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1997 Pontiac Grand prix: overheating..water pump raditor cap..heater…

We have a 1997 Pontiac...
We have a 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix GPS that is overheating. My husband has tried everything. Changed hoses, water pump raditor cap, themastat, and a little L shaped heater hose or something. Nothing has worked. Still overheats. Spikes up past 210 in just a mater of seconds. No coolant in Oil, not water in oil. Can you provide us with any answers or suggestions. Thanks
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6/26/2010
DoctorD
DoctorD, Auto Service Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 794
Experience: ASE Master, AAA State 1st place, Rotary Club, 20 years Exp.
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Have we checked cooling fan operation?
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
yes
Customer reply replied 8 years ago
yes

Ok,

Thermostat, new?

When running hot, And is it truly running hot or does just the gauge say its hot?

The gauges do fail is why I ask. I use an inferred temp meter to measure actual temp of the engine and compare it to scanner readings. You maybe able to tell by the feel of the hoses or boiling over and such. When it is hot feel the upper radiator hose compared to the lower hose, Do you notice a difference?

A difference would mean a flow problem which could be a faulty radiator or thermostat.

And just double check that there is no doubt that the belt could be installed incorrectly. I have seen them installed wrong causing the water pump to spin the wrong way.

Perform the above diagnosis and report findings back to me.

 

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
New water pump and hoses. New cap, new themastat. It's hot...water boils over out the catch can and radiator. Belt installed properly....
feel your hoses, and let me know if the lower hose is cold or hot
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
lower hose is hot as well as upper hose

ok,

when engine is cold. Start engine and observe how fast the cooling system develops pressure? as in the hose becomes hard. Also how long does it take to get to an overheated state? give me some times please

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Developes pressure within 3 to 4 min at idle. Once heated goes directly to the top of the gauge. It gets hot very, very fast.....within minutes.

Ok,

You most likely have a bad head gasket then. There is a special tool that a shop can measure any combustion gases within the cooling system. We need to perform this test for final diagnosis.

Head gaskets do fail on 3.8L and is some-what common.

 

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
There is not oil in the water and no water in the oil and shows good compression. Got any other answers before husband pulls the heads.
That can all be true and still apply. I would not pull heads until you have performed a combustion gas test.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Where is a combustion gas test performed?How is this done?
Its a tool that you put a chemical in, hook it to the top of the radiator and then apply vacuum to the tool. Then run the engine and the chemical will change color with the presence of combustion gases. If positive you know you have a leak in the head somewhere. Is usually a very good test. Although I have to say its not foolproof and have seen it wrong a few times.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
I guess that is our last resort. Can this tool be purchased at a local parts house?

think so. Here is a simple example of one on this link below.

combustion gas tester

DoctorD
DoctorD, Auto Service Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 794
Experience: ASE Master, AAA State 1st place, Rotary Club, 20 years Exp.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Thank You for all of your help. I guess we will do that test and change head gasket.....
good luck!
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