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Edward, Service Technician
Category: Saturn
Satisfied Customers: 3142
Experience:  20 + years experience on various makes and models.
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It keeps overheating. I changed the thermostat twice.

Customer Question

It keeps overheating. I changed the thermostat twice. Flushed all the coolant lines and changed the radiator. It acts like there is blown head gasket but there isn't any coolant in the oil or any leaking out the tail pipe.
JA: Leaks can get messy. The Saturn Mechanic will know what to do. Are you hoping to fix this yourself?
Customer: Yes I am
JA: Great! What have you tried so far?
Customer: Thermostat twice. Flushed all the coolant lines. Changed the radiator.
JA: Is there anything else the Saturn Mechanic should be aware of about your Saturn?
Customer: When it overheats I can bleed the air out and the coolant returns to normal temperatures.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Saturn Mechanic about your situation and then connect you two. I'll let you know when it is your turn.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Saturn
Expert:  Edward replied 1 year ago.

Hello, Eddie here and I will do all I can to help. When you say "bleed the air out" Does the cooling system get air in it while the engine runs? Also, Does the coolant smell like fuel or have that combustion smell going on? Headgasket can leak between the combustion chamber and a coolant passage, so you may not notice an milkshake in the oil, and you may not notice any real smoke out the tailpipe either. A block test would confirm this, where coolant vapors are pulled into a test liquid, and if the liquid changes colors, (usually blue to yellow or green) that means hydrocarbons are in the coolant. Let us know. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It seems to get air in when it cools. I can bleed the air out and drive it for the rest of the day without any problems. The next day I start the car up it over heats and I have to bleed the air out again. Also coolant goes into the overflow tank and it is foamy.
Expert:  Edward replied 1 year ago.

Alright I follow you, does it smell like combustion at all? like the oil dipstick is what it will kind of smell like sometimes when the head gasket has failed.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sometimes I have a coolant smell inside the car when the air is blowing. That is the only smell I get. It doesn't happen all the time. Just sometimes.
Expert:  Edward replied 1 year ago.

Take the radiator cap off of it, and smell the radiator cap. A block test is what you need really, but sometimes you can smell that combustion in the coolant.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I understand doing a block test. The only problem with that is coolant starts bubbling up out of the radiator cap almost immediately when the car starts. If there is coolant in the radiator it will bubble into the block tester. Could it possible be a worn water pump causing that?
Expert:  Edward replied 1 year ago.

If it's doing that, then I believe you will find it has blown a head gasket, overheating, coolant bubbling up out of the radiator as soon as it starts, that means air is getting into the coolant, and the only place it can get into the coolant at is the headgasket. I believe you will need a new headgasket to fix it. I hate to be the bearer of bad news there. But unfortunately you have all the symptoms of a blown headgasket.

Expert:  Edward replied 1 year ago.

Another way to tell, is if you can find a shop with a 4 gas analyzer like the old analyzers we used to use to inspect cars with when we stuck the sniffer in the tailpipe. Some shops have them, then you put the sniffer over the radiator cap open and you can read hydrocarbons in the coolant that way.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your help and I'll let you know how it goes with the head gasket.
Expert:  Edward replied 1 year ago.

Alright, thank you. Best of luck with it.