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2003 Sebring lxi 6 cylinder auto tranny. Overheating issue.

I recently picked this car...
2003 Sebring lxi 6 cylinder auto tranny. Overheating issue. I recently picked this car as a project. It overheated badly I was told. I don't believe it affected the head gasket (I did a sizzle test and no sizzling detected just smoking oil). In the engine compatment on the passenger side I see a large area of gray residue on the hoses and hood insulation blanket. Without testing, I am assuming it is the coolant which sprayed out. I plan to do a pressure check of the system with the loaner system tool from the auto parts store. I opened the plastic pressure tank and there is no coolant inside. Do I check the pressure from here or is there another cap somewhere else (I'm used to Hondas and Toyotas)? What coolant do I use?
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Answered in 1 hour by:
11/18/2017
David Craig
David Craig, Auto Mechanic
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 4,174
Experience: Owner/Mechanic at 3D Automotive
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Hi my name is ***** ***** I'll be more than happy to assist you, Please allow me a few minutes to review your information. Thank you.

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You need to do a block test

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
I will once I get a little more coolant in the system. It looks like it blew its stack at the coolant outlet. Maybe even a hose there. I can send a photo when I go back to look at it tomorrow. Which coolant? The container is totally empty.

use universal coolant and first do a cooling system pressure test to see if there are internal or external leak, if not then do a block test to check for combustion gases in the coolant

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
Is there a connection on the radiator or do I go to the pressure tank to attach the testing kit?

the reservoir should have a pressurized cap. if it doesn't then there should be a radiator cap.

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
Ok. I’ll grab some Prestone 50/50 and fill it up a little before I crank it up. I’m pretty sure that coolant outlet where the sensor is failed. Seems to be common issue.

if it overheated badly, thats the least off your worries

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
Helping out a friend here. He wants to sell it if possible. Cost him 800 dollars to get it towed back home. It was a*****away. The oil is pretty dark (he's not known for being the best at maintaining cars). I put some of the oil on aluminum foil and heated it up a bit with my MAPP gas torch. Smoked, but no sizzling. Not the best test, but quick and easy. I'll pressurize tomorrow to see if I'm correct about the hose of coolant outlet housing. It sprayed a pretty big area. Looks like gray dust.

ok, well keep me posted on the pressure test. that will tell me a lot

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
What time are you normally on line? I’m in NC.

9am. i'm in pittsburgh

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
Ok. Thanks.

you bet.
Please note that customer satisfaction is my number one goal and rating this chat session 3 or more stars will keep the chat open for further follow up questions you may have. Also we can respond in this chat back and forth many times. I may be offline when you respond but I will promptly reply when I return.
Thank you for rating my assistance and for using Just Answer.

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hows it going?

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Customer reply replied 24 days ago
Didn’t make it to my friend’s house to check the car today. Constant fight with Frontier communications over my internet today. Bad service. I will make it tomorrow. I did manage to pick up the loaner pressure checking kit a little while ago at O’Reilly’s.

ok man, Ill be on tomorrow

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Customer reply replied 24 days ago
Thanks for your patience. Once I get home I’ll go ahead and pay. Out with my wife at the moment.

ok, thank you

David Craig
David Craig, Auto Mechanic
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 4,174
Experience: Owner/Mechanic at 3D Automotive
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thank you

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Customer reply replied 23 days ago
From the field report. Filled with coolant. Ran with pressure tank cap off. After revving and running say 10 minutes it boiled over. Gauge says normal. NO fans came on. I didn’t touch or measure the temp on hoses. Forgot my thermometer too. It boiled all over. Thermostat stuck?
Customer reply replied 23 days ago
Now for a better report. Alas, I didn't have my thermometer to measure the coolant temp. I didn't bring my little temp reader with the led light either, the one I can point at the hoses. I'm thinking stuck thermostat, clogged heater core, or restricted radiator with such violent boiling. The fans I need to check also. There were 4 wires for that system--two black and two blue. One of each color ran to each fan. Blue is probably power and black ground? I was going to tap into the battery with jumpers to see if if they ran and that would tell me an issue would be further upstream (bad relay, bad fuse, bad ground, bad wire, bad sensor, etc.). The battery has been dead for a long time and I spent most of my time trying to charge it. Took way to long to get enough juice so I jumped it until it ran. I have a video of how it sounds. It doesn't sound too bad to me. Can you play mp4 on your end? If not I can convert it to mp3 or wmv. Here are a couple of photos of the blow out area.

ok, first of all, you are still overheating, coolant is boiling out, and you haven't done a cooling system pressure test or a block test.

then you are not giving me straight answers on whether the upper and lower radiator hoses are the exact same temp and if the heater hoses going into the firewall are the exact same temp. I cannot help you if you cannot supply me with that information and have those tests done.

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Customer reply replied 23 days ago
I'll be doing the block test soon. I'll need to make sure my fluid for that is still good. Forgot that also. The pressure test kit I had didn't exactly fit well. I clamped off the pressure tank overfill line and pumped, but couldn't get it to hold pressure. I'll go to another auto parts place. I think AutoZone had the one with the most adapters.

ok, thats very important. both of those tests. its the basic starting point off these type of issues

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Customer reply replied 23 days ago
It should hold pressure around 15 or 16 psi? I know the cap is in poor shape. It had all kinds of cracks in the rubber seal. It's probably original.

a bad cap is a telltale cause of overheating.

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Customer reply replied 23 days ago
I noticed something else too. The oil was well within the proper margins on the dipstick with the car off because I checked it before I started. I ran the engine a while and checked it while it was running and the level was way down below the lowest level. Is that normal? Stop the engine and wait a few minutes she's back up to norm.

thats very normal, the oil is circulating through the engine. the dipsticks are calibrated or a non running engine

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Customer reply replied 23 days ago
OK, I'll keep working on the basics with the block and pressure testing.

ok, good

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Customer reply replied 22 days ago
Ran by my friend's house after work just now. I did the block test. I haven't had the chance to do the pressure check. The coolant was boiling over in the tank and was reading 213 degrees. Measured with a digital thermometer. Puffed and puffed with the block tester. Here's the photo. I measured the lower and upper radiator hoses as well as the thermostat housing with my hand held thermometer (I guess it's infrared). Upper hose was 180 degrees. Tstat housing was 165 degrees. Lower hose was 78 degrees. Yup, 78 degrees. Barely warm. All temps taken at the same time.

block test looks ok. lower hose temp not good. replace the cap with an oem one. do a radiator flow test.

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Customer reply replied 22 days ago
How do I do a radiator flow test?
Customer reply replied 22 days ago
Oh, still no fans coming on.

drain the radiator. remove the upper and lower hoses. get a garden hose and put it in the top of the radiator. the amount and and flow of water going into the top should be the same as coming out of the bottom.

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Customer reply replied 22 days ago
Simple enough. Where does the fan thermister reside? The coolant housing?

the coolant sensor?

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Customer reply replied 22 days ago
the one that controls the fans.
Customer reply replied 22 days ago
Makes sense. Next to the bleeder. Does it also control the gauge? I'm used to Hondas and Toyotas with an ECT and a single wire sensor for the gauge in the instrument cluster.

controls fans and sends signal to computer for indication

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Customer reply replied 22 days ago
If it is the radiator can they be cored out or get a new one?

new one is cheaper

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Customer reply replied 22 days ago
OK, when this is all said and done I promise a tip. I know JustAnswer takes a portion. Once I get into these things it's usually far more than what you're getting paid for.

thats cool man. I dont give a darn about money

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Customer reply replied 22 days ago
I believe in paying for expertise and time.

thanks

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head gasket brother. as long a you didnt let the end of the tester touch any coolant

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Customer reply replied 21 days ago
I must have really messed up last night then. In the dark and using a flashlight it appeared a little green. I did it the second time and it was blue.

how'd the flow test go?

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Customer reply replied 21 days ago
I only had time for the block test. This isn't looking so good. I'm going to try it one more time and make absolutely, positively sure no coolant got in the tube. It's beginning to look like the head gasket. Under the flashlight last night it was looking green. I repeated the test and it showed blue (the photo I sent you). I did try something else though. Got the coolant up to around 190. The upper hose was 180 and the lower around 88. I was able to get my laser light to read off the firewall side of the radiator in two spots. Engine was at the above temps. Facing the car, the upper left corner fin area was 174 and the upper right fin area was 84. Even more odd. I pulled the connector off the coolant sensor and the fans came on. Put it back on and they went off. I wanted to measure the resistance between the two pins of the sensor and had no reading. Totally open.

keep the sensor out. put heat on it and watch the temp gauge

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Customer reply replied 21 days ago
Are those fin readings a little odd?

very odd. cold spots on the radiator. = bad radiator

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Customer reply replied 21 days ago
That's what I thought. Saw a video where a guy took his radiator off and laid it on the bench. Filled it with hot water while it was lying flat. Felt the fins and colder near the lower opening. He measured temp with infrared thermometer and very noticeable difference near the lower opening. I figured I had nothing to lose doing it this way. Saved me from dumping all the antifreeze only to discover it could be good. I'm seriously thinking this has a small head gasket leak. Too bad. Even if I wanted to take all the time to do both heads, etc. it is almost cost prohibitive since I believe this motor is trouble prone. I figure for you to repair it I would be looking at least a grand.

close to it. yep

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Customer reply replied 21 days ago
Too bad I kind of like this little car. Probably a rippin' little vehicle. I'll run the block test one more time to triple check myself and if I see any green it will be a bust.

sounds good. and a little tip...(stay away from chrysler products)

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Customer reply replied 21 days ago
My main reason for not wanting to invest my friend's $$. Thanks.

you bet

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Customer reply replied 20 days ago
Here's the photo I took a little while ago. Bummer. I didn't realize that if it turned green and you left it alone for a while it would go back to blue. I ran the car until it just started to boil. No coolant nearby, just steam.

uggggh! head gasket!!

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Customer reply replied 20 days ago
I really wanted to rebuild this thing, but my gut says no due to the overall history of this particular engine. Parts alone wouldn't be too bad, but having the heads and valves done would probably 400 bucks for the two.

at least

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Customer reply replied 20 days ago
I think I'll put this to bed then. Can you turn on the "tip switch".

I have no idea how to do that...??? but thanks

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Customer reply replied 20 days ago
Wait, I see it at the top right.

thank you my friend

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Customer reply replied 20 days ago
Your welcome. I know JustAnswer takes a little chunk of it.

appreciate it. happy thanksgiving

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Customer reply replied 20 days ago
Ditto.
Customer reply replied 20 days ago
Sorry, I forgot to add this. So, what if I replace the radiator and throw in some head gasket sealer. At least it would run and may last a little longer. As is, my friend will probably sell it on Craig's List. He might get a little better price even when he discloses this. Of course, the full head gasket repair is the best solution. Stupid idea? I won't be insulted if you tell me it's lame brained. It wouldn't hurt the engine if he chose to do the head gasket job later.

use blue devil and sell it.

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broke many of those in my time. they get old and stress fractured.

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Customer reply replied 19 days ago
I guess this leaves the tstat and/or clogged heater core.
Customer reply replied 19 days ago
Do I necessarily have to get another tensioner?

not if you dont ever plan on needing to remove it for anything

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quit replacing parts my friend. the head gaskets ate done.

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are*

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Customer reply replied 9 days ago
I know. I know. Still playing with this car. It’s just for fun. I pulled the heater core hose off the coolant housing on top. Put hose in there and removed the other one. Flushed well through the heater core. Put it back on and opened the bleeder on top and disconnected the upper radiator hose. Pouring water in the reservoir and no flow. Can a coolant housing get blocked?

sure can

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Customer reply replied 9 days ago
Looks clear. It must be something with the tank?

pull it out

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Customer reply replied 9 days ago
Moved it over and removed the hose a bit. The hose goes to the tstat housing.
Customer reply replied 9 days ago
No tstat is in.
Customer reply replied 9 days ago
Good flow from the tank drain.

I dont know man, Im trying to do an engine replacement

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Customer reply replied 9 days ago
No problem. I’m calling it quits for the day. Gotta be a blockage somewhere. It should flow and fill at this point.

flush out the engine with high pressure nozzle

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Customer reply replied 9 days ago
I think I got it. No hose available so I hooked the pressure test kit up and gave her a pump or two. Maybe a BAAB? Big ass air bubble.

lol...yep

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Customer reply replied 9 days ago
Ran it at least 25 minutes with no cap or tstat. Started to boil over at the reservoir when the temp hit 195 at the reservoir. I had filled it with distilled water. Heater on high-fan too.

HEADGASKET

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Customer reply replied 9 days ago
It has just distilled water in it. What if I skip the flush and just add the Blue Devil?
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