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2001 Chevy Tracker Overheating

Old 01-18-2018, 06:09 PM
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Default 2001 Chevy Tracker Overheating

A few weeks back we overheated on the way home from work, about a 15 mile drive. We limped it home at 35mph the last two or three miles and I started reading... I knew our mechanic would charge about $50 to diagnose the problem and I found out a thermostat only costs $13.

The next day I replaced the thermostat, took it for a test drive, and all was well. We've been driving it almost daily since then with no issues until tonight when we overheated again in almost the same spot. This time my wife was worried about doing damage to the engine so we'd stop for 10 minutes to let it cool, drive for 5 until it overheated, rinse and repeat until we made it home.

If the replacement was crap wouldn't it have overheated on the first day? Any reason it would be more prone to overheating in cold weather? What else should I check / try before giving up and taking it in to the shop?
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:25 PM
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have it pressure tested sounds like a head gasket. you could also have sludgy dex cool blocking cooling passages. was it flushed after the repair?
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Old 01-19-2018, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by colostomizer View Post
have it pressure tested sounds like a head gasket. you could also have sludgy dex cool blocking cooling passages. was it flushed after the repair?
It wasn't flushed after I changed the t-stat but the radiator was replaced less than 2 years ago. I guess it's time to let a pro take over.
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Old 01-20-2018, 03:16 PM
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Would you put your money on a blockage or a bad T-stat? The oil is a little dark but it doesn't look like chocolate milk, and there's no loss of fluid in the radiator. What am I missing?!
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Old 01-20-2018, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Craash420 View Post
Would you put your money on a blockage or a bad T-stat? The oil is a little dark but it doesn't look like chocolate milk, and there's no loss of fluid in the radiator. What am I missing?!
i would start with the pressure test and go from there. those engines did not respond well to being overheated. usually the way it works is the head gasket fails due to the dex-cool eating it and it overheats. the head gasket is repaired and it promptly spins a bearing as a result of oil sludge from the overheat. the dex cool when exposed to air through a bad radiator cap becomes corrosive to the very parts it was designed to protect. i lost a 3.1 back in the day just due to a bad radiator cap and death-cool.if it passes pressure test flush the system and if it has a electric cooling fan check that. next would be a water pump and hoses.
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Old 01-20-2018, 03:59 PM
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When it starts to get hot is the cooling fan on the radiator coming on?
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Old 01-20-2018, 04:09 PM
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You pulling a 37 freeman with it?Might be the problem.
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Old 01-20-2018, 04:10 PM
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have the water pump checked too

I had an S-10 a while back that was overheating especially if it idled and after having the radiator cleaned and of course a Tstat it was still doing it and it ended up needing a water pump

water pumps often do not just fail all together they can get to where they perform more and more poorly

the fact that you can drive it for a bit without it overheating tells me it is getting some cooling just not enough

and a two year old radiator should not be having a problem

it could also be a fan clutch (if it has that setup) see if you can spin the fan freely when the engine is cool it should spin with resistance not freely if it spins freely for many rotations then it is probably going out
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Old 01-20-2018, 04:46 PM
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I have a 2000 Chevy tracker 4wd that I use a hunting truck, and keep at my camp. I started having an intermittent issue with the alternator not charging, and occasionally rapid overheating. I went round and round trying to fix it, and it ended up being something I’ve never seen before.

The Harmonic balancer drives the serpentine belt, but the bond had broken between the balancer and outer ring (pulley). So the outside ring would spin freely on the balancer when the motor was warm. So it would sometimes charge alternator and spin water pump, and occasionally would slip completely. I’ll see if I can dig up some pictures.

Jay
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Old 01-20-2018, 06:18 PM
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How cold are outside temps? Below freezing?

Some routine thngs I have seen and repaired
Not enough coolant and/or improper mix. On a closed system I fill to the cold level and watch level drop when thermostat opens. Then top off.
Thermostat Probably is but check to ensure proper size.rating
Radiator cap not sealing. Water pump. Often when bad they leak. When the accessory belt is removed you can feel the play in the pulley. Slipping accessory belt. Cracked hoses but usually some sort of Indication.

These are some of the most simple causes that you can check and repair.
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Old 01-21-2018, 07:26 AM
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When I replaced the water pump on my GMC, I replaced the hoses and thermostat.
The thermo lasted a week and stuck closed.
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Old 01-23-2018, 06:46 AM
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Shout out to AutoZone's tool rental program! I pressure tested the cooling system and radiator cap, no leak on either. What I found odd is after taking the pressure off of the radiator some of the coolant overflowed, probably less than a cup but I wasn't expecting it.

All the belts seem snug but I've never had to replace one so I'm not a great judge. Everything appears to be spinning as it should, at least while in the driveway. Since both tests were good, the t-stat is new, and there is no loss of coolant is the pump the only remaining suspect?
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:44 AM
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Does it have an electric cooling fan on radiator?

If so does it come on when hot?
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:34 AM
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There's an electric fan on the transmission radiator but the main radiator fan has a pulley. It seems to work properly when running in the driveway and spins with a little resistance when the car is off.

In Florida so it got down to freezing 2x this year but never while I was on the road.

Coolant level is fine, no puddles or reside to indicate a leak, no "chocolate milk" on the dipstick.

My wife is already looking around for a "new" vehicle, I'd rather spend a weekend and a hundred bucks fixing this than start another pmt plan.
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:37 AM
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THT fix: You're out of factory warranty so you need to sell it and pay cash for your NEW.....Rav4
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:52 AM
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Does it overheat when driving at highway speed, driving local or sitting in traffic?
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Old 01-23-2018, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Kenny Powers View Post
THT fix: You're out of factory warranty so you need to sell it and pay cash for your NEW.....Rav4
No way, F30 dually diesel extended crew cab with a full-sized, towing package, with back-up and dash cams!

Originally Posted by Corndog38 View Post
Does it overheat when driving at highway speed, driving local or sitting in traffic?
Haven't had it on the highway or stuck in traffic in a while. On the way to and from work it's between 30 and 50 mph with a dozen or so stop lights, but it will overheat if I drive for 10 minutes at 40 mph.
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Old 01-23-2018, 02:00 PM
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If you open the windows and turn on the heat, do you get good hot heat out of the vents? Put fan on high and sweat through it. If heat is weak it could be water pump or head gasket leak aerating water pump. If heat is HOT, then rad fan or tstat.
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Old 01-23-2018, 02:51 PM
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Sounds like the water pump not moving enough water
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Old 01-24-2018, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Kenny Powers View Post
THT fix: You're out of factory warranty so you need to sell it and pay cash for your NEW.....Rav4
Getting nervous, my wife is eyeballing a Prius. I love the idea of 50 mpg but I don't want any other THTers to confuse me with a blowboater!

The heater blows fairly warm but not as hot as the truck's heater. I don't want to spend money I don't have to, anything else I can do to check the pump? Is AC Delco really worth 3x the Duralast pump?
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