How to: figure what wrong with overheating

Hey everyone, I did search but cant find what exactly what I am looking for. Please forgive me if it is repost. anyway, I have 1990 integra gs with replace engine with 120k miles. I didn’t change anything such as timing belt, etc since I see it looks fine and great shape, i only do tune it such like sparks, plugs and oil. that was more than year ago. I put it like 2-3k miles more since it is my project car. I got problem start like few months ago with over heating. For sometime it got overheating if i push it too hard but after that, i drove it normal like i treat my baby. few days ago, it starts actually weird. the overheating start come out so fast but back to normal for a while then again overheating. I cannot find what wrong with it. Can you please tell me where should I check first. My friend tell me that he thinks that I need to replace water pump, oil pump, and timing belt. For radiator, it is ok, not that best shape but still good, i flush coolant like less than year ago. excuse my English grammar since it is not my first language. Please help me out and what need to check before I replace the parts. thanks.

I’d start by checking your oil to see if there’s any coolant in it. It’s a super easy thing to do to check for a blown head gasket before doing any work. Also, are you sure it’s over heating, and that it’s not just the gauge jumping around? The way you describe it over-heating makes it seem like it comes and goes while driving, which sounds to me like the gauge being funny, though I apologize if I misread that.

Since this morning, i drove it and seem normal. I finally change oil recently which is overdue but under 3k and also i check the level of coolant in radiator, it is low so i refill it and check any leak, don’t find anything. so far it seem to be normal now. let see what happen in next few days. thanks for tips.

sounded like all u were was just low on coolant. u could’ve also possibly had a problem with like an air pocket or something, make sure u bleed out the cooling system everytime u mess around with the coolant to be safe. change out ur radiator cap if the gasket inside i cracked at all too. if u haven’t already, change ur thermostat if its old. also make sure ur radiator fan is coming on when needed. if its warming up when ur at idle at a stop, then u could prolly just have the above issues. if its warming up while driving, then it could be ur water pump or thermostat or something.

i hope all goes well tho. good luck

^x2 on the low coolant

I blew my radiator hoses off and didnt fill up my civic radiator all the way and went to drive it around for awhile the next day. I was wondering what was wrong with it and then it hit me that i didnt fill up the radiator all the way.

Scared the crap out of me when it started to overheat but then i just babied it home and all was well lol

Are you Chinese?

If that doesn’t fix it make sure it’s flowing in all places and there are no clogs…there could be a reason it was low, you might be leaking or burning it so check that out too

Chances are its your radiator clog.

Could also be a Headgasket minor small leak that is draining your coolant.

Flushing the rad isnt going to help. I have to say its the radiator?

if his radiator is clogged… then flushing or rodding out would benefit. but that would also prolly give him symptoms like an upper radiator hose being REALLY STIFF due to the excess pressure building up. so check ur hoses and make sure there are no bulges. u could also look thru the cap to see if the coolan is nice and green. and if u have a multimeter or just a plain voltmeter, u could check to make sure ur coolant isn’t reading more than 0.3-0.4 volts. if it is, drain, flush, and obviously refill the coolant.

When i say flush, I’m saying the typical way people would do it is just drain and refill. Proper flushing would deal with pressuing the system and draining all old fluid. Same as the shop they use great pressure and detergent flushes and test for clogs and leak etc.

Now if u rod it one by one and if there is anything stuck in between the water way gaps then that is the problem, but then again removing the plastic cap off the radiator isnt an easy job without the proper tools

Also recheck the sensors temp sensor and other one related to water/coolant termostat housing if its a 92+

Don’t chim in and make remarks I am just like you trying to help him in any way i can.

I’d pull the thermostat and test it. It may not be opening fully or only be opening some of the time.

Actually you might as well just replace it either way, it’s a super cheap part.

check and make sure you have proper level of coolant
make sure radiator fan is coming on
check for leaks
check thermostat.

i’d recommend doing a timing belt, water pump, thermostat. should fix the problem.

recently today i drove more than 200 miles and no overheats which is good news. i will do flush the coolants soon. thanks for tips. I am planning to doing replace the timming belt and water/oil pumps in summer, right now im in school.

is there any easy way to do replace those? do i have to take engine out? please give me the links by how to replace the timming, water, and oil pumps if there is any. thanks again!

and no, im not chinese but am deaf and english language is not my first language, America sign language is my first language. if you want to know about ASL, go to:

you do not need to remove the engine to change the timing belt and water pump, but it is a relatively big job. You should purchase (or download if you can find it) a copy of the Helms manual for our cars. It will help you with anything you need to do on your car.

Thermostat is much easier to change, just basic hand tools are needed and not much needs to be taken apart.

I personally wouldn’t put off finding the problem and fixing it as you very well could end up stranded soon. My guess is that you can hold off just fine on the water pump and timing belt. It doesn’t seem like the pump is your issue.