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Enginer Overheating. Please Help

Old 12-17-2011, 02:14 PM
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Default Enginer Overheating. Please Help

I will describe the problem as best I can. I am in the middle of a cross-country road trip with my 2002 Honda Civic EX. I was going through South Dakota today and was seeing how fast my car would go. I got it up to 110 mph and soon after the temperature gauge started to climb. I turned the car off waited a little while and started it up. The temperature gauge went back down again. I then went to a store bought some coolant, which it turns out the car didn't need. The temp gauge would get high almost to H and if I turned the car off and then on again it would drop down to the normal reading. If I went like 50 mph it would be fine, but if I went faster, it would heat up again.

I checked the lower radiator hose and it was cool to the touch. I went to the parts store and replaced the thermostat. The car is still doing the same thing. The fans are not coming on, but the lower hose is cool to the touch too. I am thinking about removing the thermostat and leaving it out for good until I get back home. Would this be a symptom of a bad water pump? I guess my options are as follows:

remove and leave the thermostat out and see what happens.
try burping the coolant system.
bring it to a shop

These are the symptoms:
Car overheats intermittently dependent upon speed.
Was originally triggered by high speed run.
New thermostat did not solve the problem.
Lower radiator hose is cold to the touch.
Fans are not coming on.
The only symptom before was if the car sat for like 45 minutes and I started it back up it would hesitate badly for a while until it got to a certain temperature.
Car is not leaking or low on coolant.

I am stranded in Pierre, SD right now so any and all help would be greatly appreciated. I just don't know what it could be. The maintenance light was on and I think I have my OBDII tester with me. I will update the code it is throwing if I get one. I am handy and knowledgeable with cars, but I have limited tools and time, so I am leaning towards trying to get a mechanic to fix it.

Thank you in advance.

Old 12-17-2011, 04:09 PM
ChristianL's Avatar
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Location: Maryland
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If the lower radiator hose is cool, I'll bet it's still the thermostat that's bad. Seems unlikely that a "new" one would be bad out of the box, but not impossible. Though I'd also check to make sure all the air is out of the system, too.

I'm not sure how crazy the car will react if you remove the thermostat entirely, but one downside is that you won't have heat. And since you're in South Dakota in late December, that's not a luxury you'll want to do without.
Old 01-20-2012, 10:00 PM
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Location: florida/slowcala
Posts: 165

Im thinking new water pump and timing belt. How many miles do you have and whens the last time it was changed? I had a honda where my temp would flux depending on my speed. Turned out that my timing belt had three teeth missing. But your best bet is to jumper your fan from the fuse box under the hood. This will eliminate if you need new fans/fan relay. Oh and im not a fan of removing the Thermostat. Check fans first then go to water pump/belt.

Last edited by DjHagios; 01-20-2012 at 10:11 PM.
Old 01-21-2012, 04:31 AM
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Two very important things. Make the fan run with any means possible including jumping wires from the battery. Best is to fix the real trouble in the fan circuit. 2nd, fix the coolant flow problem. Both issues not solved will kill your engine.

If I was the one having the same trouble far away from home, and parts and shops are not readily available, Ill jump the wires to the fan and a manual switch installed inside the cabin. Ill remove the thermostat and partially block the front grilles with plastic or cartons to prevent overcooling . Cold wont kill the engine, its better to run cold than to run hot. Fix everything the way it should once you get the chance.
Old 01-22-2012, 09:27 AM
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Location: Los Angeles
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just had very similar problem, thought it was thermostat or fan switch, but replaced the tming belt and water pump before looking into the overheating, turned out to be the water pump, a new one was put in about 3 years ago, 40k miles or so... and it was defective, just a little input, my symptoms matches yours.

Timing belt water pump, i think is to be changed at 90k mile intervals? i just did mine at 188k.

Problem is the pump isnt moving coolant so the thermostat is never turning on, and the fan switch isnt turning on (they are both heat controller switches, so when no coolant is moving no hot coolant gets to them and they do not expand and open, but even if they did... with no pump, not much would get through. [correct me if i am wrong])

axis11 is right though, EXCEPT that if it is the pump, even cooling the radiator will not help if that coolant is not cycling to the engine!

Last edited by Turtlegrip; 01-22-2012 at 09:31 AM.
Old 01-23-2012, 03:53 AM
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The OP was moving at 110mph when it overheated. Going 50 and below, no overheating.If pump is bad, he would overheat even at idling.
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