2000 Pontiac Grand Am loss of all coolant all at once

Tiny
BSTASH13
  • MEMBER
  • 2000 PONTIAC GRAND AM
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 125,000 MILES
Ok here are the symptoms. Shortly after driving the car, about 1.5 miles, the temp gauge went about three quarters of the way up then back quickly back down to proper temp. Then shortly after that all at once all of the coolant spilled out of the overflow tank release hose, (not positive of what its called but its the hose not connected to anything and just goes to the ground when the coolant level is too high) but in this case almost all of the coolant is being expelled out of this hose. Obviously when this happens the car quickly overheated. I added coolant and was able to get it home without it overheating again no positive signs of a head gasket i.E. Fluids mixing, white smoke etc. Although I guess I can't rule it out.I'm thinking possible clog in the system, air pockets because I did recently change the lower radiator hose although I tried bleeding the system and it seemed to have no effect.(Assuming I did it right) oh and even when the overflow tank is full the heat in the car is sporadic. It will work fine then go freezing cold (in the summer) I'm just trying my best to diagnose the problem from the safety of my garage before deciding whether or not its worth paying for a tow as opposed to driving it too the shop about three miles away. Any help would be greatly appreciated
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Sunday, August 1st, 2010 AT 1:24 PM

11 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
When the engine is cold, open the radiator cap and start the engine. If the coolant comes shooting out, it's a head gasket. If it doesn't, I think you have a air pocket. How did you try to bleed the system? I would start with a new thermostat, radiator cap and get the radiator checked for a partial blockage, this will have to be done by a radiator repairer, start here and let me know what you find. Also, let me know what size V6 you have.

Joe
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Monday, August 2nd, 2010 AT 12:05 AM
Tiny
BSTASH13
  • MEMBER
To bleed the system I started the car with the radiator cap off.(There is a bleed screw on it but last time I tried using it it snapped off because its made of soft cheap brass and I ended up having to replace the whole pipe it was attached too) so anyway with the cap off I revved the engine up to 1500 rpm's for three 15 second intervals. Then replaced the cap turned the heat up to high and let it run at normal operating temp. This did nothing to help and the heat was cold during this process. Thanks again for any input
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Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010 AT 8:08 AM
Tiny
BSTASH13
  • MEMBER
Oh and sorry its a 3.4 liter v6
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Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010 AT 8:12 AM
Tiny
BSTASH13
  • MEMBER
Had a dye test done on the coolant. No exhaust gas in it and no coolant in the oil or oil in the coolant or white smoke I think its pretty conclusive that its not a head gasket. Also conclusively not an air pocket. Any other ideas. Clog in the heater core. Coolant temperature sensor. Etc.
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Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010 AT 5:41 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Honestly, I think you have an air pocket. I wouldn't say that if the engine temp wasn't going up and down. Since you have no bleeder, remove the return line from the heater core to see if any air comes out. Loosen the hose, turn the heater on high, and start the engine. See if you get coolant or air.

Joe
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Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010 AT 10:32 PM
Tiny
BSTASH13
  • MEMBER
Thanks I think your right about the air pocket. My only other question is what could be causing it to keep getting air pockets. Again its not the head gasket and i'll seem to work an air pocket out and the car will run fine for a couple days then out of nowhere dump all the coolant out of the overflow hose all at once again. Pressure tested and was fine. Everytime I bring it to the mechanic it doesn't happen and they say nothing is wrong. Also would doing a coolant flush help?
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Sunday, August 8th, 2010 AT 12:02 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Tell me, does the heater work?
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Monday, August 9th, 2010 AT 12:37 AM
Tiny
BSTASH13
  • MEMBER
The heater works sometimes. It will be cold then the temp gauge will go up then back down and after that the heat comes on. Unless the temp goes all the way up and dumps the coolant out of the hose
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Monday, August 9th, 2010 AT 9:35 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
There is air in the system. Try loostening the return heater core hose, turn the heater on, and see if air or coolant comes out.
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Tuesday, August 10th, 2010 AT 12:36 AM
Tiny
BSTASH13
  • MEMBER
Yeah. Did what you said. There is definately air in the system my only other question is what could be causing air to keep getting back in the system after its bleed.I'll bleed the system and it will run fine for one start up.I mean I can drive it 100 miles or more. Then once I shut the car off and start it again a couple hours later the heat doesn't work temp fluctuates and the temp either goes up three quarters of the way and back down to normal or goes all the way up and all of the coolant dumps out of the overflow hose onto the ground.I refill the tank after that and it runs ok for the rest of the trip. No matter how far. Then the next day I start it again. Same problem as before. Have had three mechanics look at it. Including the dealership. They all say its an air pocket. Cause head gasket test came up negative. They bleed the system drive it for five miles and say its fixed. The next day. Back to the drawing board. If its not the head gasket or any loose hoses or the radiator cap (those have all been ruled out) any ideas what else it could be that would cause continued air pockets ONLY after the car has cooled down and started again. Thanks I really appreciate your help im just at a lost when the dealership doesn't even know whats wrong probably cause they don't want to spend the time to find out. Thanks again any insight would be greatly appreciated
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Wednesday, August 11th, 2010 AT 9:09 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Is the overflow holding coolant? If it leaks, air could get in that way. Have you tried pressure testing the system to see if there are any leaks?
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Wednesday, August 11th, 2010 AT 10:54 PM

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