Overheating Problems with a Cavalier

Hi, I have a 1999 Cavalier. I guess I should say this first: I am unfortunately one of those people who know next to nothing about cars, other than to get it
gassed up. I had an oil change done about 2500 miles ago, and I guess all my fluids were fine then.
Here is a quick list of symptoms: 1) Check engine light is on and temperature readings are at red. 2) Leaking a very thin and possibly brown oil next to my front right tire. 3) Cools down very quicky and heats up very quickly. (These are gauge reading and I dont know if the gauge could be wrong or not.) 4) Heating vents have started blowing cold air even though I had it set to full heat.
If anyone knows what these problems could mean, please drop in some suggestions. For a detailed description of what happened, please read below.
As I was driving to work this morning, I looked down at my dashboard and noticed that the check engine light was on and the temperature gauge was at red. I panicked because Ive heard that at those temperatures your car could seize; and so I parked it immediately. Less than five minutes later, I turned it back on, and noticed that the temperature was back to normal, which was strange... can temperature drop that fast? (it was at most a chilly morning in Michigan).
I started driving it again since I was parked right next to someones driveway. For some reason, the heating vents were now spewing out cold air although I had it set to max heat. The temperature started rising really fast (within 2 minutes), but I found a good place to park it for the day. While waiting for a friend to pick me up, I noticed that the car was leaking some fluid almost right next to my front right tire. It was a very thin (also brownish maybe?) kind of oil.
My friend didnt take a look at the car, but said that it possibly could be the head gasket and that if that is the problem, Im looking at at least 800. Do any or all of these symptoms relate to the head gasket, or could it also be something else?
Thank you.
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Just talked to another friend of mine:
He says that since the heater completely stopped working when I turned the car on the second time, its almost definately a problem with the thermostat, and nothing major... and that the leakage is another problem that I should look at, but might be unrelated. Could that be the problem?
"azmodan" wrote: > Hi, > I have a 1999 Cavalier. > I guess I should say this first: I am unfortunately one of > those people who know next to nothing about cars, other than > to get it gassed up. I had an oil change done about 2500 miles > ago, and I guess all my fluids were fine then. > > Here is a quick list of symptoms: > 1) Check engine light is on and temperature readings are at > red. > 2) Leaking a very thin and possibly brown oil next to my front > right tire. > 3) Cools down very quicky and heats up very quickly. (These > are gauge reading and I don't know if the gauge could be wrong > or not.) > 4) Heating vents have started blowing cold air even though I > had it set to full heat. > > If anyone knows what these problems could mean, please drop in > some suggestions. > For a detailed description of what happened, please read > below. > > > > > As I was driving to work this morning, I looked down at my > dashboard and noticed that the check engine light was on and > the temperature gauge was at red. I panicked because I've > heard that at those temperatures your car could seize; and so > I parked it immediately. Less than five minutes later, I > turned it back on, and noticed that the temperature was back > to normal, which was strange... can temperature drop that > fast? (it was at most a chilly morning in Michigan). > > I started driving it again since I was parked right next to > someone's driveway. For some reason, the heating vents were > now spewing out cold air although I had it set to max heat. > The temperature started rising really fast (within 2 minutes), > but I found a good place to park it for the day. While waiting > for a friend to pick me up, I noticed that the car was leaking > some fluid almost right next to my front right tire. It was a > very thin (also brownish maybe?) kind of oil. > > My friend didn't take a look at the car, but said that it > possibly could be the head gasket and that if that is the > problem, I'm looking at at least 800. > Do any or all of these symptoms relate to the head gasket, or > could it also be something else? > > Thank you.
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Sounds to me like you should look in the radiator and see if there is any coolant in it.
Al.
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Take it to a qualified mechanic and get it checked out. Any answers you get here will be no better than the diagnosis you gave. Fixing it takes some mechanical knowlege.

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donot let it go on the red zone again. if you did not cause any expensive damage to car, you might do it soon.
check coolant level. put in some coolant in. you might need to take the trapped air out of the engine.
check oil. if it is muddy. if so, you are looking for a expensive engine head gasket or engine head problem.
good luck.
Woody wrote:

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Thanks for all your advice. Last night, I went to retrieve it from where I had parked it, and it was the coolant that was leaking. I filled it up and drove it home, which wasnt too far, and it was fine, because the leak isnt very severe. Ive parked the car now, and will take it to a mechanic in a couple of days. Appreciate all your input.
"Woody" wrote: > Take it to a qualified mechanic and get it checked out. Any > answers you get > here will be no better than the diagnosis you gave. Fixing it > takes some > mechanical knowlege. > >
> > > Just talked to another friend of mine: > > > > He says that since the heater completely stopped working > when I turned > > the car on the second time, it's almost definately a problem > with the > > thermostat, and nothing major... and that the leakage is > another > > problem that I should look at, but might be unrelated. Could > that be > > the problem? > > > > "azmodan" wrote: > > > Hi, > > > I have a 1999 Cavalier. > > > I guess I should say this first: I am unfortunately one of > > > those people who know next to nothing about cars, other > than > > > to get it gassed up. I had an oil change done about 2500 > miles > > > ago, and I guess all my fluids were fine then. > > > > > > Here is a quick list of symptoms: > > > 1) Check engine light is on and temperature readings are > at > > > red. > > > 2) Leaking a very thin and possibly brown oil next to my > front > > > right tire. > > > 3) Cools down very quicky and heats up very quickly. > (These > > > are gauge reading and I don't know if the gauge could be > wrong > > > or not.) > > > 4) Heating vents have started blowing cold air even though > I > > > had it set to full heat. > > > > > > If anyone knows what these problems could mean, please > drop in > > > some suggestions. > > > For a detailed description of what happened, please read > > > below. > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > As I was driving to work this morning, I looked down at my > > > dashboard and noticed that the check engine light was on > and > > > the temperature gauge was at red. I panicked because I've > > > heard that at those temperatures your car could seize; and > so > > > I parked it immediately. Less than five minutes later, I > > > turned it back on, and noticed that the temperature was > back > > > to normal, which was strange... can temperature drop that > > > fast? (it was at most a chilly morning in Michigan). > > > > > > I started driving it again since I was parked right next > to > > > someone's driveway. For some reason, the heating vents > were > > > now spewing out cold air although I had it set to max > heat. > > > The temperature started rising really fast (within 2 > minutes), > > > but I found a good place to park it for the day. While > waiting > > > for a friend to pick me up, I noticed that the car was > leaking > > > some fluid almost right next to my front right tire. It > was a > > > very thin (also brownish maybe?) kind of oil. > > > > > > My friend didn't take a look at the car, but said that it > > > possibly could be the head gasket and that if that is the > > > problem, I'm looking at at least 800. > > > Do any or all of these symptoms relate to the head gasket, > or > > > could it also be something else? > > > > > > Thank you.
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Just out of curiosity...
How many miles/kms on the car?
Does this Cav have a 2.2l OHV engine?
Are you using Dex-Cool (tm) coolant?
Any problems with bulges/cracks in any of the system hoses?
B.
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to me, it's sounding like the water pump has worn out and is leaking from the weep hole. you said that 'light oil' is leaking near the right front tire. that 'oil' might could be the redish DexCool antifreeze. my prefered mechanic advises against using that stuff... says it's corrosive and advises to flush it out and replace with the green stuff.
if the water pump leaked out all your coolant, maybe that's why your temp shot up (and down) so quickly.
keep checking the coolant level, and good luck with that.
Tim Sell North Texas.
azmodan wrote:

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