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Old 08-11-2012, 04:18 PM   #1
giosoccer20
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Default Fluctuating temp gauge, CEL, and water leak

Somebody please help, this problem has been driving me up the wall for the past 2 days. The check engine light came on the day I got it back from the mechanic, who put in a new radiator. After driving for a while, and after driving hard, the temp gauge starts to fluctuate form normal all the way to boiling hot, and then back down to normal. It does this around every 45 seconds once it starts. I've pulled over and seen that the water in the reservoir tank was bubbling, and all the way to the top, making me think that there was nothing in the radiator at the time. Also, i finally noticed a leak from the radiator, I'm not sure from where exactly, if it were from a hose or not, but it is definitely leaking. Did my mechanic mess up in the install, or is it something else? My check engine light has been on the entire time. Could it be that the coolant temp sensor isn't working, causing the water to overheat, and that then caused something to burst regarding the radiator?? The fans DO turn on though, however, but I'm not entirely sure if they turn on at the right time? Also, I've noticed that if I'm driving at a speed of over 35mph or so, the temp doesn't really spike, but again, the temp gauge just goes all over the place (from normal to very high). My brain is hurting from thinking about this problem all day for 2 days straight now. ANY help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 08-11-2012, 07:12 PM   #2
giosoccer20
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Anyone? I really need some input
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Old 08-11-2012, 08:34 PM   #3
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Why don't you find out what dtc is triggering the cell first then take it to the mechanic who did the install? If the radiator is leaking he obviously messed up the install. If it's truly overheating and then cooling down, the head gasket are likely toast. Also bubbling while engine is running is another sign of head gasket failure. Usually a faulty coolant temp gauge will result in the fans being on all the time as a failsafe. Does your cabin heat work normally?

Last edited by GrundleJuice; 08-12-2012 at 03:57 AM.
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Old 08-11-2012, 09:04 PM   #4
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I'll bet race face is right head gasket is my bet if you don't find a leak.
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Old 08-12-2012, 09:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaceFaceXC View Post
Why don't you find out what dtc is triggering the cell first then take it to the mechanic who did the install? If the radiator is leaking he obviously messed up the install. If it's truly overheating and then cooling down, the head gasket are likely toast. Also bubbling while engine is running is another sign of head gasket failure. Usually a faulty coolant temp gauge will result in the fans being on all the time as a failsafe. Does your cabin heat work normally?
Yeah i'm taking it to autozone to get a code for what is triggering the CEL. The fans aren't on the entire time, and the cabin heat works normally from what i tried. When it would overheat I would turn on the heat on max to see if that would change anything. The heat blew consistently and never seemed to cool down or anything. Also, there is a visible leak, as there is coolant on the bottom of the radiator, and it drips onto the ground below. Who knows how much it drips during driving also.
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Old 08-12-2012, 09:28 AM   #6
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I'll bet race face is right head gasket is my bet if you don't find a leak.
Before bringing it home the mechanic checked for a bad head gasket and cylinder head, and he said they were both fine. There is a visible leak, so that means that a head gasket is out of question. I've checked oil and exhaust for the typical faulty head gasket symptoms, and none of them are present.
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Old 08-12-2012, 09:32 AM   #7
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Alsoooo, all of the coolant was in the reservoir tank after my drive. I popped the radiator cap after it had cooled down and there was no visible coolant. the reservoir tank was brimmed to the top
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Old 08-12-2012, 10:05 AM   #8
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Clean the leak area and pressure check the system to find the source. A head gasket is not necessarily ruled out.
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Old 08-12-2012, 04:02 PM   #9
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The system wasn't purged properly, you have an air bubble somewhere. The mechanic might have just filled the radiator and not the block. The high temp gauge reading is the air bubble passing by the temp sensor.

If the leak isn't too bad, don't drive your car till you fill the system completely and purge all the air from the system. It's easy but takes time. Fill the radiator, run the car with the heater on high till it's up to temp, shut it down, let it cool down, top up the rad. Repeat until full.

Edit : check the petcock on the bottom of the radiator. It might not be tightened enough and be the source of the leak.
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Old 08-12-2012, 09:02 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by AWDmonk View Post
The system wasn't purged properly, you have an air bubble somewhere. The mechanic might have just filled the radiator and not the block. The high temp gauge reading is the air bubble passing by the temp sensor.

If the leak isn't too bad, don't drive your car till you fill the system completely and purge all the air from the system. It's easy but takes time. Fill the radiator, run the car with the heater on high till it's up to temp, shut it down, let it cool down, top up the rad. Repeat until full.

Edit : check the petcock on the bottom of the radiator. It might not be tightened enough and be the source of the leak.
Yeah I've head other people suggest the possiblity of an air bubble also, and it DOES seem like that because of the way the temp gauge fluctuates. What do you mean filling the block though? how is that even possible??
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Old 08-12-2012, 10:42 PM   #11
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Filling the block he means the water passages in the block, if it was not cycled right at the fill up not everything is filled and you have air bubbles from that. When the car is cold take off the radiator cap and run the car with the heat going, when its warm enough the t stat will open and you will see the water moving and any bubbles should come through the system, if there is no drop in water level put the cap on just tight enough to keep it from spilling and go for a drive. That should take care of any bubbles. Take the cap off the, should not be any pressure if you left it lose enough, top up the radiator and overflow can and put the cap back on tight. As it cools and the pressure drops the radiator will fill up.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:54 PM   #12
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guys i'm basically just diagnosing this one myself. I'm having trouble identifiying which phase engine i have, but I'm pretty sure it's a phase one since I'm almost convinced it's an internal head gasket leak. I've read that Phase I's were plagued with internal leaks and phase II's were plagued with external. mine's a 99 rs and I know that some of them were still made with the phase I's. The symptoms match up too closely for it to be anything else. Time to get her repaired... *GULP*
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:39 AM   #13
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Now i'm thinking it could just as well be an intake manifold gasket leak?? Would that cause bubbles in the coolant reservoir tank and overflowing of the tank?? A lot of coolant overflowed after a very casual 50 min drive
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Old 08-15-2012, 05:15 PM   #14
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No, Intake manifold gasket cannot affect coolant in any way. disconnect the upper radiator hose from the radiator and pour coolant into it until the block is full. Then follow the procedure of starting the car with the rad cap off and heater on and add coolant until full.

It seriously sounds like a bubble. Many mechanics just don't know that you need to pour about a gallon of coolant into the block before filling the radiator.
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Old 08-19-2012, 04:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geronimo81 View Post
No, Intake manifold gasket cannot affect coolant in any way. disconnect the upper radiator hose from the radiator and pour coolant into it until the block is full. Then follow the procedure of starting the car with the rad cap off and heater on and add coolant until full.

It seriously sounds like a bubble. Many mechanics just don't know that you need to pour about a gallon of coolant into the block before filling the radiator.
Yeah but what about the fact that all of the coolant moves into the reservoir tank after a drive? the radiator never has any coolant left in it it seems like. It sucks because I already took it to the shop to have my head gasket replaced and stuff which will cost me around 1100, but I'm hoping they won't actually do the job if they see that wasn't the problem?? I swear if it's just a bubble in the system and I end up paying 1100 for a head gasket job...
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:06 PM   #16
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Was the thermostate changed with the radiator. Even if it was it could be hanging up.
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Old 08-19-2012, 11:05 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giosoccer20 View Post
Yeah but what about the fact that all of the coolant moves into the reservoir tank after a drive? the radiator never has any coolant left in it it seems like. It sucks because I already took it to the shop to have my head gasket replaced and stuff which will cost me around 1100, but I'm hoping they won't actually do the job if they see that wasn't the problem?? I swear if it's just a bubble in the system and I end up paying 1100 for a head gasket job...
I just saw one of these in the shop on sat. When the hg is leaking compression into the water system it pushes all the water into the resevior. I still say hg.
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:31 AM   #18
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Try a New radiator cap. That's what my problem was. Mine did the same thing
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:11 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Sleeper_RS View Post
Try a New radiator cap. That's what my problem was. Mine did the same thing
When it is just the radiator cap it will push the fluid into the reservoir but the radiotor will still be full.
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:02 AM   #20
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Quote:
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I just saw one of these in the shop on sat. When the hg is leaking compression into the water system it pushes all the water into the resevior. I still say hg.
I agree. I just have a gut feeling that it isn't anything other than a head gasket after seeing all of the symptoms and unsuccessfully troubleshooting the minor possibilities.
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