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'02 Impala 3.4L, 185k: Running HOT !
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ColtHero
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:00 pm    Post subject:  '02 Impala 3.4L, 185k: Running HOT ! Reply with quote

'02 Impala 3.4L, 185k: Running HOT !

[b]Full Disclosure: [/b]This thing has had a coolant leak for a few months now, and without both time and energy to get to it, I've been just filling with mostly water, but enough coolant to prevent freeze damage (although this car is in the Carolinas where freezing is not much of an issue). Leak seemed to be coming from firewall side of engine, but I haven't been able to determine exactly where. Water *sometimes* comes down like a waterfall with more than one stream, but then other times, it doesn't appear to leak at all! Really weird.

Anyway, while I was away for 10 days, wife *claims* car "overheated" on a short 2 mile trip to place where she runs. "Overheated" means engine temp went to the far right, but she shut off the engine and never saw any "steam" coming out of engine compartment. Car had plenty of water in it at the time.

So I just checked it out and here's what I found:

1.) On short neighborhood test drive, Engine temp rose quickly to 225 F.

2.) Popped hood and heard loud "SHHHHhhhhhhh" noise coming from cavity between Alternator and Power Steering Pump, but couldn't see any obvious liquid leaking anywhere. Top of engine *does* have sooty 'blemishes' on aluminum intake, which is something that seemed to be getting more noticeable lately, but that's it. Also some damp stains on "V" seal on side of block where intake gaskets are, but no liquid oozing out.

3.) LOW COOLANT Message appearing in cluster, but this might be dirty sensor (seen this before). But this was also symptom of intake gasket failure previously.

4.) Radiator cap reasonably clean underneath. No 'sludge' or 'muddy' residues.

5.) Top radiator hose got HOT during short drive, but bottom hose was STONE COLD. This means bad radiator, right?

6.) Intake gaskets replaced in May 2008 @ 104,980 miles. I used Felpro 'metal-framed' gaskets, also replaced all lifters, all disturbed o-rings (injectors, fuel rail, coolant bypass, oil pump drive, t-stat housing pipe), both valve cover gaskets, T-Stat, plugs, wires). Re-used old intake bolts, using blue threadlocker.

7.) Engine sounds and runs OK otherwise.

8.) Plenty of water in overflow tank.

9.) Radiator was replaced 4 years ago, Nov 2010, (Advance Auto, ReadyRad) at 140,700 miles. Might be able to get 1 free replacement if it turns out it has failed internally.

10.) Computer Codes: P0102, P0442
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PushrodPower
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:26 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Check for air in the system.

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lostwrench
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:55 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

You are going to have to make a more thorough visual inspection to find the leak. A small mirror and a strong flashlight will help.
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ColtHero
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2015 5:17 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

What do you think of this (for a pressure test)?

http://www.harborfreight.com/r.....61666.html

Would this work well enough, or should I purchase something more substantial?

PushrodPower:

I was thinking of filling with water/coolant then opening the bleeder valve near T-Stat to get air out, then seeing if that lower hose gets hot. But if that hissing continues, fluid will probably start shooting out, right?

lostwrench:

Like I said, I've *seen* it leaking from the firewall side of the block, but I can't tell *exactly where* (because the leaking is so general and appears widespread, although the fluid might be getting deflected, making it *look* worse than it really is). Maybe the pressure test would create a more 'controlled' leak that I could more positively identify?? At times it hasn't leaked *at all*, but I'm thinking (now) that this is due to an air pocket in the system - which is why it's overheating.
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Grape
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:11 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

my guesses:

1.) bleed the lines
2.) check the seams on the coolant overflow reservoir
3.) coolant flush & fill & replace thermostat & any old looking hoses

my 3.4 had the first 2 issues happen. (Bad seam on the coolant reservoir bottle & air in the system) and had the thermostat fail somehow.. so we had it replaced

my 3.8 needed a coolant flush and fill b/c previous owner had used cheap coolant and the lines were all gunked up.

2 Cents

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ColtHero
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:30 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Grape:

I'm going to rent a pressure test kit this weekend and see what that reveals. The plastic tank may very well have a tiny trickle leak. We'll see. And the only hoses I've ever replaced were the upper and lower radiator hoses (when radiator was replaced 4 years ago), and that short elbow hose on the top front that's known to leak. Maybe there's another hose with a sneaky leak on the backside that's quickly vaporizing? Can't see it if there is. Maybe pressure test will reveal it.

Thanks for the input and I'll let you know how it goes with the test!
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:54 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

im going to go out on a limb and say check your water pump. it could be broken or slow flowing and this would cause the overheat. the reason im thinking this is if the top hose was hot that means the thermostat is working and the only other restriction would be the water pump. might be what you heard when you popped the hood, and when they go bad they usually leak out of a weep hole on the bottom of the pump.

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ColtHero
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 11:08 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Irish_alley:

The pump was just replaced last June at 182,932 miles. That was the 2nd replacement since factory. First replacement was in summer 2006. I'm thinking the pump is OK and I may have jumped to conclusions thinking there was a blockage in the radiator. Might not have waited long enough.

Did the pressure test today and got it up to 14+ lbs (15 lbs on cap). A stead stream of coolant came out at the very bottom, but I couldn't see exactly *where* the leak was coming from. Couldn't see any obvious leakage from the top anywhere (no hoses, no radiator, not even along the "V" seal of the intake gaskets). From underneath, looking up toward the passenger side fender and the plastic overflow tank, I could see a steady stream of water falling from the very corner of the front of the block onto the undercarriage box frame, then draining out in multiple places in a "waterfall" like effect.

Does coolant flow through the front cover on this engine (like it does on my '97 Taurus)?? I just did a front cover gasket on *that* engine last March, and this looks like it might be the same problem. I'm going to pull the wheel well covers tomorrow to see if that gives me a better view of the leak source because, like I said - can't see anything from the top. Everything looks fine from there.

Trying to upload picture ... I guess you need an ImageShack account??
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:55 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

ColtHero wrote:
Trying to upload picture ... I guess you need an ImageShack account??


Imageshack will work.. I used to use photobucket..

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 11:44 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

I have done several front cover gaskets on these 3.4L vehicles. Pull the alternator off and look there.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:37 am    Post subject:  Re: '02 Impala 3.4L, 185k: Running HOT ! Reply with quote

ColtHero wrote:
'02 Impala 3.4L, 185k: Running HOT !
\
10.) Computer Codes: P0102, P0442



P0442 is gas cap


check for cracks in the rubber seal

Intake elbow ?

one of mine are busted and the water just pours out as soon as the engine started

only makes it to 1/2 way before it shuts down cylinders to 4 or 2 cylinder low power mode
Not sure but it sounds like crap


The only thing that is not leaking on the car is the gas tank and transmission( took em 5 tries to get it "right") Shocked
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:39 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

OK - I've got some glacial 'progress' to report. Before ripping anything apart, I decided to do a compression test today. Figured it was good information, right? Keep in mind that this engine starts right up and runs like a clock with no unusual noises (other than the hissing and water seepage noises coming from between the alternator and power steering unit at the very top of the engine, which I've yet to find the source of):

Here are the compression test results (BTW: each cylinder was 'cranked' for *about* 5 seconds, and each pressure was timed for at least 5 minutes afterwards to see if it held):

Front side (Right To Left):

Cylinder #6: 185 lbs/in2, and held solid

Cylinder #4: 190 lbs/in2, and held solid

Cylinder #2: 185 lbs/in2, and held solid

Firewall side (Right to Left):

Cylinder #5: 185 lbs/in2, and held solid

Cylinder #3: 190 lbs/in2, and held solid

Cylinder #1: 180 lbs/in2, but *seemed to* leak very slowly down to 175 lbs/in2 after about 1 HOUR

So - what does this mean? Is my head gasket probably OK? I was worried about cylinder #1 - that's why I did it last, and was surprised to see the pressure reading seemingly OK. Although there *does* seem to be *some* leakage there, does this warrant a head gasket job?

===================
Forgot to add:

Coolant recovery tank was bubbling like a fish tank (~3 big bubbles per second), and the plugs all came out intact with the center electrodes all looking just fine, BUT - there was whitish residue on the "elbows" ... but we already know there's a coolant leak, so these symptoms just verify that, correct?
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:10 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Here is an old school method of checking for a bad head gasket, if you have access to an air compressor.

Gear up a air fitting to the end of your compression tester hose (from the removed gauge end)

Remove plug and make sure piston is at the bottom of the power stroke (both valves will be closed)

Install hose and apply 100 psi. If you have a bad gasket, bubbles will start to come out of the radiator. make sure it is full btw

sorry I'm a bit crude hope you can figure out what I mean.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 8:39 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

BigGog60:

Yes, I think I understand this. Was also mentioned elsewhere but I had questions.

How do I get piston to point where both valves are closed? Is this the thing that's done with all plugs out then turning engine by hand until I see what to indicate at correct location? Do I use the screwdriver trick to track piston movement?? I remember doing something like this on my Taurus when replacing CamShaft Synchronizer. Couldn't get the screwdriver thing to work due to the angle into the hole. Wouldn't move up and down but instead just lay down and jam against piston. Ended up just using compression tester hose with balloon or plastic wrap with elastic on end to tell (IIRC)
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:05 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

With all plugs removed it does make turning engine over by hand more easy. With the valve cover removed, you can see if both valve are closed . You do understand the four stroke cycle, Intake-Compression-Power- Exhaust ? With a finger in the plug hole you can feel the Compression stroke. as long as the piston has come all the way to the top, when you apply compressed air, it will drive it down to the bottom. If you hear air leaking, the piston has gone down to the start of the compression stroke again. If any of this makes any sense Laughing

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