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Coolant overheating

09-03-2009, 10:14 AM
I smelled coolant one night after arriving home from work. I didnt see any leaks on the ground. I started it the next day and it ran fine but the temperature gauge began to go up rather quickly. From the time I start it until I get to work the gauge goes up to almost the point where the water temp light will come on. I only live 10 miles from work. Is this a head gasket problem? I heard an air or coolant leak last night in the area of the rear valve cover like a slight steam leak. I couldn't see any leaks but can hear it slightly when I put my head close to the rear of the engine bay. I'm guessing that I will have to replace the head gasket. This car only has 95k on it. It is a 91 Corsica with the 3.1 engine in it. Thanks. Robert

09-03-2009, 06:04 PM
Do you have a sealed system with an expansion tank or do you have a cap on the radiator. Some models had the capped radiator. You might check out your expansion tank cap. It could be that it has become clogged and the pressure gets too high. It is possible the sensor for the guage has gone bad. You might loosen the brass bleeder valve on the engine. It should have no air bubbles come out when you open it. Run the car with that open and see. It is not a simple job to change the head gasket and it is expensive.
Also fill the exkpansion tank all the way up with the car running and see if you get steady air bubbles out of it that way. If so then the head gasket is bad.
I assumed you checked the hoses.

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