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thermostat sticking?


M3S2k

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Had a scary experience happen to me just as I was putting the Esprit into storage for the winter months. The car was sitting in my garage for a little over a month now and started to move into my storage facility. Decided to let idle for awhile as the battery was quite low and thought it would give it a bit of time to charge up and warm the car up before making the 2 minute drive and shutting it off for the winter. Anyways left it running for 10 minutes before coming out and checking on it. Everything was fine, temp gauge showed at about 95 degrees. Went back inside as I had a few things to do. Came back 10 mins later and steam was coming out of the vents in the hood!!! quickly jumped in the car and the temp gauge was at about 120 degrees!!!!!! I automatically shut the car off and popped the hood and started hearing coolant going over the overflow. At this point I started the car again and revved it up a number of times. The temp gauge quickly started decending back down to 105 degrees and I heard the radiator fans click on. I let the car run for a couple of minutes revving a few times in the process until the temp came back down to the regular 90 degrees. Once down to normal operating temp I drove the car out of the garage and over to my storage garage all the while watching the temp gauge which came down to the normal 83-87 degrees that I see while driving the car. Now I know that the car is low on coolant (probably lost 3-4 liters in garage), but I'm paranoid about the overheat and now I have to wait til next spring before I can drive again to make sure all is well!

Wondering if anyone else has had an experience like this. I'm always paranoid about the engine liners and overheating the engine!!! me the only possible cause of this problem was that the thermostat stuck shut and only broke free once I revved the engine which made more pressure in the coolant system.

On a side note, its the first time I've ever heard the coolant recirculating system go off on my car, although it never seemed to shut off until I disconnected the battery.

Steve

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Hi Steven,

That is a nasty experience. I would be surprised if the thermostat was sticking - but it does seem like a logical explaination given the circumstances.

In your position, I would definately top-up and bleed the coolant system before leaving the car for its Winter hibernation. You don

1996 Esprit V8, 1998 Esprit V8 GT, 1999 Esprit S350 #002 (Esprit GT1 replica project), 1996 Esprit V8 GT1 (chassis 114-001), 1992 Lotus Omega (927E), 1999 Esprit V8SE, 1999 Esprit S350 #032, 1995 Esprit S4s, 1999 Esprit V8 GT (ex-5th Gear project), 1999 Esprit V8SE ('02 rear)

1999 S350 #002 Esprit GT1 replica

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Thanks for the info Mike. I picked up coolant for it yesterday. Planning on bringing it into a heated shop over the weekend to top it up and check it out a little. Of course it happens like 6 hours before I get on a plane for Mexico. Nothing I could do about it for the last week and its been bitterly cold here! :beer:

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Had the car out today to top off the coolant and check things over. Car started a little rough (always seems to do this when its been sitting for awhile with the battery disconnected), but after a few seconds settled down. Drove over into the heated shop and proceeded to top up the coolant and bleed the system. Was down about 1.5-2L in total. Ran the car for a good 20-30 mins letting the fans cycle on and off a couple times. Fans came on just under 100 degrees and then brought the temp back to just under 90 before shutting off. Was blowing good heat in the cab as well. Checked the oil and still nice and clean and clear. Knock on wood, but I hope I may have gotten away without any issue here. Letting it drip dry in the heated shop over night after cleaning and will check over everything once more tomorrow before putting back in its cold resting spot for the winter.

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  • 2 months later...

You beat me to it! I have just had an identical experience with a sudden loss of heater followed by steam from the wheelarch and engine bay and heater guage on Max. Topped up the coolant (3.5 litres) and ran for 30 miles at 70 with the cap off the expansion tank (to get home,(cold night and no stops, temp nevcer exceeded 70)) Next day, ran the car static for 30 mins with no problems at all, although the fans never cut in, the coolant was definitely cooled by something (February, UK) The only concern, and I'd have a look if I waere you, is that this can mean head gasket failure as the pressure can eject the coolant. Check for gas bubbles in the expansion tank and get a garage to check the coolant system for evidence of combustion products in the coolant. It could still be the thermostat though. I intend to replace mine as a precaution

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the info. Would a simple compression test not tell if there were a head gasket issue? Also, if there were a head gasket failure why would it also coincide with the car temp being at the max on the gauge? I did not loose near the coolant you were talking. I think I caught the overheat just as it was happening and quickly took action. When I revved the car a few times it was like the thermostat finally released as my temp gauge fell quite quickly and fans clicked on. I bled my system again after the incident and topped up the coolant, but took very minimal coolant to have my expansion tank to the point of overflowing (1 Litre at the very most). Also ran the car for about 45 mins after filling expansion tank and cooling fans indeed came on and off.

I'll be pulling my car out of storage over the next few weeks and will look over everything. Keep me posted on your situation. Thanks

Steve

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