My 96, 2.2 liter Cavalier is overheating.
After I start the car and start driving the temperature needle will
climb steadily for ten minutes or so. It might fluctate back and forth
a little near Hot but eventually it will hit hot and the check gauges
light will come on. When this happens, the overflow container will be
filled so full antifreeze will come out of the container.
This overheating plus an overfilled overflow container -- is that a
telltail sign of something?
The radiator fan seems to be working okay.
Was reading somewhere on the web that an overheating Cavalier is
oftentimes caused by a leaky head gasket, which made me wonder since I
have already replaced the head on this car once (about 60,000 miles
ago; the car currently has 90,000 miles on it). But that time I could
tell because it would cough plumes of white smoke out of the tailpipe.
No white smoke this time. And the oil doesn't have that creamy look it
had last time around.
Look...if it overheats at highways speed, or if you know the fans or
can eliminate one obvious cause.
- The thermostat can be sticking,
- OR you may have a leaky head gasket
- OR cracked head or block,
- OR you could have a failed water pump or slipping belt drive
- OR a blockage in the coolant circulation system (blocked radiator or
collapsed water hose).
A defective radiator cap can cause you to boil over prematurely and fill
the catch tank, certainly.
The above is the short list of what you might expect.
the cast aluminum head on the 2.2l OHV Cav engine will begin to warp enough
to allow small amounts of combustion gasses into the coolant jacket. The
coolant system pressure will increase dramatically, as will the coolant
temperature. Overheating is only the first symptom: next, you may begin to
see bulges, seepage and leaks around the hose connections, and possibly an
orange or white residue on the outside of the engine, level with the head
gasket (exhaust side, over top of the spark plug ports). Finally, your
water pump will begin to fail, weeping coolant when the engine is cold,
gradually stopping as the engine gets warmer. The head gasket may go
sometime around then, as well...
Recommendation: upper engine tear-down and rebuild. Have the head machined
by a reliable shop. Use a gasket dressing such as permatex silicone, etc. I
know from personal experience how easy it is to tear down an OHV engine, if
you've done that kind of work before.
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