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2003 Sentra overheat & cracked radiator tank problem Forums > > 2003 Sentra overheat & cracked radiator tank problem 2003 Sentra overheat & cracked radiator tank problem
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Old 09-08-2019, 06:04 AM
pete_89t2 pete_89t2 is offline
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2003 Sentra
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
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Default 2003 Sentra overheat & cracked radiator tank problem

Sorry in advance for the long post. '03 Sentra with 1.8L motor, kid's car with about 152K miles on it.


Problem: While I'm away on a biz trip, my son calls to tell me the car overheated. He says he pulled over as soon as he saw the temp gauge nearing the tick mark before max hot, and "steam was coming off the motor" (he's not mechanically inclined). He basically got the car home (<1 mile drive) by shutting it off, waiting to let it cool down, and then driving a little more; rinse & repeat until he got home. Car was left sitting in the driveway till I got home.


I inspected the car (I'm an experienced wrench) upon my return, and find the radiator top tank is cracked, and spewing coolant after I added water to it (took about 3/4 gallon to fill). Not 100% sure at this point if the cracked radiator was the cause of, or a byproduct of the overheating incident.

But, the car's not going anywhere with a cracked radiator, so I replaced the radiator with a new one, and proceeded to fill the system with fresh 50/50 coolant mix.

Here's my problem - After filling the radiator and overflow tank, and using the bleeder bolt on the T-stat housing to burp air out, I'm not sure if the block is full or not - I might have a big air pocket that is preventing proper coolant flow?

While idling the car and changing up the revs to try to burp the system of air, the level of coolant in the radiator never dropped - it would just spew out whenever I cracked open the cap. At this time, the temp gauge never went above the normal range (just below mid-scale), the upper rad hose was hot, lower hose was cold and with the heater on max hot, it was only blowing out cold air. The E-fans were also cycling on-off as they usually do.

Anyone know what might be going on here? That cold lower radiator hose and no heat has me concerned something else might be wrong - water pump perhaps? The thermostat is fairly new, as I replaced that about a year ago.


Thanks in advance!

Last edited by pete_89t2; 09-08-2019 at 06:05 AM. Reason: fix typos
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  #2  
Old 09-13-2019, 05:49 PM
smj999smj's Avatar
smj999smj smj999smj is offline
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2006 Pathfinder
2003 Frontier King Cab
2003 Frontier KC SVE 4x4
 
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Blown head gaskets are not unheard of on the 1.8L engines. It would be a good idea to do a compression test and cylinder leakdown test.
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Old 09-14-2019, 12:09 PM
pete_89t2 pete_89t2 is offline
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2003 Sentra
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smj999smj View Post
Blown head gaskets are not unheard of on the 1.8L engines. It would be a good idea to do a compression test and cylinder leakdown test.

^Roger that, I already fixed a blown head gasket on this car at around 120K miles.


Figured out my problem though - when I refilled the system with coolant, there was a huge air pocket trapped in the heater core. What I ended up doing was using a coolant system pressure test kit (via Advance auto parts loaner tool program), pressurized the system to just under 20psi with the heater on max hot, then I cracked open the air bleeder bolt on the T-stat housing. Lots of air hissed out before any coolant dribbled out. Repeated this process a few times until nothing but coolant flowed out from the bleeder bolt when cracked open. At this point, I was able to add about another 1/4 ~ 1/2 gal. of coolant to the radiator. Car has been fine since, heat works, temp gauge stays just below mid range (normal) when warmed up & running, and all hoses are as hot as they should be.
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