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Old 08-15-2010, 12:54 PM   #1
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Question Camaro Overheating, Help Please!

Alright so I have a 99 Camaro, v6 3.8L...you guys probably all know everything I don't know about it...but there, that's the car.

Now the problem. My Camaro keeps overheating, but it's random . Right now I'm not taking any risks, only driving the mile and a half to school and back to my house, because I've been stranded 5 times in the last two weeks. Wondering if anyone knows what could be wrong. Like I said, it doesn't do it everytime I drive. Actually, everytime my dad drives it, it performs perfectly and refuses to get even a little hot. However, whenever I drive it more than about two miles, the temperature starts creeping up and eventually will get all the way into the red if I don't pull over and turn it off. Yes, I've tried to turn the heater on full blast to pull heat off of the engine, but I had no response to that, the temperature just kept going up. I picked up the Hayne's manual for it and according to that it just seemed like the thermostat was bad. I replaced it, it was cheap and easy. Well, for about three days after that my car was perfect. No screwups. Then, sure enough, it did it again . I have no idea what would do something like this, which is why I'm posting . Any help would be great. Anyone who has had this same problem would also be of utmost help.

Thanks,
Zac
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Old 08-15-2010, 12:56 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_Camaro1999 View Post
Alright so I have a 99 Camaro, v6 3.8L...you guys probably all know everything I don't know about it...but there, that's the car.

Now the problem. My Camaro keeps overheating, but it's random . Right now I'm not taking any risks, only driving the mile and a half to school and back to my house, because I've been stranded 5 times in the last two weeks. Wondering if anyone knows what could be wrong. Like I said, it doesn't do it everytime I drive. Actually, everytime my dad drives it, it performs perfectly and refuses to get even a little hot. However, whenever I drive it more than about two miles, the temperature starts creeping up and eventually will get all the way into the red if I don't pull over and turn it off. Yes, I've tried to turn the heater on full blast to pull heat off of the engine, but I had no response to that, the temperature just kept going up. I picked up the Hayne's manual for it and according to that it just seemed like the thermostat was bad. I replaced it, it was cheap and easy. Well, for about three days after that my car was perfect. No screwups. Then, sure enough, it did it again . I have no idea what would do something like this, which is why I'm posting . Any help would be great. Anyone who has had this same problem would also be of utmost help.

Thanks,
Zac
Put a new radiator cap on it.
They do go bad.
You can test the cap if you want, it should hold 18psi on a tester.

Does your dad drive it with the A/C on and you with the A/C off?
If so, it could be an issue of the PCM not turning on the fans, which could be an indication of a bad temp sensor.
There are two temp sensors, one for the gauge and one for the PCM.
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Old 08-15-2010, 01:09 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NavyVet View Post
Put a new radiator cap on it.
They do go bad.
You can test the cap if you want, it should hold 18psi on a tester.

Does your dad drive it with the A/C on and you with the A/C off?
If so, it could be an issue of the PCM not turning on the fans, which could be an indication of a bad temp sensor.
There are two temp sensors, one for the gauge and one for the PCM.

we haven't tried putting a new cap on yet, maybe that's it. how much do they run?

and no to the question, we have both run it with every A/C or heat option there is. my dad was trying to get it to overheat to see if he knew what was wrong, but it just wouldn't do it for him. he ran the A/C full blast and heat full blast and everything in between, even tried turning the air completely off. It doesn't matter when I drive it either, it heats up no matter what setting it's on.
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Old 08-15-2010, 01:10 PM   #4
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If you cant find anything wrong with it, go back to the thermostat, get a fail safe thermo. I changed one when it ran hot with a regular 160 degree thermo, fixed the problem for a day, then went back to running hot again, it was a faulty thermo. the fail safe thermo will not stick closed, if any problems it will stick open.
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
we haven't tried putting a new cap on yet, maybe that's it. how much do they run?
I just bought one at Advanced Auto Parts for $4.25.
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Comp cams Xtreme Energy LT1 266HR-14 street cam and springs..
lift I .500 E .510 duration I 266 E 276
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Old 08-15-2010, 08:10 PM   #6
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My 3.8 normally runs 180-210 but takes a while to get up to temp. The heater also takes a while to get hot. I know my cap is bad because I can hear it bleeding off pressure if I put my ear to it. Also, there's tiny coolant bubbles that intermittently come from under the brass center section. I just got a new one today for $2.

I'm also thinking if your cap is bad enough to cause you to overheat in that short of time, your overflow container should be overfull and/or spewing coolant. Check it out when its hot.

How do you usually bleed the air... what procedure do you follow? I don't know about you guys but I find the 3800's to be a bit tricky to bleed sometimes. You must get it all out though as that will make you overheat in short order.
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Old 08-22-2010, 06:09 PM   #7
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Replaced the cap. Didn't work. I put almost a whole gallon of water in it today though, which means it's going somewhere, obviously. Unfortunately there is no leak that I can see. So I have no idea where the water is going.
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Old 08-22-2010, 06:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_Camaro1999 View Post
Replaced the cap. Didn't work. I put almost a whole gallon of water in it today though, which means it's going somewhere, obviously. Unfortunately there is no leak that I can see. So I have no idea where the water is going.
You really should be using a 50/50 coolant/water mix.
Next thing to change is the thermostat.

Also, did you get the proper 18 psi cap for your car?
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_Camaro1999 View Post
Replaced the cap. Didn't work.
It wasn't the problem, see my post above.

Quote:
I put almost a whole gallon of water in it today though, which means it's going somewhere, obviously. Unfortunately there is no leak that I can see. So I have no idea where the water is going.
Sigh... yet another sign of an improperly bled system.

--

You filled the radiator, ran the car for a bit - it overheated and you checked the radiator afterward and found it dry so you added water; almost a gallon. You may have saw it dry because the air bubble in the engine moved into the radiator while the water in the radiator moved into the engine which is why you had to add water. EVERY time the cooling system gets below half coolant, you MUST bleed.

Add your water/coolant whatever to the top of the radiator and leave the cap off. Start the car and put the heater on MAX. Open the bleeder valve on the top of the thermostat housing. Keep the valve open until JUST coolant starts to dribble out. (Wait for the bubbles to go away) then cap the radiator, and close the valve. Run for a few more minutes and re-open the bleeder to expel any remaining air. Close valve and it's bled.

I know it seems simple, but if you haven't done it you MUST!! Running with an air bubble will cause that area to become super heated and damage it. Overheating is certain if you didn't bleed.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:28 AM   #10
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When i got mine, it did the same thing. It turned out to be a mix of the intake gasket and an almost microscopic sized hole in one of the heater lines that when ever the temp and pressure went up, would shoot a tiny stream of water all over the front of my motor. That one took a while to find, because every time we opened the hood to check for anything, you couldn't see the stream!
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:05 PM   #11
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I'd go for a ride with your dad driving and see what he does differently.
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AIR delete. Bored .030 over.
Comp cams Xtreme Energy LT1 266HR-14 street cam and springs..
lift I .500 E .510 duration I 266 E 276
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:17 AM   #12
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Well now it appears that I lied. Because it's running fine. Even though it didn't right after I replaced the cap. Haven't done anything else, so that must've been it. I don't know why it didn't take effect at first, but it's working now. Thanks to NavyVet for suggesting it.
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