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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-22-2013, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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05 Impala Overheating

Hi, new to the forum, but hoping someone can help me figure out what's going on, so I don't have to deal with any local mechanics.

To start off, I recently picked up an 05 Impala, with the 3.4L Engine.The guy I got it from told me he was driving along with his heater on when all of a sudden the heater went cold and the overheat warning came up. He took it to his shade tree mechanic, and was told it had a busted head gasket. Not really caring for repairs, and being well off, he went out and got himself a new car, with the mechanic offering to take the old one off his hands for $100. Obviously the guy was trying to scam him, but the guy is a family friend and offered to let me have it.

Now... The car starts up and purrs like a kitten, no misfires, strong compression, and all of the fluids are clean and clear. The radiator is clear as well, save for what i'm assuming is DexCool gunk in the filler cap, as the cooling system doesnt seem to have ever been flushed. Im not sure if the Mechanic did it or what, but the low end bleeder valve was open and spraying coolant out onto the motor, and the high end seemed to be leaking a bit. I tightened the low end up, put some water in it, and got a few miles down the road when it overheated. I unscrewed the low end bleeder valve some, it shot air out, and I made it the remaining 6 miles home with the gauge bouncing between 1/4 and 3/4 marks on the temp gauge.

There's a few things I've considered...

The previous owner dumped regular coolant in with the aging DexCool, and it's gummed the cooling system up, which has in turn gummed the Thermostat up as well, but not enough to completely screw it up. Or the cooling system needs the air purged.

Personally I think a system cleaning, and a new thermostat would clear the problem up, but i'm the last person i'd refer to as an Expert when it comes to Impalas. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, i'd be grateful for them.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-22-2013, 11:28 PM
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^^ Your statements are correct. What I would do

1. Get a coolant flush at a quick lube
2. Go home and drain coolant
3. Replace thermostat, gasket, and coolant temp sensor (under $40)
4. Refill with prestone (dexcool is just inconvenient and I refuse to use it anymore)
5. Let warm up with rad cap off and squeeze hoses or use bleeder valve
6. Removing and cleaning the overflow tank/hose is not a bad idea either

Note: It is kinda hard to distinguish whether the gunk is indeed from mixing coolants or due to a headgasket or lim gasket leaking. Both are possible. As long as your oil level is staying, you don't smell a sweetness from the exhaust, it is likely the gunked up cooling system. The gunk in the system will likely cause inconsistant readings from your coolant temp sensor. Thus, I recommend replacing that as well or at a minimum clean it up.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 11:08 AM
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Sounds like air was probably the issue all along, aside from the bleeders you found loose, are there any other leaks?

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 04:57 PM
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I agree with g25. He listed the steps to bleeding the system and it is good to keep up with this every so often.

No heat is most likely coolant not getting to the heating core. If you ever think you have a bad head gasket, you can do some searches for symptoms, but in general, you have mixing of oil in the coolant and coolant in the oil as well has that smell g25 listen since the car is burning the coolant now. There is a chemical test that can be done to see also.

Flush the system and ensure that you have all of the air out. Monitor the fluids and let us know.

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