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My EA Fairmont Ghia wagon has been getting a bit hot lately.
If I go over 70 - 80km it gets warmer and warmer, but if I go under 70 km or let it idle then it cools down.
It has just had a new/second hand motor put in it with a new head done, it has a radiator from an EF in it that has been fully serviced and repaired less than 3 months ago, as well as a new thermostat.
It is starting to annoy me because soon I will have to tow the horse float around and I dont want to cook the motor (sighs and thinks lovingly of the old holden 308 that would send the temp gauge of the screen but would get you home and still be okay the next day). Plus I cant go cruising until it's fixed!
Any ideas of what could be wrong?
 

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Maybe a fan problem? seems weird that it gets hotter the faster you go, cause you think that the increased air flow would cool it down. So yeh, check the fan. And maybe the thermostats in da wrong way.

Im an X series fella so I don't know if my advice is any good or not...

Cheers
matt
 

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Blondie,

Firstly, have you taken it back to the shop that fixed/installed it?


As Matt said, fan or thermostat, also did the car have a shroud around the radiator, was it replaced when the radiator was replaced? Shrouds do matter. Also get the temperature checked with a thermometer, gauges sometimes don't tell the truth.

Let us know what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The viscus fan bit thingy died a few months back and we bought a new one, so that should be all ok. When the motor got put in they also put in a radiator but it was blocked and when it started to overheat (when driving fast or for a long time) we took it back to the bloke and he had it all fixed. At that time we also checked the thermostat and just to be sure we drilled a few holes on the side pieces of it.
So the only thing I can think of if that the radiator is blocked again but why isnt it overheating when driving slowly?!
Might have to get the compressor out and give it a bit of a flush on the weekend.
Being a cast iron holden girl, this alloy head thing has got me a tad stressed, last thing I need it another new motor!
 

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Blondie,
Seems to be the radiator is plugged
Read this:
Cooling systems, overheating, leaks
& electric cooling fans.
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The coolant and water mix is pumped through the engine by the water pump. The job of the liquid is to pick up the heat and carry it to the radiator so it can be dissipated. The water pump can't pump foam, so they put anti-foaming agents in the coolant. We know that every car that overheats, does so because of the lack of coolant (because of a leak) or because of a restriction of the flow (closed thermostat, plugged radiator, or a water pump that's not pumping because of a drive belt that broke or an impeller that's come loose).

The thermostat's job is to open when the coolant gets too hot and let the coolant travel faster into the radiator. If it senses the coolant is too cold, it closes to slow down the flow to keep the coolant in the engine longer.

We all know that water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. For every pound of pressure you put water under, it will raise the boiling point approximately 2 degrees. So a good 15 pound radiator cap will raise the water's boiling point 30 degrees from 212 to 242 degrees Fahrenheit. Add 50 % of coolant and the boiling point of the mixture is well over 260 degrees Fahrenheit.

We know that steam can't be pumped by the water pump, that's why we need the coolant to stay in a liquid form. It's important to know we want today's cars to operate at 220 degrees Fahrenheit . So if the coolant turns to steam too early because of a bad radiator cap or a weak mix of coolant and water, the car will overheat at 230 degrees or so, which leaves little room for an extended stop at a traffic light on a hot summer day.

Very few overheated cars are fixed with just a radiator cap and I've never seen a car fixed with a flush. Flushing a car to fix an overheat is like rinsing out your mouth with mouthwash to kill cavities. A flush is done after the repair, not as the repair.
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When should I flush my car's cooling system?
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Flush your cooling system once a year. The best time is at the beginning of the summer or the beginning of the winter. A good technician will flush the engine block and heater core. He will clean out the overflow bottle and test the radiator cap. He will fill the cooling system with a 50/50 mixture of coolant. He will pressure test the system at a few pounds over the normal operating pressure. If after a short time there is no pressure loss indicating a coolant leak and none of the hoses blow or swell up, then all is OK.

It's the anti foaming agents, the rust inhibitors, and the water pump lubricants that wear out. With the price of plastic tank radiators approaching $400 and damage related to the deterioration of aluminum timing covers costing $600 to $1,000 to repair, why not spend between $60 and $95 for a yearly flush?
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If a 50/50 mix of water and coolant is good,
how come 65/35 isn’t better?
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Remember that antifreeze needs water to work. You should never use a mixture of more than 60% coolant or antifreeze. You see the ability of the coolant mix to carry heat away is reduced by an over concentration of coolant. So your protection against boil over or freezing actually goes down after 60% coolant, 40% water.
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<b>Overheating problems</b>

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Your engine will overheat for a few reasons:

1. Lack of coolant. This is created by a leak and the symptoms are typically the same each time it overheats. You fill up the radiator, everything is OK for awhile (20 miles maybe) then it overheats. It overheats because the leak creates a shortage of water or coolant.

The repair is to simply pressure test the cooling system and find and fix the leak. We have hand held pumps which we attached to the neck of the radiator after we remove the radiator cap. We look at the pressure limit of the cap. It might say 13 psi. We then pump air into the radiator and cooling system until the gauge reads 13+ psi. The newer the system, the higher over the cap pressure you can go. Likewise, if you have a 15 year old cooling system, you better not pump the system to 20 psi with a 12 pound cap or you will pop it like a balloon. This cooling system pressure test is typically $25-40 dollars.

2. Lack of circulation. This is caused by a closed thermostat, a plugged radiator or a bad waterpump belt or a bad waterpump.

If the engine seems to overheat more around town and seems to be fine on the highway, that is a clear indication that the air flow across the radiator has been effected. This typically means a bad fan clutch or a bad electric fan or relay or the sensor that is supposed to trigger the fan relay that turns the fan on.

If the engine seems to be fine while driven slowly (35-45 mph) and overheats quickly on the highway (55+) and takes forever to cool down, you should suspect a plugged radiator.

3. The engine is consuming the coolant. This is created by a bad head gasket or a broken engine block and has some very specific symptoms. And water in the oil is only one of the many symptoms we look for. For the record, a head gasket can be bad and we won’t find a drop of coolant in the oil ‘cause all the coolant that is leaking into the cylinder is being sent out the exhaust and is not going into the engine oil system.

The first thing you may notice is the engine misses when it is restarted after it has sat for between 15 minutes up to 3 or more hours. When the engine is shut off, coolant is forced by pressure into one of the cylinders and when the engine is restarted, the coolant causes a miss until all the coolant is forced out into the exhaust. You may or may not see steam come from the tailpipe. STEAM FROM THE TAILPIPE ALONE IS NEVER ENOUGH TO CONDEMN THE HEAD GASKET. All cars have to deal with moisture in the exhaust on a cold morning start up, so steam from the tailpipe is very normal as the catalytic converter heats up and boils the water sent to it by the cold engine.

There are three tests we use to find a bad head gasket or being more precise, a coolant leak into the combustion chamber.

1. We use a dye and suck the fumes out of the radiator and run them through this blue dye. If the dye turns yellow, that means the presence of exhaust gases in the cooling system.

I must tell you I don’t think much of this test. The positive results of this test mean nothing ALL BY THEMSELVES.

2. Apply pressure to the cooling system and watch the pressure gauge as you rev the engine. If the pressure rises quickly, that is a very good indication there is a combustion leak.

3. Fill the cooling system up with coolant, drive the engine till it gets good and warm. Park the car and shut off the engine. Make sure the upper hose is stiff and hard which indicates good cooling system pressure. Apply external pressure if needed via a cooling system pressure pump. After allowing the engine to cool for about 30 minutes, pull the plugs and crank the engine over. If any coolant comes blasting out of any cylinder spark plug hole, there is no doubt the engine has a combustion leak.

I make our techs perform all three tests and the car has to fail all three tests before we can say for sure this engine has a combustion leak.
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Electric Cooling Fans.
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You have to understand how they work in order to fix problems in electric cooling fan circuits:

A/C OFF = A single wire temperature switch or sender is screwed into radiator or the engine, normally close to the t-stat housing. This switch or sender provides a ground to the cooling fan relay which passes battery power to the fan motor(s). To test this circuit, you simply remove the single wire from the switch or sender and ground it for no longer than the count of 1-2 and the radiator cooling fan should come on. If not, the fan relay is bad and/or the power from the battery through the relay to the fan is defective and/or the fan motor is bad. If you suspect the motor, hit it with the wooden handle of a hammer then ground the sending wire again and see if it tries to spin.

A/C ON = The fan may run all the time when the A/C is on or be triggered on by another pressure switch in the A/C system. This switch is often in the back of the A/C compressor or in an A/C line. Otherwise, if the high pressure side of the A/C system gets to 350 psi, the switch closes and grounds the relay which turns on the radiator cooling fan.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well its been sitting in the shed all this week, but will be going to the radiator repairers this Friday.
 

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blondie> if you drilled a few holes in your thermostat your motor will never warm up at all - one very small by-pass hole about 3/32" dia is all you need.

With all those holes you have, and given the work you've recently done, I'd say there has to be a problem with your pump.

New pump, new thermostat (buy one that already has a bypass hole in it) and off you go .... well, we live in hope!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Isnt the pump because when the viscus fan thingy died my b/f put a new one in but managed to cross thread it and I gave the motor a bit of a rev a couple of days later (thank god it was in the driveway) and there was a huge bang and the fan came off and went through the radiator. Then because it stripped the thread when the fan came off, we couldnt replace the threaded piece so we had to buy a new water pump. But I might replace the thermostat, because I have noticed that it does take a while longer to warm up and I'd hate to do more bloody damage to the car, so far it seems we have just about replaced every moving part on it in the last 6 months!
 

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the local auto guy told me just the other day that the EA somethings has a problem with the electronics and the temp gauge is wrong.. it will go up and up to about half and the drop and then go right up again to the red line? now you can't tell me that a motor can go from being really hot, to cold in a matter of seconds?? Let us all know how it turns out.

Rob
 

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Do you have an extra transmission cooling radiator on the front? If it's a 3-speed you do, some 4-speeds will have aftermarket units on there as well. If this is overheating it could pass the heat on to your radiator, and is my guess due to your speed-related symptoms.
If the engine radiator itself was in trouble I would expect the engine to heat up at idle and cool down at higher speeds, due to airflow over the radiator. The fact that it warms up at high speeds suggests to me this is not the case.
 

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Ohhh but we like looking as if we know what we're on about.....
 

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topghia is right on the money, viscous fans, shrouds and thermostats are all common problems. most people think because there engine runs cool it can't be the thermostat, this is not true because if the thermostat is stuck open, has holes drilled in it or hasn't got one, the water flow thru the radiator is to fast at higher rpm and leaves the radiator and enters the engine to hot. when it returns to the radiator and flows thru to fast again but at a higher temp and compounds until the engine boils, always use thermostats on new and old engines and look for the real problems.


ps. don't drill holes in thermostats we don't live in the dark ages any more.
 

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You have realised this thread was September last year...




Hehe, not that I can talk!
 

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Take your pick, could be an eb with a feral!
 

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shed guy said:
ps. don't drill holes in thermostats we don't live in the dark ages any more.
Mabye not, but some of us still drive cars with engines from back then!

I drilled one 1/8" hole in the thermostat in my 6 and two in my 8. Mainly for a bypass in the 6, just in case, but the 8 has an electric water pump for backup/cooling between runs, so I need to have some way for the water to circulate when if the thermostat closes and i'm not at the car to turn the pump off.

The hole doesn't really do that much to slow morning heat up, i'm up to normal running temp in 5-6 minutes and that is on a car with an crank driven fan. The 8 makes enough heat to be running normally before the end on my street!
 
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