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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My temperature gauge needle had gone way up a couple of times lately (11 o'clock position on gauge) due to a coolant leak. Both times when noticing needle was that high I shut engine off and let it cool down before driving again. But no warning dummy light came on at that point so I'm wondering how high the temp needle needs to goes before an overheating light comes on (if at all)?

Anyhow, I'm hoping no damage was done and guess I'll find out after I fix the coolant leak and get car back on the road :rolleyes:
 

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You're probably OK, but maybe not.

The gauges on modern cars read low when warming up, and then when it reaches normal temp (usually 88-90*C) it stays in one place as long as the temp remains in the normal range, without giving you any info as to what it's actually doing. That range is probably 88-110-ish *C.

Once it gets above normal (over 110 for my other cars, not sure about the TSX but it's got to be something around there) it's telling you something is wrong. Consider that a "yellow" range... probably won't hurt anything immediately but you don't want to hang out there. Especially if it's a higher mileage car, the coolant parts are worn and weaker and things like coil packs will be more likely to fail from excess heat when near the end of their life.

An overtemp light in and of itself does not necessarily mean any damage, just means it's time to pull over NOW. If you have a leak you need to shut down, cool down, and top off. If no leak (it's just hot from load and air temp), it's better to let the engine idle with the fans on and no load (hood open)... that will probably cool it down faster than stopping the engine (and the coolant flow).

If you break something, symptom is usually a leak (which you have) or a CEL. The CEL can be caused by misfires due to a bad coil packs or other electronic sensors that may have got toasted. Worst case is probably a head gasket.

When I do road trips in mountains/deserts or while towing I hook up an OBDII monitor so I can see what the temps are really doing. Painful and costly experience has taught me to keep coolant temp below 105*C and the factory gauge won't help with that.
 

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Definitely find out why the coolant was leaking first. Was it just a loose fitting or bad hose/gasket? Or is that being caused by a faulty fan/ thermostat/temp sensor/water pump? Is it a radiator leak?

I guess you'll see after you fix the leak. Hopefully it's not that serious and cause to get stranded at the worst possible time. Let us know what you find. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
What I found was a leaking heater pipe o-ring AND a bad fan temperature switch. It's possible by letting temps go too high due to fan not working the o-ring blew out from excess heat + pressure.

Anyhow, I damaged thermostat housing trying to remove heater pipe so had to buy another one along with a new radiator after accidentally punching a hole in it while working on everything lol!

Then, after installing new radiator, filling it, burping the system and not getting heat coming out of cabin air vents mistakenly concluded water pump must be bad. Replaced that only to still not get heat out of vents but eventually heater did start to work. What I discovered is you need to be patient when bleeding radiator and you still might not get heat until you put radiator cap back on and the system pressurizes, at least that seemed to be the case with mine.

After all that, temps were still rising on gauge without fan turning on and then quickly discovered fan switch was bad. Swapped in another one and solved all problems. I normally would've figured that out from the start but what happened is when overheating first began I turned on A/C so both fans came on but engine temps didn't drop. As a result concluded it wasn't a fan issue but it was along with the leaking heater pipe o-ring.

Conclusion, 18+ year old water pump with 145,000 mile looked like brand new and pulley turned smoothly But now i have a new Aisin in there along with new denso radiator, thermostat + housing, heater pipe, misc heater hoses, fan temp switch, + coolant. Also, studied up on troubleshooting coolant problems and now somewhat of an expert after all that lol. Btw engine is good and luckily did not damage it from overheating.
 

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What I found was a leaking heater pipe o-ring AND a bad fan temperature switch. It's possible by letting temps go too high due to fan not working the o-ring blew out from excess heat + pressure.
Once the system over-heats, you're likely to find all kinds of weak spots.

Anyhow, I damaged thermostat housing trying to remove heater pipe so had to buy another one along with a new radiator after accidentally punching a hole in it while working on everything lol!
Older car, probably going to need a new radiator anyway. My truck overheated on a road trip, took three trips to the shop to fix everything that started leaking.


Conclusion, 18+ year old water pump with 145,000 mile looked like brand new and pulley turned smoothly But now i have a new Aisin in there along with new denso radiator, thermostat + housing, heater pipe, misc heater hoses, fan temp switch, + coolant. Also, studied up on troubleshooting coolant problems and now somewhat of an expert after all that lol. Btw engine is good and luckily did not damage it from overheating.
Good to know. I have 180k and have had no trouble. But I commute two hours each way usually late at night and early am, and really don't want to break down on the freeway after midnight. Been thinking about doing the radiator and water pump. Thermos was replaced at 80K but it's probably about time again?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Once the system over-heats, you're likely to find all kinds of weak spots.

Older car, probably going to need a new radiator anyway. My truck overheated on a road trip, took three trips to the shop to fix everything that started leaking.
What did you wind up replacing?

Temp needle is normally at 8 o'clock position on gauge so from now on if I ever see it going above 9 o'clock I'm shutting car down and finding out why. Because I did let it get to 11 o'clock and at that point no warning lights were on yet when I shut engine off.

But yeah, overheating an engine is extremely detrimental and I'm looking into OBD2 alarm tool so I can have a chime go off at whatever parameters I set. Because I'd like to know early on if car is overheating even by a small amount.

Btw, the Aisin water pump is identical to the factory one I pulled out.

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Water pump job:

Drain coolant + remove serpentine belt (easy), 2 bolts for steering pump, move it out of the way (after detaching 1 PS hose), 3 bolts on auto tensioner to remove it and then you have access to WP which has 6 bolts. 3 on top are easy to get out and 3 bottom ones you're getting at through spokes on pulley so be careful not to strip the heads loosening them. Tighten 8.7 lbs, just make sure WP has new rubber gasket on it (mine included one). Watch youtube vids first. Very doable job!
 
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