, so this might not be so easy (mine is 6.7 to 1). If it's a 4 or a 6, it won't be too difficult. You can also ease things up a bit by removing the spark plugs.

Thomas
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Tuesday, September 18th, 2007 AT 1:02 PM
Tiny
BIGBADPIRATETOM
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Also, if your engine is at all salvagable, your initial problem might not have been due to a leaky radiator, but rather to a faulty thermostat, which caused the engine to overheat, which built up steam, and possibly blew out an old radiator. However, it could have also been due to a faulty radiator that just leaked out the coolant, which caused the engine to overheat.

If you intend to save your engine, replace both the radiator and the thermostat. Your engine will also likely need a head gasket, and all new bearings. The crank might have to be turned down a bit, though if all that happened was that the bearings melted, the crank might still be salvagable as-is. It's usually a good idea to start with fresh bearing journals when replacing main bearings, though.
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Thursday, September 20th, 2007 AT 4:41 PM

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