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Old 12-20-2010, 05:30 AM   #1
crushmark80
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Default 2001 Malibu Overheating even after replacing everything. Please help

I need help with my 2001 Chevy Malibu. It has the 3.1 v6 and when i got the car it had a blown head gasket. I went and had the heads redone and gaskets replaced. After that it had a cylinder 3 misfire so come to find out one of the rocker arm bolts had stripped out. Had the head redone again and replaced. It ran great and had no problems for about 400 miles. Everything was working great then the car's check engine light came on saying it has a evap canister code so i changed all the vacuum lines thinking it had to be something like that. Well now it is overheating and the engine has new thermostat, water pump, temp sensor, and hoses. The coolant will bubble and splashes out of the top of the fill tank. I have noticed that the tube with the bleeder valve that the heater core ties into is not keeping coolant. If i open the bleeder valve nothing but steam comes out. It doesn't make any sense because there is no water in the oil or vice versa. No water coming out of the tailpipe from what i can see i put my finger in there and nothing. There is quite a bit of steam that comes out the tail pipe though. Not sure what the issue is but i really need a point in the right direction if anyone can help. Why is that top metal black coolant line with the bleeder valve getting pressure in it?
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Old 12-20-2010, 05:52 AM   #2
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Default Re: 2001 Malibu Overheating even after replacing everything. Please help

Ouch, sounds like you are leaking coolant into your exhaust and or vice versa. Did your mechanic check your heads or block for cracks before all this work was completed? If it was overheated there is a good chance the heads were either warped or cracked in the process. I would be looking for a low mileage salvage engine. But you may want to find good engine mechanic.
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:27 AM   #3
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Default Re: 2001 Malibu Overheating even after replacing everything. Please help

I concur, coolant is leaking into the cylinder and out the tail pipe. Maybe the old torque-to-yield head bolts were reused (dumb) or new ones, improperly torqued. If that's the case, the engine may still be salvageable. BTW, the purpose of the "top metal black coolant line with the bleeder valve" is to allow the coolant to bypass the thermostat when it's closed. Otherwise the water pump will try to pump coolant that's going nowhere.
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Old 12-20-2010, 02:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2001 Malibu Overheating even after replacing everything. Please help

Here's a couple other possibilities. There may be air trapped in the cooling system, surge tank cap not reliving or building pressure properly, thermostat stuck closed (maybe a faulty new one), and check to see if there are any kinks in any of the cooling system hoses. This may be a dumb question to through out there, but was the oil changed after all this was done? To me it sounds like there is a lot of air in the system, but I don't know if is related to improper filling or there is a leak somewhere internal or external.
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Old 12-21-2010, 05:25 AM   #5
crushmark80
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Default Re: 2001 Malibu Overheating even after replacing everything. Please help

Thanks for all the input guys, I have checked all the hoses and there are no kinks. I have replaced the thermostat a second time and checked to make sure it was good in a pot of boiling water first and even checked the other one. Both were good but I still used the new one. The odd thing is how the car ran so perfect for about a week and about 500 miles. Starship struck a nail on the head with the old head bolts. They were re-used. Now the question is... Can i replace one head bolt at a time with the new ones or will i need to pull the entire head and change the gasket again? The heads were all redone and checked for cracks and being warped when they were off the 1st time will they need to be milled again in this situation?

Last edited by crushmark80; 12-21-2010 at 05:29 AM. Reason: Forgot some information
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Old 12-21-2010, 05:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: 2001 Malibu Overheating even after replacing everything. Please help

The oil was changed after the head gasket change (3 times actually) Checking the oil again the level has not changed and there is no coolant in the oil. There is no blowby either. The only sign i see that is bad is the steam from exhaust pipe for about 10 minutes after it is started and the pressure in the heater core by pass tubing. I didn't want to accept the fact it could be the head gasket again but I am now hoping that maybe the bolts can be changed out without having to tear it all the way down again. This has been a hell of a ride. I guess I saved $24.00 on head bolts the first round now it could possibly cost be another $80.00 in gasket sets for cutting that corner, but i didn't know about the torque to yield bolts being a one time use so it is what it is i guess...
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:44 AM   #7
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Default Re: 2001 Malibu Overheating even after replacing everything. Please help

You will need to replace the head gasket and new bolts. I just hope you didn't let it get too hot and warp the heads as well. I can honestly say, been there as well. Used to the old cast iron block engines that reusing the head bolts didn't matter. 1985 Cavalier.....Yuck!!!
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:43 AM   #8
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Default Re: 2001 Malibu Overheating even after replacing everything. Please help

I concur, chances are, there'll be more problems otherwise. See the following TSBs:

http://cid-54465800aad91b49.office.l...06-01-003B.pdf
http://cid-54465800aad91b49.office.l...06-01-010C.pdf

The latter is on the LIM which you'll need to redo as well. Also, I'd send the heads out to a shop to get it checked out . There could be warpage and cracks. I hope the head bolts didn't actually break and leave a mess.
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Old 12-21-2010, 11:22 AM   #9
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Default Re: 2001 Malibu Overheating even after replacing everything. Please help

Im pretty sure the heads are still good. the temp never made it into the red zone. And i retorqued the head bolts (old ones) and it stopped the pressure so thats what the issue must be. They just needed a few hundred miles to back off it looked like. I am going to go ahead and redo it again. I should be pretty good at it now.
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Old 12-21-2010, 05:58 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2001 Malibu Overheating even after replacing everything. Please help

That steam coming out of the tailpipe for 10 minutes after starting: Is that only when it's on a cold start, or after every start? I'm sure you know that on a cold start it's normal, but on a hot start it's not, unless it's just freakin' cold outside!
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