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Rapid Temperature Rise?


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I took my excel 2.2 SE out for a spin today. I have a manually over-ride switch on the steering column to kick the fans in when the temperature gauge moves towards the red from the usual centre position. I instinctively check this, but today when stuck in traffic it shot up unnoticed by me for just a moment quickly into the high red - I quickly turned the fans on of course.. 

I've never seen it register so hot, so quickly, and fear that I may have been too slow to switch the fans on, but it was literally no more than one minute and in normal circumstances it would take 5-10 minutes to get up into the red.

Switching the fans on didn't seem to cool the problem as usual, the gauge normally settles left of centre (more towards cold than hot). I got moving again out of traffic, and it moved back a bit but was still in the red even with the fans still on.

Having come straight home and left the car for 15 minutes it started again fine with the gauge in the normal position. I left it running with the fans on and after just a few moments the gauge shot up quickly towards the red again.

The car sounds great with no new smells or noises. It's hard to imagine that it could have been damaged internally this quickly, and I'm not sure what the results would be if this was the case e.g. oil smell, water boiling, gaskets, lumpy running?

It makes me feel that the water or oil pump has stopped working, but there is no obvious noise.

I'll check things again tomorrow, but I suppose that it could also be a faulty sensor?

If it is the water pump, that will annoying me, as I nearly changed this component a few months ago when I replaced all the belts. Not sure how I can tell if the water or oil pump has failed, but clearly the fans, which are working, do not cool the system as before.

I guess that I will need to eliminate the cheap things first, but with the gauge rising so rapidly once running I am reluctant to run it anywhere until I know more. Could a temporary (1-2 minute) overheat cause a component to fail or worse scenario damage the head? Would I 'know about it' if the engine had been damaged from overheating?

 

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Check that the thermostat hasn't stuck shut, that would shut the water off from the rad thus the switching on of the fans would have no effect, I have heard if water pump impellers coming loose on the shaft so again this would have the effect of of water not being pumped through the rad. You can check the thermostat by removing it and putting it in a saucepan of water and heating it up to see if it opens. If it does not then that is likely the culprit. Whilst it is out I would still change it for a new on having checked the old one and finding that it works. A non contact thermometer is a good way of checking the sensor os working, point it at the casting that the sensor is mounted in for a comparison of the readings.

Hope this helps

Dan

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seconded, sounds like a stuck thermostat. If it was a water pump failure, I think you would probably here it. Similarly, you would hear a belt problem to the water pump.

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Thanks Guys, I think your are right about the thermostat.

I couldn't rest thinking I had damaged my pride and joy. I have obviously panicked a bit here!

Just went out to the garage, now that the car had properly cooled down I was able to check the water level top up.

It was low, very low, and it has never been anything other than completely filled for the last few months. There was also no signs of leaks either and none earlier today when I took it for a drive.

It needed a good 3.5 pints (2+ Ltr) of water to fill it right up. 

I now recall that earlier today while out driving, for about the first time ever, I moved the cabin temperature gauge from Cold it's normal position to Warm. I'm assuming that this open the complete circuit for the water route resulting in an apparent loss of water - is this possible? I had drained the system when I did the belts and would suggest that I didn't fill it up properly not knowing/checking the capacity. I've seen Edd C on whealer dealers remind people to put the thermostat on Hot when replenishing the water and guess I messed up.

Thank Goodness, I'm relived big time! Just taken it for another spin, same journey as earlier today and temperature is perfect - probably better as when static the rate or rise seems less.

Sorry for the panic.

Rgds

Damo  

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Having just read this... I can sympathise but would err a word of caution.

My LC was causing similar issues. 

Perfectly fine before going into storage 2-3 months.  Brought back out into warmer ambient temperature, I was stuck in Aberdeen traffic when I saw a sudden massive peak in temps that turning the internal heating fans on and main fan did nothing.

Dropped all coolant out to see what had happened, replaced with normal ethylene glycol, changed thermostat, run through a 2 stage de-scaler.  The car could idle all day if the car had not travelled and would sit around 90 degrees ( still too hot) but after I had driven the car and the car was moving the temp would come down but the moment you hit traffic you were in trouble.

The faster you drove, the lower the temp gauge went.

The car had a rad change somewhere between 5-10 years ago.  From above the bonnet the rad. looked fine, closer inspection revealed radiator was on the way out.  Cooling fins bent over and some serious corrosion of the core which are very thin channels on these as well.  The core corrosion significantly dropped the efficiency of the radiator.

 

One of the members from the excel forum has recently found an exact copy of the excel rad in aluminium from china at the same price as a later model upgraded 3 core rad in the not as efficient standard brass version.

a few bonuses:  Lighter, more efficient and won't suffer the same kind of galvanic corrosion to cylinder heads and radiator as a result of the two dissimilar metals i.e brass and aluminium.

 

Just saying keep an eye on your needle as you may have spotted the beginnings of a failing or inefficient rad.

How old is your rad?

The ambient temperature of the cooler winter air passing through the radiator will hide this problem from you for a few months to come as this inevitably makes transfer of the heat more efficient.

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Good point and I will check again.

Not sure of the age of my Radiator but it looked clean and rust free when I was underneath it a few months back. I've had no problems with it during the summer despite what I say above, but to be honest, I haven't used it much and not really been stuck in traffic.

I will check out the aluminium optiona as.at the right price it makes sense to just change it.

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Good point and I will check again.

Not sure of the age of my Radiator but it looked clean and rust free when I was underneath it a few months back. I've had no problems with it during the summer despite what I say above, but to be honest, I haven't used it much and not really been stuck in traffic.

I will check out the aluminium optiona as.at the right price it makes sense to just change it.

 

Was going to copy and paste a link but computer says no.

Don't know if its my internet link on this crappy satellite rig or its something on the website not allowing me.

Topic is discussed on www.lotusexcel.net under general  "have my prayers been answered or ebay item number is 121441647859

 

Cost about half as much as my aluminium radiator so will be buying this one myself in the future.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Checked it out - thanks for the link - perhaps a little rich £190 (plus perhaps Import Tax?) as everything is fine with the rad I have. Will keep in mind if any of the symptons mentioned above occur. 

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/121441647859

 

Rgds

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  • 1 year later...

I've drained and replaced the antifreeze recently as I feel the car is running a bit too hot and I still don't know if I'm worrying unduly.

in short, even in the current cold weather, if I drive around 30 plus mph the temperature is a constant 82, but if I get stuck in slow moving traffic the temperature rises towards 90 and rises rapidly if stationary. I have a manual fan switch (I really must get it back to how it should be) and when the fans kick in it soon gets back to 82.

My question is whether this is typical or, perhaps as mentioned above there is a thermostatic valve that is shut preventing a full circulation of the coolant?

Does anyone have a picture, link or explanation of some of the comments above as I'm embarrassed to say that I don't fully understand them!

Thxs

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I found this diagram/link http://majcd213.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/water-pump-reconditioning.html and have researched a bit.

It looks like changing the thermostatic valve and seal is a straight forward task no brainer.

Does anyone suggest the summer (hot climate) valve is better than the regular valve or indeed anything else to watch out for when changing this valve?

 

ThermoValve.PNG

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The diagram on the right is your pump for the HC as the one on the left is for an LC engine on an excel.  Its a quick job to change just the thermostat.  

I personally use the 82C thermostat.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've changed the thermostatic valve and it seems to have made a bit of a difference.

Still not convinced that the car is running as cool as it was say one year ago. 

I feel driving along at a steady 30 mph, it was previously about 83 degrees, now it is nearer 88.

What do you guys see on yours?

The radiator appears solid, but aside from an aluminum replacement (I'm seriously tempted) what else could be making it run a little hotter than previously? How can I be sure that there are no air-blocks? 

Any tips appreciated.

 

 

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Has anyone purchased/fitted the aluminium China made radiator to their Excel for sale on eBay?

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/dual-core-racing-alloy-radiator-lotus-excel-eclat-elite-2-0-2-2-m-t-1974-1992-/121441647859?fits=Car+Make%3ALotus%7CModel%3AExcel&hash=item1c467c7cf3:g:ngQAAOSwfcVUHSSP

I get the distinct feeling from when I changed the timing belt recently that there is a lot to remove before you get to the radiator? With this being an after-market part, there is no saying that it would fit exactly and frankly I don't have the tools or inclination to fudge anything.

I do however like shiny things and I feel that this could be a good investment for those hot summer days which are just around the corner!

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Got a small water leak now, almost certainly from where I replaced the thermo valve!

The new valve came with a gasket seal and a rubber seal that seemed to fit exactly into a recess in the thermo switch housing. Although there wasn't one in place when I removed the old valve it seemed right to put it in together with the gasket. 

Looking at my own exploded diagram above, it looks like there is no rubber seal. Does anyone know?

Also nobody advised if the radiator replacement was an easy job of if there are issues removing things to get access?

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