Question about 1984 Chevrolet S-10

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My truck is overheating very badly and it smells like coolant. The radiator is smoking. The belt and fan are turning. What could be the issue? It runs at higher idol then normal and my collant light turns on. Possible water pump??

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  • ronnie_dehar Aug 27, 2010

    Its fixed!! Turned out to be a bad thermostat, and some loose hoses. Did a coolant flush as well. Radiator is fine. Runs like a champ again. Thanks for the help!

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Most likely with the radiator smoking, the radiator itself has a small crack or hole. Again it could be a bad hose spraying the coolant out. Usually if the water pump goes out it has a weep hole that will start leaking.Check the radiator over good and the hoses.

Posted on Aug 24, 2010

  • ronnie_dehar Aug 25, 2010

    No seeing any leaks in the water pump. Radiator looks like its ue to be replaced. Kinda rusty looking, and coolant is not green coming out of radiator. Hoses have been recently replaced.
    Any idea of what a normal shop would charge for a replacement

  • Chris Busby
    Chris Busby Aug 26, 2010

    The radiator would be around $80-$100 and labor $65 then refill coolant another $20. So you're looking at a close $200 but it's worth it if you can afford it. Sometimes this is more trouble than the cost of saving. With the radiator being rusty, it don't mean it is bad but a sign of small cracks and holes unseen. I would have the radiator replaced and the system flushed. The coolant should be green if it's good, but clear pretty much means no coolant in the system. Keep me updated on your decision.

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What are causes for overheating?


If the smoke is white you probably have a hole in a hose for the coolant system. But to answer your question you could have a thermostat stuck, fan belt broke or slipping, hole in a radiator hose, or a heater hose with a hole in it allowing the coolant to spray on the hot engine causing it to smoke and if bad enough causing the engine to shut down.

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2004 hyundai elantra.. car had coolant leak the other day and temp gauge went past red lines. Leaking out the passenger side front of car, round piece with hole in it.. bf put stopleak in it and filled...


Let's go over a list of things here and get everything organized. Most cars have an "open" coolant system, meaning that if it gets too hot (thus increasing the pressure inside the coolant system), the reservoir or radiator cap will open up and allow that pressure to release, or the coolant to expel - which would cause you to spill coolant.

After it cooled down, you were able to drive it for 70 miles - presumably on the highway/interstate/freeway, or another road that may not have a whole lot of stopping.

Then you started driving in town, most likely with stoplights or stop signs. The car overheated then and you weren't able to get it restarted (which is normal and is a safety feature on a lot of cars).

Fluids are good, the fan is kicking on, and the belts haven't broken.

Okay, so you actually did a pretty good job narrowing this down (assuming I didn't miss anything). The car is doing it's overheating when you're in stop and go traffic, with low airflow. If you are running your air conditioning, try turning it off and see if that keeps you from overheating (assuming the car starts now). If it does, then chances are your fan isn't kicking into high-speed. On some vehicles, you have two fans, on others you only have one. If you have two fans, one will only kick on when the AC is running. If you have one fan, it should have two speeds. A low-speed for simply cooling the engine, and a high-speed for when the AC is running.

If you don't overheat when the AC is running, check your relay box under the hood and search for a relay that should be labeled something along the lines of "Fan 2", "Fan High", "Fan AUX", or "Fan AC". If you find one, replace it or try switching it with another relay. Good luck!

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Fan turns on when you turn the AC on, and when coolant gets too hot (over middle of the instrument).
White smoke in exhaust means coolant gets into the cylinder, typically head gasket or crack.
Is the upper radiator hose (the one that goes to the coolant expansion tank getting very hot? Observe when car is warming up. When coolant temp gauge needle is in the middle, the upper radiator hose should get warm; also the radiator (you can touch the top and check) should get warm at that time. The means that the thermostat opened as it should (when engine warmed up). If it does NOT get hot, then the thermostat is stuck closed, which can lead to overheating. Still, the fans should kick in.

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Sounds like you may have a blown head gasket,white smoke is usually caused by this,driving it can cause major damage,best to have towed to a shop.

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I have a 1990 toyota cressida, while driving on the frwy, car engine light lit up and the car overheated immediately car began to smoke so bad I thought car was on fire, however the smoke was white. I...


Hello and welcome to FixYa!


If you have overheating problem, it can lead to multiple issues. You may be running on low coolant that's why the vehicle overheats. If that's the case, please add coolant and make sure that it sits on the right level, too much coolant can cause overheating too for coolant will overflow.


The vehicle may have a faulty or worn out radiator blower motor that's why it overheats. If that's the case then you will need a blower motor replacement to resolve the issue.


If the radiator is clogged with dirt and rusts this issue occurs too. The coolant doesn't flow normally on the cooling system if it's clogged. If that's the case, I strongly suggest that you have the radiator flushed to drain out dirt and rusts. If you think that the radiator served you enough then it's better to have it replaced.


Please do check the radiator hoses, If you have worn out hoses it can cause coolant leakage which can result to overheating. A tiny hole is good enough for the vehicle to overheat.


A faulty thermostat sensor can cause the issue too. If you have worn out thermostat, the fan may not trigger that's why the fan won't work when under stressed conditions. A blown radiator blower fuse can cause this issue too so I suggest that you check the radiator blower fuse and replace it when necessary.


Hope you find this information helpful enough and thank you for using FixYa! Have a good one!

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No smoke good cooling system is sealed, could be a thermostat, sticking or radiator fan not coming on, does it start to over heat at stops or low speeds, if so have your radiator fan check out, if it over heats at any speed, replace thermostat and check coolant level.

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Well....deep breath.......it's not bad.

1. Check your radiator coolant level

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3. Test/Replace radiator cooling fan relay

4. Replace the thermostat

5. Check/Replace the coolant temp sensor

6. Replace the water pump.


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I'm not familiar with your model to know if you have an engine temp guage or a light that would come on if the engine is overheated. You said the motor wasn't overheating under the hood... but you have an overheating problem? Maybe just a tad bit more info...
Are you losing coolant?
The water pump if bad, would probably leak or make terrible racket.
Just to take a shot at it, since you said it blows smoke through the dash... I'm assuming a kindof white smoke with a rather sweet smell? Have you noticed any wetness on the passenger floor at all? If yes to any of this, I would suspect as you mentioned, a leaking heater core. Hope this helps... Good luck!

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