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Old 12-13-2010, 11:32 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by VIP Destiny View Post
To tell you the truth, my car was over a whatever that disc thing is on the ground w/holes in it to let the steam come up. Some kind of drain maybe. Anyway, I thought my car was on fire.
Yes, likely a sewer drain. There's a lot of heat and steam that comes up from those, which is why homeless people like to sleep on those. First off, familiarize yourself with the differences between steam and smoke. Smoke goes on forever- which is why native Americans used smoke signals. Steam dissipates when the water vapor cools to ambient temperature. Steam will travel further in colder weather, but you should see it dissipating.

If you have coolant in the reservoir (check owner's manual if you don't know where it is), and the temp gauge stays in the middle- then you're likely ok. Another clue that you're ok is that the heat isn't working really well- which is normal for our current temps- especially if you're not driving very far. Even if the temp gauge is reading in the center- it takes a few more minutes before the heater starts to put out heat. At a guess, I'd say about 5-10 minutes of driving, not sitting in traffic, before the heater starts to blow warm air. Also, check and make sure that the coolant reservoir cap is securely tight. A loose reservoir cap can cause loss of coolant in one of these systems.

1) Make sure that the blower motor is working on all 4 speeds.
2) Make sure you have enough coolant in the reservoir- use only Gold coolant if you have to add some. DO not add coolant to a hot engine- it won't hurt the car, but it might hurt you.
3) Check the oil- try to do this once per week, or once per day if you find that you need to add once per week or so. Don't check oil when sitting on steep hills- try to keep the car as flat as possible, but don't stress over it, just remember that oil is a liquid.
4) Beware of steamy sewer vents when parking.

I think your heater likely works, and your water pump likely works also. There is an experiment we can go through if you want to make sure that the heater, thermostat, and water pump are working. Follow this LINK to our Electronic Odometer diagnostic tool How-To. This explains how to use your electronic odometer to give you a more accurate temperature reading than the gauge. You can set this, then drive around and see what your temps go up to.

Also keep in mind that DEF and DEF/Floor vent settings automatically turn on the AC which also turns on the primary engine cooling fan. This might prolong heat by moving air through the radiator. OF course, if you have condensation inside, then you want the AC on to remove moisture from the inside of the windshield. You just might not want it, or the fan on, while you're driving down the road trying to get heated up.

I just went and read the electronic odometer page- and I could've sworn that it will also show your temp readings in F or C, but that's not listed on there. Also, 4, 5, and 9 presses are missing descriptions. One of those might be the temp readout. Hopefully someone else with more time might answer that for you. I'm sure there's a way to get a temp readout on the odometer. I'll check into it more later when I'm free.
Be eclectic.

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Old 12-13-2010, 11:28 PM   #12
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Whew! What a relief. You guys are the best. If your ears itch it's because I'm somewhere bragging about you. I will try the test. Thanks for all of the great advice (and humor). I have 124k on VIP.
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:06 AM   #13
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Here's a keep your engine warm, park over one of those round thingies, with the steam coming up from it, daily.
"It's the Veteran who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag."
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