2003 Hyundai Elantra Overheating while driving

Tiny
BARMAIDSAH
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 HYUNDAI ELANTRA
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 60,000 MILES
I have a 2003 Hyundai Elantra, and in just the last 2 days it has started to overheat. I have not had any other problems with it at all. When I am driving the engine temp gauge conntinues to climb, but when I am at a stop light or I pull over and am at idle the gauge comes down some. There isn't any leaks that I can find, and all the hoses seem to be fine, with the exception of the top radiator hose. Where it comes out of the radiator is fine and I see no cracks, however, at the end point where it would connect to (I think) the thermostat housing, there is some corrosion of some kind, white, like calcium or lime. I called a car shop, and they want to charge me $90 to see if I blew the head gasket. Should I just have them replace the thermostat instead?
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Thursday, July 30th, 2009 AT 1:19 PM

9 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
The corroision around the thermostat housing must have been a leak, but a small amount of coolant over time will cause that. Let me ask some questions before giving suggestions.

Have you noticed any white smoke from the exhaust? If you check the oil, is there a white sludge mixed with it? If you check the coolant, does it appear to have oil mixed with it? When the engine is at operating temp, does it run well? Finally, have you ever had the t-stat replaced and the cooling system flushed?

Let me know. Also, if needed, I have a how to for checking engine compression if I think it's needed.

Joe
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Thursday, July 30th, 2009 AT 8:52 PM
Tiny
BARMAIDSAH
  • MEMBER
I checked the oil, and no milky goo on the oil cap, also when I checked the dipstick, it just looks like oil, time for an oil change, but just oil. The coolant seems fine also, just a light neon green. I have not notiiced any white smoke coming from the exhaust, or anywhere else. Except for the overheating, the car runs fine. After it's been running for about 10-15 minutes the guage starts to go over the half way mark, but it still runs fine. I have not had the system flushed or coolant replaced in about 2 years, and I have never replaced the t-stat.
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Thursday, July 30th, 2009 AT 11:50 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Based on your description, the head gasket sounds fine. You would have seen one of the things I described to you if it was bad. I would try replacing the t-stat and having the cooling system serviced. Chances are that will fix the problem. Also, another thing to consider is a bad temp sending unit. It could be causing the gauge to act that way. And finally, they make a thermometer that you can place in the top of the radiator, so it is in the coolant, and allow the car to heat up to check if the gauge is accurate or giving false readings. THat way you would know if the sending unit is bad. THe car should run around 200 degrees F.

Let me know if this helps or if you have other questions.

Joe
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Friday, July 31st, 2009 AT 5:36 PM
Tiny
BARMAIDSAH
  • MEMBER
I took it to a shop by my house and after having the car all day today (took it in at 7:45am), they called at 4:30pm and said my engine was blown. They said they did a pressure test. They want to sell me a used motor, water pump, timing chain(or belt), and a t-stat for around $1500. The car is still running fine(except overheating), no chugging or stalling, still no coolant in the oil or oil in the coolant.
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Friday, July 31st, 2009 AT 6:49 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Bring the car home and do a compression test on it. That way you will know if the head gasket is bad. Here is the how to:

http://www.2carpros.com/dia/how_to_check_compression.htm

You will need a gauge to check it, but it is easy to do. Many parts stores will lend or rent the gauge to you. Let me know what you find when you check it. Something tells me they are off on this. I would like to know if they did a compression test or pressurized the cooling system and if so where they found a leak that indicates the "ENGINE IF BLOWN" or if they did a compression test, the readings they got. If you have a bad head gasket and low compression on one or more of the cylenders, the engine would miss or run poorly.

Try the compression test. If you feel you can't do it, I recommend having it done at another shop (2nd opinion) but don't tell them the problem is overheating. Just tell them you want to make sure everything is ok with the engin before you tune it up.

If I am wrong, I will admit it, but based on everything you told me I don't think I am. Also, a blown engine means it doesn't run due to major internal damage or the engine is actually seezed.

Let me know how you want to handle this. I will be here to help you if you have questions. This is one of the times that I wish I could come and check the car myself! I hate to see good people get taken.
Joe
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Friday, July 31st, 2009 AT 8:10 PM
Tiny
BARMAIDSAH
  • MEMBER
I think that my husband may try to do it himself. If all else fails, we are going to take it in for a second opinion on Monday. Thank you for your help. I will update when I actually find out what is wrong.
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Friday, July 31st, 2009 AT 8:22 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Tell your husband it's not hard to do and I can help him if he runs into trouble.
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Saturday, August 1st, 2009 AT 2:25 PM
Tiny
BARMAIDSAH
  • MEMBER
Ok. Nothing wrong with my motor, took it to another shop today and it was a cooling system problem. Thermostat and a leak in my radiator, and this time took the time to show me the leak. Thank you for all of your help.
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Monday, August 3rd, 2009 AT 9:23 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I knew it! Tell the guys that wanted to sell you the engine for 1500.00 it's fixed and it wasn't a bad engine. That burns me up when people try to take advantage of others.

Regardless, I glad it's fixed. Thanks for using 2carpros. Com, and let us know if you have questions in the future.
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Monday, August 3rd, 2009 AT 10:14 PM

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