i did a boil test on the old Thermostat, sadly it works. i was hoping that was it. opened around 180 or 190...one of those. i put the new thermo in, going to have a neighbor run me to get coolant, new sparkplugs and new SP wire and cap and rotor. if that doesnt work...o2 sensors..upper and lower?
i dont mean to dismiss anyones advice ive been spoiled with this LC and my maint / diagnosing has suffered ..and this is my only vehicle...so theres that pressure, my apologies
Never a 'good' time to have car troubles....but you certainly don't need it right at the holiday season and it being your only means of transportation.
We want to eliminate the 'lesser' possibilities/causes for an overheat as quickly as possible before we move on to testing that becomes more involved for you. But it sounds like you are reasonably able to wrench on it yourself (a very good thing) so the prospect of having to employ a mechanic is not looming over you.
From what you've told us so far....we know you are losing coolant. Obviously we need to know How Much, How Quickly and Where it is going.
I'm not one to immediately suspect a Head Gasket since there are MANY areas and reasons you could lose coolant and once low enough.....you'll overheat quickly.
A few things you can do that don't cost anything and will help with the investigation are:
1. Pull the spark plugs and look to see if any (especially number 6) is 'steam cleaned' or obviously different from the others. IF a head gasket failure has occurred at the fire ring, then coolant might be seeping into a cylinder and is being burned off. Though that normally shows up as white smoke from the tailpipe (that never goes away) it can be hard to detect in cold weather or if only a small leak.
2. Check your Oil Level and color of the oil. IF the level is high and the oil looks milky, then you have coolant leaking into the oil system and diluting the oil in the pan (VERY BAD).
3. With radiator full (doesn't need to be coolant, water is fine) start engine and let it warm up. Leave the radiator cap OFF and watch for bubbles (not related to an over heat). When refilling a radiator a certain amount of 'burping' will occur, but steady stream of small bubbles is a near foolproof indicator of a head gasket failure.
Once you've done these three things we can move ahead to a compression test (unless you already have a compression tester in which case do it when you have the spark plugs out).
IF any of this points to a head gasket leak and the leak is not too bad.....there are products on the market that actually work to seal it off and will buy you time to prepare for a head gasket job when the weather is more favorable and funds for it (if an issue) are available.
But let's not assume the worst yet. Just take it step by step and let us know. Also what year model is your Cruiser?
i appreciate this very much, i will keep you updated, starting with checking the sparkplugs. i will have to see how much coolant i lose, i want to say 1/4 to 1/6 gallon, but im not sure.
oil is not milky and coolant isnt foamy or oily.
the year is 1997 4.5L 1FZFE
i bought denso upper and downstream o2 sensors to have on hand, if they are not needed i will return them what is a fire ring? the sparkplug hole?
im going to take today off other than checking the spark plugs. i will report back then. again Thank you for all the tips and advice, i appreciate it very much.
If possible, show us a pic of all in order 1-6 on the electrode end with open side visible.Top plug is #6. Can't tell if it's greasey fuel/oil or coolant. 6 cyclinder is not like the rest.
all look pretty much like the second picture #6 is the smaller something gunked up spark plug. i put them all back in, but i have new plugs ordered/ waiting at auto part store #6 cylinder ( very back/aft ) is scummy plugIf possible, show us a pic of all in order 1-6 on the electrode end with open side visible.
White = Lean
Dark wet = oil foul
Light wet = fuel foul
black = rich fuel
light brown = correct
Looks new (steam cleaned) = coolant leak
me neither, tried smelling it, couldnt detect coolant, but maybe it cooked off.Hats off to @flintknapper and @BILT4ME in there assistance to the OP’s issues.
Plugs though different in appearance don’t look bad to me, maybe a little lean/hot in the second photo but the #6 doesn’t scream HG failure to me although I don’t know why it’s darker (can’t tell if that’s oil on it).
got parts except the up stream o2 sensor, if i put the down stream o2 sens in, will that be like putting a dead battery in with a charged batter? going to install parts and try it out. will keep ya in the loop.
supposing this works, i forgot to buy coolant, can i fill it with water just long enough to drive into town and pick some up and drive home...cool it down and add later tonight?
I took thermostat out and it puked a bunch it was pretty diluted. I Will drain it again if they don't have coolant, don't want block to crack.Yes, upstream 02 is the one you need. The downstream just compares against it. IF you are not at risk of sub-freezing temps (for a long period) then distilled water is fine, in fact preferable to wasting anti-freeze until we locate the source of the coolant loss.
Hopefully any previous loss has simply been from 'boil over', hose leak or something other than a head gasket.
Keep narrowing it down.