96 S-10 overheats and drinks antifreeze

Tiny
PENSTJ05
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 CHEVROLET TRUCK
Hi there, I am new to the site and I have a quick question.

My manual 1996 4 cyl chevy S-10, w/ 110, 00 miles, has been overheating lately, the needle goes up to about half way and then drops down very quickly. It also has been taking in a lot of antifreeze lately it seems. Not so much that I cant keep up but enough that I notice. It seems to do it more if I drive down the highway for a ways, but then the temp seems to stay more constant. I put a new thermostat in and it still does it, yet it hasnt been taking in the antifreeze like before. Any ideas as to what it could be? I havent seen white smoke out of the tailpipe when I start it up either.

Any help would be appreciated.
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Monday, April 3rd, 2006 AT 4:18 PM

6 Replies

Tiny
KENB79764
  • MEMBER
It still sounds like a head gasket since you didn't mention any leaking. The new thermostat just doesn't let as much coolant into the engine to burn out the exhaust which is why slightly less antifreeze use.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, April 5th, 2006 AT 9:41 AM
Tiny
PENSTJ05
  • MEMBER
How expensive / time consuming are head gaskets to replace? I wouldnt plan on doing it myself as I know next to nothing about cars but I would like to know more about it before a mechanic takes me to the cleaners.

Thanks
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, April 5th, 2006 AT 11:13 AM
Tiny
KENB79764
  • MEMBER
The cost depends on shop rates in your area. It is about a 6 hour job. If you have the ability, do a leak down test on the cylinders to verify head gasket then call a few shops for estimates before taking it.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, April 5th, 2006 AT 7:05 PM
Tiny
PENSTJ05
  • MEMBER
Whats a leak down test and how is it done. I have some car savvy friends and they didnt say anything about that. I guess I just cant believe its a head gasket. Why would the temp go up so fast? And for about the last two weeks it hasnt done much for antifreeze consumption.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, April 5th, 2006 AT 7:31 PM
Tiny
KENB79764
  • MEMBER
A leakdown test is done with a tool you can get at most auto parts stores. With a air compressor, you pressurize each cylinder while the piston is at top so the valves are closed. If air bubbles come out of the radiator coolant it is the head gasket. If you hear air whistling out of the intake or exhaust, it is valves, if you hear air out of the dipstick, you may have bad rings. It is a good test for these things. Also, if you are not getting the signs of a hot engine such as it clattering, smelling extremely hot or coolant boiling, you could simply have a temp sender or gauge getting bad. Put an automotive thermometer to it and check the actual temps.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, April 6th, 2006 AT 8:21 AM
Tiny
PENSTJ05
  • MEMBER
You guys were right, it was a bad head gasket. Was sucking antifreeze. I guess the head had some weird grooves in it where it connected and the mechnaic said he had never seen anything like that before. He had to have them machined out to make it smooth again. Basically, two days and 600 dallars (40 dollar machining charge, 100 dollar head gasket, 20 dollar oil change, plus labor) later it runs better than ever. Thanks for the help.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Sunday, May 7th, 2006 AT 10:57 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Recommended Guides