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Check your coolant in your Fieros and save yourself a ton of time and money! by disjaukifa
Started on: 12-18-2013 02:01 PM
Replies: 19 (566 views)
Last post by: rogergarrison on 12-21-2013 12:06 PM
disjaukifa
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Report this Post12-18-2013 02:01 PM Click Here to See the Profile for disjaukifaClick Here to Email disjaukifaSend a Private Message to disjaukifaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I've had a frustrating month with my Pontiac Fiero. First my gas mileage dropped from 28 ~ 30 to right at 21 mpg. I couldn't figure out what had changed, but the Fiero wasn't running right. Finally got WinALDL to work and I was able to see through looking at the logs that my IAC (Idle Air Control) and ESC (Electronic Spark Control) where both bad. Next tank I got 26.8 mpg, still not where I was but better than 21!

And then it happened . . .

Or first freezing night in here in Durham, I went to drive to work at like 7am in the morning, got in the Fiero, fired the car up, by the time I hit the end of my road, which is a mile, my engine was over heating, I limped the Fiero back home but not before blowing the head gasket, seals in the water pump, thermostat, and burning up the exhaust valves.

The cause of all this? The previous owner put WATER in the coolant system. NOT coolant, but plain WATER. I've worked quite literally on just about every part of this car, but somehow I never got around to looking into the cooling system. Month later, I'm finally getting the engine back together, I had to rebuild the entire top end.

I got the head installed back onto the block last night and got everything torqued down. I have to still re-attach the intake and exhaust and then fill the system with coolant as well. Also I got the water pump replaced last night as well.

So for anyone that just got a Fiero or any vehicle, check to make sure the system has coolant in it and not water!

-Grant
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Joseph Upson
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Report this Post12-18-2013 02:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Joseph UpsonClick Here to Email Joseph UpsonSend a Private Message to Joseph UpsonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by disjaukifa:
Or first freezing night in here in Durham, I went to drive to work at like 7am in the morning, got in the Fiero, fired the car up, by the time I hit the end of my road, which is a mile, my engine was over heating, I limped the Fiero back home but not before blowing the head gasket, seals in the water pump, thermostat, and burning up the exhaust valves.
-Grant



I thought you said you limped it home, sorry, but that shouldn't have happened even with the previous owners error. If the motor is overheating, to the side of the road is about as far as you want to try "limping" at least until the motor has a chance to cool off. I understand how getting to work on time can be pressing but in this case I suspect you were still late. That's a lot of repair work.
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disjaukifa
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Report this Post12-18-2013 02:21 PM Click Here to See the Profile for disjaukifaClick Here to Email disjaukifaSend a Private Message to disjaukifaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Joseph Upson:
I thought you said you limped it home, sorry, but that shouldn't have happened even with the previous owners error. If the motor is overheating, to the side of the road is about as far as you want to try "limping" at least until the motor has a chance to cool off. I understand how getting to work on time can be pressing but in this case I suspect you were still late. That's a lot of repair work.


Here's the thing it went from cold to overheating so fast there was nothing I could do. I was extremely late to work, and I should have said I did let it cool before limping the car home, but the damage had already been done. Been driving my C1500 since then, I miss my $24 fill ups, its costing me $80+ a week driving my C1500 versus my Fiero . . . ugh. The repair hit my wallet hard in multiple ways!
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TommyRocker
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Report this Post12-18-2013 03:50 PM Click Here to See the Profile for TommyRockerClick Here to Email TommyRockerSend a Private Message to TommyRockerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Why did it overheat? Did the water freeze and crack the block?
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disjaukifa
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Report this Post12-18-2013 04:01 PM Click Here to See the Profile for disjaukifaClick Here to Email disjaukifaSend a Private Message to disjaukifaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by TommyRocker:

Why did it overheat? Did the water freeze and crack the block?


Yeah I guess I didn't explain that, the water froze in all the lines, surprisingly I didn't crack the block or head, thank god I have an iron duke, but it blew the head gasket and burnt the valves.
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TommyRocker
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Report this Post12-18-2013 04:17 PM Click Here to See the Profile for TommyRockerClick Here to Email TommyRockerSend a Private Message to TommyRockerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
definitely lucky. Though I'm pretty sure the appropriate fix now is an engine swap....
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disjaukifa
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Report this Post12-18-2013 04:21 PM Click Here to See the Profile for disjaukifaClick Here to Email disjaukifaSend a Private Message to disjaukifaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by TommyRocker:

definitely lucky. Though I'm pretty sure the appropriate fix now is an engine swap....


Said it once, I'll say it again, its cheaper to just fix the problem, set my back about 110 bucks, and this little engine gets good gas mileage. Unfortunately this is not my hotrod, this is my DD for MPG only. Otherwise I would!
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Formula88
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Report this Post12-18-2013 04:44 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Formula88Send a Private Message to Formula88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Pick up a cheap coolant tester at your local parts store and test your coolant every Fall.
Better yet, check it whenever you change your oil. You check the coolant level periodically anyway (don't you?), so check the antifreeze protection then. Takes no more time than checking the oil.

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Lambo nut
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Report this Post12-18-2013 04:44 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Lambo nutSend a Private Message to Lambo nutEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by disjaukifa:

The cause of all this? The previous owner put WATER in the coolant system. NOT coolant, but plain WATER.

-Grant


Almost sounds like you are trying to make it the previous owners fault.

Kevin
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zkhennings
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Report this Post12-18-2013 04:58 PM Click Here to See the Profile for zkhenningsSend a Private Message to zkhenningsEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I ran plain water in my car during the summer, it cools better than antifreeze, so I am not super surprised someone else would have plain water in the coolant system, especially if it is just a summer car. I just add water wetter.

I am very surprised that this damage occured though, I had something similar happen, but what happened in my case is I added antifreeze before winter came, and underestimated the capacity of the coolant system, so instead of the 30% antifreeze ratio I was shooting for for the colder but not yet totally winter months I ended up with like an 11% antifreeze system... so it froze and my car overheated. But I just turned my car off and waited for it to cool down before continuing to drive it. And everything turned out fine, I am shocked you blew a head gasket because I figure that the engine will heat up until the coolant is hot, but the lines would still be frozen so the coolant would stay in the engine continuing to heat up until it overheated at which point in the future I definitely recommend just turning the car off and letting it sit.

It definitely sucks you did not know that the coolant system was full of water though, but I think the damage could have been avoided (at least to the head gasket)
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Report this Post12-18-2013 05:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 2.5Send a Private Message to 2.5Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
One thing I always do if there is any chance of an over heat, even if the gage is pegged with no other signs of a problem is pull over and dont try to drive home, I have never had a head gasket fail, somewhat due to this.

 
quote
Originally posted by zkhennings:

I ran plain water in my car during the summer, it cools better than antifreeze, )


I'm not sure if it cools better, but it will boil faster. It will also rust faster. If you are going to run just water , use distilled water. For that matter always use distilled water even when mixing with antifreeze/coolant, it has no minerals to corrode things.

I'm not a know it all, but dispensing the little wisdom I may have

[This message has been edited by 2.5 (edited 12-18-2013).]

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Report this Post12-18-2013 08:01 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

I was a good boy and flushed my cooling system a month ago in the Formula that I got this past summer. Filled it with proper coolant obviously.

When the cold snap hit a couple weeks or so ago, I couldn't drive the car because the Getrag select cable was frozen solid.

The temperature warmed up several days ago, so today was the first day I drove the Formula for quite awhile... and what do I discover? The freakin' heater core is NOW leaking like a sieve.

Yeah, like why couldn't it have done this before I put all new anti-freeze in the system? Curses!
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zkhennings
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Report this Post12-18-2013 09:29 PM Click Here to See the Profile for zkhenningsSend a Private Message to zkhenningsEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by 2.5:

One thing I always do if there is any chance of an over heat, even if the gage is pegged with no other signs of a problem is pull over and dont try to drive home, I have never had a head gasket fail, somewhat due to this.


I'm not sure if it cools better, but it will boil faster. It will also rust faster. If you are going to run just water , use distilled water. For that matter always use distilled water even when mixing with antifreeze/coolant, it has no minerals to corrode things.

I'm not a know it all, but dispensing the little wisdom I may have



Yup use distilled, also I add water wetter which raises the BP. And coolant cools worse than water, and water + water wetter cools the best. This is what racecars use so they don't dump antifreeze on the track and make it slippery.
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Report this Post12-18-2013 10:04 PM Click Here to See the Profile for hypo327Click Here to Email hypo327Send a Private Message to hypo327Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Distilled water to prevent mineral build-up and always fresh antifreeze! When I did my 3.4 swap, I discovered the aluminum water pump had numerous pits and corrosion on the inside where high velocity coolant ran, and had almost eaten a hole through the hose connection tube. I took it to an aluminum weld shop to have the pits filled, then had to file it down smooth again. The welder said it's caused by old antifreeze left in the system, which breaks down and becomes corrosive to aluminum. So, just thought I'd pass that one on. Keep your antifreeze changed along with new distilled water every year!
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disjaukifa
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Report this Post12-19-2013 09:25 AM Click Here to See the Profile for disjaukifaClick Here to Email disjaukifaSend a Private Message to disjaukifaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I'm not going to lie part of the blame is my fault, I've just never seen pure water in the tank. The weird thing is I remember checking the puke tank and it having green in it . . .
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Report this Post12-20-2013 04:12 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Formula88Send a Private Message to Formula88Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by zkhennings:


Yup use distilled, also I add water wetter which raises the BP. And coolant cools worse than water, and water + water wetter cools the best. This is what racecars use so they don't dump antifreeze on the track and make it slippery.


Do you have a race car?
How much "better" does it cool? What temperature does your car run with water compared to coolant?
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zkhennings
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Report this Post12-20-2013 09:05 PM Click Here to See the Profile for zkhenningsSend a Private Message to zkhenningsEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I don't have a racecar but my roommate races spec Miata. I don't know how much better it cools, but on hot days the temps could get a little higher than normal and after they didn't, they were always at 180 (180* Thermostat). Now that it is winter I am running 50% antifreeze. The water wetter helps prevent corrosion (main reason I added it in the summer) and is designed to improve the thermal properties of water, my roommate says that it definitely makes a difference from running straight water because he runs his Miata with no thermostat (looses power above 185 and they aren't allowed to use a non stock thermostat) so he can really see the difference.

Then of course on the bottle itself it gives the differences in temperature for each combination of coolant options.

Edit to say here is something I just googled quick

http://www.bobistheoilguy.c....php/topics/266007/2

Please read the whole thing

[This message has been edited by zkhennings (edited 12-20-2013).]

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Joseph Upson
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Report this Post12-21-2013 07:10 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Joseph UpsonClick Here to Email Joseph UpsonSend a Private Message to Joseph UpsonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by hypo327:
Distilled water to prevent mineral build-up and always fresh antifreeze! When I did my 3.4 swap, I discovered the aluminum water pump had numerous pits and corrosion on the inside where high velocity coolant ran, and had almost eaten a hole through the hose connection tube. I took it to an aluminum weld shop to have the pits filled, then had to file it down smooth again. The welder said it's caused by old antifreeze left in the system, which breaks down and becomes corrosive to aluminum. So, just thought I'd pass that one on. Keep your antifreeze changed along with new distilled water every year!


Distilled water with an anticorrosive does cool the best along with appropriate anti freeze protection. Acidic coolant is not the only thing that can damage aluminum cooling parts, electrolysis from poor grounds can accelerate it also. Take a multimeter and check your coolant by sticking the ground lead in it and checking it against the positive battery terminal for a voltage reading. I forget the max allowed but I think I posted it in my champion radiator failure thread. You can google it to.

.3 volts or higher.

[This message has been edited by Joseph Upson (edited 12-21-2013).]

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82-T/A [At Work]
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Report this Post12-21-2013 09:19 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 82-T/A [At Work]Send a Private Message to 82-T/A [At Work]Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by zkhennings:

Yup use distilled, also I add water wetter which raises the BP. And coolant cools worse than water, and water + water wetter cools the best. This is what racecars use so they don't dump antifreeze on the track and make it slippery.



Hah, I use watter wetter too... it's hilarious to me how well it works.

I'm in Maryland, and I've got a 50/50 mixture in my Ford Explorer. It hasn't gotten that cold here... the lowest I think was 21 degrees. But anything under 32, and my car will literally cool down (temperature will drop below normal operating temperature) with the engine running, if I'm just idling in a parking lot. It's crazy. I used to use it all the time when I lived in Florida... amazing stuff.


As for the OP... yeah, freezing coolant (or lack of antifreeze, more specifically) has always been a big issue for people in the cold states.

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rogergarrison
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Report this Post12-21-2013 12:06 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rogergarrisonClick Here to Email rogergarrisonSend a Private Message to rogergarrisonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I ALWAYS check all my vehicles early in the fall before it gets too cold to work outside. It should have anti freeze year round too. It not only protects it from freezing, but keeps it cooler in summer especially when the AC is running. They pretty much stopped calling it anti freeze and just call it coolant now.
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