Question about 2002 Chevrolet Impala

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I let my car heat up to get frost of window for about fifteen minutes. When I went out the frost was still on window and no heat coming from dash and car was overheating. I shut it off, let it cool down and drove it to the store to get some coolant. No coolant in tank or radiator. I put coolant in tank and radiator. The car no longer overheats, but I still have not heat coming from the dash.

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  • steve newell Mar 31, 2011

    Thanks motor1258, but I have already added coolant before posting this. Adding the coolant stopped my car from overheating, but now I just have no heat coming from the dash. I'm in Maine and it was a cold ride to work this morning.

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  • Chevrolet Master
  • 6,674 Answers

Start with engine cool, remove rad cap, start engine and turn heater on. Top up rad level and Let engine run until it get's up to normal operating temperature with cap off and add coolant as you see it go down. Watch in rad for coolant to start moving quicker, once gauge gets close to normal temperature, indicating that thermostat has opened. Wait until you see that 2 or 3 times, then top up and install rad cap. Top up coolant return bottle to proper level . You'll want to keep a close eye on coolant return bottle level for next little while. If coolant got that low in the first place, you have a leak somewhere that will have to be found.

Posted on Mar 31, 2011

  • 10 more comments 
  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Mar 31, 2011

    Did you add the coolant with engine running and heater on though? Quite often the only way to bleed airlock from heater core is to start when cool, and heater on.

  • steve newell Mar 31, 2011

    Thanks motor1258, but I have already added coolant before posting this. Adding the coolant stopped my car from overheating, but now I just have no heat coming from the dash. I'm in Maine and it was a cold ride to work this morning.

  • steve newell Mar 31, 2011

    I added the cooland while the car was running, I'm pretty sure the heater was turned on. When I squeeze the main hose that runs to the enging block where the thermostat is, I can squeeze the hose completely shut like there is no fluid in it.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Mar 31, 2011

    That hose if I'm not mistaken, runs to top rad connection where coolant only flows through when thermostat opens. ( like a return line ) pressure side will be from bottom of rad to water pump.
    Coolant will enter engine through water pump connection at bottom rad hose and remain in the engine until thermostat opens at proper temperature, and then coolant returns to rad for cooling. Once coolant enters engine again at cooler temperature, thermostat closes and flow through top hose stops. When you run engine with cap off, and heater on, try revving engine slightly every once in a while for 5-10seconds, just to assist in pushing the coolant through the heater core as well as displacing any airlocks in the heater core. There may be another problem at heater, but if it was working o.k. before the coolant level went down, and temperature gauge is running where it normally does, then I strongly suspect an airlock in heater core, which will require it to be bled out good with procedure I described. Keep an eye on that coolant level while it's running up to temperature. It will probably go down all of a sudden, indicating that it has finally worked it's way through heater core. Top it up right away and feel heater to see if temperature has changed. Let it run for a while longer just to make sure all air is out, and level doesn't go down any more. Then top it up and put cap back on.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Mar 31, 2011

    Another good indicator is if you can get to, and carefully feel heater hoses going in to firewall (heater core) and one is hot, but other is quite a bit cooler, then there is a lack of flow still getting through heater core.

  • steve newell Mar 31, 2011

    Thanks, I'll have to go get more coolant during lunch, I used a whole thing of coolant already, and just went out and started car and let it warm up with radiator cap off. Even after the car warmed up, I still didn't see any coolant while the cap was off.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Mar 31, 2011

    If coolant level in rad is low, it will starve flow to heater core and use what's necessary to cool engine first.

  • steve newell Mar 31, 2011

    I went to store at lunch and bought more coolant. Added coolant as you suggested until it was full. I put one whole bottle in this morning and it just took anohter half a bottle. On my way back to work, the heat started working. Then, all of a sudden no heat again.

  • steve newell Mar 31, 2011

    The top hose that goes to the engine block is hot, the lower hose going into the radiator is cold

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Mar 31, 2011

    Keep adding and bleeding, it must have been way down. Then when done, you better look for that leak once system is back full.

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Mar 31, 2011

    Here's to hoping you didn't damage the engine further by heating it up so bad.

  • highlife7894 Apr 20, 2011

    You didn't mention the two air bleeders that are also there to bleed the system on the 3.4L. There is one at the top of the housing for the thermostat and another where the top radiator hose meets the motor, these are easy to use and take any air from the top of the circulation loop. This a closed system, meaning any air in the system can cause you to lose heat if it moves to the right spot. And for the OP- you have a problem that probably isn't just an airlock, check out intake gasket, head gasket, the coolant may be pouring into your oil or out through your exhaust. Good luck!

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