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Edward
Edward, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Volvo
Satisfied Customers: 2857
Experience:  I've had 10 years of experience on the car line at 2 Volvo dealerships, Quality level Volvo tech.
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Volvo 960: My 1996 Volvo 960 is overheating within 2 min of

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My 1996 Volvo 960 is overheating within 2 min of being on. It is draining all of the radiator fluid right when it turns on

Edward :

Hello and thanks for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do all I can to help.

Edward :

Let me first ask, do you know where this coolant leak is coming from?

Customer:

There is no coolant leak

Customer:

or iI dont see one

Edward :

alright, the question states that "It is draining all of the radiator fluid right when it turns on". Is that not the case now?

Customer:

ok the vehicle is holding the radiator fluid. then the radiator fan will turn on and the coolant basically drains out.

Customer:

where it drains to I dont know

Customer:

there is no puddle or anything under the car

Edward :

Alright, Does this happen everytime?

Customer:

yes, just started

Customer:

the radiator light is on in the car

Edward :

Alright, This is a typical symptom of a head gasket leak.

Customer:

so it is overheating

Edward :

What happens is the cooling system builds up pressure and blows the coolant out. The engine's compression stroke pressurizes the cooling system.

Edward :

What I would recommend before doing anything else, is smelling the coolant tank cap. If it smells like gas/crankcase vapor, (smell your oil dipstick, if the coolant cap smells anything like that, then likely the headgasket has failed). then I would get a block test done.

Edward :

A block test is a test that pulls coolant vapors in through a test liquid, the liquid will change color if hydrocarbons (gasoline) are detected in the cooling system. If so, you have a headgasket leaking.

Customer:

that is obviously worse case scenario. Someone said that it might be a cooling sensor issue. Could that be the case

Edward :

With the cooling coming out, (especially within 2 minutes) I feel that the system is being pressurized.

Edward :

Usually an engine will take at least 10 minutes to get up to operating temperature.

Edward :

Does your temperature gauge indicate at overheating issue within 2 minutes?

Customer:

the guage I believe is normal not in the red

Edward :

Alright, Before doing anything else, I would get a block test done, as the cooling system should not be getting pressurized enough to come out of the system.

Edward :

also, if you turn on the A/C, the cooling fan should operate. Double the check the fan motor for operation. it's possible if the fan motor is locked up, that could cause the issue, but again, I wouldn't think so within 2 minutes of first starting.

Customer:

this all started when i recharged my a/c

Edward :

alright, If you turn the A/C off, and the defroster OFF. The complete climate control system off, does it still have this problem. ?

Customer:

if it is idling the vehicle does not over heat or leak

Customer:

only when i press on the gas

Edward :

Alright, I understand. Check The upper hose by hand and see if it is cold to the touch, and then warms up when the thermostat opens after about 5 minutes of the engine idling. If it does, then the thermostat is opening up. I would replace the thermostat first, (as that is only about 10-20 dollars at a local auto parts store and easy to replace. Also, I would perform a block test, or sniff the overflow jug with a 4 gas analyzer to check for a headgasket leak. I really believe you might have a headgasket leaking on this one.

Customer:

ok thanks when I go to the auto part store what do I ask them for. and where can I get a block test done at?

Edward :

There is a kit sold at places like Auto Zone, Advance etc. just ask them for a block test, or headgasket leak indicator test. they'll know what your talking about. If your coolant cap smells like the oil dipstick too, that's a sign.

Customer:

And just asked them for a thermostat for the radiator

Edward :

That is correct.

Customer:

Thank you

Edward :

I hope it's not a headgasket, but with those symptoms it maybe. and if it is, don't want to put any money into anything else on the car.

Customer:

ok

Edward :

I would go ahead and put a thermostat in it first though.

Customer:

ok

Edward :

Thank you. Let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer:

thanks again

Edward :

Thank you.

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