T Nation

Picked Up a 626 Mazda, Overheating Issues

i picked up a high millage 97 Mazda 626 DX for 425.00 at an auction the other day. the car is very clean, black, sunroof, inspected through the Fall of 10’ no body damage or rust…

my question/problem, it seems to have overheating issues.

it’s likely the head gasket, if not a water pump issue is likely.

do you think i’ll find an off hrs garage/individual to replace the head gasket w/ parts and labor under or around 600.00???

i’m willing to pay for it to be fixed, considering i’m ahead of Kelly’s by a few grand, i just don’t want to get fucked cost wise.

any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Have you checked the obvious? Like making sure it has coolant, no hoses unhooked, cracked etc? Check for leaks.

How quickly does it overheat when you start it cold?

Does it only overheat when sitting still or does it still overheat if you are cruising?

Do the fans on the radiator work?

How hot have you let it get? (who knows how hot the person before you let it get also…)

Reason being is it’s probably an aluminum head and that bitch will warp over about 250 F. In which case you’d need to take it to a machine shop and have it decked, not pricey just a hassle, and I recommend that anyway while you’re doing the head gasket since its used.

You can just call and get a quote but i’d say yeah probably less than $600, you might
as well do the water pump too though unless you just want to repeat this process in the near future.

Depends on if you’re keeping this thing or just tryin to flip it.

EDIT - how the hell does it “seem to have overheating issues”…it is or it isnt overheating.

A compression check will give you an idea but a leakdown test will tell you for sure if its a headgasket or not.

http://www.team-integra.net/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=15&TopicID=156270&PageMsg=Viewing+Common+Topic

[quote]i work out wrote:
Have you checked the obvious? Like making sure it has coolant, no hoses unhooked, cracked etc? Check for leaks.

How quickly does it overheat when you start it cold?

Does it only overheat when sitting still or does it still overheat if you are cruising?

Do the fans on the radiator work?

How hot have you let it get? (who knows how hot the person before you let it get also…)

Reason being is it’s probably an aluminum head and that bitch will warp over about 250 F. In which case you’d need to take it to a machine shop and have it decked, not pricey just a hassle, and I recommend that anyway while you’re doing the head gasket since its used.

You can just call and get a quote but i’d say yeah probably less than $600, you might
as well do the water pump too though unless you just want to repeat this process in the near future.

Depends on if you’re keeping this thing or just tryin to flip it.

EDIT - how the hell does it “seem to have overheating issues”…it is or it isnt overheating.

A compression check will give you an idea but a leakdown test will tell you for sure if its a headgasket or not.

http://www.team-integra.net/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=15&TopicID=156270&PageMsg=Viewing+Common+Topic

[/quote]
good post.

Also check the thermostat (common problem) and flush the radiator, could just be buildup preventing flow in the radiator.

thanks guys, the “seems to be overheating thing”…i just picked it up and haven’t driven it much, from auction as i said, i called the previous garage where it was fixed and put up for action, they looked up the VIN and where quick and vague, citing overheating. the lady on the phone, who worked there mentioned (she was vague and genetic) head gasket and perhaps water pump as reasons for over heating.

i’m going to try and trouble shoot, i’d like to drive it as a work car for a while. thank you for the replys i’m going down my list sticking thermostat, electric fan not operating, timing too advanced…we’ll see.

i’m a noob at cars but i’m persistent and read a lot so hopefully it goes well. i just don’t want to be taken advantage of at a garage, i don’t have a mechanic i know or trust.

that said, i have a friend who’s best friend is a mechanic at BMW and does off hrs stuff, e.g. come to your house, this shit will take time though if it’s the head gasket + machinist.

You picked up a Mazda? If the engine wasn’t in it I think I could pick up one end of it.

[quote]i work out wrote:
Have you checked the obvious? Like making sure it has coolant, no hoses unhooked, cracked etc? Check for leaks.

How quickly does it overheat when you start it cold?

Does it only overheat when sitting still or does it still overheat if you are cruising?

Do the fans on the radiator work?

How hot have you let it get? (who knows how hot the person before you let it get also…)

Reason being is it’s probably an aluminum head and that bitch will warp over about 250 F. In which case you’d need to take it to a machine shop and have it decked, not pricey just a hassle, and I recommend that anyway while you’re doing the head gasket since its used.

You can just call and get a quote but i’d say yeah probably less than $600, you might
as well do the water pump too though unless you just want to repeat this process in the near future.

Depends on if you’re keeping this thing or just tryin to flip it.

EDIT - how the hell does it “seem to have overheating issues”…it is or it isnt overheating.

A compression check will give you an idea but a leakdown test will tell you for sure if its a headgasket or not.

http://www.team-integra.net/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=15&TopicID=156270&PageMsg=Viewing+Common+Topic

[/quote]

Great post.

Another obvious thing - how long since the last oil change?

Yes, go drive the car, take notes, come back and tell us what is going on, then we can go from there.

“Seems to be over heating” is not accurate enough of a description to get any real help. Here are some things to check, pretty simple for the most part:

  1. Coolant level - where is it at, is it leaking/dropping, does your coolant look like oil is mixed in with it?

  2. Oil level - Preventing heat is the number 1 purpose for oil. However, you really need to check it to see if coolant has mixed in with it. You will know because it will look like a coffee with cream mixed in.

  3. When does it overheat? If it heats up when you stop at lights and cools down when you start driving again, could simply be the fans not kicking on as mentioned above.

  4. Any smoke? Anything that appears to be steam out of the exhaust can be coolant (other than early in the morning when some dew will be in your exhaust). It will also have a sweet smell to it.

  5. Look at your spark plugs. If it is a head gasket, you might be able to tell if you are burning coolant by the color of the plug. You can take pics and post here if you would like.

  6. Compression test - Not hard to do, but you will need someone that knows how to disconnect fuel/spark. If you find too adjacent cyclinders that have low compression numbers, thats a good indicator of a head gasket.

  7. If you want, take the thermostat out and stick it in a pot of boiling water. It is a mechanical device that changes with temperature (obviously), so you will be able to tell if it is physically opening and closing properly. In the water, it should open, take it out, it should close some.

Find out exactly what is going on.

Yeah late night… forgot to mention check to see if the thermostat is opening, they do get stuck closed.

Let it warm up (not for very long or you’ll burn yourself), feel the upper radiator hose. It should be warm and the bottom one cooler than it. If the upper hose is cool, no coolant is circulating.

White smoke (actually steam) is a dead giveaway for headgasket.

Change the oil, if there is coolant in the oil that is also a dead giveaway its the headgasket.

Even easier way (if you dont feel like changing the oil) would be fill the radiator up with water, drive around for a bit. check coolant level. If its low, you’re losing coolant. Either leaking out the side of the water pump, a hose, or because of a faulty headgasket.

good luck.

My brother had that car, it was a piece of shit.

Sorry, no constructive advice here. :slight_smile:

[quote]PB Andy wrote:
My brother had that car, it was a piece of shit.

Sorry, no constructive advice here. :)[/quote]

I’ve got a 99, and at 157k it still drives fine.

Note to self: go to auctions when buying a car.(with a mechanic.)

thanks guys, i’ll print this page and trouble shoot all of these things. steam/smoke out the exhaust…i think it’s likely the head gasket.

from what i’ve heard even if i have a guy pull it, machine it, put it back in, i’ll likely still have the same or similar problem. change a variable on an old engine and it will likely start a chain of events…is that correct?

for 425.00 i’ll likely add synth oil frequently, coolant also and drive it w/ the heat on to keep it cool. it’s inspected thru Fall and will pass inspection now likely.

if it’s the gasket, can i control its demise by doing the aforementioned things? i like her, cleaned and vacuumed her, i’m hoping to make it work thru to Fall at least. i just hate the idea of car payments again, i own my truck free and clear and don’t want to start the fuck you pay bullshit again.

thanks guys, sincerely.

[quote]cyruseven75 wrote:
thanks guys, i’ll print this page and trouble shoot all of these things. steam/smoke out the exhaust…i think it’s likely the head gasket.

from what i’ve heard even if i have a guy pull it, machine it, put it back in, i’ll likely still have the same or similar problem. change a variable on an old engine and it will likely start a chain of events…is that correct?

for 425.00 i’ll likely add synth oil frequently, coolant also and drive it w/ the heat on to keep it cool. it’s inspected thru Fall and will pass inspection now likely.

if it’s the gasket, can i control its demise by doing the aforementioned things? i like her, cleaned and vacuumed her, i’m hoping to make it work thru to Fall at least. i just hate the idea of car payments again, i own my truck free and clear and don’t want to start the fuck you pay bullshit again.

thanks guys, sincerely.[/quote]

I don’t really agree with the “change a variable = chain of events”. What would be the chain of events to follow? Besides the water pump because I already recommend changing that with the head gasket. Timing belt, get the whole kit, tensioner belt etc.

Changing to synthetic oil COULD cause problems if the car hasn’t seen it for its entire life. Problems as in leaky rings and things of that nature. I’ve personally never experienced this but I know people who have. Driving with the heat on in summer is going to blow dick. Especially because it’s going to be HOT, like hotter than your heat would normally be, nor do I know if that would even work.

If the head gasket is gone you’re losing compression, therefore losing performance and MPG’s. Not to mention possibly trashing the head for good if you warp it enough.

I’m basically telling you to spend a little now if you really want to keep this thing and keep driving it.

Head gasket, water pump, timing belt kit. Plus you’ll get a good luck at whats going on in the rest of the engine.

I guess worst case you can try and do what you said, it won’t really cost you anything but do you really want to keep a gallon or 2 of water with you at all times and deal with the unreliability?

If you have a mechanic willing to help you out, get him to run an Alldata report on your car. They all use it, or something similar. It may give you an idea of what the problem is and may be common to your car.

Check the obvious, worn serpentine belt, drips from the water pump, water in the oil, oil in the water. Have a mechanic do a static pressure test of the cooling system, it may show a hose leak, water pump leak or it might show up as a head gasket. Another test is for combustion gases in the coolant. Also make sure your electric fan is working.

BG

[quote]cyruseven75 wrote:
thanks guys, i’ll print this page and trouble shoot all of these things. steam/smoke out the exhaust…i think it’s likely the head gasket.

[/quote]

Sounds most likely to be the head gasket. However, I would still check a few things as mentioned above (right now, compression test or leakdown test would be what I was looking to do) to ensure that it is a head gasket, because you do not want to change one for no reason. I dont know how else the coolant would get into the exhaust though. Does it smoke a lot? Does it have that sweet smell?

You need to see how much this is going to cost your first, then make a decision on actually doing it. If you have a shop do it, its going to run you easily twice what you paid for the car. And in doing it, I agree that the waterpump should be changed, along with a new timing kit (belt, tennsioner, etc.), and I would go ahead and do the front main seal as well, which will all add a little extra to the cost.

[quote]smithers584 wrote:

[quote]cyruseven75 wrote:
thanks guys, i’ll print this page and trouble shoot all of these things. steam/smoke out the exhaust…i think it’s likely the head gasket.

[/quote]

Sounds most likely to be the head gasket. However, I would still check a few things as mentioned above (right now, compression test or leakdown test would be what I was looking to do) to ensure that it is a head gasket, because you do not want to change one for no reason. I dont know how else the coolant would get into the exhaust though. Does it smoke a lot? Does it have that sweet smell?

You need to see how much this is going to cost your first, then make a decision on actually doing it. If you have a shop do it, its going to run you easily twice what you paid for the car. And in doing it, I agree that the waterpump should be changed, along with a new timing kit (belt, tennsioner, etc.), and I would go ahead and do the front main seal as well, which will all add a little extra to the cost.
[/quote]

i have a guy off hrs, garage at his house who does this work and knows people/where to get headers. the head will get the spectrometer test thing done if/after this guy thinks it’s a worth while endeavor. he’s apparently a straight forward guy and if it’s too big a can of worms he’ll say so straight away, not after he’s begun “pulling the metaphorical thread in the sweater” so to speak.

as you mentioned, if it’s worth it all those things will be amended. 500-1000 bucks worth of work is fine if, thereafter, the vehicle is sound and i can squeeze 1-2 yrs out of it. i’ve then got a car for the price of 900-1,500 bucks w/ a blue book 2 grand over that price.

what color is your coolant ? is it murkey and brown? thats oil in the coolant. did you say it steams out the exhaust? if it smells sweet, thats the coolant burning.

there is a chance there could be different coolants combined in there that make a ‘slime’ if you mix types, it clogs the piping/water pump and causes overheating. it also could be your fans arent turning on, which is a fuse/relay issue.

id say since you just got the car, do an oil change, see if there is coolant in there too.

If you are using it for small drives around town it really isnt that big of a deal, especially for 400 bucks.it shouldnt get too hot in those situations.

Instead of doing a headgasket, it might not be a bad idea to try and find a new engine for it. a lower mileage engine would get you alot more life, and you can do the clutch while youre at it (you did get a 5 speed right?) and drive it for quite a few more years worry free.