REAL TIME - Overheating at altitude - HELP! (1 Viewer)

fstbll42

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Hey guys,

I am in Tulsa OK, My 2003 GX470 is in South Fork Colorado with my Mother-in law. She called today and told me that they were driving with the AC on when it suddenly started blowing hot air and the temperature gauge started rising. She pulled over and let it cool down until she could get it to the next town which was about 2 miles away. She got some water in the reservoir and started it back up seemed to be ok, went another couple of miles and had to stop again the temperature gauge was rising quickly. She then put in two gallons of spring bottled water in and set off for home. It was a 20 mile drive and about 1 mile out of town it started rising again. She put the Heat on full blast and that allowed her to get home.

There were no liquids under the car and no smoke coming out of the tail pipe from what she reported.

I am going up there this weekend to pick the truck back up and drive it 12 hours home with my family. what should I be looking for as possible signs of what is going on?
Could it be the AC going out that is causing the truck to overheat?
Where would all that coolant be going?
Should I put a specific type of coolant in it when I get it this weekend?
WOULD YOU DRIVE IT 12 HOURS?!?!?!?!?!

Thank you in advance

Travis
918-271-9030
 
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there are only a few places that the radiator fluid can go. Check the dipstick to see if water in the motor, cracked radiator, bad hose, or overflow bottle, frozen thermostat, If engine still has plenty of power its probably not head gasket.
 

fstbll42

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Thank you wingysataday, I should know more this evening when my Father in-law gets home. He is not a mechanic by any stretch of the imagination but he has a better working knowledge of how an engine works and what to look for....

She told me that there were no fluids on the ground which would lead me to believe that there are no cracked hoses or radiator issues. I will check the dipstick (should have a milky look to it correct if there is water and oil mixing) and the over flow bottle is what I am assuming she put the replacement water into. I think that the radiator was to hot to do anything with at the time.

Not sure what to do about a frozen thermostat other than replace it.

55 mph for the 20 mile drive home with NO AC on. she didn't see any real loss of power that she could think of but she wasn't really pushing it at that point.
 

Bluetribal

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I would re-fill the radiator and let it run with the cap off and see if the fluid is circulating. When I had that happen on my 80 just after buying it the radiator was 90% clogged. We had a 4 hour drive home from the desert and it took us 7 hours with the heater running to keep it from overheating.
 

fstbll42

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My father in law took the radiator cap off and it fell apart in his hands. The gasket completely fell apart in his hand. So he is going to get a new radiator cap (does it require a special cap or will a generic on work) I will take up 4 containers of full strength coolant with me. While I am there I will flush the radiator completely , refill with 2 gallons of coolant and have the others for spares just in case this doesn't fix the issue. I am also considering replacing the thermostat while j am doing the flush? Good idea or bad idea?

What would cause the radiator gasket to become so brittle?

Thank you in advance
 

fstbll42

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right now it just has water in it. my father in law exempted it out and refilled it with just water until I can get there with the coolant.

Looking to take these parts with me unless other suggest something different that I can get in a day or two.

(1)
Murray Temperature Control 7037 - Standard Radiator Cap | O'Reilly Auto Parts

(4)
Antifreeze/Coolant O'Reilly 87219 - Engine Coolant/Anti-Freeze | O'Reilly Auto Parts

(1)
Murray Temperature Control Plus 4127 - Thermostat | O'Reilly Auto Parts

Then when I get home I can purchase OEM parts if needed. I just need to get it back here and it is a long drive. I am taking 4 gallons of antifreeze just in case along the way I puke some out or just need it.
 

fstbll42

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Ok guys, I had the truck towed to a local mechanic shop in Del Norte CO. Closest place to my in-laws. Anyways, they did a complete flush of the radiator (took it out of the truck, flushed it and then turned it upside down and flushed it as well) then they did a complete coolant flush on the heater core and block. I feel like they went above and beyond by extracting the radiator but they were great guys.

I am going to install a new thermostat when I get up there but everything seems to point at the radiator cap gasket being corroded which was causing the coolant to evaporate which was making it over heat. I have learned a lot and look forward to passing on some information as others run into this issue.

Thank you again for everyone's help and insight.

Travis
 

fstbll42

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Okay, so I took it on a 3 hour drive and temp as good, power was good and AC was cold. So my question is why is the reservoir empty again? I checked the oil and it is clean. There is no smoke coming from the tail pipe and there is not coolant leaking anywhere in the engine bay.

Could the shop that did the coolant flush just not filled the radiator all the way?

Should I pull the cap off the radiator and fill it and then run it or should I just keep adding the coolant to the reservoir? I appreciate your help as always.

Travis
 
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Okay, so I took it on a 3 hour drive and temp as good, power was good and AC was cold. So my question is why is the reservoir empty again? I checked the oil and it is clean. There is no smoke coming from the tail pipe and there is not coolant leaking anywhere in the engine bay.

Could the shop that did the coolant flush just not filled the radiator all the way?

Should I pull the cap off the radiator and fill it and then run it or should I just keep adding the coolant to the reservoir? I appreciate your help as always.

Travis

Anything is possible. I have not done a coolant flush on this v8 but many engines require it to be filled in a specific fashion, opening certain valves in order to let the air out. Even a normal engine with out these valves needs to be filled completely and can get bubbles that work themselves out after a careful fill.
 

fstbll42

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Well gentlemen I was able to get it home yesterday without any more overheating. The shop in Del Norte did a pretty good job besides the coolant level being a little off but as Coops2k mentioned it might have just been an air pocket that needed to be burped. I drove 12 hours with the gauge consistently at this level. It seems a needle width higher than I had in the past but it didnt budge the whole trip so I feel pretty confident that the issue is resolved.

Side note - I am glad that I had the radiator flushed independently and then turned upside down and flushed because the "gasket" that my father in-law said fell into the radiator was actually the bottom rubber stopper that had fallen into the radiator. If you have the time and feel like taking a look at the radiator cap it is the black rubber stopper on the bottom of the cap. :bang::bang::bang::bang:

As always thank you for your opinions, guidance and help.

Travis


temp GX.JPG
 
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Good to hear! My temp gauge is always right there. Never had any issues with overheating. I think that needle location is normal.
 

Bluetribal

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Get yourself an Ultra Gauge if you really want to be neurotic about temps. It is lit up in front of you at all times and actually moves as opposed to that needle.
My temps are always at 195 once fully warmed up. And then you will see it go up to 199 on any slight grade on the freeway . I think the highest I have seen it go was 205 in Baja with the AC going on a very warm day while doing 75 up a grade.
I really taxed the cooling system that trip with a toddler sleeping and dealing with fevers I left the truck parked for about 20 min with the AC kicking while everyone was stopped at Coco's corner for a beer break.
 

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