Car Won't Start After Radiator Repair


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Old 02-06-23, 07:03 AM
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Question Car Won't Start After Radiator Repair

My wife slid her PT Cruiser into a small snow bank during the bad weather a few weeks ago (no major damage thankfully). It started over heating a few days later. Our local garage said they had to replace the radiator (which was shoved into the oil pan) and bend the brace underneath back into place.

Everything worked fine for about 2-3 days, now it won't turn over. The ignition just slowly grinds, but it won't catch fire.

Here is a YouTube clip of the exact problem.
https://youtu.be/4TMsov6iTuQ

***ignore the blinking lights on the left side of the dash, that's not actually happening, just the camera shutter doing that:
 
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Old 02-06-23, 07:53 AM
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Everything described as repaired should not effect the electrical/starting.

Have you checked a ground and power connections, something could have gotten loosened/dislodges>
 
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Old 02-06-23, 08:01 AM
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Boy, It's not even trying to start. Plugged into a computer might provide an error code to get you looking in the right direction.
 
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Old 02-06-23, 08:26 AM
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binfordtools said:
now it won't turn over
After watching/listening to the video, it sounds to me like its turning over. The starter is working, which is turning the flywheel, which is turning the engine. Its just not starting. Maybe I am missing something. But its why I made the statement.
So, based om my assessment of the video.........

On initial guess work, I think its totally unrelated to having the radiator work done. It's possible that something happened during the accident when sliding into the snow bank. Possibly pinching a fuel line or something out of the ordinary. In this scenario, nothing related to a common issue.

I am more inclined to go in the direction of, I think its just co-incidence that it happened not to start 2 days after repairs.
Three things:
lack of fuel,
lack of air (restriction) or,
electrical connection/component broken or bad

As Dane mentioned, I'd start with getting the codes read, then go from there. That's going to rule in, or out, a lot right there. Then we can hopefully help you get the general or specific problem narrowed down.
 
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Old 02-07-23, 05:24 AM
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Good comments and recommendations.
Your problem may be related to the overheating. Overheating can result in failed head gasket which can cause engine to lose compression and possibly get coolant in the cylinders.
I rec examining your spark plugs, they will tell you what's going on inside the cylinders. There are videos for spark plug analysis. If plugs are wet, or smell like coolant then head gasket failure is likely.
Have you noticed anything unusual about your coolant and coolant level?
 
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Old 02-26-23, 01:25 PM
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Update:

So heard from the garage a few weeks back. Said that it was a busted head gasket, will cost about $800 for a replacement (used) engine, plus all the other things that needed done like water pump, filters, rings, etc.

With labor, I'm looking at $1,500+. So not looking to go that route, as it's chasing good money after bad.

How realistic would it be to just get the head gasket fixed by mobile mechanic in my drive way? Or am I just wasting more time that route, instead of just junking it?
 
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Old 02-26-23, 02:43 PM
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You don' t mention year, mileage, or if turbo.
Generally, repairing and re-selling is more cost efficient than junking.
One consideration with mobile mechanic is cylinder head flatness. The cause of your current problem is warped cylinder head, either temporary or permanent. If you go mobile mechanic route, make sure he checks flatness with feeler gauge and mechanic's rule. Point being that you may need head machined, and that work is usually beyond mobile mechanic capabilities. You can do this yourself however, let us know if you want to take on this project.
 
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Old 02-26-23, 03:49 PM
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In my opinion, this is not a job for a mobile mechanic. Not that he isn't a class A mechanic... not that its beyond his expertise, but its just beyond fixing in the driveway. No way I would pull a head without getting that head mic'd.
As mentioned above, if its got a blown head gasket, its a possibility that its warped or damaged in some way. Yes, it is possible its just a blown head gasket.... just a bad gasket. But, no way I'd change the gasket & replace without inspection. Cant do that in the drive way. It needs to be taken off, sent to a shop who can mic it for imperfections etc, then replaced. Could be a few (1, 2, 3) days.

In addition, if I am going to pull a head, its going to be refurbished. Cleaned up, valve seals replaced, valve springs checked/tested, valves checked etc. Generally speaking, a head is not something you just pull & replace.

As a kid, I learned early on that you don't double stack hay. That's just double the work.
Pulling a head without having it inspected is like double stacking hay. Its usually double work.
Going back doing it all over again.
Just stack it right the 1st time when it comes off the trailer.

Again, at the end of the day, I just don't think this is a job for a mobile mechanic. It needs to be in a shop with hand tools & floor tools.
A mobile mechanic need to focus on small jobs like troubleshooting & fixing small emergencies on the side of the road or quick, simple jobs at the customers work or home like changing oil, spark plugs, batteries & brakes etc.
 
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Old 02-26-23, 09:50 PM
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would likely junk it myself I mean the car overheated the shop says its a head gasket but wants to install another engine which means its likely got antifreeze in the cylinders or oil or something but could be more severe than a head gasket, maybe a cracked head point is they likely would have to dis assemble the engine just to find out.

you could call salvage yards and price used engines and call several shops and see what they charge to replace it and you may beat the price the original garage quoted you but its still may be more than you want to really put into it.

 
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Old 02-27-23, 05:13 AM
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Well, you can probably get a replacement head for about $500 instead of refurbing the existing one, but you still have significant labor cost PLUS the condition and age of the rest of the vehicle.
 
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Old 02-27-23, 06:04 AM
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Tow Guy, any idea what it costs in 2023 to have a head mic'd, turned & rebuilt? OR, in reality, do they even do that anymore, or is it just throw it away & buy another?

Back in my day, we used to take heads to the NAPA place in town & I think it was a complete turnaround on V8 head for $125 per head... if I remember right. That'd be $250 for both.
Maybe It was $125 for both. That sounds more inline with the 70's & 80's. I'll bet it was $125 for the set now that I think about it.
Maybe someone here remembers what it cost back then. Or what it costs now, to reference the OP.
 
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Old 02-27-23, 06:40 AM
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headsonly has remanufactured 2.4l pt cruiser heads for 350 without cams or 400 with cams but you still have head gasket set, head bolts, labor maybe a timing belt or chain depending on what it uses other misc parts like new oil and filter it could be a really expensive repair.
machine shops likely do not charge that much to deck a head and even install new seals but when you get into seats, guides and actually replacing a lot of the parts and doing a valve job it would become much more expensive.
but the value of the car even a 2010 which I guess is the last year they made them is like 2500-3600 range if its older than that well it would be even worth less.
 
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Old 02-27-23, 12:42 PM
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Good point about additional costs alan. Overheats on these engines almost always requires new valve seats. The head is aluminum and seats are cast iron. I think best odds for lowest cost is to buy a rebuilt head, no new ones available.
There is another option that you can consider if you are certain there is no other damage or dropped seats. That option is head gasket repair additive. I know many will scoff at this, and I don't blame you, but I've seen it work. I would try it before junking the vehicle.
You would need to borescope each cylinder and take off valve cover to examine the top end. You'd also need to blow out the coolant that sitting in the cylinders. You will need to start the car to get it to work. I can talk you through the process if you want to try the sealant.
 
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Old 02-27-23, 01:19 PM
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Dixie, IDK. When I pulled the heads of my wrecker last year for leaky head gasket, the machine shop suggested just buying a pair they had on the shelf (mine had a couple of sunken valve seats just for starters) so I don't know what that was going to run me to refurbish those 5.7L heads.

I do think that a lot of times shops won't even bother sending them out when they've been overheated; they just replace them as they are pretty cheap as Alan points out. I think mostly the cost of the entire job is more about labor and other items than the heads themselves.
 
 

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