Guage goes tohot then acts normally,,,,possible head/or head gasket,,,,i know,,,but,,,could there be something we're missing??water pump not leaking,,externally90,000mi.,,,no apparent leaks from the head,,,,im not a mechanic,,,one previous head gasket replaced,,,,
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If it's spraying out of the spout and is boiling, it's very possible that one of the head gaskets blew depending on how long it takes to overheat.
A few things to look for:
Inspect the radiator. Make sure all of the cooling fins are there, and not obstructed by dirt/debris.
Make sure the cooling fan is turning on (it should turn on when the temperature is approximately at the halfway point of the temp gauge).
Look at the color of the "smoke" coming from the tailpipe. White = steam. Some steam is normal, however, if it's constant, and a lot of it, it's a blown head gasket indicator.
Blue = burning oil. Black = unburned fuel,
Wait for the cooling system to cool down. Remove the radiator cap, start engine and watch for bubbles in the tank. If you have bubbles the possibilities of a bad head gasket is suspected. To verify a suspected head gasket, leave the radiator cap on and tighten. Start the engine, using a heavy towel or rag loosen the radiator cap SLOWLY. If pressure is evident only after a minute of running.....=Blown head gasket!
You are describing a slow coolant leak and the resultant no heat and blockoverheating symptoms. The no heat is because there is insufficient coolant to cycle through the heater core, and the chuggin you describe is the engine indicating serious overheating.
With engine cold, you must add water--not anti-freeze--to the radiator itself, until it reaches the top of the radiator, then start the engine. If you do not have a radiator cap in addition to the overflow bottle (some vehicles don't), you must still add water to the radiator, even if you have to bypass the overflow bottle hose to do it. Add water until no more will go into the radiator. Start engine, let idle until operating temperature is reached. Thermostat should open and a good bit of the water will "sink" into the depth of the radiator. If you have no radiator cap, observe the temperature guage. When it reaches normal operating temp, when the thermostat opens, the temp will drop briefly at first, and you will notice warm air from the heater/defroster.
Once engine is warm and known to be full of water, seal radiator cap and/or system, and let idle for 30 minutes. Use this time to locate the "mystery leak." They can be very hard to find, and some won't leak until after the engine is turned off. During this idle period, observe the vehicle exhaust from the tailpipe as well as looking for actual water leaks: sometimes a bad head gasket can be diagnosed this way; if the exhaust is white and thick like steam, and smells like anit-freeze, you have a more serious problem. It is possible that after the repeated overheating cycles you have endured you may now have both a "mystery leak" and a blown head gasket.
Once leak is located, your next step is to let engine cool completely, drain the water, fix the leak, and then and only then add new antifreeze of the proper rating and ratio recommended by Chevy for your vehicle.
Anytime you drain a cooling system and refill it, it is necessary to check the overflow bottle at least 3 times in the first week after repair to ensure that you have the proper coolant level, and have not either missed another leak or not correctly repaired one. You MUST check it before you drive the vehicle the second time after the first repair attempt because it is normal to need to add more coolant than you added initially after the repair because of air trapped in the cooling system that will only be expelled after the first start/stop heating cycle. If after 1 week of daily normal driving you have only added a little more coolant once, and there are no more problems, you can be very comfortable that you have fixed your car.
Sounds to me like it might be more of a leak than repair/sealer can handle. It never hurts to try though. But if it doesn't work, you might have a little more cleanup to do when you pull the head. It may also be a cracked head as opposed to just a head gasket as well. keep thet in mind. A bad head gasket will cause an overtemp, not the other way around. As for the temp gauge, someone may have worked on it before. sounds like it's hooked up backwards. check it out. if the gauge is bad, it's probably cheaper and easier to get an aftermaket one.
The first things to do are: 1. Make sure the radiator is full when the engine is cool (check the fluid in the radiator as well as the overflow tank). 2. Make sure the thermostat is working. 3. Have the lower intake manifold gasket checked. The Grand Prix SE came with a 3.1L engine (standard) and these engines are famous for lower intake manifold gasket problems.
is it possible it is your overflow bottle leaking or too full? If not These cars are bad about headgaskets. Start your car remove radiator cap and let it idle till it is up to temp and top radiator. If you have a leaking gasket or cracked head you would most probably see bubles and the water will try and come out of the radiator fill. What hapens on many is while your driving, combustion gases force the antifreez out into the overflow and it fills up and spills over.