Driving up a hill there was a rattling noise coming from the engine, then it overheated and shut off

Tiny
JESSILYNNMARIE90
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 CHEVROLET IMPALA
  • 3.8L
  • V6
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 200,000 MILES
On my way to work yesterday my engine just quit running. I've had absolutely no problems with my engine at all. But all of a sudden yesterday while I was headed to work, I was going up this hill, it wasn't a steep hill at all, but my car went from being normal temperature and in a matter of seconds it went all the way too hot and cut off. While I was trying to climb the hill, it was making a rattling noise coming from the engine and it was like my car didn't want to go up the hill no matter how much gas I gave it, it just didn't want to climb the hill. In the past I have had some white smoke come out of my tailpipe, I don't know if that has anything to do with it. But that's another thing, but my engine has always run so smoothly, so I don't understand what happened. Now when I try to crank it, it makes one little clicking sound and doesn't do anything.
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Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022 AT 7:20 AM

3 Replies

Tiny
JOE F
  • EXPERT
Hi,

Based on the description, it sounds like you have a head gasket issue. When engine coolant enters the combustion chamber via a faulty head gasket, you will see white smoke from the exhaust.

Since this has happened, have you checked to see if there is still engine coolant in both the reservoir and the radiator? Also, is it possible for you to record the click you get and upload it for me to hear?

This is just a theory, so don't be alarmed. I have a feeling the coolant level was low due to the head gasket. This caused the quick overheating. The rattling could have been coolant entering into the combustion chamber and causing the engine to basically lock. When the pistons rise in the cylinders, they can compress air, but they can't compress a liquid.
So, if that is the case, the starter can't turn the engine.

What to do. First, check the engine oil to see if there is evidence of coolant mixing with it. Second, check the coolant level to see if it is extremely low or empty. Also, take a look through this link. It explains different indicators of a head gasket issue.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/head-gasket-blown-test

Next, if you are able to, we need to see if the engine can be turned manually. To do this, place a socket on the center bolt on the crankshaft pulley, and then using a long ratchet or breaker bar, see if you can manually turn the engine.

If you can't do that, check the things I suggested above and let me know what you find.

Take care,

Joe
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Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022 AT 4:59 PM
Tiny
JESSILYNNMARIE90
  • MEMBER
I have a personal mechanic that I've been using to fix issues with my car, and he swears that the motor is locked but I just cannot put that in my mind and believe that. Simply because, for one, from day one I've had some issues with this car, that is true, but every single issue I've had with this car has been in the steering. I've never had any issues with my engine, not a single one. I put over $3,000.00 into this car so I just cannot convince myself that I've just sat here over the past 4 months, put all this money into this car, just for the engine to blow that easily and not give me a single warning sign that anything was wrong with it. But anyways according to this mechanic he tried to manually turn the crankshaft, but he couldn't turn it which, I don't even think he tried to be honest. My oil looked perfectly fine when I checked it. It wasn't milky, there wasn't any coolant in it, and it wasn't running low on oil either. After it broke down and cooled off, I checked to see if I had coolant and I didn't have any in there whatsoever, which I don't understand because I always check my fluids, so I don't know what happened. But like I was saying before, my engine never gave me any warning signs that anything was wrong, and it's been holding the coolant just fine. It's been driving great. So, I'm just trying to understand this. The night before this happened, I drove a 30-minute drive from my house on the highway to my destination and then back home and it drove perfectly fine. My engine has always ran smoothly, there's no sounds that have ever come from it. I just really want to understand what went on and what is wrong with it because I just do not believe the engine is seized. I will upload a video and send it to you with the sound it makes when I try to turn the engine on as soon as I can it'll probably be tomorrow, but I will definitely do that for you. Thank you for all your help.
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Friday, June 24th, 2022 AT 7:59 PM
Tiny
JOE F
  • EXPERT
Hi,

If he tried turning it manually and couldn't, then it's locked. However, if you aren't sure he did it, that leaves us questioning.

Upload the video for me to see and hear. Hopefully, I'll be able to tell.

Take care,

Joe
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Friday, June 24th, 2022 AT 9:06 PM

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