Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:47 pm Post subject: car overheating and suspect transmission
I've been a member here for a while and have really come to appreciate the amount of knowledge that is on this board and when i can, i will give back...but today, I'm stumped.
I have a 2005 base Imp that has 240,000 km (60% of the mileage is highway driving) and it's been overheating like crazy on me. I know that there's the problem with LIM and I have already replaced the LIM gasket. Didn't have much choice in the matter really with the amount of white smoke coming from my car - made my garage look like a metal band show. I have also replace the water pump, thermostat (even removed it completely), and rad cap. The radiator looks good in the sense that the fins aren't falling away from the rad when you run your fingers across them but I haven't checked if they are still attached to the rad channels.
I know that there's nothing mixing with the coolant as well - oil hasn't milk shaked on me and there's nothing in the trans fluid which has been changed twice since I've owned the car.
The reason I think it's the trans is that when I'm driving on a reasonable flat course with the odd hill, it's fine. But when I hit and area where your climbing up and down with 8-10% grade hills, my temp spikes - and fast.
The last time i changed my trans fluid, it was burnt pretty badly - didn't have much red left in that fluid. I'm also starting to get some pretty harsh starts from a red light - light turns and you step on the gas and you can feel the slipping and about 1/2 second later, the trans engages...hard. I haven't run Sea-Foam'd in it yet but at this point, I'm not sure if it's worth wasting it on the beast.
If it is my torque converter going, which i think it might very well be - considering I did the LIM gasket myself - how much more pain am I in for by dropping the trans and doing it myself?
I don't know the issue with the car but can maybe provide some input on the situation anyway.
It'd be good to mention that you have a 3.4L and not a 3.8L in this car - the lim is synonymous, at least in my mind, with the 3.8L and others may assume the same.
You removed the thermostat entirely from the cooling system? I would expect that is not good for warming the engine up in wintertime here in Ontario.
As for the issue at hand, I'd be suspect of the cooling fans not coming on. When driving on smooth roads at higher speeds, you're probably getting sufficient cooling via the air dam below the car creating high/low pressure zones on each side of the radiator: but when driving slowly in traffic or working the engine harder going up hills, your temps are going to shoot up - especially in the heat we're having.
I'm not entirely familiar with the transmissions because I've never pulled apart an automatic without supervision from a friend, but I don't think a failing converter will drive your engine temps up, unless it's causing your engine RPMs to go up, as well.
Hopefully this helps/makes sense. Had a baby Sunday AM and I'm running on next to no sleep.
I would say you fried your transmission fluid pretty bad from overheating, changing won't do much if your clutches are shredded. As far as overheating up hill, I would bleed the system again if you didn't the first time and check the fans. By the way, spiking temps means only half way up the gauge? In the red?
Thanks for the replies so far and sorry for not including enough info about the car - It's the 3.4l V6.
To Lingenfelter - i'm not really worried about my car warming up right now...especially with the heat wave that we've had around here. To be honest, I pulled the thermostat so I try eliminating the coolant system. Forgot to add Congrats!
To SuperImpala00 - The overheating that iI mentioned going up a hill is 3/4 of my gauge - enough to make me worried about it.
The commentary on removing the thermostat was only for future (pre-winter) consideration. Running all the time is probably doing your car a bit of a favor given that it has a tendency to run hot right now.
I maintain that you should check for proper operation of the fans and agree with the above post suggesting to bleed any potential air bubbles in the cooling system.
If your trans fluid is in poor shape, presumably there is an issue there as well, but I can't provide any input on that, really. I think you have a cooling system (or fan) system issue, as well as some sort of transmission problem.
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