I just replaced the radiator in this thing exactly a week ago and it
ran fine all week and then today while sitting at a traffic light, it
started making a loud vibrating noise from up front and the temp gauge
spiked up to just below redline. I pulled it over and it stopped
vibrating, cooled right down - no leaking from anywhere. Did it once
again briefly on the way home and the temp gauge did a little bouncing.
Fan is running fine - nothing hitting it.
Dumped a bunch of stop-leak in it before replacing the radiator - flushed as much as I could. Water pump issue?
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Let's explore the radiator, first. Did the Chk eng. lite come on the very first time you drove, after installation? Does the lite stay on right from start? Is the temp guage indicating where it did before the new rad?
did you over heat the second time? or did the gauge go up with no over heat? alot of time in my expeirence severe over heat can destroy the temprature sending unit, causing false readings on your dashboard. The sending unit is housed on your thermostat housing and is simple to install and affordable. if it did over heat take it to another shop fpr second opinon (Estimates are usually free) cuase I could be typing awhile trying to explain, lol
CHECK IT AFTER DOING HIGH ROAD SPEEDS AND WITH THE A/C ON COLDEST SETTING.THATS WHEN THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RADIATOR WILL GET HOT AND THE BOTTOM HOSE WILL BE WARMER (NOT HOT)YOU NEED TO MAX LOAD THE CAR FOR THE WHOLE RADIATOR TO WORK OTHERWISE ITS ONLY WORKING TO PARTIAL CAPACITY.....
feel the smaller two radiator hoses that go to the heater core near the firewall after engine has ran about 20 minutes and if these 2 hoses are cold to the touch then thermostat needs replaced. if they are hot then problem is with temperature selector
you can check if the water pump is working by feeling the top rad hose , if it is hot it should circulate into the rad and the rad should be hot at the top and cool at the bottom if the pump is faulty there will be no circulation of hot coolant into the rad. I suspect your head gasket might be blown if you are getting pressure built up in the rad. in that case you will need a new gasket and have your head skimmed
if you ran the car "extremely hot" you could have warpped or cracked the heads on on the engine. You might be leaking radiator fluid into your cylenders and you are burning the anti_freeze as the engine runs. The only way to know for sure is to take the car to a service center or local repair shop and let them check it out.