Question about 1997 Buick LeSabre

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Engine temp hot and heater not working

I drive a 1997 Buick Lesabre Custom. These two problems just started at the same time. When driving, the temperature gauge shows temp around 200, about 60 degrees hotter than it usually runs. Also, the heater will not warm up. The problems started together, so I assume they are related. I have no idea where to start so thanks for any help you can offer!

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I'll see if I can help get you started. If you aren't planning on bringing the car to a shop allow me to recommend a Haynes or Chilton manual from an auto parts store, they are for your specific car and can tell you how to fix everything. Some libraries even have them so you can borrow them or make photocopies of specific pages.

The most obvious solution may be your engine coolant level is too low. Make sure the engine is cool (off for at least 4-6 hours or preferably overnight.) and check the fluid in the coolant reservoir. If you try to remove the cap while it is hot you will be burned, maybe even severely. Also, check the level of coolant in the radiator, following the same safety procedure.

Another issue may be in your thermostat. Not the one that controls the hot air, but the one in the engine that controls the amount of coolant being sent to the radiator to be cooled. This is a more advanced fix, probably best left to a mechanic, but if you are feeling adventurous, the manuals from above would walk you through nearly step-by-step. Make sure you read through them thoroughly before starting so you know exactly what you'll be doing.

The third issue may be in your coolant(water) pump. This is what actually moves the coolant around the engine and through the radiator so it can be cooled and take the heat away from the engine. If this is not working, you will not get any heat through the vents, and the temp would be abnormally high. Again, either a mechanic should take care of it for you(it may be expensive) or you can try one of the manuals. Although, it can get messy and you have to recycle the waste coolant properly(recycling plant) and remember that cars use a 50/50 mix of coolant and water, never 100% coolant nor 100% water.

Another issue may be a blocked heater core, or radiator. It is possible to do a radiator flush with a garden hose and some simple tools available at general merchandise stores (Sears, Wal*Mart, Target, K-Mart, etc.) But remember, you'll have to take the used coolant to a recycling facility, NEVER dump it down the drain in your house or on the street. The directions for a radiator flush are on the package with the tools. It is a simple and inexpensive fix, but least likely to be the cause (if it's a '97 and you've never done that, it may still be a good idea)

Finally, the only other suggestion I can make would be in the fans. There should be one or two fans near the front of the engine, just behind the radiator. If the fluid is normal and the car is hot, the fans should turn on. There are 2 main types of controls for the fans, first is an electronic fan that can turn on at any time, even with the engine off. Second is a fan connected to the engine directly through the front of the crank shaft or belts connecting it to the crank shaft. This is why if a belt breaks, you overheat, the alternator stops working (indicated by the red battery light in the dash), you may have a very difficult time steering(power steering pump quits), you'd have no A/C, and a couple other things may happen depending on the type of belts. Again, this is a job for a mechanic or if you plan to try to tackle the project yourself get help from the books. Just remember that a spinning fan can sever fingers, grab hair, and loose clothing. Make sure the car is off and the battery is disconnected, electric fans can turn on even with the car off.

I hope I could have helped you to pin-point the problem and good luck getting it fixed. Don't forget to rate! I take great pride in helping others and the best way to show your appreciation is with a good rating! Thank you!

Posted on Jan 07, 2009

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The water level is low in the radiator

Posted on Mar 13, 2009

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It can be low coolant level and/or air buble in a heater core.
If coolant is OK it might be bad water pump or thermostate. You can not drive the car at that hot engine, head gasket might crack, so have the fluids checked first if it wont help bring car to repair shop (I can sugest Midas, they will check it for free).
Good Luck.

Posted on Jan 07, 2009

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Your coolant level is probably low in your radiator, and return bottle. Do you know how to top it up properly?

Posted on Jan 07, 2009

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