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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all,

Tired of hitting my head against the wall on this one, so thought I'd field some opinions.

Car's history:

2004 SE. Bought 3 years ago with 70k miles on it. Got the car for super cheap. The CEL was on and the guy said it was cuz of "dirty coolant". The coolant was slowly coming out of the overflow container.

Bought it and brought it to my mechanic. He said it was probably the rad or rad cap. We changed both, didn't fix the issue. At the same time (at 80k miles) we changed the timing belt/water pump.

So after changing the rad, rad cap, timing belt, thermostat, water pump, the coolant reservoir was still filling up and slowly dripping out. Also, the car put out no heat inside since we bought it.

So we brought it to Hyundai to change the heater core. Hyundai first said they'd check if it was the headgasket before doing the job, they confirmed it was not the headgasket and then changed the heater core.

The car blew hot air for 2 weeks, then started blowing cold again. Brought it back and said "they would do a different type of test" which they did and found it was the headgasket.

Annyways, to get to the point ... I'm bleeding the coolant every 2 weeks to get the heat back as I guess the system fills up with air.

My question is, could the problem with the headgasket cause poor circulation? The car isn't even blowing white smoke. My 2000 Integra was blowing white smoke like crazy but the heat inside the car was normal.

When I'm bleeding it, the coolant is not moving in the rad. When I rev it at 2500-3000 the coolant goes down and starts flowing like crazy thru the rad. Then when I let it idle again, it comes back up in the rad and stops moving.

Symptoms noticed inside the car:

Good heat at highway speeds.
No heat at idle (blows ice cold). A shot of gas makes it blow warm for a few seconds.
No heat down long hills, and the temp gauge even goes down.
Coolant fans come on almost ALL the time at idle, even in -13F

Sorry for the long post... >:D
 

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Did Hyundai tell you what test they did? If you have a HG issue, there would be a test they do to check for hydrocarbons in the coolant. There should not be ANY HC's in the coolant. The fact that you are having to "burp" the system suggests a HG issue. You need to find out what test they did and why they did not do that test the first time you brought it in. If you paid a diagnosis fee the first time, why didn't they catch it the first time?
 

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What Tib said........

Common issues you've covered (thermostat, cap, etc.) you burped it (AKA, "Bled it".)

Is the overflow properly filled/full?
Is the "drain hose" from the radiator to overflow OK?

If you get most cooling systems close to bled, they "usually" self bleed the rest of the way PROVIDED the overflow bottle/tank has enough coolant in it.
Coolant expands when heated, it should push to the overflow. Once it cools off, it should siphon more back into the system. This keeps the system full.

Coolant has a higher boiling point than plain water (you can read my partial "Nuts & bolts" thread on coolant).
What clamps do you have on the radiator hoses? Common issue is the OEM "spring clamps" allow leaks which could be your main issue.
I buy bags of SS worm clamps from Home Depot/Lowe's and replace OEM clamps. They're cheap by the bag.
Then check the overflow tank, keep it properly full/a little overfull.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yeah I guess I should have mentioned it in the original post.

First, they told me they were going to check if it's the headgasket before doing the heater core, but he said the symptoms sounded like a headgasket, which is what I feared. Then he called me back saying it's not the headgasket because they ran a test that checks for "chemicals in the coolant".

So when I bring it back after 2~3 weeks with pretty much the same symptoms, he tells me he's gonna run another test. When I call back, he said it is indeed the headgasket because they now ran a hydrocarbon test. Apparently the first time 'round they only did a pressure test in which I had good pressure. He claims he never told me about "no chemicals in the coolant" the first time around. Anyways, they tell me now it's the headgasket so they can't do anything about any of the symptoms because it's caused by that.

Basically wanted to know if the constant air in the system was indeed from the headgasket and the poor coolant circulation as well. If so, then fine, because I'm not fixing the headgasket, but if it could be something else I could fix, I'd be interested. Also if coolant is actually supposed to be flowing at idle, and if so, then why does it only flow at ~3000k rpm.
@charlie, I checked all the hoses and they're dry.

Also the overflow container is at "Full" cold and never really seems to move. When burping the system, coolant was escaping into it, so the hose is OK.

Thanks guys!
 

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may not be the issue at hand but based on the symptoms you described, it may be worth investigating. i have encountered this twice and both were in regards to pumps that come with the pulley attached. many water pumps are used on multiple engines and can be CCW and CW rotation. typically a V belt pump is CW rotation and a Multigroove (serpentine belt) pump is CCW rotation. the V6 is a CCW pump. physically the impellers look the same but a CCW one will have a tiny R stamped on it to denote reverse rotation (if its rebuilt using original impeller, the R may be really hard to see, as it is already tiny). the two times i ran across this issue the CW pump had a Multigroove pulley installed on it instead of the V belt one.
 

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may not be the issue at hand but based on the symptoms you described, it may be worth investigating. i have encountered this twice and both were in regards to pumps that come with the pulley attached. many water pumps are used on multiple engines and can be CCW and CW rotation. typically a V belt pump is CW rotation and a Multigroove (serpentine belt) pump is CCW rotation. the V6 is a CCW pump. physically the impellers look the same but a CCW one will have a tiny R stamped on it to denote reverse rotation (if its rebuilt using original impeller, the R may be really hard to see, as it is already tiny). the two times i ran across this issue the CW pump had a Multigroove pulley installed on it instead of the V belt one.
You think maybe a reversed water pump could cause cavitation? that would explain the air in the system.....
 

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You think maybe a reversed water pump could cause cavitation? that would explain the air in the system.....
it doesnt circulate coolant properly (everything goes the wrong way) and i had it pressurize the coolant reservoir (different cooling system than the Tib) blowing out coolant. as far as cavitation, doubtful, as i never noticed any damage to the impellers caused by bubbles from fluid backup or hammering.
 

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Since the cooling system is under pressure, cavitation is harder. "If" it's the wrong pump impeller, then you are likely getting hot spots in the engine causing steam as well as the thermostat is now "backwards".

As to pump direction, it's driven off the back of the timing belt, it's a CCW rotation on the Tib V6.
@oni888, can't say I've seen an incorrect pump impeller, but then again, I can the possibility of it.:wink2:
 

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@Charlie-III, both occasions i encountered the incorrect impeller was on Jeeps built during the Renault era(both came from factory with incorrect one and so did the first replacement). a water pump manufacturer we dealt with told us to look for the R stamped on the impeller. it may have been a rarity confined to those particular vehicles but the symptoms exhibited by them matched what the OP posted so i figured id at least "throw it out there!" funny but in the shop manuals for Jeep that Auto Zone sells, the reverse impeller stamped R is noted in the later than 1987 ones, but not in the 1987 manual itself. BTW, hows the weather out your way?? nasty as hell here dude!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, I got the Gates kit from RockAuto, and it's been installed for 2 years with no major overheating or anything. Is there a quick way to check it or would I have to pull the water pump?

The coolant flows from the driver side to the passenger side, if that helps at all. :p
 

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Well, I got the Gates kit from RockAuto, and it's been installed for 2 years with no major overheating or anything. Is there a quick way to check it or would I have to pull the water pump?

The coolant flows from the driver side to the passenger side, if that helps at all. :p
top radiator hose should be hot, bottom hose should be cool. if you are that way then your pump is the correct rotation. if both hoses are hot then you may have a clogged radiator.
 

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@oni888..... yep, I HATE "mid year changes" (look to my 2004 E-brake cable thread....).
@Acura_Kal, if it's worked this long, I would (personally) rule out a water pump impeller issue.

Check everything else 1st.
The only "HG test" I know of is a hydrocarbon test. It's checking for combustion gas traces in the coolant.
A compression test and/or leak down test "may" also find it.

Emphasize "may".:nerd2:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
@oni888 - yep upper hot, lower cold. The upper doesn't feel full though, like it does on my Tib. Rad was changed around the same time as the waterpump.
@Charlie-III - they did do a hydrocarbon test and said there was gas traces or exhaust traces or something in the coolant. They did this test AFTER changing the heater core for $580. They first did a pressure test which said it was good.

Should I just chalk it up as all these symptoms just being caused by the failing headgasket?
 

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Interesting comment about the water pump directions there oni.

Do you think this could be caused by a bad thermostat... one that isn't staying open like it should beyond the specified temp?
I know you replaced it, but it still could be a crap one, it definitely happens especially with aftermarket parts.
You said the upper hose is always hot, but the lower is cold... eventually they should both get hot as the coolant completes the circulation thru the radiator. If the cap seals tight and the HGs are ok then obviously air shouldn't be getting in. I guess the heater core was ruled out too... being replaced and all.
 

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Hey all,



Symptoms noticed inside the car:

Good heat at highway speeds.
No heat at idle (blows ice cold). A shot of gas makes it blow warm for a few seconds.
No heat down long hills, and the temp gauge even goes down.


>:D
this part here sounds like the thermostat is stuck open and not closing off as it should. if the stat is open or missing then the engine cant heat up the coolant properly as it never stops circulating thru the heater core and radiator which are the heat exchangers. with the heater fan blowing, you are essentially adding a second radiator and 3rd fan to the mix, further reducing coolant temperature. however, the cooling fans are on all the time so that usually indicates an overheating condition (apparently your system is full of coolant as water temp senders dont work if they are not fully immersed in coolant). operating properly, the coolant heats from the engine, goes thru the heater, back to the engine where thermostat opens and closes as needed to control temp and into the radiator where it cools by heat exchanger transfer to ambient air then back into the engine again to repeat the process. (ever notice school buses and 18 wheelers with either cardboard or a canvas cover over the radiator grille?) my fan does come on even in extreme cold sometimes, usually at idle or highway driving but not constant like you describe. have you noticed any traces of oil in the coolant maybe? only other thing besides the head gasket deal that may be at fault if the car even has one is the heater cutoff valve that usually is located in one heater hose and has a vacuum source or electrical solenoid on it that bypasses the heater core when the A/C is used. i have an L4 and never noticed one.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Interesting comment about the water pump directions there oni.

Do you think this could be caused by a bad thermostat... one that isn't staying open like it should beyond the specified temp?
I know you replaced it, but it still could be a crap one, it definitely happens especially with aftermarket parts.
You said the upper hose is always hot, but the lower is cold... eventually they should both get hot as the coolant completes the circulation thru the radiator. If the cap seals tight and the HGs are ok then obviously air shouldn't be getting in. I guess the heater core was ruled out too... being replaced and all.
The thermostat was re-replaced when the heater core was done a few months ago. It was a genuine Hyundai one, but I know that even OEM ones can be defective. I have been pondering the idea of it being the thermostat, but then wouldn't explain the air in the system. =\ What do you mean by HGs?

Before they changed the heater core, the temp gauge would NOT drop going down a long hill, and now since it's been changed, it drops down to about 1/4 even after the car's been driving for 30+ minutes, and then soon as I step on the gas again, the gauge rises.

this part here sounds like the thermostat is stuck open and not closing off as it should. if the stat is open or missing then the engine cant heat up the coolant properly as it never stops circulating thru the heater core and radiator which are the heat exchangers. with the heater fan blowing, you are essentially adding a second radiator and 3rd fan to the mix, further reducing coolant temperature. however, the cooling fans are on all the time so that usually indicates an overheating condition (apparently your system is full of coolant as water temp senders dont work if they are not fully immersed in coolant). operating properly, the coolant heats from the engine, goes thru the heater, back to the engine where thermostat opens and closes as needed to control temp and into the radiator where it cools by heat exchanger transfer to ambient air then back into the engine again to repeat the process. (ever notice school buses and 18 wheelers with either cardboard or a canvas cover over the radiator grille?) my fan does come on even in extreme cold sometimes, usually at idle or highway driving but not constant like you describe. have you noticed any traces of oil in the coolant maybe? only other thing besides the head gasket deal that may be at fault if the car even has one is the heater cutoff valve that usually is located in one heater hose and has a vacuum source or electrical solenoid on it that bypasses the heater core when the A/C is used. i have an L4 and never noticed one.
Thanks for the info and insight, @oni888 ! The fans are almost always on at idle (I can't tell on the highway). If I turn the interior fan OFF, the rad fans turn off. Is that normal? What about the temperature sending unit? Could be defective?

I never noticed any oil in the coolant per se, but I do sometimes notice some gunk in there. Also, I get some milky oil on the stick every once in a while, and some froth on the bottom of the oil cap.

Oh, and sometimes there's a gurgling sound coming from sounds like behind the glove box. This happened before and after the heater core replacement. I'm assuming it's the air in the system though.

Too bad none of y'all are local to take a looksie yourselves. :p This one's got me stumped. I supposed to could just all be related to the apparently failing headgasket.
 

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Copied from a post of mine from the past:
While this is not a definitive or conclusive test of the water pump it can give you an indication of its condition. First, take precautions to protect yourself and use good judgment. ie.-block the wheels, wear gloves and eye protection,etc.
1. warm the engine to NOT (normal operating temperature), have a pair of gloves or rag handy.
2. with the engine idling in park, use a glove or rag to insulate your hand from the heat, PARTIALLY squeeze and restrict the upper radiator hose.
3. "goose" the throttle a little
You should feel a strong distinctive pulse in the upper radiator hose if the pump is in good condition. If you feel nothing or a little, it is possible that the impeller fins have rusted away, loosened from the shaft, the bypass is open, or there is something else restricting the flow of coolant in the system.

Yes, this test is highly subjective to the way it is done, the vehicle it is done on, and the feel of the person doing the test. However, this may help the indicate whether to pull the pump or check for other things first.

If a cylinder has been leaking combustion pressure into the cooling system, then it may also be burning some and you might see it on the plugs.
 

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Sorta sounds like a bad HG (headgasket), but double checking the coolant bleeding is easy & free.

I usually jack the front of the car up a bit.
Rad cap off
Fill overflow bottle/tank
Start car (heat on full, low fan speed)
Let warm up, when you start feeling some heat in the radiator, you will also likely see the coolant level rise as it expands. Squeeze the upper radiator hose to dislodge any bubbles, same for the heater lines.
Once you "think" it's bled, install the cap and shut it off. Check the overflow level while warm. Let it cool with the hood open.
Recheck the overflow level and pull the rad cap off and check that level.

You should notice a change in overflow level dependent on coolant temp. Hot coolant takes more volume, cold coolant takes less.
Big swings may mean air in the system.

Do the bleed cycle a couple times, then watch the overflow level for a few days of regular driving.

PS, I've dealt with quite a few Subaru HG's that:
-Did not have a "sweet exhaust" from burning coolant
-Did not have large amounts of steam out the exhaust
-Did not have oil in the coolant
-Did not have coolant in the oil

I will note that my last bad HG (covered under the engine warranty....) would bleed fine, idle fine but would overflow the overflow tank in ~2 miles of driving with a load on the engine.

Compression tests don't always find a bad HG, leakdown tests "usually" do. Other than a visual (pull the heads & check the gaskets), a hydrocarbon test (AKA "HC test") is about the best test.
 

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HG= Head gasket. Find out what test Hyundai did to suspect the HG. Gunk in the coolant, weird looking oil, that points to an issue. You need to test the coolant and see if there is unburned fuel (hydrocarbons) in the coolant.

The gurgling sound you are hearing is air trapped inside the heater core. Air is getting into the system. find out if that is air or hydrocarbons.
 

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The fans are almost always on at idle (I can't tell on the highway). If I turn the interior fan OFF, the rad fans turn off. Is that normal? What about the temperature sending unit? Could be defective?

i could be wrong but i think only one fan runs when needed and the second runs when the A/C is being used. might be that both do run, never watched mine. typically the temp gauge will go slightly beyond the half-way mark before a fan turns on, then is only on for a short duration and you can see the temp gauge drop until the fan turns off. the cycle then repeats itself. shouldnt be a frequent event in this cold weather tho, but the fan can still run. on highway, at least in mine, there is a slight "bump" i can feel when the fan starts up. turning off the heater fan shouldnt make the radiator fans turn off. turning ON the heater fan could make the radiator fans stop as you dissipate heat from the coolant. kinda sounds like there is an electrical issue as far as fan operation goes. the temp sender for the fans could be on its way out but it doesnt account for the radiator fans shutting off when you turn off the heater fan. it makes sense however, that having all the fans running and possibly a wide open thermostat in conjunction with rather nasty ambient temps sure can be a good reason why you dont have heat all the time since the coolant isnt getting hot enough to produce any thing decent.
 
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