Shade tree failure. The TA runs fine on the highway but as soon as I pull into the parking lot at work, she barfs up about a gallon of coolant through the reserve / overflow tank. Steam everywhere from the coolant bubbling in the reserve tank and leaking green coolant all over the parking lot. Sigh. I've replaced the thermostat, the radiator is clean enough to drink out of. Not kidding here, folks, no corrosion or build up at all. The radiator looks like it just came out of the box and was installed only yesterday. I sat at work and thought about the problem, the layout of the cooling system, the components, etc. The car runs fine and only barfs coolant after you park it and turn off the key. I'm thinking there is an air pocket in the system. I'll take it to my radiator specialist in a few days and let him look at it. Thinking that the radiator cap might be old and not holding pressure, I go to Autozone and buy a replacement cap that has a pressure release lever. The original cap was rated at 15 pounds, this one is rated at 16 pounds. While I've got some free time, I think of what else I can do to the car and I realize that I'm just two miles from my exhaust artist, Jerry's Auto Repair Center, which has been doing my exhaust work since 1984. This would be a perfect time to run the car over and have the crew there "Unpimp My Ride" by torching off those stupid ghetto exhaust tips and I might can find some answers to my coolant problem. Total cost for "unpimping my ride" comes to $74.47. Given what I have done to the cooling system, the consensus is that I have an air pocket in the system since there is no corrosion in the radiator and the thermostat is brand new. I'll work it out tonight before dark.
I load up with coolant at the end of the day (I took a gallon with me just in
case ...) and head home. On the way home, I have to kick the car down
from low speed to pass someone. The car has never felt stronger.
The car doesn't run hot and when I park at home and turn off the key, I pop
the hood; no bubbling and no overflow. Maybe it was the cap after all.
It was a weird problem to be sure. Some notes here to add to my to-do
list. The throttle body coolant hose is cracked and needs to be
replaced. I need to replace the other small coolant hoses as well on top
of the engine. I didn't get a chance to replace either of the radiator
hoses but that's okay because I still want to yank the radiator and get it
tested just to make sure. When I do that, I'll swap in fresh coolant and
hoses top and bottom. During all of this I did learn what a crappy,
crappy, inefficient intake system these TPI cars have on them. It
consumes nothing but hot air and how it can even draw enough air to let the
engine breathe, I don't know. Looks like the SLP kit is in my future.
I was going to also drop in a Jet Stage 2 computer chip and lower temp
thermostat but since I needed the car this weekend, I didn't want to leave it
disassembled while the aftermarket delivered my goods to me. Maybe in a
few weeks I'll order the Stage 2 chip and lower thermostat. Oil change
is coming up soon as well. Make note on PDA to remind me when it's time.
One other nagging little problem that I am having is that the stock radio
doesn't always like to work. Sometimes when you crank the car, it won't
even power up (no clock display, power button doesn't work). Other times
the clock display will come on but be frozen. No buttons on the radio
work. Other times, the radio works fine. The subwoofers still
aren't hooked up either. Since the last owner did the stereo work
himself, I don't trust his labor. He also didn't put the center console
in like it should be so it's now canted a little bit to one side. I'll
yank the console when I get a day free and check the leads for the radio, see
if I can track down why the factory subs aren't working with the factory
radio. I need a replacement power antenna as well since the factory /
original one doesn't retract.
Also on the list of parts I'll be buying in the future for preventive
maintenance; I've got a worn V-belt on the air conditioning. Bad worn.
It's starting to sing like a bird and it's gotten really loud so time to
replace it in the next few days. I'll probably go ahead and replace all
the V-belts at the same time. V-belts. What a holdover from the
old generation but still kind of cool. I miss a serpentine belt but
there's just something ... cool about seeing all of those belt driven
accessories and those belts. I'm a sentimental fool for stuff like that.
Fine lines and hold over technology, a mixture of old and new, EFI and
V-belts. Poetry for the eye.