Question about 1998 Saturn SL

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I own a 1999 Saturn SL2 sedan. The car is losing coolant somewhere and results in overheating. Thus far I have changed the engine coolant temperature sensor and it signals the temp. gauge just fine. The cooling fan also works as it should. I replaced the thermostat, and the coolant pressure cap. I can not see any visible leaking out of any hoses or from the temp. sensor. When you park the car there is no coolant dripping to be seen. I can refill the coolant so that it turns off the low coolant light but within about 40 miles the coolant is back down to where the light comes on. Shortly thereafter, the engine temp. climbs into the red zone. I have tried to use the metal flake radiator seal and it has not helped. I am getting plenty of heat from the heater in the car as well. There are no fuses blown anywhere and I have replaced the fan relay just in case. There does seem to be some shiny oil/glazed looking stuff on the engine block, just below the temp. sensor but I'm sure that the sensor isn't leaking. I used teflon tape and made sure to insert it all the way in leaving no threads visible. There was only one time were we could see the coolant on the ground. It was the front left side underneath the bumper. But it only happened once and never again. Any ideas would be very helpful at this point. Thank you all. Brian

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You have done everything right so far. Sometimes water leaks out when the engine is hot and evaporates almost instantaneously, a classic point is the seal on the water pump pulley shaft. To find such a leak you need to pressure test your coolant system. The normal operational pressure of a coolant system is 7lbs/sqinch at running temperature. The pressure test will put in 11lbs/sqinch and then monitor this over some time looking for a bleed down due to the leak. If a leak exists to the exterior of the engine you should be able to spot the seepage. The next test will be to run the engine up to normal temperatures and to monitor the pressure, if the pressure jumps to 15lbs/sqinch when still cold then this indicates an internal gasket leak as exhaust gases are pushing out of the cylinder in to the coolant. One check to make is to remove the plugs one at a time and inspect them. Sometimes if water leaks into cylinder it has the effect of 'washing' the specific spark plug clean.

Posted on Sep 16, 2010

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My saturn 1994 s12 is overheating even after i changed the water pump.


How hot is it getting in degrees F? Some electric fans won't even turn on, till around 220 degrees F. Does the fan turn on at all?
As far as overheating, does the coolant recovery reservoir fill up in a hurry?
Sometimes after opening up the cooling system, you get air in the system that may cause temp gage to react.
What about your thermostat? Did you check for coolant flow through the radiator? Another thought might be a head gasket issue, I'd check everything else first.

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  • Turn on the car and let it idle with the cap off.
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  • When the engine is hot and it is getting close to overheating, look down into the radiator. The coolant should flow. (It should look like a little river is going past the radiator opening). If the coolant appears to be still then your water pump is bad.

Other possible problems:
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