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Re: coolant pushing out
While the car is running, check to see if you see any air bubbles coming into the surge tank. If you see air, you have a leaking head gasket. You can also have your cooling system pressure tested, if your system is not holding pressure, you head gasket is definitely leaking.
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motor heats up therefor the coolant expands and is forced back into the overflow/ reserve , if it is pushing alot back into the overflow/reserve , you most likely have a bad head gasket allowing compression from the motor to push into the water/coolant passages , i,ve got a geo tracker that does it too . it will eventually do REAL bad things to your motor if you don,t fix it , had some people say "try block sealer before going thru the expense of having head gasket(s) done
The cooling system is overpressurized and is lifting the radiator cap off of its seat at about 14 psi. This will push coolant into the overflow bottle. the most likely reason the system is overpressurized is that combustion gases are leaking past a blown cylinder head gasket into the cooling system. To verify this, you can use a Lisle 75500 combustion gas leak detector kit. it is inexpensive and will show if combustion gases are leaking into the coolant.
If you dont have an external coolant leak anywhere under your hood that has shown up on your driveway it could be the intake manifold or the headgasket leaking. Also check the thermostate to solve the heat issue.
These vehicles, when equipped with the 3.1L engine are very prone to head gasket failure. A local garage should be able to preform a block check to tell wether combustion gasses are entering the coolant. Because you said the coolant pushed out the overflow this is definately where i would start. The normal operation of that vehicle is for the fans to turn on around 106 degrees celcius. If you can, take a temperature reading of the coolant to ensure they are coming on at the right temp. Other possibilities are an inefficient radiator, coolant temp switch/sensor causing inproper fan on temperature,
Look at the oil on the dipstick. If its milky you have a head gasket issue. Also if you can make it to a smog machine they can sniff the coolant fumes to see if gas is in the coolant. Head Gasket again. Any repair shop has a chemical that can test for gas in the coolant also.
The theory here is if your losing water and none is leaking on the ground its got to be going into the cylinder and getting pushed out the exhaust pipe.
Now if its just overheating you may have a stuck thermostat or clogged radiator or a coolang fan that dlesnt turn on when commanded by the computer.Also if its just overheating and the water lost is going on the ground somewhere then you may not have a head gasket issue.
I just did a head gasket on a Honda because as the engine was warming up the overfill bottle would fill up and overflow. The combustion pressure was leaking into the coolant and pushing the coolant out.
If the gauges read normal and the fans are working properly and the vehicle dosen't overheat. I would suggest that it's the normal operation of the vehicle.
The overflow bottle is there because when the vehicle get's hot it draws in the extra coolant from the overflow. When the engine cools down it will push the extra coolant back into the overflow, that's what the radiator cap is for, it's not just a cover for the radiator. At a certian pressure the radiator cap will release the coolant to the overflow bottle. Otherwise the super heated coolant would have nowhere to expand to and blow apart hoses and such.
One other thing to check is if the coolant is a proper mix of antifreeze and water. You can buy a coolant check tool from any auto store, they don't cost too much.
Tip: Use distilled water instead of tap water (or use pre-mixed antifreeze). In some cars regular tap water will speed up corrosion in the cooling system.