Question about 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier

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Water pump or radiator

I know we could go round and round with what ifs. But I received another answer and it included a subject matter I was really hoping would not come up. I only ask, because the distant worry I have about it. Could be minimized. If I could hear some one's opinion that could at least let me know by my description of what is going on, it is not critical, most likely!

The only times the car ran hot. Were the last two times I drove it. It never hit the red, although the last trip, it was climbing fast. I was an inch away from home, so it didn't make it to red. But.........I also wonder if when those two times occured. When I shut off the engine, wouldn't it in theory get hotter before it cooled? Especially since the cooling system was not working properly?
So my question is.............Do you think it sounds like I cracked the main seal/gasket?

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Ok keerstin, from your description I am quite comfortable saying, no you did not blow the head gasket. It is of course the best scenario, that as soon as the temp gauge starts to climb away from the normal zone, you pull over and shut off the engine. But by far, most of the time the gauge doesn't catch your eye until the steam is pouring out from under the hood. Now you didn't mention having steam so thick you couldn't find your hand in front of your face, so again, even if there was steam, it doesn't necessarily mean the head gasket is shot. If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask, and do let me know how you make out. countrycurt0

Posted on Aug 10, 2008

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Hi and welcome to FixYa!

If it's not overheating then it's just normal. The radiator coolant is really boiling and it must not be opened when the engine is running on normal temperature. If the engine runs sluggish and the temp is still in normal then there surely is problem with the gauge. Have it replaced including the water pump of the car. The coolant must flow freely on the radiator and if the water pump is faulty it will flow slow which may cause overheating.

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If you post the year, make and model, you can get more specific instructions.
The basic procedure is:
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Install in reverse order and fill wit new coolant.
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There are many sites, such as youtube that have online instructions of your particular make and model.
j
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