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Discussion Starter #1
This is just an interesting car.... So after blowing the head gasket, overheating the car, replacing the gasket, thermostat, idle control system, burping the car, and driving it for about a month it blew up again. Fortunately this time I was driving it.

Went to pick up daughter at church. Drove 20 miles down, parked, went in, came out, started up, got on the highway and suddenly there was water on my windshield. Bad. Jumped off the highway at the next exit and coasted into a Exxon station. Fortunately I had tools so I popped the hood to check.

I left the top hose clamp off in the event it overpressured and sure enough water blew out of there. I opened the bleeder valve and steam came up, let it steam while I went inside to pick up some antifreeze. When the steam stopped I opened the radiator, filled it with 3/4 gallon of stuff till the bleed valve was running antifreeze out, then closed the valve, put on the cap, turned the heat to 90 and started to drive home at low RPMs. Also no heat.

Within a mile the engine was running hot again so I stopped at a Royal Farms, same deal. Water was flashing to steam. This time after filling I decided to drive it at very high RPMs (5,000) and sure enough HEAT! Which meant that the engine was circulating water. Drove home with the temp going down from red to normal.

Once home I tried to use the funnel to burp the remaining air, but each time when the engine was started it would boil water out of the funnel. Then suck it in, then boil it out. I then shut down, filled it up, closed everything, and took it for a test drive. Sure enough high RPMs would keep water flowing and the engine at a sane temp.

I think the water pump is insane. However has anyone heard of a pump fail, then work for awhile, then fail again? The car has been running for about a month now and just decided to go insane again.
 

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So you blew the head gasket did you replace the head gasket and have the head machined since when it happened the head got warped, if not you need to replace the head gasket and get the head machined


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Discussion Starter #3
The head was flat, I checked that before replacing it. If it wasn't I probably would have dumped the engine as someone originally recommended. Would running the engine at high RPMs make the problem go away?
 

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Ok so what condition is the water pump in do you have good flow in both hoses put your hand on the hose and squeeze while revving the engine to see if it expands in your hand you may have a bad impeller and no flow which can cause you to have over heating but warm air from the heater at hi rpm. When you checked the head did you have less than .003 with a feeler gauge with a truing bar across the head in 6 places lengthwise did you have the head pressure tested?

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Do you think your head gasket blew again? if you have any doubts do a compression check. I don't have much advice other than checking for a blown HG. You could try filling it up with anti freeze and burping the air bubbles and hope for the best maybe. Make sure you are doing the whole bleeding procedure correctly and carefully
 

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It doesn't sound like you did the first head gasket repair correctly. Maybe it would be better to just get a used long block from someone. I think Honda Hybrid 442, just up the road from you, has one. For all this grief and pain, you could drive a few hundred miles and pick one up. I hope this isn't you only transportation.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ok so what condition is the water pump in do you have good flow in both hoses put your hand on the hose and squeeze while revving the engine to see if it expands in your hand you may have a bad impeller and no flow which can cause you to have over heating but warm air from the heater at hi rpm. When you checked the head did you have less than .003 with a feeler gauge with a truing bar across the head in 6 places lengthwise did you have the head pressure tested?
Condition of water pump is unknown. I tried to remove it during the repair however one of the bolts has a corroded head and would not budge. However in "this is odd" when the engine is idling and boiling the water out the bleeding funnel I can see that the bottom hose to the pump is cool, and when I would then run the RPMs up and feel it, it would get hot. Maybe it's another bad thermostat (replaced as a part of this) or something is completely insane.

When I replaced the thermostat I did stick my finger into the pump and felt the impeller. It was there and resisted finger pressure when I tried to turn the pump. So there is an impeller in there. Does anyone know if it's a press fit with a woodruff key? Straight press fit?

Head was flipped over on my bench, and the head to cylinder checked with a T square at the 4 corners diagonally across the head. I'd have to check to see which feeler gauge I used but it looked flat. It's possible there is a cylinder warp on the block or one of the piston sleeves, but I would expect over-pressure to get worse at high RPMs. Maybe not.

As for a long block, that is tempting, but so is putting this thing in cold storage till the spring. It's not a daily driver, was a gift from the dad who believes these cars will be worth a "lot" someday. I'd just be happy with a normal driver.

Frustrating, I just replaced the exhaust studs yesterday morning with shiny new Honda ones and Genuine Honda bolts.....
 

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Can you look down through the radiator fill hole and see what the tubes look like. I've heard that the radiators sometime choke up.
 

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...
(A) So after ... burping the car, and driving it for about a month it blew up again. Fortunately this time I was driving it.
...
(B) I left the top hose clamp off in the event it overpressured and sure enough water blew out of there.
...
(C) I opened the radiator, filled it with 3/4 gallon of stuff till the bleed valve was running antifreeze out, then closed the valve, put on the cap, turned the heat to 90 and started to drive home at low RPMs.
...
(D) Within a mile the engine was running hot again so I stopped at a Royal Farms, same deal. Water was flashing to steam. This time after filling I decided to drive it at very high RPMs (5,000) and sure enough HEAT!
...
(E) Once home I tried to use the funnel to burp the remaining air, but each time when the engine was started it would boil water out of the funnel. Then suck it in, then boil it out.
...
I just fixed an overheating problem on my CVT.

On (A), above, unscrew the cap of the coolant overflow tank. Is the tank full?

Is there a tube attached to the cap that extends to the bottom of the tank?

Does the tube make a snug fit so there is no way that air can be sucked in from where the tube is attached to the cap?

This tube is known to fall into the tank, and then when the engine is cooling, it draws in air instead of coolant. I have secured mine by fabricating barbs and wrapping with wire to keep the tube from loosening if it softens from heat.

On (B) I don't understand what hose clamp you are talking about. But every hose must be clamped in place because the cooling system develops considerable pressure when operating. If indeed you left a clamp loose or off, you will lose coolant. I suspect you are talking about something else, though, and that I don't understand what you mean.

On (C) that process alone is not enough to burp the coolant and leaves air in the system.

On (D) this could be several things but with any luck it is due to (C). You must do a compression test, but you may find you are OK.

On (E) the behavior you describe is what you may experience when properly burping the engine. This is a dangerous service because of the chance of burns from boiling-hot coolant and steam, so I am not going to describe it here.

To wrap, my car had a repeated overheating problem and the previous owner had the head gasket replaced. I flat-bedded it home where it overheated quite quickly on me and I feared another blown head gasket. Ultimately the cause was an improperly fitted replacement tube in the coolant overflow tank which allowed air to get sucked in at the cap instead of coolant during cooling. The original tube was found laying in the bottom of the tank. After a proper (but scary!) removal of air from the system, it runs fine. I observe the coolant tank level increase a bit - not excessively - after driving but return to the original level overnight (it takes that long to fully cool down).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, in the meantime before work I thought I'd take a few minutes and see if the car was trashed. So I went out (35 degree outside air temp), put the funnel on the burping tube, put a little antifreeze into it, and started up the car.

Brief spurt of air/whatever then calm. Filled funnel 1/2 way and watched as it would bubble a bit, then stop, then a stream of bubbles, then stop, etc. Added antifreeze to keep the funnel below halfway. Engine warmed up and I took a video I'll post to imgur. Basically it didn't spit, which is a positive thing as the engine exhaust doesn't seem to be pressurizing the water circuit through a blown head gasket.

Anyway after a bit I hopped in the car and the 90 degree heat was blowing cold with the engine at about 4 bars up on the temp gauge. Bad. I checked the lower radiator hose to the water pump and it was cold. Squeezed it and air bubbled out the funnel. Squeezed it more for a bit till air bubbles stopped and checked in the car. Bit of heat but not much. Note the hose to the radiator top was hot near the engine. Weird.

Nothing conclusive, but some more data. Next I'm going to get my infrared thermometer and see what the temps are and maybe take a picture/video of the engine with my seek IR camera. If it's not circulating I would guess I'd see a cold water pump and a hot engine (the water pump should circulate water through the block even with the thermostat closed, so it should match the temp at the top of the rear water manifold on the head).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Videos at:

Part 1. Note the engine hunt is due to a leak between the manifold and throttle body, new seals on way (had to replace because IAC failed in the first blow-out)

Part 2. Also fun to watch.

Now off to work for the day.....
 

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What does the compression test say? (On second thought, it may only reveal a gross leak; see suggestion #1 below.) Also, how about the coolant recovery tank? See my previous suggestions.

The bleeding process is not straightforward because the valve at the top of the engine is not at the highest point and/or there are points inside the engine/had that can trap air. So the coolant must get sufficiently hot to get the air to expand enough. The problem is that a lot of air in the system initially is going to cause a lot of coolant to be pushed out. When air comes with it, progress is being made. It takes multiple cycles to do this, and the engine needs to get hot for air to expand. Then when it cools it needs to draw in coolant to replace the air, which requires the engine to cool. After a few cycles of this the expansion will be less, and air will be released more slowly via bubbles moving through the system.

It is really important that the radiator cap is sealing properly and that there are no leaks and that the system can pressurize when it heats up and create a vacuum when it cools down so that it can draw back in coolant from the coolant recovery tank.

If there is even a pinhole leak - in the head gasket, in the radiator cap seal, in loose hose clamps, in the line to the coolant recovery tank, and in the seal between that line and the cap and the seal between the cap and the tube inside... then rather than the tube sucking coolant from the bottom of the recovery tank, air will get sucked in from somewhere else. It then might not overheat right away, but in a thousand or two or three miles.

The PO of my car dealt with this repeatedly for 10K miles and more $ than the car was worth. Someone did spot the missing tube in the recovery tank but fixed it with hard tubing which drew in air at the top of the tube instead of coolant at the bottom.

On second thought, this is what I would do if my car had continued to overheat had I not found the root cause after properly bleeding the air and the rest of the system was not actually intact):

1. Perform a long duration pressure (and vacuum) test of the cooling system to prove that it does not have a leak, even a pinhole leak, somewhere. Then find and fix the leak until it holds pressure and vacuum.

2. Do the compression test anyways.

3. Get a new radiator cap since the pressure test might not check this.

4. Replace the tubing between the radiator and overflow tank with the proper size tubing, and ensure an airtight seal, to eliminate it as a source of drawn in air.

5. Do the same for the tube inside the overflow tank. Ensure that the part of the tube that is integral to the cap is intact and not cracked.

6. Read the shop manual to understand how air bleeding works and acquire the tools to do it properly. In my little bit of experience there can be quite a bit of coolant flowing out if there is a lot of air expanding.

The first steps, though, are most important, because they use actual measurements to diagnose the issue. Lots of luck!
 

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Make damn sure you bleed the system this way EXACTLY:
DO NOT rely on the dash gauge for exact temperatures.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Willie:

I damn sure followed it to the letter as I assembled the car. Bit hard to do while in a gas station parking lot without a funnel, so we do with what we have.....

Interesting problem though: If there is a bubble down by the water pump then the lower temp sensor that turns on the fan will never see the water and will never get hot.

If the water pump wasn't such a bitch to remove I would have pulled it by now, as it stands I would have to remove the whole assembly to get it out, get the pulley off, and get those nuts drilled out. The amount of corrosion and stuck nuts on this car is epic in scale and scope.

I'll check engine compression this weekend (plugs out again....). The rubber tube was attached to the expansion tank lid, didn't check to see if there was anything missing there. Radiator cap is brand spanking new.
 

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Hi Czach,

You need to confirm that the coolant system will hold pressure or vacuum first. The cylinder compression test is not sufficient. A tiny leak will eventually lead to another overheat condition. Also inspect the overflow tank and tubing (see my prior two posts.)

The video does not show the situation where a lot of air can cause the funnel to overflow. It can lead to burns. The video also shows air almost being sucked back in.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Great information all, and I thank you for the data. Got home from work, got the IR thermometer out and went to work on the car.

Started up with antifreeze in the funnel and let the car warm up. Temps are measured either at the manifold, top radiator hose, bottom radiator hose, or the water pump housing (above the thermostat). I also would keep an eye on the temps going to and from the heater core.

Overall... Odd. Lot of bubbles, sometimes the funnel would be overflowing, then go to empty as I raced to dump in coolant or water. I really need a much bigger funnel, I wonder if I could get a beer bong and connect it up. I might just do that, then I can have a half gallon of coolant to go up and down as needed without pulling air or wasting endless amounts of antifreeze.

Temps were interesting as well. On the positive side the temps at the manifold would closely match the temps at the water pump housing, which probably means the pump is working. Good. However the bottom radiator hose was cold until the pump temp hit 210F, at which point it would drop to 160-170. Just before this would happen the water in the funnel would boil, then drop like a rock once the cooler water was admitted into the radiator. Normal?

Possible this car is meant to run the coolant under high pressure and normal is way above boiling at standard temp/pressure. That could explain why the front hose blew by.

Thoughts on using a lower temp thermostat? Maybe the one I have in there (Stant replacement) is high.

Ultimately I shut down after 20 minutes and one fan cycle. Capped the bleeder tube while it was spitting coolant. Inside temp did not warm up, however temps at the hoses were 120-130F in and 90 out. Maybe something else is wrong there.

Never dull.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hi Czach,

You need to confirm that the coolant system will hold pressure or vacuum first. The cylinder compression test is not sufficient. A tiny leak will eventually lead to another overheat condition. Also inspect the overflow tank and tubing (see my prior two posts.)

The video does not show the situation where a lot of air can cause the funnel to overflow. It can lead to burns. The video also shows air almost being sucked back in.
I really love the funnel. I'll see if I can get an adapter to hook up a compressor to do a pressure test, what PSI should I go to and how long should it hold (any recommendation on adapter)? I could also do a vacuum test, but wouldn't that cause the hoses to just collapse?
 

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Here are some pictures of my funnel setup.

Always connect to the pipe, it’s the highest point on the engine.

Run it until the fans kick on. You can add a little coolant as necessary.
Once the fans kick on, let it rest for a little bit.
Then run it a second time until the fan kicks on. Let it rest, top off coolant in the funnel to the top of the pipe, remove the funnel setup and cap the pipe.
83401


83402


83403


83404

Scott
 

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While we're under the hood there, where can I order the rubber cover that
fits over the pipe. I believe it is about 8 or 9 mm. Also, if it has a specific
name or description, that would be helpful to know.
 
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