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Does this sound like a thermostat issue to you guys?

  #1  
Old 04-18-2010, 10:55 AM
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Default Does this sound like a thermostat issue to you guys?

We have a 1997 Sebring JXi. It's our only vehicle, we can't afford to replace it or spend much money right now, and there is no public transit to where my husband works that takes less than 3 hours, literally. So this is vital.

I'm sorry this is long, but I'm putting it all out there in case something matters that I don't think does.

Our car started having a problem with the tranny slipping, but I noticed it ran fine once heated up. This indicated to me possible low fluid, had it checked it, and wouldn't you know, it was low by 2.5 quarts. I also had the oil changed at the same time, which was about 1,000 miles overdue (if you go by the 3,000-mile rule and disregard that this car is almost exclusively used on the highway). All fluids were topped off and whatever else Jiffy Lube does. No major problems noted, just a "very minor transmission leak." Ugh. After tax season, we need to scrimp and save for a new car.

Anyway, car ran well, like it was happy, on the way home, about 20 miles. Then we went out, another 20 miles. On the way home from that errand, when we were almost home, my husband noticed the car starting to run hot. As we watched, the needle shot from a little over the halfway mark to red. We were all of 2 blocks to his mom's house, so I turned the heater on full blast, and within seconds the needle went back down to the middle of the gauge. We let the car cool down, packed up our baby, and headed the rest of the half mile home. It didn't get to red again, but close, and then dropped back down.

He had to take the car to work this morning. Only option was to take the day off and lose pay. I know, him driving means risking damage, but we have bills to pay. The car ran hot on the way, he said when he called after arriving, but he had to keep the heater on all the way the whole drive.

Now this sounds like the thermostat sticking to me. I know how to replace this (upside to growing up a daddy's girl with a dad who's a mechanic, though he's dead now so I can't just have him check it out for us), so maybe it's hopeful thinking on my part since it would be a very easy fix. If it's not likely to be the thermostat, or even if it is, what else could it be? What else should we check? Unfortunately we live in an area where having the codes pulled is $180 and a basic tune-up starts at $350, so we're going to be limited to what we can do ourselves, and I'm very worried because if he can't get to work, we will lose a place to live.

Please help!
 
  #2  
Old 04-18-2010, 11:17 AM
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Something else I just thought to add.

In that half mile or so from my mother-in-law's house to our place, even though the needle showed the car running hot and we had the heater all the way up, it didn't get so very hot in the car. It's like heat wasn't being let off the engine.
 
  #3  
Old 04-18-2010, 02:39 PM
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THere are several possible causes of overheating, and you should check for all of them. Could be low on coolant, but hopefully the boys at Jiffy Lube checked that. They don't always, though, as they don't like to open the cap on a hot radiator. Could have leaves and debris covering the radiator. Could be a defective temperature sending unit. Could be a plugged and/or corroded cooling system. Have you ever changed the anti-freeze or flushed the system?
Could be a head gasket leak. Could be a shot water pump. And yes, it could be a bad thermostat.
I would check as much of the above as you can with the skills and tools you have, and if it's not fixed after that, it may be time to get professional help.
 
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Old 04-18-2010, 05:26 PM
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Thanks. I hadn't thought about them maybe not checking this fluid. I know opening the cap on a hot engine risks burns, even using a cloth. It's just ironic timing I guess that I have the oil changed and fluids checked and it's literally within 50 miles of that that there's a problem with this.

The coolant was flushed in summer 2008. I'll check all these things again. It is a relief that these things are within my ability. If I can't get it figured out tonight by checking these, then I guess we'll have to figure out what to sell. The only downside to not using credit at all, not even having a credit card, is that it means a credit rating of 0 and no back-up for things like this. Sigh.
 
  #5  
Old 11-27-2010, 08:24 PM
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Default I too am having this issue...

I need some help on this as well...

I like in a remote area, and my 97 Sebring Conv. 2.5L is in dire need of help.

A couple of months ago, I noticed while getting take-away at the drive thru, my temp was elevating slightly while waiting, I didn't think too much of it at that moment, figuring it was probably either I needed more fluid or a thermostat.

I used to hear some squeaking from the fan area, but lately, it hasn't been making that squeaking sound, but I'm not sure the fan even comes on anymore either.

Then, a few weeks later, the Service Engine Soon light came on, and while getting groceries, I put it in reverse, and it began to spudder somewhat & sounded like it was knocking(?) a bit. I gave it some gas, and it seem to be ok.

Then this past Thursday, on a trip to Thanksgiving dinner, about 40 miles away, I got about 5 miles, then it was in the red & the Temp light came on. I pulled over, and added some radiator fluid to the overflow & let it cool down. We put the heat on, and it was almost cold air at that point.

Got about 3 miles & it was doing the same thing again, Hot & light. So, I just pulled over off the Interstate & waited. After finally getting some help from the dinner guests to come out, we got it nursed another 5 miles or so, then it happened again.

Turns out the belt was rubbing along the engine area & was straining. Got that fixed & was again trying to get it to my friends house so we could work on it. But now, the Oil light comes on & we find some light smoking coming from under the hood.

Once we got it there, we tightened the belt, & are in the process of getting at the Thermostat, so we can test it out to see if it is bad or not. At this point, the fan is most definitely not coming on (tried turning it by hand & it does turn). We opened the radiator cap & poured water directly into the radiator, to was looking to cycle it thru. The water did not come thru the system to the overflow container, & began to lightly boil over the radiator intake.

So, were still trying to locate the thermostat on this Sebring so we can test it out.

Any help would be much appreciated.
 
  #6  
Old 11-27-2010, 09:33 PM
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Location: Detroit suburb
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THere are several possible causes of overheating, and you should check for all of them. Could be low on coolant, but hopefully the boys at Jiffy Lube checked that. They don't always, though, as they don't like to open the cap on a hot radiator. Could have leaves and debris covering the radiator. Could be a defective temperature sending unit. Could be a plugged and/or corroded cooling system. Have you ever changed the anti-freeze or flushed the system?
Could be a head gasket leak. Could be a shot water pump. And yes, it could be a bad thermostat.
I would check as much of the above as you can with the skills and tools you have, and if it's not fixed after that, it may be time to get professional help.

Were you expecting a different answer?
 
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