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My car overheated and now it wont start!

Home Forums Stay Dirty Lounge Service and Repair Questions Answered Here My car overheated and now it wont start!

This topic contains 25 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by Nicole Peach Nicole Peach 1 year, 4 months ago.

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    Topic
  • #518493
    kicknhobo
    kicknhobo
    Participant

    I drive a 1994 Nissan Sentra 1.6
    My coolant system had been leaking coolant for the past 3 weeks. I’ve been putting plain water in it until I had saved up the money to properly diagnose and fix it. Today, before heading to work, I topped off the coolant system with plain water but forgot to put the cap back on. After about 15 minutes of driving on the highway at 65 MPH, I noticed the temperature was increasing at an alarming rate, as if I had forgotten to add more water. Since work was only 17 miles away, I figured I would be able to make it and continued driving. After another short amount of time, the temperature continued to rise way higher than it had before. I proceeded to make my way to the next exit, but just as I was exiting the car shut down. I pulled over on the off ramp and opened the hood to find the coolant tank cap right as I left it, unattached. After I left it unattached. After I let it cool down for about a half hour, I added some more water in the radiator and put the cap back on this time, then when I went to start the car (the owner be for me had a switch put in for the starter) I turned the key and triggered the starter to do its thing however the engine wouldn’t turn. As I looked back under the hood, I saw the water I just put in on the ground under the car. After getting a ride to work and 6 hours later I returned back to my car and the same thing is occurring (engine won’t turn).
    1. If the coolant tank or hoses are bad and are leaking water/coolant and not getting it to the engine, would this explain why the car won’t even start? If this is not the problem, any ideas as to what it is?
    2. What should my next move be after getting it back home?

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 25 total)
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  • #518497
    619DioFan
    619DioFan
    Participant

    water on the ground could be a blown rad hose or cracked rad. does the car turn over but not start or wont turn over period ? sound like a blown head gasket, check for water in the oil also pull plugs , see if they are wet. crank over motor with plugs out , see if water squirts out of plug holes. a leakdown test and compression test will also help determine internal prob.

    #518536
    college man
    college man
    Moderator

    +++1 on the above. 🙂

    #518544
    Matthew
    Matthew
    Participant

    when my Thermostat housing blew i limped home overheating. Once i replaced the thermostat and added coolant it hesitated but started right up. Get under the car and have someone dump water in then have them look for leaks utop while you look underneath once you fix the problem the car should run once more.

    #518617
    kicknhobo
    kicknhobo
    Participant

    I now have the car back at home! The but same thing is happening. I have replaced the water and it seems to be leaking from the water pump area. i am now waiting for some tools to look more into the pump and what else might be messed up. i have recorded the sound its on youtube

    #518621
    Matthew
    Matthew
    Participant

    [quote=”kicknhobo” post=59223]I now have the car back at home! The but same thing is happening. I have replaced the water and it seems to be leaking from the water pump area. i am now waiting for some tools to look more into the pump and what else might be messed up. i have recorded the sound its on youtube[/quote]

    water pump sound practical wouldnt hurt to change the belt driving it too. while you are at it inspect all the cooling system hoses.

    #518800
    MARK FELDSTEIN
    MARK FELDSTEIN
    Participant

    I’d start with a pressure test of your cooling system would probably really help you figure out where the leak is. Always pressure test your radiator cap too, btw. Then check the cylinders for water and the exhaust as suggested. If you see system pressure dropping but can’t visualize the leak then water is going somewhere, most likely past the head gasket into the cylinders.

    In theory, what might have happened is that adding water over two weeks may have diluted any coolant left to the point of being useless and lowered your engine temp boiling point so that without the cap, at 65MPH you may have boiled out all or most of your water. I’m wondering when you got off the freeway, how much water you finally added to it and whether it all went into the cooling system or elsewhere, as in a blown head gasket.

    Also look around the front of the water pump, especially the shaft and the weep hole(s) on the side of the shaft and see if there are signs of water dripping corrosion. If so, I’d replace the water pump, gaskets and the belt.

    #518815
    Bill
    Bill
    Participant

    By the way it sounds cranking i think you “cooked” her good. I would check the compression before spending money on the coolant leak.

    #519131
    kicknhobo
    kicknhobo
    Participant

    I have checked the spark plugs and they are wet and there seems to be very little water. i have checked the dip stick as well and no sings of water there when, i took out all the spark plugs only a drop or to came out.
    what should i do next? find out how the water go in and then fix it?
    Should i still do a compression test with water in there?

    #519137
    rick
    rick
    Participant

    from the sounds of it and how much waters coming out, you may have a blown head gasket. have you done a compression test yet? if not id do so first before moving any further. i would check around where the head meets the block and see if its leaking out the sides of the head. check the weep hole on the water pump (usually behind the pulley next to the front bearing of the pump).

    #519169
    MARK FELDSTEIN
    MARK FELDSTEIN
    Participant

    ” I have checked the spark plugs and they are wet and there seems to be very little water. i have checked the dip stick as well and no sings of water there when, i took out all the spark plugs only a drop or to came out.”

    This doesn’t sound good K. Finding very litle water and wet plugs is like being a little bit pregnant. Either your head gasket is intact or it’s leaking and it sounds like it’s leaking. You can probably borrow a cooling system pressure tester at a parts store or a tool rental place. I think ETCG did a video on pressure testing cooling systems. It’s very simple and tells you a fair amount about whether you have leaks or not and where they may be.

    A compression test of your cylinders is also quite useful. You can rent those kits as well in some places. I’d start there. If there is a leak in your head, you should pull it or have it pulled, inspected and take a look at the cylinders to see if any parts in there are toasted.
    Mark

    #519205
    kicknhobo
    kicknhobo
    Participant

    I have jacked up the car to see where the water is coming from but could not pin point the source, i did noticed that some water was coming out from the middle of the exhaust.
    I will do the compression test as soon as i can get the money to do so.
    and what do i do about the water in the cylinders?

    #519252
    MARK FELDSTEIN
    MARK FELDSTEIN
    Participant

    My theory is that you’ve blown your head gasket and may have also damaged various components within the cylinders such as rings, pistons, rods, etc. I say that since you’re seeing water from the exhaust which, at this point, probably ain’t condensation. Still, a compression test would be helpful and you shouldn’t have to buy that sort of kit but as I said earlier, you can probably buy one or rent one from the local auto parts folks, like O’Reilly, NAPA Auto, Auto Zone, or one of the local independents (that I always recommend supporting).

    If you can’t get ahold of one and the engine still cranks (but won’t fire), pull one plug at a time, when it’s out, have someone turn the ignition key and crank the engine. Make sure you still have water in the radiator. Do that with all the cylinders one at a time and see if you get water squiring or leaking out of the plug well. If so, that’s your answer and you can check the other internal organs of the engine when the head is off.

    M.

    #519258
    Steve
    Steve
    Participant

    I’m dealing with a coolant issue as well with my 2001 Grand Am. When your temp was increasing, did it ever get into the “red” zone? How hot did it get before it shut down?

    #519267
    Steve
    Steve
    Participant

    I had a head gasket failure last November and I knew as soon as it happened. Chocolate milk looking oil on the dipstick and in the oil filler cap area; would start but barely run and luckily I got it home. All these compression/pressure tests are great but the common man might not have the finances and/or know how to do them. (Although you can normally rent those testing devices at your local auto parts store). If you drove your car and it got hot into the “red zone” on your gauge, you might be in for a major repair! If it only ran “hot,” you might be luckier. Can you pinpoint exactly where the coolant/water is leaking from? If it is the water pump, then the gasket might be shot or the pump itself might be shot and need replaced. Do-able by most DIY’ers on many vehicles. (Remember that many tools can be rented from you local auto parts store if you don’t have them). Unfortunately, I’m not sure why it won’t start now. Obviously from watching the YouTube video the engine isn’t “seized up,” and is turning over but just won’t start. I am probably wrong but kind of sounds like it is out of time to me. Just a thought. I suppose a bad water pump could affect timing but I will defer to the experts on that. Good luck and hope you get it fixed!!

    #519385
    MARK FELDSTEIN
    MARK FELDSTEIN
    Participant

    My theory as to why it won’t start is because there’s water in the cylinders (from the blown head gasket) and as we know, a gasoline engine doesn’t run or start well on H20. Wish they did though. A bad water pump shouldn’t effect your timing. As I recall, listening to your video I heard something rattling around which could be a lot of things, something broken within the engine or maybe just the bearings on the water pump. Dunno.
    Mark

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