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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone! I'm having issues on diagnosing the exact problem or what i should do, so if i may type what occurred maybe i can be more cleared up on the possible problem?

Just to note before hand: My coolant temp. sensor on my dash board doesn't show accurate temperature readings, so I never payed much attention to it when driving (since the light is always on red regardless).

Two days ago i was driving from San Francisco to Modesto, (about a 130mile~ drive) on the highway, CA5 North. While driving on the freeway i hit traffic, and as i was sitting in traffic i noticed white smoke coming from the hood. I pulled over to the side of the road to check what happened, and when i got out of my car i noticed a huge pool of coolant from the place where my car was idle, and the spot where i pulled over! I popped open the hood to let the car breathe, and coolant seemed to have gushed out of my coolant temperature sensor cap, (right on top of the coolant reservoir tank) and all over my engine bay and onto the ground. I got a friend's dad to come over and drop off a gallon of 50/50 coolant for me as i thought it was a coolant problem (waited about 40minutes in 95 degree F heat). I added the entire gallon of coolant into the reservoir cap, but it didn't reach the minimum level line, and all drained down the tank (not onto the floor though, so i don't think it's a leak?). I was still able to restart my car, so i drove to the nearest gas station, in which my car still had white smoke coming out of the hood every time I hit idle traffic. I opened the hood again, and saw the coolant that was on the engine bay and the rubber area (below the windshield) steam off that white gas. I then noticed that my fan was not moving. I turned the car on again (very briefly), and my fan would still not move. So i figured this was the problem that caused my car to overheat.I didn't want to take a chance driving the car home from there, and i couldn't get it towed (at least not yet), as my AAA insurance only covers for 5 miles. As of now i parked my car over a nice well-lit spot as it's sitting there now with it's heating issue (about 100 miles away from my house).

As of now my parent's could not be any more furious with me, (although it wasn't completely my fault). My dilemma being is what i should plan to do, and what may exactly be the problem? My dad is taking me over to go back this Friday to check on the car. As now, they don't want to pay to tow it home : (. This is a serious issue, I'm assuming now this is a problem with the electric fan? Would buying an electric fan, and bringing my car over to the nearest mechanic shop to install it fix the problem? Or could it be a problem with a chip? or fuse? ( i haven't checked these yet). Any idea's on what I should attempt to fix this problem? I'm also curious on how much this would cost, or what i should buy exactly?

Thank you for reading, all inputs and help is appreciated.
 

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OK heres my proposal

Lets assume its the fan

1. Check / replace the 40 amp fuse strip on the firewall under the black plastic cover in front of the steering wheel inside the engine bay ,. If this fuse is cracked or blown then the fan wont run

2. Check the fan for freedom to move . With keys out of the car, see if you can spin the fan by hand. Is it free to rotate or is there binding? If not free to rotate that needs to be fixed first

3. Bring some wire with you and a couple sizes of paper clips. Alfisto steve will tell you which relay terminals to jumper to get the fan to run. Bring prodigious amounts of coolant

4. I suggest you find out where exactly the car is, and then ask the BB for an alfa mechanic nearby. You might even luck out that a member lives close and might help you out of this jam. I would but I am in san diego

5. Not sure what you did wrong that the 'rents are upset. Maybe they are just frustrated with the hassle factor.
 

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Based on your description, the radiator may indeed be leaking.

Mine burst a leak last week with similar symptoms. When I added coolant I did not see leaking with engine off. This was because leak was closer to top of radiator. As engine rpm and heat increases, the leak then starts up. If it is mostly filled and you squeeze the radiator hoses, you should be able to see where it is leaking from. System cannot maintain pressure if there is a big leak and will thus not cool properly.

If you turn on A/C that should also trigger the fan. If it were just a fan issue, I would think most coolant loss would be from the overflow tank hose. Follow Steve's instructions to force fan on. Fan not coming on is more likely a sensor, fuse, etc.



Oddly
 

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If the fan doesn't come on, you need to fix that (or drive the car back outside rush hours). The fan in mine gave up when the ball bearing was worn out. I heard some noises before this happened and later found out that this was a warning of what was about to happen. So if it doesn't spin freely, you need to find out why, as Goats suggests.

If fan didn't come on, this maybe could have caused something else to break? I hope you find a simple solution to this problem.
 

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Get yourself a Honda 45 amp fuse bar from auto parts store and an 8mm wrench to change out 40A fuse bar on front of false firewall near brake reservoir just in case it is cracked or burnt.

Verify fan blade will turn freely before you apply electrical power.

If fan turns and fuse good or replaced with Honda fuse bar (you have to bend a little to fit as it is longer than 164 fuse bar.

If fuse and motor OK you can make fan run many ways.

One easy way it to find brown wire going to fan resistor in radiator fan shroud top corner
underneath ignition coil (cylinder) on top radiator support.

Disconnect that brown wire from resistor and ground it to chassis and see if fan will run.

Temp repair to get you home. If fan will run use a 10mm wrench loosen two bolts holding coil bracket to radiator support and slip wire between bracket (sparks will fly until you get bracket tight against wire end.) and tighten bolts to keep fan running.

Take a phillips screwdriver too to be able to remove plastic cover between drivier's side headlight and radiator as you can also make fan run by disconnecting small brown-white wire from radiator switch red wire and insert a paperclip into terminal end and ground it to chassis or to the black wire in 2-wire connector that has small brown wire and tape them together to hold paper clip in place fan will only run with key on this way if fan fuse in fuse box good. Look for fan blade symbol in fuse box for correct fuse.
 

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Follow Alfisto Steve's advice, also verify there is no leak, the coolant bottle may have been damaged, so inspect for cracks and leaks. If the fan is not functioning at all, you can still drive the car so long as its moving fast enough to cool itself, any stop and go and you of coarse will over heat. So, a late night run may be in order. I think I am available Saturday morning / afternoon if you need any help, but act fast, my other half seems to make plans for me as fast as I am free!
 

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nice job jontg

from down here in the south I applaud you for your offer of help to Kendrick. Youre trying to get him out of the doghouse and I know it will be rewarded downstream!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Goats- I’ll be sure to check the fuse right away
Yes, my fan is able to move without the keys in the car. It’s able to spin by hand so is this a good sign?

I can make sure I have paper clips, but I don’t necessarily know what you mean by bringing wire? I’ll make note of steve’s post, and I put in a full gallon of coolant after the incident. So I guess I should buy more huh?

I don’t think there’s an Alfa Mechanic nearby, but I do know Jon! And he also referenced Lenard as well, but I don’t want to be a hassle and bother them! : ) But thank you tho.
They’re upset as I wasn’t supposed to drive down that far to Modesto… hah.


To Amphicar, I hope it’s not a radiator leak. Yes true, there was no leak with the engine off, but I didn’t notice a puddle when I had it idle at the gas station? (maybe I just didn’t look), but I didn’t notice one. I’ll be sure to give the hose a squeeze when I see it again. And as for the A/C to trigger the fan, my A/C doesn’t work, only heater. Do you really think it’s a radiator problem?

To Allen, Isn’t it still too dangerous to drive if I attempted? I don’t want a blown headgasket or fried piston rings haha. Well, to the ball bearings I didn’t notice any noise when driving. Was it loud? Because I did have the radio on so it may have caused me not to hear. The fan spins freely, but thanks, I hope I find a solution too.



Thanks Steve, so just to make it clear on what I need by your instructions:

I should go to any auto parts shop and order a Honda 45A Fuse Bar? Jon said there may be some in the glove compartment, I’m not entirely sure (as there may be), but I may order one just to be completely sure? And purchase an 8mm wrench that is needed to change the old fuse bar?

Yes, the fan still moves when I turn it with my hand with the key out.
Would fixing the fuse (if the fuse was the problem) cause the fan to work again?
And if the fuse wasn’t the problem: -
- Find the brown wire on top of the radiator support, and disconnect from the resistor. I would then ground it to the chassis to see if it runs??
If this works and the fan runs, I would use a 10mm wrench, to try to slip that brown wire between the brackets tightly? Then tighten the bolts to make sure it holds down right?
If this option doesn’t work

- I take a Phillips screwdriver and remove the plastic cover (which cover is this exactly??) And I would disconnect a small brown/white wire from the radiator? Then I would switch the red wire with a paperclip into the terminal end and ground it to the chassis and I would tape this all together so the paper clip holds in place?

Thanks Steve, sorry if there’s too many question marks. I don’t necessarily feel prepared on what exactly I need or should do.


To Jon, I’ll try my best to follow what Steve typed up there! I do admit, I do feel ill prepared and I hope I’ll know what I’m looking at. By the coolant bottle, you mean the reservoir right? I didn’t notice cracks or leaks, but there is no coolant in there anyways (all happened to drain down the funnel). When the car overheated and I opened the hood, the coolant level temp sensor popped and coolant boiled from that I think?

As for driving it back, I’d probably use it as a last-last resort, but I don’t think I’ll have it come to this : ) I wouldn’t want anything bad to happen haha. But if anything, I’d do it late night for the cooler temperature. But hey, don’t worry about having to waste your time to help me out. The car’s parked in Manteca and it’s over an hour away from Alameda area. So that’d be too time consuming, but I’d pick you up of course, but I think I should be okay. I really appreciate it though, and don’t worry. I’ll work to the best of my ability to get your former Alfa back on the road!
 

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What city is the car in Kendrick? I am pretty good at that type of thing. I have a fan coolant bottle radiator etc whatever you need. Jon has my number. Dont leave the car for too long it may get towed for many of reasons (private property sitting/standing too long and cops are always looking at unfamiliar cars that pop up). Call AAA and upgrade to a plus or premier membership if you do have to have the car towed.
 

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Kendrick, besides all the great advice you have received already, I just wanted to say that I had an issue similar to that once, i called it "the invisible leak". It turned out to be an absurd small leak from the top hose coming out of the thermostat housing on the right side of the car. You may want to inspect those two hoses also while you are at it. Mine did not leak at first, but once pressure built up enough it would start spitting a small stream of coolant straight up onto the hood which diverted it back onto the engine and manifolds, hence the white smoke. Most likely it may not be this, but its one extra little thing to keep in mind to check.
 

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Another easily missed hose leak is short 3/4" hose coming off rear of front head under distributor cap area. It is a thin wall hose due to no clearance between outlet pipe and head surface.

Only hose I have found to fit is OEM hose for a Milano or GTV6 that goes to coolant tank from radiator tee fitting on those cars.
 

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Yes the plastic reservoir is what I am referring to. Let me know if you need any help, the woman is booking up my time fast!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
How’s it going Lenard, well right now my car is in Manteca, California. About 10 minutes from Tracy, and I’m thinking around 50 minutes or so from your place in Sacramento? I’ll talk to Jon, definitely! And I made sure I parked the car in a spot without restrictions, but then again I won’t be leaving it for too long. I’m planning to go back to it this Friday, so maybe Friday if I choose to buy a fan etc.? I’ll make sure I call Jon, and I’ll give you a call too!

Thanks cento, I’ll make sure I examine those hoses thoroughly to see if any possible leaks if any can be found from the lines. Yeah, my car overheated and I saw white smoke. But I believe it was due to my Coolant Temperature Sensor “popping” out from the reservoir tank, which caused coolant to spill all over the intake manifold, around engine bay, on the rubber below the windshield, etc. I’ll check it out.

I’ll remember to look for that hose as well Steve, and I just hope it’s not a hose problem. I’ll contact Jon and Lenard, since they live (somewhat) in the general area of/around San Joaquin Valley (east of bay area, below Sacramento) and see if they have any parts I’d need too.

And hey Jon! Yeah, the coolant bottle didn’t appear to have cracks. Although my tank had virtually no coolant, since it all spilled out. I added a gallon and it didn’t reach the reservoir yet, so I think I may need to buy more. And thanks Jon, is it cool if you email me, or Fb/Alfa Msg me your number again? It was on my old phone, and I wasn’t able to transfer any of my old contact numbers from it. I’ll let ya know my plans, and if I’ll need to buy a fan or something from Lenard. As for your help, I don’t want to be a bother (or take you away from your fiancé!!). Thanks, and if it comes to it, maybe. I’ll give you a call tho, msg me your number?
 

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If you are going to drive old cars, AAA-Plus (or even Platinum) is a must have. 99% of the time you will be able to get towed back to your driveway or shop of your choice.

If it is still making puddles after it has cooled, then it sounds like something other than fan.

- I would confirm fan operation first as others have noted.
- Look for leaks starting with hoses and hose connections. Bring along a walmart pack of assorted hose clamps as well as a roll of hose bandage tape or electrical tape. If a hose is leaking, you may be able to tape it up to get home.
- As mentioned, once you have coolant in the system, squeezing the hoses (upper and lower at same time) should help show where leaks are.
- Bring a 5 gal container of water just in case. Simply for getting home purposes, you do not really need to worry about mixing with antifreeze, especially if it is leaking.
 

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You can temporarily use just plain water instead of coolant and water mixture, until you get the leak found and fixed. Then use 50-50% distilled water/coolant mixture later. Just bring several gallon jugs of water and fill that car up to the fill mark. You don't want to run it while low on water and or coolant or you can do serious damage to the engine, whether the fan is running or not. If there is not enough fluid in the radiator, the fan can't do anything to cool the engine.
Charles
 

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Resolution

Well....... what what was the final diagnosis and result? A solution?:D
 

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When I spoke to Kendrick on the phone he said the mechanic diagnosed a bad fan, I think he had it replaced.
 
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