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Of the water is boiling them it has run hot. There is no way around this fact. Get a compression test done first. This should reveal if any damage has been done. Then address the boiling off problem. This can be a air pocket in the line, incorrect anti freeze mixture, sticking thermostat, water pump, cap, etc.
Pam are you sure it's boiling? If the Antifreeze is boiling I'd think you'd see steam coming out of your reservoir as the water expands into the reservoir, but you didn't say you see anything like that.
Of course engines get hot, that's why we have the cooling systems but it doesn't sound like it's "boiling" to me with no signs of visible steam unless your antifreeze level is really low?
If it's really boiling, and you antifreeze level is good, then your reservoir should be getting filled up with expanded hot water that goes into it to catch it when it expands.
If the water isn't going into the reservoir, then maybe your antifreeze level in the radiator is too low and you need to add antifreeze?
Best to fill the radiator with the engine cooled down. If you ever have to open the radiator when it's hot, NEVER open it with your bare hand as you could get scolded with boiling water. Instead use a big thick towel to remove the radiator cap off a hot engine. Again, if you can, just wait until the engine cools then open the radiator cap.
With the engine cool, you can fill the radiator with a 50/50 antifreeze mix. The 50/50 mix come premixed 50 percent water, and 50 percent antifreeze. So you can throw that stuff straight into the radiator.
Non mixed antifreeze needs to be mixed 50/50. Some people use 50 percent distilled water when they mix it because distilled water doesn't have the minerals in it that may get stuck in your radiator. That's being a bit picky about it though. Tap water works fine in a pinch. The other 50 percent is antifreeze. You can mix it right in the radiator too, put in a measured amount of the antifreeze, followed by the same measured amount of water. The water pump will mix it all together when you run the engine.
Put the cap back on and run the engine and if/when the water "boils" it should go into your reservoir. If it does boil in go in the reservoir then yes...your engine is getting hot and the antifreeze is boiling.
When the antifreeze boils, it's probably because your thermostat is stuck closed. That means the thermostat isn't letting water circulate through the radiator to get cooled. Thermostats are cheap...no more than $30 I'd say for most cars. Changing them is pretty easy too as they are usually right at the top of the engine. A mechanic may charge $100 to change it....but it's an easy job on most vehicles requiring just a couple sockets/socket wrench.
the pressurized radiator cap is there for the purpose of increasing the pressure on the coolant and thereby increasing the temperature at which the water will boil. By driving without the correct cap or with no cap then the water will boil at 100 degrees C which will be much sooner than normal so you will run the risk of overheating the engine under normal driving conditions. Because the hot water is allowed to turn to steam and evaporate quickly you will also run short of coolant more quickly. Just drop into a auto spares shop and pick up a cap for the car as the price for it will be pocket money compared to what it will cost if you don't.
If the engine was stopped or you shut it down immediately then the possibility of damage would be remote as the piston would not be continuing to move which is where most damage occurs.. If the radiator failed a pressure test then the problem is that the radiator pressure was not high enough to prevent the boil. I will explain . Water boils at 100degrees c at 14psi (air pressure). When under pressure the boiling point goes up to well above the 100 degrees . If you have a coolant system leak the pressure will be at air pressure and when the engine is stopped the hot parts have not water circulation so the temperature goes well over the 100 degrees and so it blows off . 2 problems are present that you have to correct. Find the leak and have it fixed and secondly check that the cooling fans are working correctly. Caps come in varied pressure ratings for the radiator construction so check that the cap reading is suitable for you vehicle
it sounds like one of several problems radiator needs flushed , water pump is bad or going, thermostat is bad, pin hole in one of the hoses, cracked head, hole in radiator, hole in heater core.if core is leaking you will notice water on the floor inside the car on pasenger side. if radiator has hole when you fill radiator with coolant it will leak froom fins sometimes only when hot. thermostat bad your car will read hot and or cold always. if stuck open cold, if stuck closed hot, after about 15 20 mins of running engine will cause radiator to boil over to over flow tank.never open radiator cap when engine is hot :) burn hazard.if pump is bad or going will notice gauge reads hot intermittent or always. will boil in to overflow tank. if head is cracked will notice water comming from side of engine block or in oil when you change oil. if radiator needs to be flushed will notice scale or gunk on radiator cap (if you think you need help or do not have tools to perform please take to a machanic)
Do you have a coolant reservoir? Does the coolant level rise as the engine warms up and lowers as the engine cools off? If so, the engine cooling system is sealed. If the system isn't sealed, when it is cooling, it can't draw coolant from the reservoir. Does the radiator have a radiator cap, with cold engine, remove the cap, can you see coolant level in radiator?
How hot does engine get in degrees F? There is your thermostat and radiator cap. Water boils at 212 degrees f atmospheric pressure. With a 16 lb radiator cap, it should raise the boiling point about 32 degrees. The boiling point should be around 250 degrees F. w/o any pressure, I would suspect it would boil over in a hurry.
The three most likely thing's cause overheating are faulty thermostat,electric fan or clogged radiator. Only at has been overheat so much it boils dry that it will cause engine trouble. Most common problem's are blown cylinder head gasket or a cracked cylinder head.
mixing coolant and water depends on where the gasket has blown or head is cracked. You will first need to check if it actually is overheating. The reason is. If the head is cracked or gasket blown then you can get a false boiling which is compresion from the cylinders blows through the crack in the head or gasket causing the coolant to blow out of the radiator cap.Fill the radiator to the top leave the cap off then start the engine.If the water blows out then you will need to remove the cylinder head check the gasket is ok. If its damaged replace if not get the head checked for crack's. If no water blow's when you start it check the thermostat is working properly. To check the thermostat put it a in a saucepan cover it with water bring the water to the boil. It should open before the water boil's but near boiling-point. If its ok then start the engine again leave it running until it boils and check the fan is running. If that's ok then its radiator problem. Their is no way to check if the radiator is ok you will need to get a new one. One last point. If the cylinder head or gasket are faulty it was caused by overheating so by just fixing the cylinder head problem is not a cure it will overheat again. Check the three things I mentioned at the begining and told you how to check them. Hope this help's. Cheer's
You would need to check out the different cooling components. The radiator cap, thermostat, fan for radiator (car should run at 195 degrees), is anything blocking the face of the radiator, are any of the cooling hoses kinked or collapsed, is the water pump circulating the coolant, is thw belt still on the water pump?
Open the petcock valve on the bottom of the radiator. Start the vehicle and turn the heater on high. Remove the radiator cap and insert a hose with fresh water running. continue this for as long as it takes the water coming out of the petcock to become clear. It could take an hour or more. Once the water is clear, shut the vehicle off, and let the rest of the water drain out of the petcock valve.
Restart the vehicle and add fresh coolant. Leave the radiator cap off and let the vehicle run until the coolant stays at the top of where the radiator cap goes, this will ensure you have bled all of the air out of the cooling system and there is enough coolant in the system. Replace the cap and you are good to go.