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cirrus

Heater Issues(Civic)

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Update #3

 

I got a free loaner of the block tester....its a single stage one....not sure how accurate these are. But....with the motor temp gauge at mid way....I checked the rad fumes for a good 5 minutes....nothing....the fluid stayed blue as can be.

 

So then I'm reading the bottle of testing fluid and it says to try it cold too...the tester instructions just warm. So right now the motor is cooling down.

 

But....and this might be normal....but I went to drain the coolant out of the rad to redo the test....after it ran for a good 15 minutes with me racing the motor up now and then....very cool. That kinda surprised me.......maybe means the motor never got hot enough to open the thermostat...or its open all the time?

 

See how the next test goes.

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trap

Okay final update....not sure what the heck is going on here!

 

I tested it cold...fluid stayed blue....I let it run and run....then the upper hose got hot....still blue fluid....but then I think it puked up some antifreeze into the tester as some was spitting out and it turned it green....but never yellow. I thought its probably the coolant so I redid it....still blue.

 

I noticed a few things....the upper hose got hot.....the lower one just abit warm....even after a run around town and down the highway.

 

What the heck is this thing doing???

 

I'm wondering where that temp gauge sensor is and if its a true indication of what say the head area reads?

 

Not sure what to do. My wife wants me to get a 2nd shop to look at it....maybe should do that real soon.

Edited by cirrus

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That temperature gauge has a pretty slow response and narrow temperature window (poor resolution). So it will generally not show "hot" unless the cooling system is in really bad shape.

 

Sounds like the thermostat is working OK - otherwise you would not get a temperature differential from the upper and lower radiator hose. That exhaust gas leak dye is pretty sensitive - so if it didn't change color - unlikely you have a bad headgasket. Sounds more like trapped air in the cooling system and/or a weak waterpump to me.

 

When you purged the cooling system - did you run the car with the heater turned up all the way? Is the heater working at idle now - or only puts heat out when the revs are up?

 

You are definitely diagnosing this the right way - sounds like it could be an intermittent problem (can be a nightmare to diagnose) or might just need more sensitive equipment to diagnose the issue. A second shop's opinion might not be a bad idea. They may diagnose this from another way.

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I did find the sensor for the temp....its right at the thermostat housing so its reading right.

 

I agree it might be a weak water pump. But to even get it changed by the dealer is like $600 and the small garages about the same. If the timing belt needed to be done....no issue...just do it, then if that didn't fix it move onto the head gasket.

 

I have one last test I'm going to do on Friday night. The guys at Autozone have been great and told me the have a free loaner to test the pressure of the cooling system plus checking the pressure as the motor is running. For sure I'll get that and see.

 

If that shows nothing then I'm really leaning toward the water pump (wish there was a way to check that) or an air pocket issue.

 

The thing is...how did the air pocket get in there? I wonder.... when the dealer checked off the box saying coolant was fine...it was actually empty in the over flow tank. Could it have sucked air in that way?? I don't drive this car hardly at all and my wife hardly notices things wrong with it so who know how long this issue has been there.

 

I tried getting the air out by driving it abit without the cap on....but even this morning it still blows warm air at idle....then hot at speed.

 

 

Darn....since I posted this I ran into a guy who said his gasket had a tiny leak in it....and his passed most tests...though...he said his was running very hot. Mine never does that no matter how I push it on hills....ect.

Thanks!

Edited by cirrus

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If the coolant recovery was empty - it could have siphoned air in as the engine cooled off. I'm also leaning toward a weak waterpump - but a blown HG is still a remote possibility. You could have a small leak between the cylinders that is pulling some coolant from the water jacket - but not enough to show up on the quick tests. You could still drive the car like this - Subaru guys have a bad history of blown head gaskets - but they still drive their cars around no problems.

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I've been watching it to see if its using coolant...so far so good. As we decided we'll probably trade it in....for either a 2013 or 14 Corolla....so I don't want to put any more money into if I don't have too. But that wont be for a few more months....by then I'll really know if its the gasket getting ready to go. Its not aging well vs our last Honda (or hell even my Contour) so even my wife said maybe its time to trade it in.

 

I'll test the coolant system with the pressure tester....if that's looks fine I'll leave it. I probably should get a small garage to test the compression of the cylinders....but wait on that for now.

 

Thanks for your help Fish!

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Darn....went to celebrate my B day tonight so we tooled around abit in the car and when I got back it looked like it sucked the coolant out of the overflow. The last two days it was steady between the min/max lines. I'll pick up that pressure tester tomorrow night and test it but it appears coolant is going somewhere. I can smell some when I pop the hood...but cant see any leaks. Maybe using the pump pressurizing the system will show me if there is a leak....it not then it must be going into the motor.

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FIsh.......Well I got the tester but they didn't have the right adapter. DARN!

 

I'm going to ask the garage that sells me the tires if they can test it as they do radiator repairs too.

 

One thing I noticed....with the car well up to temp and the heater on....I was feeling the two heater core hoses. I believe the upper one (it also has a control valve on it) is the inlet to the core.....that's hot.....the bottom one almost never gets hot until the upper one is really hot and even then its more a warm feeling. I turned off the fan to see it cools the coolant in the core which would make the exit hose cooler but it didn't.

 

Hmmm.....maybe an air pocket in the core? Or a half plugged core?

 

I think there is an air bleeder valve but its almost impossible to get at. Whats the best way to get that air pocket out?

 

TIA

Edited by cirrus

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Pressure from the water pump should be enough to push the air bubble out - but sometimes a clogged core or a heater core that siphoning air (leaking) can cause you grief. Clogged core is almost unheard of now - but still a possibility, if the water used with the coolant had lots of dissolved minerals or the coolant was mixed with a different type/chemistry.

 

Might be able to just flush out the heater core - never tied it myself, but should be like flushing a radiator. Just to see if you can dislodge any physical debris from inside the core.

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Okay last test.......

 

I bought a cheaper pressure tester for the coolant system. I wish they had given some type of "control" plug to be sure the whole unit wasn't leaking. I did find a small one that I fixed.

 

First checked the cap....seemed fine.

 

Then did a static test of the cooling system. Ran it up to 13psi......in 4 minutes it lost almost a 1psi. I don't know if that's good or bad. Could be anywhere to lose 1psi over that time. I didn't see any leaks but couldn't see behind the block where the heater core hoses are nor inside the car.

 

Then did a dynamic test...tester at 0psi....motor cold but running.......right off the bat it went up about 1/2psi but it pushed some of the antifreeze up into the tester.....racing the motor up and down didn't do anything once it hit that 1/2psi.

 

I then pressured it up to 10psi and keep the motor running.....the needle was solid....not bouncing around.

 

BUT....I raced the motor up and down and again the gauge went slowly up and down about 1psi...maybe that's normal?

 

If that's from the gasket leaking then why didn't the block tester pick up anything?

 

So....not sure what any of that means.....maybe a small crack in the gasket...air bubble somewhere still.....?.

Edited by cirrus

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It's normal for coolant pressure to rise and fall when the engine is revved because the water pump is moving it around faster or slower.

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I was wondering if the pump could cause that....but also I wondered its a closed system...so if the pump pushes the coolant...it also needs to pull the coolant...so would the coolant rise and fall just from that? I was going to hook the pressure tester up to the Corolla and see if that does the same but I've been wiped out with this cold virus.

 

It hasn't been using any large amounts of coolant....over a week the level in the overflow has stayed the same....so if it is a gasket leak it must be very tiny.

Edited by cirrus

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Pressure will change with increases and decreases in coolant temperature, trapped air bubble will do that as well. Fluid flow from the waterpump is not strong enough to cause the pressure to change like that. You also have changes in engine dimensions (thermal expansion/contraction) that will also affect pressure readings.

 

If you didn't see coolant gush out or pressure spike when you raced the engine - you don't have a headgasket leak. Your Honda is acting like some BMWs that I've worked on - some have to be bleed 5-6 times, as air is hard to get out of their system.

 

Possible that you've finally gotten the original trapped air bubble out of the system - keeping the coolant reservoir tank filled maintained a full radiator and it is siphoning extra coolant as needed. That or you've circulated a possible obstruction out of the heater core and/or your water pump automagically fixed itself.

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When I did the dynamic test the motor was cold....and it was only running for like 10 seconds when I saw on the gauge it pop up about 1psi. Then right away I pressurized it to 13psi and rev'd the motor up and down and I saw that 1psi fluctuation. The motor was still cold. From what the tester booklet said....if the gasket was bad the needle be jumping around like crazy.

 

Something seems odd with the whole system....as when I was doing the static pressure test and at the end of the test you let out the air pressure via the hand held pump...it blew back into the tester the coolant so it was running out of the hand held pump/gauge....and when I took off the radiator test cap the coolant was right to the top of the filler neck.

 

Like there is a big air bubble trapped in there and I pressurized it with 13psi...then released it that trapped air pushed back the coolant. I don't know....grasping at straws here.

 

I just want to eliminate the head gasket as best I can....its still doing the heater issue so then its either the pump impellers wore out or the heater core clogged which I find hard to believe too. But we can live with that issue esp with summer coming on.

 

But if its the gasket then I'd get it fixed before it really gets bad and warps the head...ect.

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Yeah, I understand where you are coming from. As for the coolant nearly overflowing the filler neck. On level ground, with a full system - that is exactly what it is supposed to do. On all my cars, if I popped the radiator cap, the coolant will be right at the neck, spilling out a bit.

 

From what you described - doesn't sound like a leaking head gasket - at least not right now. Even a tiny pinhole leak will cause the pressure to fluctuate wildly.

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