1996 Pontiac Sunfire engine overheat

Tiny
SFINXX
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  • 1996 PONTIAC SUNFIRE
Engine Cooling problem
1996 Pontiac Sunfire 4 cyl 125 miles

the main problem I have now is that sometimes the engine gets overheat and starts to choke, but if I manage to get some speed sometimes it cools down. I checked the tank for water (onestly I think it supose to be the tank for the water but i'm not sure, it's a big yellow tank near the right head light) and it's empty, I put in like a galon of water and still wasn't full, but i've checked under the car and it's no leak (maybe it just evaporetes or something I guess). It's also a funny smell coming from the alternator I think (witch also has a funny squizy noise) and I just drove the car for like almost 2000 miles and hadn't got any problem. I've just arrived in miami and I think it's too hot or something because I didn't had this problem before on the road. The ac is not working either, I don't know if the problem is connected with the overheating. The only problem that I had was that when I was low on gas, the car started to choke and lost power, when I accelerate my rpm's went down, but when I fueled it up the problem dissapeared. I actually had to push the car for a half a mile to a gas stop because the clock from the gas showed me that I have gas for another 30 miles at least :( but like I said once I get gas there's no problem. Til I arrived in miami, now it's overheating and also sometimes won't start. So I think I have touched most of my problems with my sunfire, really never though i'd have so many problems (just fixed the breaks for 300$ :( ) yeah, forgot to mention it, I changed the air filter and the oil filter, and the oil as well. The fan from the radiator is working fine. Waiting for ur answers please :) thx a lot
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Monday, July 28th, 2008 AT 11:29 AM

14 Replies

Tiny
RASMATAZ
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Have the thermostat and fuel pressure checked then comeback this is where we start.
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Monday, July 28th, 2008 AT 12:05 PM
Tiny
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Would it be too much to ask u how can I do that, because i'm not really used with checking engines problems, but i'm a quick learner so just a few tips would be enough. Thx al lot, hope i'm not just waisting ur time :P
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Monday, July 28th, 2008 AT 12:09 PM
Tiny
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Get a repair manual either you get it at the parts store or download it from here. Find the thermostat and replace it. Make sure the radiator fan is coming on and radiator is topped off. To check the fuel pressure you will need a fuel pressure gauge to read the presssure by hooking up at the fuel pressure test port
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Monday, July 28th, 2008 AT 2:31 PM
Tiny
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Problem is that it won't start at all. I can't check the termostat or the fuel pressure because of that. I meen I don't want to change something for nothing, and if i'm not sure what's the exact problem I think I can't do anything. It might be the water pump, or the idle air control valve, or the valve lifters, or even something with the fuel pump. I meen that's what I found on the net in simillar casses. I read that others have had the same problem (or simillar) and they kept replaceing from the radiator to water pump and still have the problem, so that's why I don't want to replace stuff just hoping that that would be the one who's working wrong and should fix the problem. I think i'm looking for a too precise answer here and i'm not sure if I would find it, but it worth to try. Thx 4 ur time anyway, really appreciate if u can give any advise in order to find the problem and fix it
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Monday, July 28th, 2008 AT 8:11 PM
Tiny
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Do below and tell me what happened -something has to give.

Get a carb cleaner and spray into the carb or the throttle body on an EFI. Did it start and die? If not disconnect a sparkplug wire or 2 and ground it to the engine -have helper crank engine over-do you have a snapping blue spark? If so-you have a fuel problem, check the fuel pressure to rule out the fuel pump/pressure regulator and listen to the injector/s are they pulsing or hook up a noid light. No snapping blue spark continue to troubleshoot the ignition system-power input to the coil/coil, distributor pick-up coil, ignition control module, cam and crank sensors-

If both fuel and spark is present-check the valve and ignition timing, this will lead you to problems with compression and valves opening and closing at the wrong time
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Monday, July 28th, 2008 AT 8:32 PM
Tiny
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So, i've inspected the car again carrefully, i managed to get it started, the problem seems to be that the fan is not working now. it used to work, i recently checked it so now it didn't even crossed my mind that that could be the problem. i think it should be an electrical problem because it looks good, no dust and stuff, and it worked for almost 2000 miles great, so i don't know what happend all from the sudden to break it. i'll have to check in to it somehow :) i have like a small cable that's unplugged but i don't know if it should be or something because i don't see any plug. i've attached a photo of it in cas that i'm wrong.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/219754_IMG_0335_1.jpg

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Monday, July 28th, 2008 AT 9:40 PM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
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Might want to investigate the coolant temperature sensor test it out cold and hot. Also if it has an engine temperature gauge switch. Could be that the computer is not receiving the signal and not energizing the fan relay or the fan itself is defective.
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Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 AT 3:25 AM
Tiny
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I haven't got coolant at all because my water evaporated somehow and the tank was empty. I don't have a coolant temperature sensor and neither an engine temperature gauge switch. I'm gonna buy some coolant and wait for it to get where it has to, maybe that will fix my problem. I can't understant though why it broke at first time and why I lost my coolant. I may have a tank problem or something like that, but there's no leak. I'm thinking about going to a mecanic and have him check it out, if the coolant won't do the trick. If u know any other solution or if can sugest anything else i'm "all ears ". I was also thinking about buying a motor for the fan, maybe it broke. I don't know though.
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Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 AT 9:47 AM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
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Its losing coolant and its not leaking then its being burn in the combustion chamber could be caused by blown headgasket, cracked head or block.

Could be airlock in the system -if not get it block and pressure tested.
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Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 AT 4:17 PM
Tiny
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I may have air in the system, that meens that I have to make it bleed, right? And the best solution would be to drain the remaining colant in the system from the lower fuse of the radiator and then add 50/50 water coolant? Would that solve my problem? How could I check if my headgasket is cracked?Can I check it somehow? I managed to start the car last night, but I tried today about 7 pm to start it again and it didn't start, I figure that the engine was too hot from the sun or something; i'm gonna try to start it tonight again and if it'll start I think i'll try to drive it to miami and find some auto shop repair, cause the one on 531 michigan ave in miami beach is actually a grosery and not an auto shop repair (i've been there today and I also asked in the area and no one knowes any auto shop around there). If u can reply to me tonight or something i'll really appreciate cause till tomorrow I need to find a sollution (already appreciate all your help and your "wasted" time with me, i'll get back to u somehow, I don't know yet how, maybe some beers or something if ur in miami :D) thx again
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Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 AT 8:17 PM
Tiny
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I drove the car without the fan working, but I drove it prudy fast so the engine didn't overheated that much, instead the water from the radiator boiled and I ran out of water in the tank again (i guess that's how I managed to loose the coolant and the water in the first place, cause there'se no leak from what i've seen). I hope I didn't damaged it to bad and that the fan can be fixed, I don't know if I need anything else to fix. :-/
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Wednesday, July 30th, 2008 AT 1:48 AM
Tiny
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I went to a mecanic and he told me that I have a cracked head and that would cost me about 1k to fix it and 3 days of work. Please tell me that's another solution (even temporary) it would really save me. I understood that it could be something to temporary freeze the head so it won't have that pressure on the water and coolant. I can drive it now, but the engine gets hot if I stand at a red light, but on the highway I don't have any problem. Ah, yeah my check engine light is on now, and I have to put water in from time to time. Give me a hint please, what should I do to fix the problem temporary. The guy checked my fan and it's working, but the computer is not sending the signal to start, maybe the coolant temperature is not measured as is should.
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Wednesday, July 30th, 2008 AT 12:46 PM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
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Get a thermagasket at the parts store and follow the instruction on it might buy you time or totally fix the leaking.
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Wednesday, July 30th, 2008 AT 3:21 PM
Tiny
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Man, what can I say, i'll defenitly try the thermagasket and I can't thank u enough, I hope it'll work, u were a real help. Really appreciate :):)
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Wednesday, July 30th, 2008 AT 5:28 PM

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