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Old 07-16-2009, 11:36 AM   #1
brackis1

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Temperature gauge in my car spiking frequently?

So I've got an older Acura sedan and recently I've noticed my engine heat dial spikes up to its max, aka the red area, indicating shit it getting very hot inside. This will spike up every few minutes, then within 15 seconds dip back down to where it generally sits at the middle of the dial.

I thought getting an oil change and fluid top-off would fix this, as I was about due for one anyways, but the shit is still happening.
I'm thinking the dial itself still works to some degree (pun intended) because it will react to my attempts to cool the engine by blasting the heat in my car to max with the windows down.

Any ideas, or at least things I should think of looking at/asking someone to look at?

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Old 07-16-2009, 11:38 AM   #2
edco76
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Replace the thermostat.

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Old 07-16-2009, 11:38 AM   #3
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thermostat maybe, shit i don't know. i know they are easy to change in older cars tho

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Old 07-16-2009, 11:39 AM   #4
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My "Check Engine" light has been on for 2 years now. I solved the problem by covering it with black tape.

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Old 07-16-2009, 11:42 AM   #5
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Actually that was a cheap answer though it is usually the culprit and a cheap fix. Is it leaking coolant? Is the radiator full? Is the fan working? The one that blows on the radiator. After reaching operating temp do you have pressure on the radiator hose?

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Old 07-16-2009, 11:46 AM   #6
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Sounds like a blown head gasket or cracked/galled/pitted cylinder head. Temp spikes up to "h" with in minutes then drop back down to normal after several more minutes? In theory the hot expanding gasses enter the cooling system creating an air bubble in the cooling system around the thermostat. Now until that air bubble reaches the temp at which the thermostat would open the vehicle will overheat. Once the air reaches the thermostat opening temp then the engine/coolant cools back down.

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Old 07-16-2009, 11:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DANMAN79 View Post
Sounds like a blown head gasket or cracked/galled/pitted cylinder head. Temp spikes up to "h" with in minutes then drop back down to normal after several more minutes? In theory the hot expanding gasses enter the cooling system creating an air bubble in the cooling system around the thermostat. Now until that air bubble reaches the temp at which the thermostat would open the vehicle will overheat. Once the air reaches the thermostat opening temp then the engine/coolant cools back down.
Damn this sounds expensive =[

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Old 07-16-2009, 11:47 AM   #8
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If what I mentioned in my previous post is accurate to what you car is doing I have a temporary easy fix.

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Old 07-16-2009, 11:56 AM   #9
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it may be the water pump too.

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Old 07-16-2009, 12:19 PM   #10
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Brackis -

Make sure your coolant level is OK and that you have no leaks of any kind.
As DANMAN said above, it is possible you have a cracked head gasket.

Also be sure to check for a solid connection at the temp sensor - an intermittant connection can sometimes cause this problem (most vehicles temp gauges are negative temp coefficient (higher temps=lower resistance), but Acura may be different)

If your coolant level is OK (check after vehicle cools down!), with no other signs of leaks - you may want to do a backyard mechanic test - turn the ignition to 'run', unplug the temp sensor and check for full swing in one direction, then ground the wire and check for full swing the other direction - this verifies that your guage and wiring are OK.

If all that is OK - reconnect temp sensor and have a buddy tap on it with a wrench to see if you get any spikes.

If everything checks out to this point - you may be best off going to a mechanic to have him perform a 'block check' (this should be relatively quick and cheap), which is basically a test of the gases in your cooling system, this tests for the presence of hydrocarbons in your coolant, which means $$$.

dx-236 has a good suggestion about the water pump too, but let that be one of the last checks because internal slippage is pretty rare.

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