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Old 04/07/2013, 09:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Cooling Problems

Spring is here and there's a huge influx of new cooling problem threads. I've titled this thread with the first words one should put in the search box. Hopefully the info in this thread can help people figure some of their problems out without posting a new thread.

I own a GTS, so I can't really speak for the specifics of RS/GS systems yet many tips ring true for all trims.

Leaks:

If you're spraying coolant from somewhere, it's easy to see your problem most of the time, but sometimes it's not so easy. Common leaks are as follows:

1. Old hoses. Radiator hoses go through many heating and cooling cycles as well as seasons. The rubber breaks down and cracks. Combine this with movement of the engine when shifting and you get cracks bad enough to leak. There are also heater hoses and two small hoses running from the heater hoses to the throttle body. Sometimes hose clamps can fail before a hose. If you replace the hoses, replace the clamps.

2. Corroded thermostat housing nipples. Pull your hoses and you'll see that white flaky stuff. That's aluminum corroding and can provide a path for a leak. This can be remedied by wire brushing the affected area and lubricating the hoses with petroleum jelly or fresh coolant.

3. Cracked radiators. This happens to old, plastic radiators like our cars have. These leaks can usually be detected visually by looking along the seams of the top and bottom caps to see fresh coolant or evidence of corrosion and grime buildup.

4. Radiator caps. These things wear out over time, either the spring gets week and it can no longer hold pressure or the gasket cracks and tears. Bubbling in the reservoir bottle is a good indication the cap no longer holds pressure. Leaks can usually be detected visibly in the area or by coolant spray on the front exhaust components and valve cover. Long term leaks may leave a path of corrosion down the radiator leading from the location of the cap down.

5. Coolant reservoir. These things are plastic and can crack. This is a sealed system so a crack here is a leak in the system. Also common are failures of the hoses inside and leading to/from the reservoir.

6. O-rings. The V6 models have four O-rings: two on the pipe leading from the water pump to the thermostat housing and two on the heater hose hard lines going into the thermostat housing. Leaks here usually manifest as coolant pooling on top of the transmission or running down the rear of the transmission where it meets the engine. The best replacements for these I have found are OEM ones from a dealership or reputable dealer online. Again, lube these with petroleum jelly or you will likely damage them upon install.

7. Gaskets. on V6 models there are two where the thermostat housing meets the heads. They are metal and I haven't had one fail on me yet. I've also used the metal ones as a template for paper ones and have not had a leak with these either, using NO silicone.

8. Head Gasket(s). If you start mysteriously losing coolant and are noticing a bunch of white smoke out the exhaust, you likely have a blown head gasket. Check the oil. If it's high in level and milky/white in color you need to stop driving RIGHT NOW until you fix it. Coolant will murder your bearings quicker than OJ Simpson in a rage. If your oil is fine you can pull the radiator cap (with the car COLD) and observe as the engine runs. If you see bubbles, this can be an indicator of a blown head gasket. Lastly you can do a compression test. Really this is the quickest/best way but most people don't have the tools laying around when this happens.

9. Water pump. It's equipped with a "weep hole" that expells coolant, usually at a very rapid pace, when the water pump goes bad. The water pump is located on the passenger side so if you are suddenly seeing a pool of coolant under that side, it's a good idea to have it checked. The water pump also has its own gasket that can fail and on V6 models, the aforementioned O-ring.

10. Heater core: If you're losing coolant onto your floorboard or out of the AC drain hole, your heater core bit the big one. Sometimes you can only smell coolant when you turn on the heat and get air through the vents. This sucks because you have a lengthy repair ahead of you. If you don't have the know-how or money, all is not lost. You can safely bypass the heater core by buying a kit at any auto parts store that is used to connect the two heater core hoses together. You disconnect them at the firewall, use the connector with new clamps, bleed/burp the system and you are done! BUT you'll have no heat.

Leak summary and amplifying info: some leaks vaporize immediately and are hard to detect. Most leaks won't show coolant on the ground until it's really bad. The only sure-fire way to know if there is a leak or not is to pressure test the system.

No Heat at Low RPM/Idle:

1. Nine times out of ten, you're low on coolant and/or need a burp. Check the coolant level in the reservoir and add as necessary. To burp the system refer to the section covering that later.

2. Clogged heater core. You can check for by flushing the heater core. Many do this successfuly by disconnecting the hoses at the hard lines to the thermostat housing and flush it both ways with a water hose. For other methods, search.

3. Faulty wiring, vacuum actuators. I've read two threads about this but cannot find them at the moment. But if you've ruled out other problems you are probably resourceful enough to search and find what's out there. Sorry I don't have the info off the top of my head.

Heat Only Comes out One Side:

1. There are numorous threads on this but more than likely you've got a partially clogged heater core. I'm sure there are other contributing problems/solutions but I don't know them and for the purpose of this thread we are mainly concentrating on engine cooling.

My Temp Gauge is Going Crazy!

1. Cooling problem. Rule out cooling problems because your gauge could be reading right. It should be right about at halfway between H and C.

2. Wildly fluctuating. OK so it's pegging at H and falling out to C rapidly. Since it's physically impossible for this to actually happen, let's have a look at the sending unit/sensor. There are two: one goes to the ECU and the other goes to your gauge. They are located next to each other on the thermostat housing by the upper radiator hose. More than likley there is some corrosion there but you may also find corroded or broken wires. If everything looks fine you can check the pins of the sensor with an Ohmmeter to ensure the resistance increases and decreases with temperature change. Last resort is your actual gauge is messed up, but before you tear into your cluster ensure all electrical connections are good to go, grounds are tight, etc.

Overheating:

1. Rule out low coolant/air in the system.

2. The engine heats up when started and just keeps on heating up to H unless I shut it down. Well, you've probably got a bad thermostat. You can test it by pulling it out and throwing it in a pot of boiling water. But safety first! Use tongs so you don't splash the water! Use a pot you don't mind NOT using to make your mac n cheese in anymore. You don't want to eat coolant and residues.

3. Makes sure your fans come on. Now I don't have the FSM in front of me, but you should have one running at operating temp, two with the AC on, and if running hot they will kick into high speed. If they don't it's time to start checking fuses and relays. Consult the FSM or other manual for component locations and operating temps.

4. Clogged radiator/coolant passages. If your radiator is from the Bush era it very well may be clogged if you're running hot/overheating. If you've ever used stop leak products, you may have clogged up stuff. You can check for this by pulling the radiator cap (with car COLD) and running your finger around the inner lip. If it comes up looking like peanut butter or you used jail house toilet paper that broke and you slipped up to the second knuckle, chances are it looks like that elsewhere or worse. Another good indicator of this is muck in the coolant reservoir.

5. Mechanical Issues. Did you just change your cap and rotor or wires? If so, and your car is running poorly and shaking violently and making funny noises and OVERHEATING you may have messed up your firing order. Yes, the car can still run like this sometimes. But what happens is the spark fires on raw fuel/air on the exhaust stroke, turning your internal combustion engine into an external combustion engine. Though this is rare, it can happen if your car is backfiring and going nuts and you still force it to drive.

Underheating:

Just like a thermostat can get stuck closed, it can get stuck open. If the temp never seems to want to get up to normal or may get there but go back down, the thermostat can be stuck open.

General Info and Tips:

There are numerous posts about burping the system. Basically you start with a cold car. You jack up the front end as high as you safely can or park at a really good incline (not DEcline), start the car with the radiator cap off, run it for about 15 minutes and fill with water/coolant as needed. Make sure the heater is on full blast when doing this. When finished fill up the reservoir and close the cap.

Use distilled water. This prevents mineral and scale buildup in the system.

Use a 50/50 mix of coolant and water. Adjust for your local climate.

Safety First! Never open the radiator cap while hot.

Never touch questionable surfaces with your palms or fingertips. Lightly tap surfaces with the backs of your fingers to test for high temps.

Clean up your spills. Coolant is toxic and animals love to lap it up because it smells good to them. Maybe you don't like critters but really there's no reason to kill the neighbor lady's cat. It's also incredibly bad for the environment and can end up in your own water supply. You can usually properly dispose of it where you can dispose of used oil.

Now I know this isn't a "Complete Giude with Everything Necessary to Always Fix Any Problem with 3G Eclipse Cooling Issues" but this should help to mitigate the many repetative and redundant threads. Either way I hope it helps someone!
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Old 04/13/2013, 07:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 09/09/2013, 12:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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What temperature thermostat is correct? I searched a bit and didn't find it in case I missed it.
-found it 180 degrees correct?

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Old 09/02/2014, 11:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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my cooling system seems to act weird, i filled my reservoir earlier today to the minimal line drove for a bit went home and checked to see how I was doing (I know I have a small leak but its from a loose hose so the leak isn't bad at all) and from the minimal line it filled my reservoi. It was completely over filled and flowed over the reservoir and made a mess in my garage. The coolant was mud brown (with some green in it). So I'm not sure if that's normal or do I need to flush the system and get new hose's and see if that fixes the issue... I went through a gallon already in less than week (not from the leak) and Idea's?
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Old 09/03/2014, 06:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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my cooling system seems to act weird, i filled my reservoir earlier today to the minimal line drove for a bit went home and checked to see how I was doing (I know I have a small leak but its from a loose hose so the leak isn't bad at all) and from the minimal line it filled my reservoi. It was completely over filled and flowed over the reservoir and made a mess in my garage. The coolant was mud brown (with some green in it). So I'm not sure if that's normal or do I need to flush the system and get new hose's and see if that fixes the issue... I went through a gallon already in less than week (not from the leak) and Idea's?
Muddy color is rust. I would flush the system, replace the thermostat while you are at it, fix whatever leaks you have and go from there.
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Old 09/03/2014, 10:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Flush the system.

Drain the radiator, remove it. Flush that out. Remove upper and lower hoses, flush the block. I've heard of folks using a little CLR (Calcium, Lime, Rust) remover you can get a the hardware store to help remove some of the rust. Just make sure it's completely removed before putting everything back together.

Then repair the leak, it might be letting debris into the cooling system, turning shit brown. Sure, the brown could be rust. But depending on how many miles you have on the car and how often it is driven, this is pretty unlikely. How long have you owned the car? Any signs of prior maintenance to the cooling system?
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Old 09/04/2014, 09:29 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Flush the system.

Drain the radiator, remove it. Flush that out. Remove upper and lower hoses, flush the block. I've heard of folks using a little CLR (Calcium, Lime, Rust) remover you can get a the hardware store to help remove some of the rust. Just make sure it's completely removed before putting everything back together.

Then repair the leak, it might be letting debris into the cooling system, turning shit brown. Sure, the brown could be rust. But depending on how many miles you have on the car and how often it is driven, this is pretty unlikely. How long have you owned the car? Any signs of prior maintenance to the cooling system?
I brought the car from somebody 3 weeks ago, 130k miles on it, I could tell the previous owner had no idea what they were doing, the reservoir was bone dry, motor mounts were shot, and serpentine belt was completely the wrong size and and had the wrong threads , anyways its the cooling system that gets me uneasy driving the thing. Ive un-did a couple of the hose's and notice that its brown on the inside as well, to to me looks like the previous owner cut a hose from something else and slapped it on (probably why there is a mis-connection leak) but I will get it fixed and get the right hose for it and flush everything out, do you think I should also replace the other hoses to reduce the brown residue that already in the system?
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Old 09/04/2014, 09:41 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I brought the car from somebody 3 weeks ago, 130k miles on it, I could tell the previous owner had no idea what they were doing, the reservoir was bone dry, motor mounts were shot, and serpentine belt was completely the wrong size and and had the wrong threads , anyways its the cooling system that gets me uneasy driving the thing. Ive un-did a couple of the hose's and notice that its brown on the inside as well, to to me looks like the previous owner cut a hose from something else and slapped it on (probably why there is a mis-connection leak) but I will get it fixed and get the right hose for it and flush everything out, do you think I should also replace the other hoses to reduce the brown residue that already in the system?

Depends on how they look after flushing. Discoloration is one thing but if the brown gunk is caked on enough where flushing wont get rid of it, just replacing the hoses wont clear all that out of the rest of the cooling system.

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Old 09/04/2014, 12:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
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While you have the hoses off, soak them in hot water/CLR while you flush the other stuff out. Should help. I wouldn't replace them right away, but that's up to you.
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Old 09/04/2014, 05:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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thanks you guys. Im still trying to figure out how it went from the minimum line to the point where it over filled and and leaked over, the reservoir and then empty.
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Old 09/04/2014, 06:15 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I'm very surprised no one has mentioned bad head gaskets... That's what causes mud in the coolant and probably why it boiled over from the minimum line. Rust simply causes the coolant to turn orange but it won't stick to everything like mud. It's coolant in the oil.

Even with the headgaskets replaced it may need an actual chemical flush to get the rest of the crap out of the engine and heater core. I'd put a new radiator and hoses on it at a bare minimum.
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Old 09/04/2014, 06:26 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I'm very surprised no one has mentioned bad head gaskets... That's what causes mud in the coolant and probably why it boiled over from the minimum line. Rust simply causes the coolant to turn orange but it won't stick to everything like mud. It's coolant in the oil.

Even with the headgaskets replaced it may need an actual chemical flush to get the rest of the crap out of the engine and heater core. I'd put a new radiator and hoses on it at a bare minimum.
thats what I was thinking, new radiator, hose's and flush the engine for remove the rest of the coolant. Now I heard that theres a liquid that your put in the radiator that when it goes to the engine is seals up the head gasket. does this actually work to some extent?
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Old 09/04/2014, 06:31 PM   #13 (permalink)
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No... Nothing can seal in cylinder pressure except a good head gasket although lots of people fool themselves into think it works. What it does do is coat your heater core making your heat 100% useless. If you face any sort of chilly weather what so ever during the year it's a bad idea.
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Old 09/04/2014, 06:52 PM   #14 (permalink)
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No... Nothing can seal in cylinder pressure except a good head gasket although lots of people fool themselves into think it works. What it does do is coat your heater core making your heat 100% useless. If you face any sort of chilly weather what so ever during the year it's a bad idea.
found what I was talking about https://www.steelseal.com
based on reviews its got (4.5/5) it seems like it works for a lot of people. to me it seems skeptical that a liquid that effectively seal in a head gasket, but i haven't used it, don't know anybody who has. So idk if this is legit.
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Old 09/07/2014, 08:43 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Old 09/07/2014, 09:05 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Old 09/07/2014, 09:36 PM   #17 (permalink)
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So that stuff is just sodium silicate solution, which solidifies on hot surfaces like where exhaust is blowing into the cooling system (or coolant is getting into the chamber). Problem is, it'll turn into a coating on ALL the hot surfaces of the engine eventually and reduce the ability to cool the engine as whole, not to mention the seal it makes won't last through many heat cycles due to different expansion rates of iron, aluminum, gasket, and sealer. It's a temporary fix to sell the car, maybe it'll last a year, maybe a month.
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