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Cold radiators, car overheating

 
Old 09-16-2010, 10:33 PM
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TheDarkYak
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Default Cold radiators, car overheating

Picked up my car(2001 boxster S) today from the body shop. New front bumper, replaced the plastic radiator ducting, & replaced one of the radiators. The thing looks great... HOWEVER! When driving home, the red light at the right on the temperature gauge was flashing. Thought maybe when the shop replaced the radiators, they didn't get the system filled all the way up. Shop was closed by the time I drove off with it, so I didn't have the option of calling them right away. As an emergency precaution, I topped off with half a gallon of Ozarka water & half a gallon of Peak coolant that I picked up at the nearest gas station. Seemed like it was a little low.

In traffic on the way home, I made a cardinal sin, & took my eyes off the temp gauge for a little. When I glanced down, the damn thing had shot up almost all the way over. I shut the engine off immediately, & pulled off to the shoulder. There was no leaking coolant under the car. Coolant level was fine. I let it cool. Back on the road, it started running hotter than midway on the gauge again. Shut it down & pulled over again. Never heard the radiator fans come on. The engine cooling fan on the right side vent was running though. Radiators were cold to the touch. Maybe they replaced the thermostat incorrectly? I limped home a mile or so at a time, letting the car cool for several minutes before resuming. 30 mile trip took 4 and a half hours. In the drive way, I noticed a spot of coolant, about the size of a hockey puck in front of the right rear wheel, but nothing was dripping that I could see. Sounds dumb, but after being out for my rental car while the Porsche was in the body shop, and after scraping up the deductible for my sorry *** insurance(who was rushing the body shop), I had no money for a tow.

I'm going to call the body shop in the morning to see what they can do to help me

This sucks! Probably going to be fired if I cannot make it into work tomorrow...

Anyways, I just wanted to implore for some helpful insight from all of the great minds on this forum.
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Old 09-17-2010, 01:44 AM
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These cars do not fill like a normal car. It is best to use one of the vacuum systems to fill.
http://www.autobarn.net/xxxw-uv-550000.html

There is a metal bail on the black thing on your coolant tank.
You need to snap the bail vertical to help bleed the air. Your fan thermostats may have been in an air pocket, too cool to switch.
Boxster guys can you see the tank bleeder on a Boxster like on a 996?
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Old 09-17-2010, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDarkYak View Post
Picked up my car(2001 boxster S) today from the body shop. New front bumper, replaced the plastic radiator ducting, & replaced one of the radiators. The thing looks great... HOWEVER! When driving home, the red light at the right on the temperature gauge was flashing. Thought maybe when the shop replaced the radiators, they didn't get the system filled all the way up. Shop was closed by the time I drove off with it, so I didn't have the option of calling them right away. As an emergency precaution, I topped off with half a gallon of Ozarka water & half a gallon of Peak coolant that I picked up at the nearest gas station. Seemed like it was a little low.

In traffic on the way home, I made a cardinal sin, & took my eyes off the temp gauge for a little. When I glanced down, the damn thing had shot up almost all the way over. I shut the engine off immediately, & pulled off to the shoulder. There was no leaking coolant under the car. Coolant level was fine. I let it cool. Back on the road, it started running hotter than midway on the gauge again. Shut it down & pulled over again. Never heard the radiator fans come on. The engine cooling fan on the right side vent was running though. Radiators were cold to the touch. Maybe they replaced the thermostat incorrectly? I limped home a mile or so at a time, letting the car cool for several minutes before resuming. 30 mile trip took 4 and a half hours. In the drive way, I noticed a spot of coolant, about the size of a hockey puck in front of the right rear wheel, but nothing was dripping that I could see. Sounds dumb, but after being out for my rental car while the Porsche was in the body shop, and after scraping up the deductible for my sorry *** insurance(who was rushing the body shop), I had no money for a tow.

I'm going to call the body shop in the morning to see what they can do to help me

This sucks! Probably going to be fired if I cannot make it into work tomorrow...

Anyways, I just wanted to implore for some helpful insight from all of the great minds on this forum.
Well, not to add insult to injury but body shops are notorious for frankly lousy mechanical work.

You can bring the car back to the body shop and see if it can make things right.

Why would the body shop replace the thermostat? That's engine work?

Based on your post I'd say there's at least two things wrong: System no properly filled with coolant. Radiator fan not working.

A proper fill of the cooling system in my opinion requires one of the vacuum assisted cooling system fill systems to ensure no air pockets.

As for the radiator fan, my Porsche techs have related horror stories to me regarding how bad some shops reassemble the radiator hardware, wiring, even the hoses after a collision repair. (And after having one of my Porsches in for collision (deer hit) repairs and then having the car inspected by a Porsche tech I have first hand experience how crummy the work can be, and this from a highly recommended body shop. Body shops can pound and paint tin but when it comes to mechanical work they suck.)

You might consider taking the car to a Porsche dealer and having front bumper cover removed and the work inspected. Take notes. Take pictures. Then see if the body shop will cover the cost to have the work put right at the dealer or you can take the car back to the body shop with the pics/notes on what is wrong and what needs to be done.

Sincerely,

Macster.
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Old 09-17-2010, 02:28 PM
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Thanks for the replies. Macster, I was thinking the same thing about the thermostat. It was fine before, and I could see no reason why they would remove that, when replacing a radiator, but I guess stranger things happen. I was up early this morning, so I decided to try to "burp" the system myself. As soon as I flipped the little clip on the bleed valve, it gurgled, and water level in the reservoir started to drop. I ran the car, topped off & got it up to operating temp. revved the engine some & topped off as needed. Radiator fans came on & radiators were warm to the touch. After about 20 minutes of this & about another gallon of coolant, water mix, It seemed to be fine. Drove the 15 miles into work this morning with no further issues.

I contacted the body shop, and as soon as I told them it was running warm on my way home, they offered to pick up my car so that they could make it right. They were really cool about the whole ordeal, but they did say that their tech did bleed the system. He said that sometimes you have to do that more than once to get all of the air out. Not sure how true that is. I know my insurance company was being incredibly pushy trying to hurry them, cause they didn't want to pay for my rental for another day. I'm sure that had something to do with it.

Seems to be fine now, but my eyes will be stuck to the temp gauge for a while now.

Thanks, much!
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Old 09-17-2010, 04:00 PM
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Very common occurance with these systems...our local dealership has had to drain/bleed my system twice on 2 such occurances that you described, these systems with all of the hoses, distance from rads to engine etc etc can lead to all sorts of these kind of issues. You did the correct thing with the 'burp' method. The reason this happens most times is tha the repair to be done EXACTLY right requires you to bring the car ALL the way to temp and drive it no just warm it up and circle the block tice and call it good. On both of my occasions I left the delearships lot in perfect condition but when out of the highway at SPEED under operating temps DING DING there was the little red flashing light. I now store about 1.5 gallons of premixed coolant just incase I need to top off.

Glad you sorted it out....freaking fiddly cars...but I do love mine...

Cheers

m2
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Old 09-21-2010, 12:54 AM
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Jesus Christ! It gets worse. Coolant level was a little low today. Noticed during lunch. OK, maybe I didn't get all of the air out of the system. I topped it off with more water, and stopped to get coolant on the way home. When I got out of the car, green stuff was leaking. There was coolant spewing from under the left front fender liner. I let it cool, and began taking things apart. When I got the fender liner off, I noticed the radiator hose highest up, had a loose clamp. It wasn't like it just wasn't all the way tight, it was so loose you could spin it. They never even tightened that clamp down at the bodyshop.

I thought maybe this loose clamp was the original culpret, and maybe it was. I tightened the thing down and went through my refilling & bleeding process again. When the car was hot enough that the thermostat opened up, I checked for leaks. None. I thought my work was almost done.

As it idled, I revved the engine slightly, and heard a knocking sound under the car. I could feel it with my feet through the floors. Now thats odd. Maybe some big air pockets?

It gets worse. When I went back to the rear trunk to check the level, there was coolant all in my trunk. Level in the reservoir was a little low. I added coolant & it belched out. I screwed the cap on tight, and after a while coolant seeped out from under the cap.

Last time I witnessed something like that, it was a cracked cylinder head on my M3. This is something I certainly cannot afford. Maybe just a bad head gasket? I think it might have gotten a little too hot on that initial drive home from the body shop.

I'm going to call the body shop in the morning & hope they will work with me. I can already hear it though: "If you let us pick it up when it first had problems, & didn't try working on it yourself..." I am stubborn though. I figured, why let the same people who screwed it up work on it again. This may be a hard lesson learned.

I have 4 years left to pay on this car. If it is as bad as I think it is, and the bodyshop won't help, I'll have a real pretty ornament in my driveway for the next 4 years, while I scrape together the cash to buy a 500.00 clunker to get me around in the meanwhile...

I'm going to drink beer & consider jumping off of something now.
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Old 09-21-2010, 10:43 AM
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Not much sleep last night. Kinda feeling ill, thinking about it.

Called the body shop first thing. They are going to pick up the car & have it looked at. Sad thing is, I think it is a Porsche dealership that did the mechanical work on my car in the first place. Getting a rental set up. We'll see how this all plays out. Wish me luck, cause I haven't had much of that lately.
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