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Thread: Car won't start after a major overheat

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    12

    Default Car won't start after a major overheat

    So I've had an overheating problem for a number of months because the cooling fan won't start on my 95 Contour (2.0 liter, manual, if that matters), and I haven't gotten around to getting it fixed. Now after the biggest overheat of its car life, I can't get it to start at all.

    My grandfather looked at it Sunday and I guess rerouted some electrical wires from the fan to god knows what to bypass a switch, but the fan still wouldn't work. I don't know if that's relevant. Anyway, he gave me a radiator flush, too, since there was sludge everywhere in the coolant tank.

    Like an idiot, I forgot to put the cap back on the coolant tank after filling it. My engine NEVER overheated when going 60-70 mph before, and it went really high, really fast - and there was an intermittent slinky-ish sound, like a long length of coiled wire being thrown around. I pulled over 10-15 minutes after it first got really hot, and it was spewing smoke/steam. I checked the coolant levels, which actually looked higher (and browner) than it did 45 minutes before.

    Of course, I replaced the cap at this point.

    Moved again after giving it some time, thermostat went into its normal range, but my heater was blowing cold air on all settings. It stalled coming up to a tollbooth, and there was quite a bit of smoke / steam coming from everywhere under the hood, and still the slinky sound. When I tried the ignition it would either come on and idle extremely, extremely low for 15 or 20 seconds and go to normal, or I would get a flickering oil light and it wouldn't turn on, though my oil level was fine.

    My grandfather said it was coolant burning off and I should be okay getting back, so I gave it one more go. Still blowing cold air, still stalled coming up to a tollbooth but got it going right away. By this time my car looked like it was on fire and the slinky sound had turned into a rattling. Definitely got it towed at this point. Three hours later the engine was still hot and the coolant was very low. That's supposed to explain the heater blowing cold air, but the level had increased after the first overheat.

    There was a puddle today when I went to fill up the coolant, but I can't find any leaks, so I'm guessing it was just coolant that blew over from Sunday. But the car won't start at all now - I can't describe it, so here's a Youtube video.

    Does it sound like I've some some seriously expensive damage to the car running it while overheating? Where do I even begin to tell the mechanic what's wrong when I take it in?

    I'm sorry about the length. Thanks a bunch if you were able to finish this and can offer any advice, though. I just don't know where to start when I take it to a shop.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Bloomington/Normal, IL
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    874

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    Yeah.. I would have to say you killed that motor. You overheated it to the point where the piston rings are shot because it sounds like there is no compression in the engine when it turns over..
    -1995 Contour SE 136k Sold 7/23/09 -Christine-
    -1998 T-red SVT Contour # 5961 3L hybrid coming soon. -Miri-

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Dearborn, mi
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    I'm going with you don't deserve to own an automobile...I'm not a very mean guy but this is either a joke or I'm so sorry man....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Chicago, IL
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    Quote Originally Posted by ContourGuy9817 View Post
    I'm going with you don't deserve to own an automobile...I'm not a very mean guy but this is either a joke or I'm so sorry man....
    To be fair, I was listening to what three of my relatives said ("it's steam, the car will make it back home"), the thermostat went down into the normal range once I got it going again, and I don't know sh** about diagnosing car symptoms and have no mechanical bent - which is why I joined CEG. I would play the "I have boobs" card, but I know there are quite a few women here who know their autos.

    And maybe most importantly, would anyone in their right mind feel comfortable leaving their car on the side of the road a mile from Gary, Indiana?

    Well, four hours of public transit per commute, here I come. Not even a month after I paid for retitling, registration, plates, and two b.s. Chicago parking tickets.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by ContourGuy9817 View Post
    I'm going with you don't deserve to own an automobile...I'm not a very mean guy but this is either a joke or I'm so sorry man....
    Cougar Steve ........ Being a dick since 09
    bagged cardomain
    00 customized svt#1240

  6. #6

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    The decision to keep driving car with no fan working is just as bad as leaving the car by side of road a mile from Gary, Indiana. A major mistake, done more than once. Your relatives should now be jumping in there to help you out monetarily since their advice worked so well. Somehow I think they won't though. Nothing personal of course, but you now know why you should fix it when the problem first happens.

    Now, if you were fearing for your own safety because you are a woman and now stranded, can understand that. However, the earlier errant decision making led to that event.

    Scrapyards are FULL of cars destroyed because someone thought fixing one with maybe $50-$100 (or even less)was too expensive................these are many times the same people who row through car after car destroying them one after another because of really weak decision making. Do I put the quart of oil in it or buy the cigarettes, that sort of thing.

    Again, nothing personal. Here's hoping you do something many can't seem to do, learn a lesson the FIRST time that will help you out further in life.

    Motor most likely scrap now, car not worth fixing. Be a bloody wonder if not.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Pontiac,MI
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    when you heater blows cold air on hot it means you are low on coolant (really low) and when you are low on coolant your temp guage will cease to work because no hot coolant is touching the temp sensor at the top of the engine... sorry to say your engine is toast.


    you could always put another in yourself for a a couple hundred bucks but your family doesn't sound to mechanically inclined so I hope you have a mechanic friend.

    sorry about your loss I've been there.... you may luck out and only need a head gasket but boy it sounds bad. good luck
    '00 Toreador Red (1842) 3Ldead
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  8. #8
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    Jan 2009
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    Chicago, IL
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    Quote Originally Posted by amc49 View Post
    Scrapyards are FULL of cars destroyed because someone thought fixing one with maybe $50-$100 (or even less)was too expensive................these are many times the same people who row through car after car destroying them one after another because of really weak decision making. Do I put the quart of oil in it or buy the cigarettes, that sort of thing.
    True, but there's a huge difference between disregarding routine maintenance and shelling out for big repairs I can't afford right now. It was a decision between charging at least $350 in estimated repairs at a mechanic I have no experience with while I'm unemployed and getting in debt, or paying for groceries . . . not really a weak decision. I did let the fan go too long, but it wouldn't have been a problem for that trip if I hadn't forgotten about the cap.

    And I was actually driving to pick up a check to help with the fan repair. Figures. I'd owned the car going on six years, and we didn't expect it to last three. So I guess I got my money's worth out of it, at least.

    Quote Originally Posted by PurdySVT
    when you heater blows cold air on hot it means you are low on coolant (really low) and when you are low on coolant your temp guage will cease to work because no hot coolant is touching the temp sensor at the top of the engine... sorry to say your engine is toast.
    I figured out the cold air thing only when I got home and did some searching, and nobody I spoke to that night picked up on it. I still don't know why the levels in the tank were really high, though, that's what baffled me.

    All my boyfriend and I know how to repair are computers and cooking blunders. We just moved 700 miles away from the more mechanically inclined relatives. The not-so-inclined ones are saying it's the timing belt . . . yeah . . . I love my grandfather, but I'm not trusting him with any future vehicles.

  9. #9

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    The timing belt would cause no compression if it slipped or broke. The head gasket is most likely gone (causes no compression), due to overheating badly. Could be the water pump failed or most of the coolant just went overboard without the cap. The coolant does expand a lot when it's too hot, and can exit through the overflow in the tank. Mine did that, when the water pump failed, even with the cap in place.
    1998 Mystique LS 2.5 Duratec ATX
    1985 Dodge Lancer ES Turbo 2.2
    1991 Taurus SHO, 45kmiles

  10. #10

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    Laubamabar, no insult implied or intended, just have seen many persons with that outlook. I apologize if you think I was grouping you in there. You are right, there IS a huge difference, that huge factor is why you DO the routine stuff. Hopefully it makes the big troubles stay away. I certainly feel your pain, I would have gone for the groceries first too. Big difference in priorities between cigarettes and food.

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