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Old 07-11-2008, 09:24 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by 1993CivicVX View Post
it started off cool even though it was quite warm out.
I'm hoping/assuming that the heater started off cool because the engine had been off for a while, and therefore was cool.

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when it got hot it was very hot to the point it was burning my ankles
That might be close to normal. If I ran my heater on a hot day, and was wearing shorts, it would be enough to make my ankles pretty uncomfortable.

But I guess you're saying it stayed hot, and you never reached a point where the heater started putting out cool air. If the air stayed warm the whole time (aside from the beginning, when the engine had just been started from a cold start), I think that would be a reason to be optimistic, because I think it tends to mean that you never ran dry.

The general dynamic of overheating is that it tends to accelerate, like a vicious cycle, where a small problem can rapidly become much larger. Let's say you have a small leak, so you lose a little coolant, gradually. You could drive this way for a long time and not notice. But let's say that one day you put more demands on the motor (like lots of idling in traffic after the Boss concert). Now the engine gets hotter, and your weak cooling system suddenly can't keep up, and now the extra heat tends to boil away your remaining coolant. Now your weak cooling system suddenly became weaker. Before you know it, the cooling system is dry, and your heater is producing cool air, while your engine temp is rising rapidly.

It depends on how your temp gauge works (basically, where the sender is located), but sometimes what I've seen in this situation is that the temp needle climbs past the red, and gets pegged at maximum, and then starts dropping, right when the heater starts putting out cool air. The dropping needle is a really bad sign, because it's another indication that the cooling system has been boiled dry (like a pot left untended on top of a stove). The temp gauge starts reading cool even though the engine is super-hot, because there is no coolant to carry heat from the engine to the location of the sending unit.

Like I said, it depends on the design/location of the sending unit. But aside from that, cold air from the heater (when you know the engine is already plenty hot) is a big danger sign to be aware of.
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Old 07-12-2008, 05:15 AM   #52
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I never saw the needle go past the red line. Like my fuel tank and other gauges, there is always a little room on either end of the E line and the F line, so maybe on my car the hot gauge could have gone hotter. I never saw any leaks underneath my car. The more I analyze this the more I think the worst damage either happened coming out of the Boss concert or when my friend borrowed the car since I have no way of knowing how bad he overheated. I remain optimistic, though, since I drove 1000+ miles after my friend drove it before the coolant went Old Faithful out the top of the rad cap again. The fact that the recurring theme here is that the coolant builds up too much pressure to contain is an indication of which part of the cooling system not working right? the Thermostat? Also, not sure that my rad fan ever comes on--not sure how much that would effect this situation given how I drive: (as my friends say "drive the car!" since I putter along instead of giving it gas)
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Old 07-12-2008, 08:28 AM   #53
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A couple of observations:

1. 1993CivicVX: From what I've seen, it doesn't sound like your mechanic is too far out of line. If the rest of the car is in good shape (I see you're back east, not out here in {insert your deity here}'s country), and you like it, no matter what you do, it's going to cost just what a few payments on a new one would cost. Unless you really WANT a new car (which, IMHO, is just about the only valid excuse for 95% of people to buy a new car...few people really NEED one), it's much cheaper to take your car to a mechanic you trust.

2 I am neither a professional mechanic, nor do I play one on TV, however for me doing rear brakes, replacing radiators, etc., are no problem. For many of the other people here, same thing. We tend to think: "Well, jeez...radiator, 80 bux. Thermostat, 5 bux. Gasket, 2 bux. New hoses, 20 bux. Anti-freeze (low toxicity, of course, let's try not to hurt the cats), 10 bux. An hour of labor (three if I **** off). To me it seems like a no-brainer. But...give me a bunch of computer code to debug, a hernia to repair, a calculus problem, a depressed person to try to cheer up, a diaper to change, or a fridge full of stuff from which to make dinner, and I'm completely daunted. Some people are good at one thing, some are good at another.

I had an overheating problem many years ago with a '72 Mazda RX-2. That's one engine that, if you overheat it, it's toast. Aluminum rotor housing expands against cast-iron plates and bolts. When it cools, it may run, but it'll leak coolant and overheat easily again. Regular piston engines are more forgiving, especially '62 Studebaker six-cylinder cast-iron (was that still a flathead?) engines.
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Old 07-12-2008, 08:41 AM   #54
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I never saw the needle go past the red line. Like my fuel tank and other gauges, there is always a little room on either end of the E line and the F line, so maybe on my car the hot gauge could have gone hotter. I never saw any leaks underneath my car. The more I analyze this the more I think the worst damage either happened coming out of the Boss concert or when my friend borrowed the car since I have no way of knowing how bad he overheated. I remain optimistic, though, since I drove 1000+ miles after my friend drove it before the coolant went Old Faithful out the top of the rad cap again. The fact that the recurring theme here is that the coolant builds up too much pressure to contain is an indication of which part of the cooling system not working right? the Thermostat? Also, not sure that my rad fan ever comes on--not sure how much that would effect this situation given how I drive: (as my friends say "drive the car!" since I putter along instead of giving it gas)
On any car there is not many things that cause to much pressure. Seeing that the heat works, water pump should be okay. Head/head gasket is questionable. On these honda engine the tstat is in the lower hose at the back of the motor. If it doesnt open the cars run hot because no water is making it through the rad and the cooling fan turns on really LATE!!! So no heat of the rad. Ive been doing cooling systems for 25+ yrs. So I speak from experience.

Radiator necks dont normally break off without a bunch of heat. Now the car is leaking again in the area of the cap. Is underneath the cap area MELTED or deformed? Or is the tank have a long crack? Not trying make a mountain out of mole hill, but to me combustion gas leaking into the cooling system is supect. If the blocktest fluid, test come out good. Put a rad and tsat and be done with it.

John
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Old 07-12-2008, 10:20 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by 1993CivicVX View Post
I never saw the needle go past the red line.
I think that's probably a good sign. If the heat was really severe, I think you would have seen the needle pegged past the red line.

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maybe on my car the hot gauge could have gone hotter
Exactly. That's what I think.

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I never saw any leaks underneath my car.
That doesn't mean too much, one way or another. Depending on the nature of a leak, it might mostly come out only while you're moving. There's no substitute for checking the level in a careful, deliberate way, on a regular basis.

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The fact that the recurring theme here is that the coolant builds up too much pressure to contain is an indication of which part of the cooling system not working right?
I think I said earlier that a bad cap could cause that. Trouble is, in this kind of situation one thing leads to another. For example, a bad cap could lead to coolant loss, which could lead to overheating, which could lead to even more coolant loss. Etc. So it's possible (not necessarily likely) that you started with nothing worse than a bad cap, but neglect led to other problems.

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not sure that my rad fan ever comes on
In my car, the fan almost never comes on. But I've tested it, and I know it works.

The tricky thing is that it's normal for it be off most of time (at least in my driving conditions), but when the motor needs it, it better come on! If not, that could lead to trouble. In other words, there could be a big difference (in the life of your motor) between the fan being off 99% of the time, as compared with being off 100% of the time. One problem is that we're not really sure that your fan works. But I'm guessing that it probably does.

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my friends say "drive the car!" since I putter along
Tell your friends that if they want to give you gas money then you'd gladly demonstrate that your car is capable of neck-snapping acceleration (if you're driving downhill while carrying a bunch of passengers).
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Old 07-12-2008, 10:23 AM   #56
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JoeBob, I like everything you said in your comment. You came up with an interesting list of diverse human skills.

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was that still a flathead?
No, it was a plain-vanilla OHV. I guess like a slant-6 except not slanted. And definitely 100% cast-iron, like you said. There was probably close to zero aluminum under that hood.

But before I was old enough to drive, my older brothers and my dad went through various decrepit 50s-era flatheads ("L-heads"). I can't remember exactly which was which, but we had at least one or more of each the following, at one time or another: Chrysler, Packard, Hudson. I remember helping to yank a head or two on flathead engines. I think we even had a straight-8 flathead.

At the time we had them, they were old enough that no one wanted them. Not old enough to be classic.

Back to our Studebaker period. That 4-door '62 Lark (straight-6) was nice, but later I had a much nicer car: a '63 2-dr sedan, V-8 (259ci, 2-bbl, automatic). That car had very nice performance and was a lot of fun to drive. I even rolled it once.

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'72 Mazda RX-2
A guy in my neighborhood has one. It might be exactly that year. It's immaculate. It almost never comes out of the garage. It makes a very nice sound. I've never had an opportunity to meet the guy and talk to him about it.
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Old 07-12-2008, 10:54 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by 1993CivicVX View Post
I would hope he would notice that? All he said was that the motor was smoking when he pulled into the driveway and he didn't notice the temp gauge (he didn't think to look!???). I consider him a fairly intelligent bloke and to be mechanically minded
Even your best friends, and even the ones who are very smart, cannot be trusted to operate your car correctly. I had at least two (maybe more) people return my Grand Am to me with the rear brakes red hot and smoking, complaining of lack of power (but still having gotten to their destination and back), because they didn't notice that the handbrake was on (despite the fact that it's in the way of your arm and there's a red light that says "Brake").
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Old 07-12-2008, 11:17 AM   #58
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Even your best friends, and even the ones who are very smart, cannot be trusted to operate your car correctly.
My wife never learned to drive a stick. As I was planning to get the VX, I figured I would teach her. But when I discovered how much I like the car, I decided she doesn't need to learn. She's actually a very good driver, but I figure I might as well not tempt fate.

When they get to be the right age I'll teach my kids, though. At this point I let them shift for me from the passenger seat.
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Old 07-12-2008, 12:12 PM   #59
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When they get to be the right age I'll teach my kids, though. At this point I let them shift for me from the passenger seat.
That experience as a child may have been a major part of my interest in vehicles in general, and is definitely responsible for me having a manual transmission (and getting better FE) now.

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I decided she doesn't need to learn. She's actually a very good driver, but I figure I might as well not tempt fate.
LOL. I tried to help teach my wife. She didn't want to believe me when I told her to shift. I'd say "Shift.


Please shift now.


Please?


You're going to blow up my engine if you don't shift.


Why aren't you shifting?


SHIFT!!!!" but she refused to shift. She had been taking lessons with her father, who was teaching her in an old beat-up Chevy S10, which was loud as hell and vibrated as if the engine was mounted directly to the seat, and she insisted that the tachometer is meaningless and she should only shift when she hears/feels that the engine is going really fast. Well, it's quiet and smooth, and she's bouncing off the rev limiter without it being loud enough for her...not to mention, while you may have to bring it up to 4000rpm to get into the next gear in that S10, 2000rpm is more than enough for the torquey car.

Then, later, she's down below 20mph still in 5th gear and I'm begging her to shift again and she refuses. I like low RPM and making use of that torque, but she had it below idle...by the time I convinced her to shift, it had struggled back into a decent RPM and she shifted out of what was now the correct gear.

If she'd shift first and ask questions later, that'd be fine.

The only real wear I worried about, besides 6200rpm, was her inability to understand the concept of the handbrake, how you must release it if you intend to go anywhere, and you must set it if you intend to exit the car. That, and the other bad habit her dad taught her, a wild exaggerated version of wiggling the shifter sideways to determine if you're in neutral or not. She did it as part of every shift, she'd shift out of gear, slam it side to side 5 or 10 times, then look for her gear. Besides taking forever, by the time she got in the next gear she needed to be back in the previous gear...

She did manage to be good with the clutch, but I already have patience for someone failing with that; it's easy for me to identify with it. I just can't identify with not knowing when to shift -- probably because dad let me shift when I was little.
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Old 07-12-2008, 03:20 PM   #60
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[QUOTE=monroe74;110765 I even rolled it once.


That's no fun. I rolled a MG Midget back in 1981.
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