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Old 12-15-2010, 09:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Overheating help 1989 240sx need help on coolant hose reference!

My 240 has been overheating for a couple weeks and I haven't been driving it, just trying to fix it. I have read many forums regarding bubble issues in the coolant system. Car runs fine, no coolant in exhaust, no oil in coolant. Heater is running cool on full blast.

I replaced the upper and lower radiator hoses.
Replaced the thermostat.
Switched out temp sensors.
Jiggled the water pump pully, no play, feels fine.
Blead the system many times elevated, massaged hoses and used the bleeder bolt while heater was on full.
I have flushed the system with three gallons of coolant throughout this whole process of trouble shooting.

I was wondering weather the lower radiator hose or the upper radiator hose goes into the thermostat housing? Maybe the guy I bought the car from mixed them up. I reviewed the FSM (too vague) and many forums. Half say the upper hose goes into the thermo, half say the lower hose does. I called the Nissan dealer, they said the upper hose goes to the thermo.

Help! I'm tired of this thing already and I haven't even had it for 2 weeks!
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Nissan said the upper hose goes to the thermostat? That's hilarious, lol. I can tell you 100% that the bottom hose goes to the thermostat, and the top hose goes to the intake manifold.
Do you have the top hose on the thermostat housing right now? If so, can we get a pic?
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Old 12-16-2010, 10:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Radiator might need flushing/replacing
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Old 12-16-2010, 11:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Sorry for the cross thread, I didn't know which area to post since they were similar.

I figured out which way the hoses go by referencing coolant flow direction from the FSM. Seriously, there were three threads on this and another forum that explained that the upper hose goes into the thermo. If you don't believe me, I can search for them again and quote them for you.



I have already flushed the radiator, it has good flow, so I don't think its that.

My brother brought home a coolant system evacuator last night. I ran it on the radiator a few times with a compressor. It pulled a vacuum on the coolant system, the pushes coolant without air into the vacuum. That helped. Drove around a little while then the needle started to bounce up into the hot again.

The needle on the gauge acts strange. It starts out by shooting up so fast, like someone is flicking the needle, into the hot, sometimes way over the hot, then drops right back down to the normal position in the middle. Seems like its not grounded or something. Does this for a little while until it creeps back down to the middle more slowly and then starts to want to stay more and more in the hot.

I swapped out the temp sensor and that didn't help. The car eventually does overheat, so the gauge must be reading correctly. I am worried that there is a crack in the head gasket that is leaking slow exhuast bubbles into the coolant system, which creates more air pockets after the system had been evacuated.

Thoughts?
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Old 12-16-2010, 11:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Might wanna try an aftermarket water temp gauge, the sensor may have been good and the cluster the issue. Prosport made the one I'm using, and it's 40 with sensor (+25 new for a coolant hose adapter). Good investment in any case.
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Old 12-16-2010, 11:53 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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I just got this car, spent a bunch of money in coolant and hoses, so I'm broke right now and cant spring for a gauge if I have to get a head gasket set.

If the ground is bad on the temp sensor (wiring) that could cause the gauge to bounce around because I believe when plugged in, the voltage is reverse for the gauge direction, which would cause it to bounce up into hot, instead of down into cold?

However, even if it were that, the car does eventually overheat. Maybe I just got a bad thermostat from Autozone? I'm thinking about running the car without a thermostat. But I will be wasting more coolant and will have to wait until my brother can bring his evacuator tool home from work again so I can pull another vacuum on the coolant system again to remove the bubbles.

I'm so frustrated with this thing already. I feel like I should have kept my honda.
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Old 12-16-2010, 12:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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You can reuse the coolant if you catch it.
Sadly, Nissan thermo's have performed the best over the years.
What are you using to determine "The car does eventually overheat"?

You don't need the tool. Jack up the front of the car while you fill and run it, it should get more than enough air out to run fine.
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Old 12-16-2010, 12:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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I can tell its overheating because its bubbling up into the overflow reservoir and the starter gets so hot that it won't turn over to restart until I let it cool off.

Could it be the thermo? I didn't get it from Nissan, but bought a cheap $10 thermo at Autozone.
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Old 12-16-2010, 12:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Cheap one at autozone huh? It's not a 190* F is it? And just for reference the stock thermostat temp is 170F. Also, which hose do you have on the thermostat housing?
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Old 12-16-2010, 01:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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The upper hose goes to the block and the lower hose is connected to the thermostat. Also not sure what temp thermo I got. I just asked for one and the dude gave it too me. I should have clarified the temp, but didn't know what operating temp thermo to get off the top of my head.

I just test drove it again. Seems like it wants to overheat more when slowing down or going down hill, not too sure. When the heat does spike up, the heater blower reduces a little bit and engine bogs down a little.

After I parked and idled in the driveway, it stayed in the hot. I felt the upper radiator hose and it was not too hot to the touch, I could keep my hand on it without burning it. I could take the radiator cap off without it steaming or boiling over. The lower radiator hose was cool as usual. Hoses had pressure until I took the radiator cap off, relieving pressure (which felt too high for me).

Since it was overheating on the gauge, I shut the motor of and let it sit. After a few minutes of sitting, the upper radiator hose got really hot and the coolant started to boil.

I wonder that since the upper radiator hose wasn't too hot, the radiator wasn't overflowing without the cap, that pressure in the upper hose was maintained until I took the radiator cap off while running, that the thermo was stuck shut, not allowing the coolant to flow through the system. Would this cause the upper hose to stay warm and not hot because the coolant was stuck overheating in the block? Then that would cause it to overheat too far when shutting off, causing the thermo to blow open, letting the super hot coolant into the radiator, and up into the overflow?
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Old 12-16-2010, 01:35 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Did you check your radiator cap? If it doing it job and holding in pressure then when you take it off when the car is hot it coolant should come out. This sounds like it could also be a bad thermo.
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Old 12-16-2010, 01:39 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Yes, I have a new radiator cap that holds pressure.

I just took the thermo off. I am bleeding the system now and will test drive it in a few.
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Old 12-16-2010, 01:48 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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It's warming up now. Taking a while since there is not thermostat. I noticed one thing right off the bat, that the coolant in the radiator is flowing like a river. Previously, even when hot, I noticed that the coolant wasn't flowing in the radiator, it was kind of stagnant.
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Old 12-16-2010, 01:50 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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did you originally put the thermo in backwards?
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:32 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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I put the thermo in properly on the initial installation, would only go in one way, with the thermo spring inside the block.

So this is strange, after test driving without a thermostat...

Temp gauge only would go to a little above the cold line and stay steady there. After a little while of driving, it would bounce up to the middle, just like before when it would jump to the hot. Same symptoms as before with the needle bouncing up and down from hot, except this time, it bounces to the middle since the engine is running cooler without the thermostat.

What is going on with this thing???
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:35 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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[IMG]http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4117/4815556645_46d0c32f1c_b.jpg[IMG]
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:48 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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I put the thermo in properly on the initial installation, would only go in one way, with the thermo spring inside the block.

So this is strange, after test driving without a thermostat...

Temp gauge only would go to a little above the cold line and stay steady there. After a little while of driving, it would bounce up to the middle, just like before when it would jump to the hot. Same symptoms as before with the needle bouncing up and down from hot, except this time, it bounces to the middle since the engine is running cooler without the thermostat.

What is going on with this thing???

Could this mean that the sensor is reading the temp right most of the time, but goes haywire at random times, and since the temp is lower, it doesn't bounce up as high? Or is the sensor accurate, and I have some other type of problem causing the temp to spike?

Below are some photo's of the temp sensor and wires. The black one is the temp sensor wire. It had been soldered on and I removed the tape to check it. I'm not sure what the orange one next to it is. They may be wired together in a circuit or something? Ideas?










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Old 12-16-2010, 10:23 PM   #18 (permalink)
 
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The orange/red plug is your coolant temp sensor for the ECU. The black one is for the gauge cluster.
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Old 12-22-2010, 04:25 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Since running without a thermostat, it eventually got all of the bubbles out through bleeding and stopped overheating altogether. However, the engine was running too cool, so the ecu was making the engine run crappy in cold mode all the time.

I did more research and found that the stock Nissan thermostat is a lot different from the crappy Autozone OEM ones. The bleeder hole is much higher and has a bigger bleeder to fix the bleed/bubble problems with these motors.

So in the meantime, since I am too broke to buy parts right now, I drilled a 1/8in hole in the top of the thermostat above the bleeder hole in the OEM one from Autozone. I used a large funnel in the radiator to bleed the system and utilized the bleeder valve again on the manifold.

This solution has worked so far. Heat is center on the gauge. Only downside with the hole in the thermostat is that the heater isn't as hot.

No overheating anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:46 PM   #20 (permalink)
 
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I wish I would have taken a picture of the crappy thermostat that was in my car vs the nissan thermostat I bought. Just so people would know the exact difference.

From what I can remember the nissan was more bulky, had a larger coolant flow hole, as well as larger air bleeder hole. It operates a lot better than the autozone..thing.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:49 PM   #21 (permalink)
 
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The brand of thermostat has nothing to do with it. I've used stock, autozone, o'reillys and even a thermo for a 350 chevy (which is a completely different design) with success. As long as it has a small weep hole, and you know how to bleed it properly your good to go.
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:36 PM   #22 (permalink)
 
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The fact that the autozone bleed hole is real close to the middle vs the nissan being near the edge is enough difference for me. I'd just pay the little difference in the nissan and not have junk autozone in the engine. In my opinion, if it looks cheap, doesn't look like stock, or is from autozone, then it is most likely crap. We are all entitled to our opinion though.
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Old 12-23-2010, 01:22 AM   #23 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by 92White240 View Post
We are all entitled to our opinion though.
Amen to that. I'm just saying a thermostat is a thermostat, the only difference is how big it is and at what temp it operates at. The 350 Chevy thermostat I used was an cheap experiment to the Nismo thermostat. It opened at 160 F and was about a tenth of the price. The only modification was a weep hole had to be drilled, but other than that it worked perfect.
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Old 12-23-2010, 01:55 PM   #24 (permalink)
 
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With the autozone thermostat, I even ran a vacuum on the system with the tool below. Since the bleed hole is low inside the housing on the thermostat, you can't bleed the bubbles out in the block that float higher up in the chamber behind the thermo. This is why it dosen't overheat while sitting there bleeding the system. When your done bleeding and driving, pressure is put on the system, the bubbles escape when the thermostat opens, getts trapped in the manifold, which causing spikes in temperature. Once it overheats while driving and you stop to open the radiator cap to relieve pressure (to keep from cracking your radiator), tons of coolant comes out while the thermo is open which I believe introduces air back into the system again in a viscous cycle.



Below is a stock 240 thermo. Notice how high and big the bleed hole is (and that's the location I drilled my 1/8 in hole until I buy a stock thermo).





Below is a Nismo aftermarket thermostat. I have read mixed reviews on the Nismo and Mishimoto aftermarket thermostats though.



Instead of borrowing my brothers tool to vacuum the system again, I just used a huge funnel on the radiator and utilized the bleeder bolt, which worked well.

This is just from my research and work over the past two weeks to get this bitch to stop overheating.
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