Today was a long, but successful day.
About a week ago, on the last day of my trip to the mountains and off-roading, I went for a short drive on some forest service roads. It was about 20 degrees, and my heater was blowing cold air.
Knowing this was a sign of bad coolant, I checked the radiator when I got back and it was all brown and had solid particles in it. It must’ve frozen over night. I drove 2 hours home the next day, the heater worked fine, probably because the temp hadn’t gone below 32, and I made it home.
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The next day, I planned to flush the whole system and on the way home from autozone with new coolant, I overheated on the highway. I had to stop a couple times to let the engine cool on the way home, and then my father towed me home once I got to my neighborhood.
It was freezing, but I had one day until a trip to Puerto Rico, and decided to do the flush anyway. What came out of the system was disgusting, but it all came apart easily and the flush went smoothly.
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When putting everything back together, my thermostat housing cracked, so I had to go get a new one and a new gasket. Once I put that on and filled everything up with coolant, it had a slow leak. Additionally, coolant was streaming out of the weep hole in the water pump. I was disappointed, and had to leave the next morning for Puerto Rico. View attachment 388824
I got a ton of help/advice from y’all on this forum during my vacation. And while in Puerto Rico, I learned 2 things:
- They like YJs better than TJs 🤦♂️ there were so many of them…
- They know how to celebrate new years:
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Best firework show I’ve ever seen, and it lasted for 3-4 hours, and was free, in our backyard.
Anyways, I got back yesterday and this morning started working on replacing the water pump. I had ordered parts while on vacation and they came yesterday, just in time for me to work on it today and then be able to drive to school tomorrow.
I took everything apart pretty quickly, except for the serpentine belt which was stuck in there even with the idler/tensioner pulley completely loose and even completely off, out of the car. Someone must’ve installed the wrong size belt??View attachment 388825
Also, getting the small metal pipe that connects the water pump to the heater core hose out was insanely hard. It took me, my brother, and my dad to get that thing apart. View attachment 388829
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Then I realized I had ordered the wrong water pump. A quick trip to autozone, and I got the right one along with the right serpentine belt. I put the cooling system back together, new gaskets, new thermostat with a burp hole drilled, and new thermostat housing. View attachment 388828
When filling it up with coolant, both the thermostat housing and water pump had a small seep in them. I took them off, put some gasket sealer on them and put them back on. Upon filling up with coolant again, my problem was fixed. View attachment 388827
I put the fan back on behind the radiator, and got the serpentine belt in after. It went together quickly and smoothly. When I turned the engine on to idle it and add more coolant, I had a bit of a scare where the temp gauge on the dash was not moving up. I was afraid I had installed the thermostat wrong and was gonna have to take it apart for the hundredth time, but stupid me had forgotten to plug the wire in to the thermostat housing 🤦♂️
Everything worked! My serpentine belt isn’t squeaking anymore either! I idled it a bit longer, then took it for a 15 minute drive. Was super happy to be driving it again. The operating temp seems to be just under 210 degrees, but it stays there and is not overheating.
I finally got the fuse taps for my seat heaters in the mail as well and put those in today too.
It had its ups and downs, but today was successful and quite rewarding. I think it’s safe to say now that I actually know somewhat how to work on my car 😎
It cost me about $160 total, whereas I was quoted $800-$1000 at the local shop. Crazy how much cheaper it is do stuff yourself. Y’all helped a ton throughout this mess, thanks so much.