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Old 07-06-2011, 03:50 PM   #1
redm3turbo
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Default troubleshooting thermostat vs headgasket causing overheats?

I just stumbled upon a good deal today, on a 99 ek thats in great shape, and I got talking to the owner, and he said he'd let it go for 500, because after driving 5 miles, the car overheats.

For me to get the deal, I can't wrench on it---I just have to go with a dolly and cash and get it out of his parking lot.

However, all I got was that the car overheats and that it wont make it over 5 miles without overheating. The owner didnt know anything else, that was all I got.

I checked over the car, everything looks in order. Coolant was good- and all normal things

Now my question is, is there a way i can diag the overheating to be more like a thermostat, or the headgasket? Like I said, I even asked if I could just throw a thermostat in the vehicle in the lot, since I can have it done in 5 mins - however its a no go (his apt complex rules no working on cars)

If I can get it, and its just the thermo, I can have a quick flipper on my hands. If its the headgasket, I have no interest in it.

Any ideas?
Thanks
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Old 07-06-2011, 03:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: troubleshooting thermostat vs headgasket causing overheats?

thats really sketchy.. i'd ask him to drive it 5 miles away and work on it there.. it's just a thermostat.. check around the head for leaks, and check your oil.. maybe try draining a little bit of oil and hope its not green
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Old 07-06-2011, 04:13 PM   #3
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Default Re: troubleshooting thermostat vs headgasket causing overheats?

Do some basic troubleshooting. Check for visible leaks. Take off the oil cap and see if it is milky. See if you can start the car and look at the exhaust, any white smoke?

If you bought it see if it overheats with out the thermostat.

I don't care if it is free, can you start it at least? If he will not let you do anything then I would walk.
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: troubleshooting thermostat vs headgasket causing overheats?

Id grab it for 500 bones for sure. If thats all the problem is id just re-build the cooling system. Could be a bad t-stat, radiator, hose leak. The head gasket I highly doubt.
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: troubleshooting thermostat vs headgasket causing overheats?

That seems way to fast to just be a bad thermo, but i would still pick it up for that price a replacement engine is cheap
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Old 07-07-2011, 03:46 AM   #6
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Default Re: troubleshooting thermostat vs headgasket causing overheats?

yea, I spoke to the guy and Im going to meet up with him to check it out and drive it down the road a mile and back.

Judging from just what he has said- and how adamant he is being with "take it or leave it" and he keeps telling me, he's "no mechanic- and hasn't had it checked over by a mechanic" just bought a newer car.

Its a sketch situation for sure- I mean, who buys even a newer used car if their car is something simply like overheating due to a radiator block/bad t-stat / etc. At least personally Id try to solve the problem for a few hundred, then spend a few thousand on even a used car.

Thanks- I knew about the mucky oil, however not having access to the pan makes it hard, until I get it home and start ripping her apart. I probably will walk on it, however I appreciate everyone's insight on it.
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Old 07-07-2011, 03:58 AM   #7
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Default Re: troubleshooting thermostat vs headgasket causing overheats?

When he starts the engine look to see if there is a stream of bubbles in the coolant overflow reservoir. Sign of blown head gasket or cracked head.
Also when the car is running if the top radiator hose is rock hard (pressurized by leaking compression gases) it's probably a blown head gasket.
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:27 AM   #8
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Default Re: troubleshooting thermostat vs headgasket causing overheats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by delsolintegra View Post
When he starts the engine look to see if there is a stream of bubbles in the coolant overflow reservoir. Sign of blown head gasket or cracked head.
Also when the car is running if the top radiator hose is rock hard (pressurized by leaking compression gases) it's probably a blown head gasket.
Your tips above, keep the cap on and run it?

As for the overflow tank same thing keep the cap on that too, just hard to see into, but I guess you need the hose coming from the rad into the overfill tank?
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:49 AM   #9
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Default Re: troubleshooting thermostat vs headgasket causing overheats?

You can also pull the plugs. If one plug looks brand spanking new (while the other do not) and shiney, along with the piston/cylinder for that plug looking brand new, then chances are its a blown HG. Hell, it could be something as simple as the fan motor not kicking on...
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:35 AM   #10
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Default Re: troubleshooting thermostat vs headgasket causing overheats?

take it for a drive, and see if the temp goes completely in the red, or if it stays just out side the redline.... I had a car that had a bad t stat, and it took a while to figure out the problem. I had previously changed water pump, radiator, timing belt, and compressions numbers were good. temp would rise to about 3/4 of the gauge, but never higher. bought a 12$ t stat, and it fixed the problem.. either way, 500 for a 99 ek is an awesome deal! sepnd a couple hundred on a new motor if it turns out to be bad, and you could possibly make 2g's turning this around!
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:30 PM   #11
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Default Re: troubleshooting thermostat vs headgasket causing overheats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ozh_hawaiian View Post
take it for a drive, and see if the temp goes completely in the red, or if it stays just out side the redline.... I had a car that had a bad t stat, and it took a while to figure out the problem. I had previously changed water pump, radiator, timing belt, and compressions numbers were good. temp would rise to about 3/4 of the gauge, but never higher. bought a 12$ t stat, and it fixed the problem.. either way, 500 for a 99 ek is an awesome deal! sepnd a couple hundred on a new motor if it turns out to be bad, and you could possibly make 2g's turning this around!
Would it go to 3/4 up while driving and idleing or both?
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:43 PM   #12
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Default Re: troubleshooting thermostat vs headgasket causing overheats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pityocamptes View Post
You can also pull the plugs. If one plug looks brand spanking new (while the other do not) and shiney, along with the piston/cylinder for that plug looking brand new, then chances are its a blown HG. Hell, it could be something as simple as the fan motor not kicking on...
I was actually thinking about the fan.
Today I went and saw it again. I started the car, and let it idle when the guy became a bit shady. He immediately turned the car off and wouldnt let me restart it. I asked him (nicely, I might add) to let it get close to hot and let me see what exactly it was doing. He wasn't nice about it, and got really defensive.

Im not really one to argue about something like this, so I just cut my losses and walked away. Obviously this guy has something to hide, so I just assume it to be headgasket- since really tstats are 10 bucks...and a 10 min job in hondas.

Eh- either way, not worth the headache in my book- just dealing with the owner.
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Old 07-08-2011, 03:48 AM   #13
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Default Re: troubleshooting thermostat vs headgasket causing overheats?

Yeah if the hose to the coolant reservoir was removed it was because the bubbles were obvious. You could probably hear them. If you didn't want to mess with the headgasket it's good you walked away. Somebody else who wanted a project could pick it up. If you brought your own length of hose and hooked it up to the radiator and stuck it in a cup of water you would have seen the compression gases escape and cause bubbles. Just sayin'.
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:17 AM   #14
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Default Re: troubleshooting thermostat vs headgasket causing overheats?

i'd use the motor problem excuse to talk him to down lower to be honest
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:54 AM   #15
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Default Re: troubleshooting thermostat vs headgasket causing overheats?

Bummer. Gotta love shady Craigslist people.
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