Please help ASAP 2005 chevy malibu LS coolant problem ASAP

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Thread: Please help ASAP 2005 chevy malibu LS coolant problem ASAP

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    Unhappy Please help ASAP 2005 chevy malibu LS coolant problem ASAP

    I have a 2005 chevy malibu ls v6 3.5. For the past week or so the check engine light has been on. I got it tested at auto zone and it was code po128, running at lower temperature than normal etc, check coolant level, engine coolant temperate sensor or coolant thermastat.

    The car ran fine while the check engine light was on. it did not heat up more than usual, i had heat and a/c in the car and did not make any noises or anything. I checked the coolant and there was enough in there. I checked the consistency of the coolant and there are 3 balls floating and 2 not floating which my friend says is about right.

    the check engine light stayed on. so today i went to auto zone and picked up a engine coolant temperature sensor. I went back home. I unplugged the plug from the sensor, then removed it. when i took the old sensor out, a lot of coolant came out from the whole that the sensor came out of. I turned the car on and the check engine light was still on. I actually used my dad's code reader to erase the code.

    So i turned the car on and moved it out of the garage to my normal parking spot. this was around 4pm. I talked to my friend about hanging out tonight. so around 7pm I turned my car on and had a cigarette while waiting for it to heat up. when i finally got in the car i noticed that all i was getting was cold air and that the thermastat was continuing to rise above the halfway point where it usually sits.

    I turned the car off and talked to my dad who knows more about cars then i do. we looked through our chilton book and the book says that in order to refill the cooling system, you have to do the following steps

    1) have car running with full heat on until engine fan starts
    2) turn car off and let cool down
    3) add more coolant as needed.

    So since it is 10 pm and it's freezing out in michigan, i am going to wait until tomorrow and repeatidly do steps 1 - 3 multiple times to see if that fixes it and i get heat back. if not im going to take it to a shop about 10 minutes away and have them look at it.

    please tell me that i didnt do any serious damage to the engine or the head gasket or the coolant system or anything like that and my car should be fine again?

    Any suggestions on how to fix this problem?

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    Re: Please help ASAP 2005 chevy malibu LS coolant problem ASAP

    The ECT sensor is not the cause of your problem. on these engines - as well as this platform, the culprit is actually the thermostat.

    I have replaced 2 in the past week for this issue, as well as several in the past. a P0128 code is primarily caused by the thermostat on most vehicles. if there is an ECT sensor issue, it will typically throw an intermittent low voltage or high voltage DTC, depending on what the issue is. it is also a completely different DTC from a P0128.

    this time of the year is very common for this issue.
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    Re: Please help ASAP 2005 chevy malibu LS coolant problem ASAP

    yes but before i replaced the ect sensor i was getting heat in the car which makes me think that it is not the thermastat because with everything i read online it says that if the thermastat is the problem you wont get heat running through the vents

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    Re: Please help ASAP 2005 chevy malibu LS coolant problem ASAP

    you will need to bleed the cooling system. there is an air bubble that is probably lodged around the heater core/bypass area.

    have the car cooled down, remove the cap on the coolant reservoir. you will need to fill this up almost completely. let it sit for a few minutes, keep checking the level. it will probably go down a bit, and burp some air bubbles. air will naturally rise to the highest point, which is why coolant tanks are higher than the coolant passages in the engine.
    after you do this for about 10-15 minutes, start the car with the coolant cap off. let it run for a few minutes, you will need to turn the hvac controls to full heat, full blower speed. next, loosen the 7mm purge pintle that is on the coolant bypass pipe. the pipe is black, and is located by the front valve cover. the purge valve is gold/brass in color.
    crack that open, you will get coolant coming out of it. after you let that flow for a minute, close it. let the engine run for about 10 minutes, check the temp gauge periodically. you can now put the cap back on the reservoir after you check the coolant level with the engine running. make sure it has plenty of coolant in it. you should have hot air blowing from the vents, and the temp gauge should read normal operating temp. shut off the engine, let it cool for a few minutes, recheck the level. you will need to purge the cap from pressure, or else it will spray everywhere and can create burns. make sure your level is ok, should be almost full.
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    Re: Please help ASAP 2005 chevy malibu LS coolant problem ASAP

    your not getting heat because there is an air pocket.

    believe me, Its normal until you bleed the air from the system. you wont have heat until its purged.
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    Re: Please help ASAP 2005 chevy malibu LS coolant problem ASAP

    you can do what you want, but a ECT sensor will not fix your problem. a thermostat will.

    let me know how that works out for you.
    There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

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    Re: Please help ASAP 2005 chevy malibu LS coolant problem ASAP

    Quote Originally Posted by Triple-X08 View Post
    you will need to bleed the cooling system. there is an air bubble that is probably lodged around the heater core/bypass area.

    have the car cooled down, remove the cap on the coolant reservoir. you will need to fill this up almost completely. let it sit for a few minutes, keep checking the level. it will probably go down a bit, and burp some air bubbles. air will naturally rise to the highest point, which is why coolant tanks are higher than the coolant passages in the engine.
    after you do this for about 10-15 minutes, start the car with the coolant cap off. let it run for a few minutes, you will need to turn the hvac controls to full heat, full blower speed. next, loosen the 7mm purge pintle that is on the coolant bypass pipe. the pipe is black, and is located by the front valve cover. the purge valve is gold/brass in color.
    crack that open, you will get coolant coming out of it. after you let that flow for a minute, close it. let the engine run for about 10 minutes, check the temp gauge periodically. you can now put the cap back on the reservoir after you check the coolant level with the engine running. make sure it has plenty of coolant in it. you should have hot air blowing from the vents, and the temp gauge should read normal operating temp. shut off the engine, let it cool for a few minutes, recheck the level. you will need to purge the cap from pressure, or else it will spray everywhere and can create burns. make sure your level is ok, should be almost full.
    Okay, so i leave the car running the whole time from when i start the car with the coolant cap off until i shut off the car and let it cool and check the levels?

    can you write this out in numbered step form for me?

    where is the coolant bypass pipe and and what is a pintle?

    what do you mean purge the cap from presure?

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    Re: Please help ASAP 2005 chevy malibu LS coolant problem ASAP

    where in michigan do you live?

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    Re: Please help ASAP 2005 chevy malibu LS coolant problem ASAP

    yes, leave it running.

    the coolant bypass pipe is located on the (visible) front of the engine. which would be the left bank. it is black in color. the pipe is roughly 3/4" diameter. it will have a couple hoses attached to it, and it also is bolted to the water pump housing. it runs from the front of the engine - (by the belt) to the rear of the engine (by the transmission).
    it is directly on top of the valve cover. if you stand in front of the nose of the car, and you look at the valve cover, it is right above it.
    The pipe has a spot on it that has a 7mm hex bolt that is a pintle to purge the air from the cooling system. it is mounted vertically, and it is brass, has a gold color to it.
    opening this valve will not purge all the air, but it does help. you need to run the vehicle with the coolant cap off to completely purge the system of air. also you have to have the heater on so that way it cycles through the heater core.

    when you open the pintle on the bypass pipe, you will need to loosen it just about a 1/4 turn. dont take it out completely. just loosen it enough to release the air, and bleed some coolant from it. you will have coolant coming out of this spot when you open it.

    by purging the cap from pressure, i mean dont just take the cap off the reservoir. you have to let the pressure bleed off or else it will make a mess, and if its hot it can burn you. just be careful of it thats all.

    the reservoir cap is the radiator cap. it is pressurized. you need to gradually release the pressure just like a normal radiator cap.
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    Re: Please help ASAP 2005 chevy malibu LS coolant problem ASAP

    south west part of the state.
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    Re: Please help ASAP 2005 chevy malibu LS coolant problem ASAP

    Quote Originally Posted by Triple-X08 View Post
    south west part of the state.
    you anywhere near grand rapids? kentwood specifically?

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    Re: Please help ASAP 2005 chevy malibu LS coolant problem ASAP

    thanks for your help btw triple x. i appreciate it. i wasnt sure if anyone would actually respond that fast to this. plan on working on it more tomorrow morning

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    Re: Please help ASAP 2005 chevy malibu LS coolant problem ASAP

    no problem, if you need any more help let me know. I will check the forums periodically.

    I was going to get off of here about an hour ago, but figured I would try to guide you through this procedure.

    anyways, im beat. going to bed. have a good night.
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    Re: Please help ASAP 2005 chevy malibu LS coolant problem ASAP

    Basically in addition to the above......... you can help things along by raising the front end of the vehicle up as high as you can safely - and correctly.


    You can also cheat a little bit quite effectively using the old method.

    The key concept is to get the radiater neck up in such a way that it is the compelling high point of the system.

    With it raised sufficiently, starting from a cold or cool enough temp and with a system known to be not full of coolant, assurance of the 'heater' /heater valve / heater circuit in 'fully open' position - if applicable, with a pan underneath etc etc etc you can then leave the pressure cap off, run the vehicle for about 15 - 30 minutes after normal circulation is established ie thermostat opens etc and add coolant carefully as it 'naturally blows the air out'. A small rag can work wonders at keeping the splatter to a manageable level.

    Since I'm basically now intolerant of working on a vehicle in the open and in the cold I'd do my damnedest to put the rear bumper on the ground, pump the hoses by hand, fast crack the bleeders in a co-ordinated fashion, work with measured fluid quantities....... going out and going in - and get out of there as quick as possible.

    Just a thought.

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    Re: Please help ASAP 2005 chevy malibu LS coolant problem ASAP

    Thank you triple x. that worked perfectly.

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