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Discussion Starter #1
first off, i know quite a bit about cars and engines, so I just want to see what a few other people think before i do anything to her. my friend owns an autoshop but its 300 miles away, and I'd hate to let anyone work on her but myself and him.

heres the story.
i left for vacation and didnt drive her for 6-7 days. when i got back, i drove her out down to the beach and back, but never noticed any issues (could have over heated then too, was pretty tired and i run my gauges on low light so i might not have noticed). next day, drove about 10-15 miles, stopped for gas, and while sitting at the light it had shot up without me noticing, I made a u-turn, looked down and the gauge was dropping back to normal from a fairly high point, not too close to the H though. so i drove her a bit to see if it happened again, stopped at a gas station, waited prob 2 minutes, and it did it again. got up fairly high about but not too close to the H. (how hot is the H? and how hot can these things get before they warp the head/blow a gasket? i know on subaru's the temp gauge can bearly move two lines and the block is warped) anyway, i took off from the gas station with it overheated, just like I had done from the light. sure enough a few seconds later the temp shot back down to normal. i stopped two blocks later to see if it would do it again. it sat for about 5 mins,(about 80-85F today) and did nothing so i decided to check how much coolant she had pushed. the bottle was almost full and looked like it had spilled some coolant but it had dried up. it wasnt wet anywhere. so i hopped back in and drove home (3-5 miles) and right when i was turning around the corner, it started to go up again so i threw her in the driveway and shut her off immediately. this was two hours ago, and i recently checked the fluid and i cant see any. the bottles still at the same point. the oil doesnt smell good either, and i'm afraid she got really hot. she was running fine though, same power and everything. the heater had been on the night before but it was off when it was running today, (i usually hit recycled air if i feel heat coming out instead of turning it down to cool, not sure if thats bad or matters, though) so now shes just sitting in my driveway, i need to go grab some distilled water, but I was wondering why it would shoot up and then go back down so quickly. i was thinking the thermo might be sticking, and that the pressure was unsticking it but the third time happened at probably 2000RPM. I hear theres two therms and the main ones a 5 hour job. also, my dad had this car before me and it blew an engine and trans(warrantied, about 60-70k) and now has 156,000 miles on her. wondering if the rad is bad since theres slight oxidation on the core. it was owned by my dad before me, so i dont know if the service place he took her to used distilled water or not. always serviced correctly, driven a bit harder than normal people drive, goes on road trips (300 miles about per trip) and drives in extreme weather(has been in -6F, and up to 120F). hopefully I can get her fixed quickly and easily and that theres no threat of block warpage/head gasket issues.

thanks a bunch for reading!

steveo
 

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Well at least you gave plenty of info. You are probably close with the radiator. I have heard of a few that clogged up and caused havoc. Have you tried to see if there is flow in the radiator? When the Pathy is cool pop the radiator cap and start up the truck. When it gets warm the water should flow. Also see if there is anything in it. A stuck valve will either be open or closed and no amount of pressure will let it go the other way. By the sound of it, the radiator is a good purchase. Do a flush and replace the hoses while you are at it. No sense taking it apart twice.

To check for gasket damage, pop the dip stick out and look for white/gray foam. That is the indication of water mixing with the oil and you either have a warped head or bad gasket. Hopefully it's neither and you can get away with a radiator. I would give your friend a call and see if he agrees. Download the service manuals, I don't think the thermostat should be a big task, but I haven't looked. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
thanks a bunch boogyman. no foam on the dipstick and no bubbles in the overflow.

but she did something weird tonight. so, i topped her off with distilled water only, and went for a drive. went about a mile, fine. smelled a little funky, but i had the heater on 90 and i havent had it that high in a while. so i came home, ran inside to grab my wallet and pulled out and the ground had about two basketball size puddle and the heater was running, one from running inside, the other from parking her to smell the stuff on the ground. just wasnt green/didnt look like antifreeze. also, its about 70 out with 83% humidity. so i go to in n out for food, good two maybe 3 mile drive.. sat in the drive thru for at least 20 mins with the heater at 90 and on the first fan setting. usually, after sitting for a minute or two, it starts to blow cold no matter what i do, until i rev the engine up. i'm guessing now that this meant low fluid? this time, it blew incredibly hot air the whole time, which totally weirded me out cause its never done this before. so i sat, ate, all in all she was runnin for almost an hour. drove home, and commin around the corner i decided to turn the a/c on for fun to see if the temp would go up. stayed the same. i havent checked my overflow yet since its dark but i was kinda weirded out by the heater smelling kinda like it hasnt been run in a year, but it was blowing really hot air so who knows.

im gonna top fluid off tomorrow, if i need to even, and find out where that water was coming from (guessing some sort of condensation since it was humid and 70, and it was blowing ridiculously hot air, probably hottest its ever blown) and change the oil just to be safe. i didnt try seeing if it was circulating since it was low, and took almost half a gallon of distilled water. i dont remember the last time i had checked the water level. i know i should have, but i always service her hot and the temp always stayed the same. rookie mistake. overflow always was at a bit over max too. also, ill check for codes and the temp sensor with a heat gun. thanx a lot guys much respect.

steveo
 
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