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Old 09-21-2008, 10:11 AM   #1
blackie
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Default Overheating disaster

My 98 sl2 was losing coolant (through the overflow tank, no leaking) for several days, but not overheating. I had been making very short trips to and from work, and knew I needed to fix it soon. Due to time constraints I basically had to drive the car as it was because I'd been too busy with work and a wedding. Well, going to the wedding rehearsal it finally overheated bigtime on the interstate. The temp gauge was all the way over in the red, and I don't know how long it was before i noticed it. I was driving at night and smoke was pillowing out from underneath the car.

I shut the car off and left it where it was. Had it towed home yesterday and opened the hood to find that all the oil had come out. Oil was all over the engine compartment and the tow driver said there was an enormous puddle of oil under the car when he snatched it.

Is the head cracked, or the block? What are some things I should look for? Its difficult to tell where a problem may be with oil covering everything.

Also, as importantly, I'll probably search for another engine just to swap in it. I read the swap guide twice and was extremely confused by it. I did not understand what complete engine from different years will just bolt right up and everything plug in place in my 98 sl2, dohc.

Any advice? It would be much appreciated.

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Old 09-21-2008, 10:54 AM   #2
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Overheating disaster

A 96 to early 98 will fit right in without any grief. In the 99 year the head was changed and the exhaust flange is different, some very early engines have the 5 stud exhaust so that one would fit. So the best bet is 96 through 98. If the engine belched out all of the oil it does not sound like a 15 minute fix will make it run again.

Try here: http://car-part.com/ You should be able to find an engine or engine transmission. They can be shipped at not a huge expense.

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Old 09-21-2008, 11:33 AM   #3
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Default Re: Overheating disaster

The original problem of overheating may have been caused by the factory engine coolant temperature sensor (ECTS) failure, thermostat and the local driving; when the sensor fails the radiator cooling fan never turns on because the PCM is never informed (of the failure of the ects) of engine temperatures and the local driving compounds the lack of airflow through the radiator that would have cooled the engine if you were highway driving. To make matters worse, the thermostat may be faulty also, allowing overheating during normal driving. By allowing this to continue instead of dealing with it you may have ruined a perfectly good engine. Now all you can do is degrease the engine and look things over carefully to assess what can be salvaged before considering another engine and all that it entails.

The oil spill may be from the cam cover gasket losing its sealing from an overheated engine that boiled out the coolant. If you can degrease the engine somewhat with Simple Green or anything similar you may be able to refill what's missing, oil and coolant, starting up the engine and begin to look for where the oil is leaking out from. There's at least one part that should be replaced, the coolant sensor with a new brass one before a re-start. In the How-to library's 2nd and 3rd posts. The first post covers most of the videos for those needing a visual lesson. Its an inexpensive part and should be the very first part to replace as you assess the damage. Replace the thermostat too. Use water for coolant, and it can help flush the engine for the proper 50/50 coolant/anti-freeze if the engine holds up. Filling up with oil should be next and record how much is needed before attempting a start. The plugs may need changing so an inspection may help. With the plugs out you can try a quick bump start to see if the cylinders blow out any fluids - if its coolant then you'll know that the head gasket blew. Barring any coolant blowing out the cylinders may be a good sign. Look for any burned wires if the engine truly overheated. Be careful of an engine overrev as a vacuum line may have cracked allowing the engine to race to a higher rpm. If the engine does start and run look over everything under the hood for signs of oil and water leakage so you can immediately attempt to repair them before more damage occurs; coolant hoses, cam cover leaks, pcv valve hoses, water pump, belt drive system, etc.. Watch and monitor the engine run very carefully and if all goes well you may not have too much damage and can correct for the lack of maintenance.

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Old 09-21-2008, 11:41 AM   #4
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Default Re: Overheating disaster

I replaced the ects with the brass one approximately 6 months ago. The fan was kicking on at its usual interval. The coolant was turning to a foam as it was coming out of the overflow tank. Thanks for the details on how to diagnose.


Oldnuc thanks for the link, it located an engine here in town in case I do go that route.

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Old 09-21-2008, 12:55 PM   #5
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1993 SC2
Default Re: Overheating disaster

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackie View Post
The coolant was turning to a foam as it was coming out of the overflow tank.
i'm pretty sure that's not normal

i suppose the coolant was so low it was turning into foam from boiling and getting churned with the air in the system

i had a problem with my 93 sc'2's overflow tank had cracked on the bottom and was leaking out onto the tire as i drove i had to put in a whole bottle of coolant every 3 days maybe thats what happend to you

as far as the oil all over the engine bay and under the car i'd definitly suspect a cracked block or head mabey a completely blown head gasket only inspecting the engine will tell

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95 SL2 5-speed, oem header, gsi TB, sprint 2.0, kyb gr2's, wb02, SAFCII, CAI, 17"s
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Old 09-22-2008, 05:17 AM   #6
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1998 SL2
Default Re: Overheating disaster

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackie View Post
The coolant was turning to a foam as it was coming out of the overflow tank. Thanks for the details on how to diagnose.
Actually, I don't think that foam is normal. It's usually an indication of exhaust gases making it into the coolant. With oil going everywhere, you probably cracked the head. Below are pics of a head crack on a DOHC. The girl I bought it from just said, "I has a cracked motor." When I aske if she overheated it, she went, "Uh maybe." I took that as a yes. I paid her $200 and swapped in a different engine.




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