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Old 10-16-2017, 10:09 AM   #1
Courtbby1
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2005 ION-1 Sedan
Dizzy heater core or blown head gasket???

okay, so my 2005 Saturn ion 2.2 has had a slight oil leak in it since I got it. Car over heated(didn't go up to red because I turned the car off before it could and stopped driving it). Replaced radiator fan. Now the car wont hold any coolant..

issues are as follows:

Draining coolant(having to put more in it everytime I get in it again)

smoke like fog coming from my vents even if the heater and ac are off

exhaust pipe appeared to have a gray light smoke coming from it(unsure if it was steam or actual smoke as it wasn't thick and cleared out quickly)and only did it once while it was idling.

sweet smell inside of the car almost too much to bear(stings my nose)

car is not over heating because I'm trying my best to keep water in it.

heater is still working.

ive been told it could be my heater core, leaking intake, or blown head gasket...

I'm not sure what to do. mother of 2, I'm only 25 and I cant afford to put it in a shop. I know a few mechanics in my family who may be able to fix it. I'm just not sure what needs to be done.

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Old 10-16-2017, 10:50 AM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: heater core or blown head gasket???

If you are lucky, the heater isn't leaking and you're smelling the sickly sweet smell of antifreeze from the radiator, water pump or hose leak. How many miles on this car? Leaks may be visible from your descriptions by almost anyone familiar with car repairs.

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Old 10-16-2017, 11:33 AM   #3
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2000 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: heater core or blown head gasket???

Welcome to SaturnFans, Courtbby1!

This is an unfortunate circumstance to find oneself in. In a sense, we're a bit beyond asking questions regarding maintenance history, but it would be useful if you can provide that information (how ever much you may actually have).
1) I'm curious to know when the thermostat was last replaced .
2) Prior to the engine temperature rising towards overheating, where was the temperature gauge needle typically pointing during normal use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Courtbby1 View Post
okay, so my 2005 Saturn ion 2.2 has had a slight oil leak in it since I got it. Car over heated(didn't go up to red because I turned the car off before it could and stopped driving it). Replaced radiator fan. Now the car wont hold any coolant..
Did the replacement of the engine cooling fan improve anything?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Courtbby1 View Post
issues are as follows:
Draining coolant(having to put more in it everytime I get in it again)
This line suggests the presence of a leak. Do you see any fluid on the ground wherever the car is parked?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Courtbby1 View Post
smoke like fog coming from my vents even if the heater and ac are off
This is unusual...antifreeze infused steam could be coming through the vents if the heater core is leaking and perhaps the HVAC case is still holding that fluid in it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Courtbby1 View Post
exhaust pipe appeared to have a gray light smoke coming from it(unsure if it was steam or actual smoke as it wasn't thick and cleared out quickly)and only did it once while it was idling.
(This could be a hopeful sign that there's not a blown head gasket.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Courtbby1 View Post
sweet smell inside of the car almost too much to bear(stings my nose)
I'm reasonably certain that the odor is from the antifreeze.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Courtbby1 View Post
car is not over heating because I'm trying my best to keep water in it.

heater is still working.
FWIW, in this circumstance you're doing the right thing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Courtbby1 View Post
ive been told it could be my heater core, leaking intake, or blown head gasket...
Testing for a cooling system leak or a blown head gasket is actually rather easy. The cooling system requires a pressure test. A blown head gasket results in hot exhaust escaping into the cooling system. A test for the presence of exhaust gases in the cooling system will typically use a product like the one in this link...

http://www.blocktester.com/


Quote:
Originally Posted by Courtbby1 View Post
I'm not sure what to do. mother of 2, I'm only 25 and I cant afford to put it in a shop. I know a few mechanics in my family who may be able to fix it. I'm just not sure what needs to be done.
First things first: the car needs to be tested. Without knowledge of what's actually causing the problem one's mind can run wild with the possibilites for what has to be done - I've been through that as well. Try to avoid leaping into unnecessary conclusions. Please keep us updated here and let us know how things are going.

...
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The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

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Old 10-16-2017, 11:43 AM   #4
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: heater core or blown head gasket???

At 188k miles (emailed) it's highly possible for coolant leaks as mentioned and hopefully not a heater core leak. You or someone familiar with the HVAC system can check around for wet carpeting by removing console side panels by the floor for a better view. If possible, AutoZone may have a cooling system test kit consisting of a hand held pump, hoses and adapters to substitute for the cooling system cap. Pressurizing a cold engine can sometimes be easier to find leaks instead of being scalded by hot coolant, hoses, radiator, and a hot engine.

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Old 10-16-2017, 11:55 AM   #5
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2000 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: heater core or blown head gasket???

^Agreed. (Not bad...one fella on the left coast and the other on the right coast who can agree with each other! )

...
276,000 miles-it keeps on rolling!
The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

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