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Old 08-29-2017, 08:32 PM   #1
Jsmith123
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2008 VUE 2.4L
2001 SC2
Default Can't figure out why I'm overheating...

Over the course of these past 2 years I have replaced my entire cooling system. I started with a radiator replacement and an oxalic acid flush. I had a visible leak in the radiator, after replacing realized I had a leak somewhere else in my system. It was too small to find, so I just replaced everything. I mean, my entire cooling system...

The reservoir sensor was stuck so I replaced the whole res. I replaced the thermostat, water pump and heater core.

I could still smell coolant, still had a slow leak, but could never find it (even with UV dye because it was so slow). The leak got worse and worse, and eventually I found it. It was the water intake into the engine... The piece of **** plastic part attached to the air intake had started to snap. I sawed it off of the air intake and replaced the inlet with a metal one.

Now, my car is overheating. It doesn't seem like the water is moving through the system. The radiator hose feels warm, but the radiator feels cool.

I don't have a hose in my driveway so seeing if water is going through the radiator would actually be kind of difficult, but I'm assuming it's good since i just replaced it.

Internet is saying air in the system, but how am I supposed to test for that? How am I supposed to solve that when there is no drain/radiator cap on our system? (Or maybe just my aftermarket radiator is a piece of ****, dunno?)

Any help is appreciated

...
At this point... Feel like I've had to do everything but replace the engine.

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Old 08-29-2017, 08:56 PM   #2
guyg
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Default Re: Can't figure out why I'm overheating...

The air is eliminated by the small hose going to the coolant reservoir, remove the cap and look inside to verify flow thru hose to reservoir.

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Old 08-29-2017, 08:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: Can't figure out why I'm overheating...

Check the return line into the reservoir. It should be flowing well when the engine is running. You could have a blockage there.

The system will purge air out on it's own while running.

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Old 08-29-2017, 09:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: Can't figure out why I'm overheating...

In addition to what's mentioned above to check for coolant returning to the coolant container as swirling at the bottom, was the coolant cap replaced? Unbeknownst to some, the plastic coolant cap is the same as the old radiator cap except made of plastic but serving the same function. Since aerodynamic design lowered the hood lines, the old metal radiators gave way to aluminum and plastic side tanks without the radiator neck sticking up for the cap to take away from lower hood lines. Another great idea was to move the radiator cap to the plastic coolant container that's integrated into the cooling system - its pressurized too so the coolant cap is the radiator cap to allow pressure to develop and a vacuum relief valve to allow air back in. Overpressurization will allow coolant release thru the cap pressure valve, set between 13-20 psi. Store cooling system test kits may have adapters to test caps as well as pressurize the cooling system for leaks without having a the coolant at operating temperatures.

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Old 08-29-2017, 10:36 PM   #5
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Default Re: Can't figure out why I'm overheating...

Some time ago I made a pressure tester for Saturns. The pic is below. it's pretty simple and you can get the parts at most parts stores. You connect it at the top of the coolant reservoir. Don't go over 15 PSI. That should help you find your leak.


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Old 08-30-2017, 01:33 AM   #6
Jsmith123
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Default Re: Can't figure out why I'm overheating...

I love that a company that's been out of business for so long still has a crazy active forum...


It was as simple as running it without the reservoir cap on. I've never had to do that before ever. It's always been throw coolant in, let it run normally, add a bit of coolant after the first drive and it's good to go... For whatever reason this time it just didn't purge the air.

...
At this point... Feel like I've had to do everything but replace the engine.

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Old 08-30-2017, 03:33 AM   #7
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Default Re: Can't figure out why I'm overheating...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jsmith123 View Post
I love that a company that's been out of business for so long still has a crazy active forum...


It was as simple as running it without the reservoir cap on. I've never had to do that before ever. It's always been throw coolant in, let it run normally, add a bit of coolant after the first drive and it's good to go... For whatever reason this time it just didn't purge the air.
Now that you have a Saturn, you will see WHY we have such a crazy, active forum. These cars simply don't die.

Aside from rust, the only thing that kills a Saturn is the owner.

Now, your signature shows a 2001 SC1..

However, you mentioned the cracked plastic intake manifold, which only occurs on the 2000-2002 DOHC SC/SL/SW "2"(and SC3 three door models).

With the cap off, start the engine and watch for TWO things:

A steady stream of coolant from your return line. If there is NOT a steady stream, then you have cavitation in the water pump or blockage.

The other thing to watch for is air bubbles in the coolant itself.

Air bubbles in the coolant means SERIOUS problems, because that means you have either a cracked block, cracked head, or a blown head gasket.

And despite those saying Death-Kill orange doesn't damage the head gasket, it does.

The oxalic acid flush may have amplified the gasket eating process as well, as the sealing rings of the head gasket are steel, as well as the core of the gasket.

The acid won't damage the aluminum components, but steel is another story.

If you find the return line is blocked, you can try to drain the system(which you should to get rid of the orange coolant anyway).

Flush with DISTILLED WATER.

Disconnect the upper radiator hose, and pour it into that hose. This will flush the head, intake, heater core, and block. Make sure the drain pan is under the car, and remove your thermostat, as well. This will allow the water to drain directly out of the block, and you can confirm the hardest parts to get clean are all free of debris.

From there, remove the upper hose from the head, and connect it to the radiator. Pour water in the hose. Make sure the drain plug and lower hose are disconnected. Gravity will do the work. If the radiator is clogged(a common problem of Death-Kill orange, as well), you will know because the water will overflow the hose or stop flowing altogether.

Lastly, flush the bottle. Pretty cut and dry, here. Leave lower radiator hose disconnected, remove cap, pour water in.

Once everything is drained, use this refill procedure.

1. Use 50/50 mix of GREEN Conventional, silicate-based antifreeze. You will need at least 2 gallons.(Capacity is a hair over 7 quarts)
2. Reattach thermostat and lower radiator/expansion tank hoses, and close drain plug.
3. Attach upper radiator hose to CYLINDER HEAD ONLY. Tilt hose upward, and fill coolant from this position. This is higher than the expansion tank, which is a good. It will fill the heater core, intake, block and water pump.

Once no more coolant can go into that hose, reattach it to the radiator, and finish refill through the tank. This will keep the trapped air to as little as possible.

Run the engine, until the fan kicks on and off. Shut off the engine, allow to fully cooldown, and top off to the "Full Cold" mark.

Check the level, for about the next week or 250 miles, for residual air and slight coolant losses. Top off as necessary.

...
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"He checks the gas, and fills the oil....."

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Old 08-30-2017, 07:35 AM   #8
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2001 SC2
Default Re: Can't figure out why I'm overheating...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturn Night View Post
However, you mentioned the cracked plastic intake manifold, which only occurs on the 2000-2002 DOHC SC/SL/SW "2"(and SC3 three door models).
The 3dr SC2's are still SC2's. The 1 or 2 designation is just for SOHC or DOHC engine. The '91-'02 SL doesn't have a number because it's a stripped model with no factory installed options and the '91-'92 SC doesn't have a number because it didn't have an option for engines (even though the 4dr models did). The only "3" that almost was was a '93-'94ish SL3.

The cap only releases air under pressure, if there's air trapped in the system it can't build up the required 15-18psi pressure to release the air. I've never seen an S-Series coolant flush guide that didn't state to fill the reservoir with the engine off, then start the engine and refill as needed over the next 5-10 minutes, and only reinstall the cap after that 5-10 minutes (was always under 2min for me but everybody's car is different).

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Old 08-30-2017, 10:32 AM   #9
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Default Re: Can't figure out why I'm overheating...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jsmith123 View Post
I don't have a hose in my driveway so seeing if water is going through the radiator would actually be kind of difficult
you don't need this info since you found your problem, and probably won't ever need this since your whole system is new . . . but if you remove the top hose from the head and loosen the clamp a the top hose at the radiator, you can pivot the engine/head side upwards. Open the radiator drain and pour water through the top hose

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetchitfido
I've never seen an S-Series coolant flush guide that didn't state to fill the reservoir with the engine off, then start the engine and refill as needed over the next 5-10 minutes, and only reinstall the cap after that 5-10 minutes
TIL, I've been doing it wrong I always just filled it up to the top seam, put the cap on, and ran the engine. Would check it the next time it was cooled. been lucky so far, no issues, but will do it properly next time

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Old 08-31-2017, 12:36 AM   #10
Saturn Night
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Default Re: Can't figure out why I'm overheating...

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetchitfido View Post
The 3dr SC2's are still SC2's. The 1 or 2 designation is just for SOHC or DOHC engine. The '91-'02 SL doesn't have a number because it's a stripped model with no factory installed options and the '91-'92 SC doesn't have a number because it didn't have an option for engines (even though the 4dr models did). The only "3" that almost was was a '93-'94ish SL3.

The cap only releases air under pressure, if there's air trapped in the system it can't build up the required 15-18psi pressure to release the air. I've never seen an S-Series coolant flush guide that didn't state to fill the reservoir with the engine off, then start the engine and refill as needed over the next 5-10 minutes, and only reinstall the cap after that 5-10 minutes (was always under 2min for me but everybody's car is different).
Thanks for the update. I have never really had to do this, and probably been VERY LUCKY I haven't cracked a head or blown a head gasket on any of my cars, yet

At the next flush, I will make sure to do it the right way, as well.

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"He checks the gas, and fills the oil....."

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