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Cooling problem. over heats, replaced radiator cap, thermostat...still overheats

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Posted on Sep 12, 2010


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2007 nissan exterra overheats

Hi Kim,

I can feel your frustration. It sounds like you've done all the logical stuff already. The "donut hole" in your process would seem to be not changing the water pump. The water pump as you might imagine, is responsible for circulating (pumping) the relatively cool water in the radiator into the running engine that contains the hot water. Hoses connect the two together. A thermostat is between the radiator and the engine. Once the water in the running engine gets to a certain temperature, the thermostat opens allowing the water pump to send cool water into the engine and hot water out to the radiator to be cooled. The heater core is usually on the passenger side firewall area.

It sounds like the water pump is the only thing left to change - if it isn't working - it can't circulate the water - and will result in overheating. Lastly, a clogged heater core shouldn't cause the engine to overheat - in fact, if the engine begins to overheat, you should turn the heat to HIGH fan and HIGH temperature to help remove some of the heat in the coolant.

Good luck!

Apr 11, 2014 | 2007 Nissan Xterra Off Road


How to burp your cooling system after replacing parts (works for ALL cars)

There's a common misconception that if part of a car's cooling system fails, the failing part can be replaced, the system closed up, fluid topped off, and the car will be ready to go. Many people have overheating problems, replace the offending component (thermostat, radiator, etc), top off the fluid, and then wonder why they still overheat.

This is because when the cooling system (which operates as a sealed system) is opened up and new components are installed, air bubbles become trapped in the system when it's reassembled. Coolant is added, but the bubbles displace some of the system's volume and become trapped in the cooling system.

The way to alleviate the problem is to burp the cooling system. It's easy to do, and only takes half an hour to an hour. It can be done at home very easily.

The first step is to reassemble the system after you replace whatever components are failing. Tighten all clamps, connect all hoses, and then fill the radiator or coolant holding tank, and fill the overflow reservoir to the indicated level (there's a small hose that typically runs from the radiator flange where the cap is positioned, over to the overflow container). Find the thermostat (trace the lower radiator hose back to the engine from the radiator - where it attaches to the engine is either exactly where, or very near, the location of the thermostat). Jack up the car so that the thermostat is pointed upward (the hose would be attaching at a downward angle). Now start the car.

You jack it up in this way so that the thermostat points upward. The thermostat will open downward in this position. Watch your temperature gauge as it rises to, and then beyond, the normal operating temperature. If it is rising very slowly, you can rev the engine, or hold it at 2000 RPM or so, to help build the heat. Eventually the engine will begin to heat up beyond normal and the gauge will climb. This is what you want. Allow it to climb to somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 of the way to a full overheat, and then shut the engine off. Allow it to cool, and then CAREFULLY open the radiator cap. You'll hear a purge of pressure, and will probably see bubbling in the overflow container. Check the level of the coolant in the overflow and the radiator, top them off as needed, and repeat this procedure. Keep doing so until the car no longer overheats. Now, take it for a drive around the block a few times, and see if it overheats then (sometimes putting the engine under load will cause it to overheat even when it won't while sitting in the driveway). If it does not overheat, you are done. If it does, pull over, turn off the engine, and turn on the heat full blast (this will extract heat from the engine). Get the car home and burp it again.

Why are you doing this? Here's why. Those air bubbles in the system that I mentioned are the root of your evil. When you start the engine, the water pump spins and circulates the coolant (and air bubbles) throughout the engine. At some point, those bubbles come to the thermostat, which stays closed until the car gets to a certain temperature, at which point it opens and allows the coolant to go to the radiator to cool off. When the air bubbles get to the closed thermostat, they get stuck. In turn, having the bubbles pinned against the back side of the thermostat keeps it from opening since the system is pressurized and the thermostat can't open against the pressure of the bubbles. This is why the car begins to overheat. By waiting until you are most of the way to a full overheat, you get as many bubbles stuck there as possible.

Once you allow the car to cool enough that the coolant won't explode out of the radiator when you open the cap, you can open it. This relieves the pressure in the cooling system and allows the thermostat to open. The bubbles travel through the thermostat and hose to the radiator, burble their way to the top, and "burp" out of the cap's opening. With the bubbles out, the coolant level drops some (which is why the coolant as to be topped off), and you repeat the process since the coolant doesn't always follow the same pathway. You want to be sure that all the bubbles are removed from the system, so you do this a few times.

Hopefully this will help you with overheating problems and with diagnosing future issues. I know this is listed under Chevy cars, but that is only because I had to select something, and those are commonly owned cars. This process is important on ANY car, regardless of manufacturer or engine.

on Dec 03, 2009 | Chevrolet Blazer Cars & Trucks

3 Answers

Engine over heating

Check your thermostat, it doesn't seem to be working.

Sep 15, 2013 | Lexus RX 330 Cars & Trucks

2 Answers

1990 subaru legacy- overheats, I"ve

Most likely you put the thesmostat in upsid down. Good luck

Aug 17, 2011 | 1990 Subaru Legacy

2 Answers

Car is still over heating, have replaced heat sensor switch,fuel sensor switch,fuel air sensor and flushed the radiator.

Have you changed out the thermostat and checked for exhaust blow by from a head gasket leak? One quick way to check for blow by would be if you start the car with the cap off on the radiator and see if antifreeze begins to rise up in the radiator before the engine warms up. Exhaust leaking into the water jacket will bubble up through the radiator. This hot exhaust gas will cause you to overheat. A stuck thermostat will keep the antifreeze from ever reaching the radiator to cool down also causing you to overheat.

Jun 06, 2010 | 1996 Chevrolet Corsica

1 Answer

Replaced thermostat, water continues to overheat and is expelled out the cap to the water reservoir. Water heat gauge show low heat then spikes to extreme high intermittently.

You have air pockets in the system. With the engine cold, remove the radiator cap. Then run the engine until the thermostat opens as you top off the radiator and keep an eye on the temperature gauge. If you think the car is going to overheat, replace the radiator cap, shut off the engine and wait 15 to 20 minutes to let the engine cool. Once the thermostat opens, lightly grab the upper radiator hose to feel for air pockets. You will feel the bubbles as they pass through the hose. Then have someone else rev the engine to 1800 - 2000 rpm and hold it there while you top off the radiator completely and then install and tighten the radiator cap. DO NOT DROP THE RPM BEFORE THE CAP IS SECURED OR YOU MAY BE SERIOUSLY BURNED!! Finally, let the engine run and monitor the temperature and road test. You may have to repeat the steps 2 or more times to remove all of the air but usually it will clear the first time.

May 18, 2010 | 1998 Ford Expedition

1 Answer

Even after replacing the radiator, thermostat and

The problem with overheat is due to poor coolant circulating. The main culprit is the Radiator. When the radiator is clogging up, coolant can't be circulating. The stagnant coolant inside the engine water jacket keeps absorb heat from combustion chambers having no way to dissipate the heat then the engine is overheated. You can test the water pump by removing the thermostat, then hooking everything back. Open the radiator cap, then turn on the engine to see if water flowing down to several small tubes inside the radiator. If water can't go down fast enough to cause over flow at radiator opening then your 90 Legend Radiator already got clogged up. Replace with a new radiator, not even a rebuilt one. Good luck.

Dec 13, 2009 | 1991 Acura Legend

1 Answer

95 trooper overheats but replaced thermostat,radiator,cap,hoses.

make sure ur fan clutch is puling some air and replace rad cap with new onr u may have to replace radiator long trips not getting enough water cooled

Jun 30, 2009 | 1995 Isuzu Trooper

2 Answers

My upper radiater hose blew n engine over heated. I installed a new hose n replaced fluids. engine overheated again. did not blow though

check the serpentine belt for slipping, the clutch fan, the thermostat(might be stuck closed) or maybe it is a circulation issue, you can check the radiator and radiator cap for defects and sediment buildup.
you might be able to confirm circulation problem if you turn heat on and it doesn't overheat.

Apr 30, 2009 | 2000 Dodge Durango

2 Answers

Engine overheted and no heating inside

good call on the thermostat try that and see what you got

Oct 08, 2008 | 1995 Plymouth Voyager

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