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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy all, my car has been sitting for about 2 mos... took her for a ride last night.... noticed she began to overheat in about 5 mins... temp guage around the 240 mark... ugh... got her home, pop the hood... and she is boiling big time... thinking thermostat?

Ok, the stuff in the overflow, looks kind of sludgy as well... sort of brownish and chunky... do ya'll think a flush and fill and new thermostat would do it? Or do you think there might be something else going on?

Thanks.

Ron
 

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If it boils that quickly, the thermostat might be stuck closed. I'd first look in the radiator and see if it's full of goo like the overflow. If so, you likely have a head gasket or head leak issue. A compression test will tell. Also look on the dipstick and oil cap to see if the goo is there too. If so, don't drive it til it's fixed.
It's easy enough to test the thermostat. Remove it and boil it. If it opens in the 170-190 range, it's working.
Got enough coolant?
Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #3
There is some white Goo on bottom of radiator cap also. Radiator has fluid but definitely seems like not opening. Does the white Goo automati
cally mean head gasket.
 

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Hi,
If I'm not wrong, when the thermostat stuck in closed position, the coolant in the radiator won't boil since no coolant arrives from the engine (all the boiling coolant is IN the engine...)
It may not opened all the way or your radiator is old and rusty - which sounds like the reasonable option according to your description of the coolant color and state.
I would check pressures to verify that the head gasket wasn't damaged.
Saar.
 

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the stuff in the overflow, looks kind of sludgy as well... sort of brownish and chunky...
I'd be concerned that is from oil in the coolant. In itself that may not cause it to overheat but it may indicate a failed head gasket. And that can cause overheating when combustion gases enter the cooling jacket.

Check also for evidence of coolant in the oil. It makes the oil look 'milky' (chocolate milkshake). Coolant make a lousy lubricant and can ruin bearings in short order.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ugh. Oil cap has white Goo as well. This is not looking good eh.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hmmm

Ok, some more info... just pulled the dip stick... the oil on the stick looks fine and dandy... if its a head gasket, wouldn't that also be milky etc?

So, what I know, in summary:

1.) She overheats withing about 8-10 mins of driving... get to about 240 degrees.
2.) Oil cap has jell-like crap on it...
NOTE: Looking into the throat of the place you add oil... I see a "patch" about 1 inch by 1 inch of that white milky snotty looking "stuff".
3.) Radiator cap, has some of the snotty looking stuff as well.

Now, before I parked it for two months, I saw no evidence at all of this "snotty" looking stuff.

Last night was the first time I drove her in about 2 months and she just overheated like nothing... stuff that boiled into the overflow is brown looking.

Thats as much as I know, what would you guys do next?

Should I just replace the thermostat (assuming its not opening), flush and refill (I may have mixed antifreeze types a few months back when I replaced the radiator etc, with a used one after mine had been hit by the fan due to bad motor mounts... the fan hits the radiator fins and put a few tears... so I bought a used radiator etc etc)...

Thats as much as I know, what do ya'll think?

Thanks!

Ron
 

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If you can arrange a leak down test you can determine the condition of the head gasket's ability to seal at the combustion chamber. It won't be able to tell you if the oil/coolant are leaking into one another.

Testing the T-stat will tell you if it is stuck closed. Flushing the cooling system won't cost much. I'd do those two things before running the engine. And an oil change, too - in case there is any coolant contaminating it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the help folks... Eric, if I try these things (good idea and will do).... but, once done, what exactly will I be looking for after that? Will it tell me if I have blown head gasket, and how? So, I flush and refill, these things... replace the thermostat... drive her, and if not over heating, all set?

Thanks again.

Ron
 

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You can test the cooling system by pressurizing it via an adapter that replaces the radiator cap. Remove the spark plugs (with the cooling system pressurized) and look/listen for leaks into the combustion chambers & into the sump (listen at the oil fill). If it holds pressure then the head gasket is possibly OK.
 

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I think you need a head gasket. Once you see the goo in all of those places...there is only 1 way for that to happen. Oil and water trying to mix where they should not. Plus the overheating. Classic head gasket blown...
 

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Denial is such an interesting phenomenon.

Overheating and sludge in the radiator are the symptoms of a blown head gasket. You know that.

The cylinders are pressurizing the cooling system and forcing oil into it. They're probably also blowing coolant out of your overflow bottle.

I had this identical problem on my last Spider; because the shop that rebuilt my engine @#$%ed it up.

After I parked it awhile two of the cylinders filled up with coolant. Fortunately I discovered this when I pulled the spark plugs, not when I tried to run the engine again.

So here's what can happen to your engine if you keep driving it: Coolant in the cylinders can cause hydraulic lock which can break pistons and bend rods. Coolant in the oil can cause it to quit lubricating, wiping your bearings. Oil and cylinder pressure in your cooling system will cause the overheating that will warp and crack your cylinder head.

It's not your thermostat.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yeah, denial, sigh. Right alongside wishful thinking... Yeah, am pretty much with ya'll... about 99.9%... probably the head gasket from what everyone says.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hmm, took some photos of a few various items will upload shortly... in the meantime, I took the Radiator Cap off and tried to start the car, she hated it... but did fire up with coercing... and immediately I saw what looked like puffs of smoke shoot out of the radiator opening??? Then, she almost immediately turned off... so I quickly put the cap back on and she ran much smoother. So, puffs of "smoke" while running real lousy with the cap off... normal? Heck, I can't recall.

Will upload a few photos in a few mins... but again, the oil on the dipstick looks perfectly normal to me.
 

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The good news is that it looks like you caught a head gasket failure very quickly, so you probably do not have any secondary damage.

The slim thread of hope is that you got some moisture in the system while parked, and you haven't boiled it off. But you really do not want to run the engine too much until you know. Compression and leak-down test, radiator leak test, are easy if you have the right tool (and who doesn't want a good reason to buy a new tool?!!), and will be definitive.

Do a cold retorque of the head gasket. Then the above tests. If all passes, change coolant and oil and thermostat, and try again.

Remember that what ever caused the overheat, these engines don't like it, and could warp the head enough to break the gasket seal just because it got hot. You may have no choice but to change the head gasket.

BTW - that's the wrong radiator cap. Puffs from the open radiator is a really really bad sign.

Robert
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks

Robert, why are puffs a really really bad sign?

Also, yes, I need to get the correct radiator cap... reckon I'll need to order one as my local parts place only had this one... which I put on a few months back.

I'll try the cold re-torque as well.

You do bring up a good point about the moisture... as the oil cap fits really loose... I need to get a new one of those as well - and when I had it over heat once before I let her sit for 2 or so months, fluid/moisture could easily have gotten under the oil cap... again, it does not fit all that tight.

I dunno, maybe a new thermostat (she started to run a bit hotter than normal a few months back already)... new radiator cap, and Oil cap, then a flush and refill of the radiator (again, the oil on the dipstick looks as good a new)... then fire her up and see? But what is it exactly I would look for then?

Also, reckon I need to check into that pressure test etc, as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Correction

Ok, just re-read your reply (coffee begins to kick in), I'll try things in the order as you suggest... re-torque, test etc...
 
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