Car Heating Up - Help!

Old 08-22-2011, 01:57 PM
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Car Heating Up - Help!

(Cliff notes at the bottom)

Ok, so this happened for the first time on a long drive. I was heading to california from AZ and driving through the desert. It was a slight up hill and i was going about 70MPH. I didn't notice at first, but the AC started getting warm. So i looked down and my temp gauge was at 4 bars(AP1). I imediately turned off the AC and the temp went back down to 3 bars. So i drove like this for a while but then after a few minutes, temp went back up to 4 Bars. It didn't last too long there maybe a couple of minutes. I pulled off and luckily had some coolant in my car which i added and then went on my merry little way.
So no problems the rest of the weekend until i was almost home from Cali again. Just like 10 mi from home same thing happened. Car went to 4 bars and then back down to 3. I was probably going like 80 MPH this time.

So for the most part the car had been fine since that incident about 2 weeks ago until i was headed to a friends house and the car started heating up again! This time i got to about 5 bars(!) and pulled off immediately. The temp quickly went back down to 3 bars as soon as i pulled over.
So I did a quick coolant re-fill just a few day ago, following instructions from the manual, drain, fill, turn on, fill, turn on...yada yada yada.

I was hoping that would fix my problem, but then driving today i was on the freeway, normal speed ~ 70MPH and the temp went back up to 4 bars and the AC got warm again. This time i just kept driving and the car went back down to 3 bars and AC got cold.

Is this normal? From what i've read, its not.
What can be causing this? How do i fix it?
Input is appreciated.

Cliff Notes:
Driving on a long distance car heats to 4 bars
Add coolant and goes back to normal (3)
Within a couple weeks heats up again a few more times (getting hot~5bars and down to 3again)
Coolant flush(drain/refill)
Heats up again.
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Old 08-22-2011, 02:30 PM
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Certainly not normal! Sounds like a thermostat problem? But are you filling the rad multiple times? I am assuming there is no leak.
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Old 08-22-2011, 02:33 PM
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I have never seen anything above 3 bars on mine. Sounds exactly what my old Celica did though. I never looked into it, I had to drive with the heater on in very hot weather!
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Old 08-22-2011, 02:43 PM
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I filled it twice i think. I did see some signs of a leak right above the alternator. Its the little hose with a clamp on it; seemed to be leaking. I think its on the throttle body. I adjusted the clamp a little. should i replace it?
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Old 08-22-2011, 02:44 PM
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could a little leak be causing such a big problem?
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Old 08-22-2011, 04:57 PM
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If your losing coolant it's most definitely a problem. Replace the hose, tighten the clamp do what you have to do. When the coolant temp goes up it expands and becomes under pressure, the higher the pressure gets the higher it's boiling temp goes. It must keep this pressure to keep from boiling. If you have a leak and the system is unable to maintain its spec pressure your coolant will be boiling out like a pot on the stove. This is why you should never remove your raditor cap when its hot or the coolant loses its pressure and boils instanly into steam. Good luck.
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Old 08-22-2011, 06:05 PM
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YUP, you need to fix the leak...it could be eliminating coolant at a fast rate while you are driving...
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Old 08-26-2011, 01:46 PM
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Ok so the hose was replaced, but it's still happening! What else could be wrong? How should/can I check for leaks?
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Old 08-26-2011, 03:13 PM
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Check the thermostat?
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Old 08-26-2011, 06:42 PM
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Maybe u need to replace the radiator. I had to replace mine when I kept having to put coolant in... And eventually it burst at the mall and I had to get it towed home :/
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Old 08-26-2011, 06:50 PM
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Are you sure you flushed the radiator properly with Honda Type II coolant? And you made sure to open the bleeder to get all the air out? Did you do a full flush draining both the fluid from the reservoir, radiator, engine block and top of the engine right against the firewall?

If so, then it's probably a thermostat issue unless like S2k01 said and you need a whole new radiator, but lets hope not.
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:06 PM
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^its actually a pretty easy install. But I wouldn't get an oem one.
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:17 PM
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Was there anything in the coolant when you changed it? Like brown?
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:23 PM
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Any steam or white smoke out the tail pipe when hot?
any coolant in the oil?
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:26 PM
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Water pump, thermostat or additional hose leaking.
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:35 PM
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Getting all of the air out of the system can be a trick and if you leave an air bubble it will overheat. Next time it happens touch the radiator and if you find a hot spot next to a cool spot you'll know it's a clog.
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by EVLS2K View Post
Check the thermostat?
Originally Posted by s2k01 View Post
Maybe u need to replace the radiator. I had to replace mine when I kept having to put coolant in... And eventually it burst at the mall and I had to get it towed home :/
Yeah i had to do that on my civic too. What other signs did you notice when you replaced it? On my civic the radiator cracked right by the cap.
Originally Posted by AP1S2000 View Post
Are you sure you flushed the radiator properly with Honda Type II coolant? And you made sure to open the bleeder to get all the air out? Did you do a full flush draining both the fluid from the reservoir, radiator, engine block and top of the engine right against the firewall?

If so, then it's probably a thermostat issue unless like S2k01 said and you need a whole new radiator, but lets hope not.
I'm pretty sure i did it right. Followed the manual and drained the rad,block and overflow. Did the bleed using the bolt and the cap by the fire wall. Used only Handa Type II coolant. I hope it doesn't need a new radiator too..
Originally Posted by s2k01 View Post
^its actually a pretty easy install. But I wouldn't get an oem one.
What would you recommend? Hopefully i don't need one, but if i did what should i look into?
Originally Posted by 0tyrael0 View Post
Was there anything in the coolant when you changed it? Like brown?
I don't remember exactly but i want to say no. What might that indicate?
Originally Posted by philiam View Post
Any steam or white smoke out the tail pipe when hot?
any coolant in the oil?
I haven't checked that out yet. And by hot what do you mean? i haven't seen the car from the outside while its at 4 bars. It usually goes down to 3 fairly quickly. I'm going to check out the oil tomorrow. I kinda have been scared to do that... :/
Originally Posted by Vanishing Point View Post
Water pump, thermostat or additional hose leaking.
How can i check for other leaks? nothing is very apparent or obvious right now besides the one i already fixed.

Originally Posted by tuna79 View Post
Getting all of the air out of the system can be a trick and if you leave an air bubble it will overheat. Next time it happens touch the radiator and if you find a hot spot next to a cool spot you'll know it's a clog.
Ok, i'll look for that. At this point though i'm sure something else is going on.
Every time i drive i can smell coolant when i stop and get out of the car. Today it used about 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch from the overflow. So its loosing coolant somewhere.
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Old 08-27-2011, 12:25 AM
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"I haven't checked that out yet. And by hot what do you mean? i haven't seen the car from the outside while its at 4 bars. It usually goes down to 3 fairly quickly. I'm going to check out the oil tomorrow. I kinda have been scared to do that... :/"

Check it out when first starting and again when up to operating temp. It could be a warped head or crack in a water jacket. Sounds like a sticky thermostat though. Does the water in the catch tank go over the hot line? Any water you
lose through the over flow should go in the tank and back to the radiator when it cools down. If you have to keep adding water, take it to a mechanic. It could be serious and damaging the engine.
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Old 08-27-2011, 12:30 AM
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even if you loose some coolant it shouldnt be a problem unless you are way under minimum level

Last edited by EVLS2K; 08-27-2011 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:01 AM
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Could be the heater core! If you smell coolant inside the car it's most likely the heater core!
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:26 AM
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I'm not smelling coolant inside the car. I can smell the coolant when I get out of the car.
I'll check out the oil today and probably take it to a mechanic on Monday.
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Old 08-27-2011, 10:18 AM
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I'm betting it's your water pump. Idle the car till it is fully warm, turn off the motor and raise the hood. The top hose should be hot to the touch, now feel the bottom hose. If it is cool it's either the pump or the thermostat. If the pump is fully gone it will weep slightly through the pump. It could be the thermostat is not fully opening which would account for the fluctuation in temp., if you remove the thermostat put it into a pot of boiling water and then visually check it to see if it fully opens. Also, check your radiator cap, a faulty cap can contribute to the over heating issue.
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Old 08-27-2011, 01:59 PM
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mishimoto or koyo.. They dont have that plastic crap like the oem ones have.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:14 AM
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Ok, so this might be a bit stupid, but could my problem be coming from dirty oil? or dirty oil filter?

I pretty much did nothing to the car except an oil change. I wanted to see if 'the worst' was happening and i had coolant in the oil. Nothing there. The oil was quite black though and the filter felt pretty heavy. Its been about 4k mi since my last oil change and it had been about 3k+ when the problem first presented itself.

anywho, after the oil change the car hasn't heated up again like it did. i'm still keeping an eye on it since i think it might still return. :/

BTW i'm using Mobil 1 synthetic with a Mobil 1 filter.
should i switch to OEM filter? I want to say the OEM is bigger isn't it?
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:34 AM
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Mine did the 4 bar thing and the a/c got warm while driving in 95 degree weather in stop and go traffic. Hasn't happened since. Does the a/c shut down intermittently when the car gets too hot?
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Old 08-29-2011, 12:07 PM
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Not 'shut down' but it has gotten warm.

The crazy thing is that this only happens at high speeds. Only once i think, did it heat up under 60mph and that was when i was getting off the freeway and it cooled down pretty quickly after that.

Any ideas on my previous post about the oil?

EDIT: Oh, and we're talking 110+ degree weather here.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:01 AM
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So I thought the problem had gone away, but no luck.
Since I hadn't really done anything, I went in an changed the thermostat.
Well, there was no thermostat. Only the outer seal. Seams like the previous owner cut the thermostat out.
Could THIS have been the source of my problems?
I was only heating up at high speeds on the freeway.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:36 AM
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Not having a thermostat won't cause a car to overheat. It isn't good for the car since its purpose in life is to keep the car at a consistant, happy operating temperature.

If it were my car, I would be concerned as to just exactly WHY the previous owner decided to remove the thermostat since it has a valid purpose to serve (I'm assuming you bought this car used and that you aren't the yahoo that removed the thermostat). If it was in an attempt to address an overheating issue, then you need to start investigating more.

I'm no mechanic, but I would be dubious of anyone saying that simply replacing the thermostat will fix your problem. You need to do some more diagnosis.

Have you absolutely made sure your radiator has no external blockages (plastic bags, debris, dead bugs) on it? Have you cleaned it off? What's the possibility the previous owner decided to dump some stop-leak in the thing to deal with an old leak and now you have a radiator with clogged up passages?

It seems like maybe it's time to take it to the shop and have someone go through the typical overheating analysis steps.
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Old 08-31-2011, 11:46 AM
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Yeah i see what your saying. I tried to do a leak test (or is it pressure test) but they didn't have the right adaptor at the autozone where i went to. The radiator will probably get replaced since it seems to have some debris in there. So far with the thermostat no heating up and i've driven it a bit.

From what ive read elsewhere, maybe the coolant was passing through the radiator so quickly it wasn't able to cool down enough. I'm not sure if that makes sense to me, but i guess it kind of does. :/
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Old 08-31-2011, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by CLOS View Post
From what ive read elsewhere, maybe the coolant was passing through the radiator so quickly it wasn't able to cool down enough. I'm not sure if that makes sense to me, but i guess it kind of does. :/
My very general rule of thumb for most things in life, including car stuff: If if doesn't make sense, it usually isn't accurate. Cars are designed on basic, sensible concepts.
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Old 08-31-2011, 04:24 PM
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yeah, take it to shop. If you haven't figured it out yet its time to let a professional do it.
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Old 08-31-2011, 04:32 PM
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For once I must disagree with Rosanne. Back in my hot rod days, if we didn't run a thermostat, we'd put restrictors in the inlet to keep the water from flowing too fast for the radiator to remove the heat. This may not be the problem here but the fact that it happens at speed is a flag. It may be that the thermostat was pulled in a misguided attempt to make it run cooler.
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by philiam View Post
For once I must disagree with Rosanne.

Just once??? Dang. I must be doing something wrong! I always defer to your significantly vaster knowledge of... well, of pretty much everything, Phil!
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by RMurphy View Post
Just once??? Dang. I must be doing something wrong! I always defer to your significantly vaster knowledge of... well, of pretty much everything, Phil!

Nah, I've just been around a lot longer.
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Old 09-01-2011, 01:04 AM
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Originally Posted by philiam View Post
For once I must disagree with Rosanne. Back in my hot rod days, if we didn't run a thermostat, we'd put restrictors in the inlet to keep the water from flowing too fast for the radiator to remove the heat. This may not be the problem here but the fact that it happens at speed is a flag. It may be that the thermostat was pulled in a misguided attempt to make it run cooler.
Yeah that's kind of what I've read. Ill be doing the pressure check as well to see if I'm loosing pressure. I've definitely had no problems since installig the thermostat though. And I've been purposefully driving it long stretches of highway to check it too.
I also think that the thermostat was pulled to have the car run cooler. From what I've read a lot of people still think it's truly beifficial.

So far for me, my car has had no heating problems since installing the thermostat though. We'll see how it looks tomorrow.
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