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Old 02-11-2008, 02:21 PM   #1
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Boxster Started Overheating at 40 - Help!

Hi,
I have a slight problem with my Boxster today. I was driving home, and I looked down at the instrument cluster, and noticed that my car was overheating. It was 40 outside, which sort of baffled me. It normally hangs around 180, maybe a little over (about one needle width), but it was half way between 180 and the second mark (picture). Right as I pulled into the driveway I started to smell a slight burning.

I called my Porsche dealer and made an appointment for Wednesday, but wanted to get your guys opinion before I spend a few hundred dollars. I got the car at Carmax, with there warranty. Do you think it will be covered?
The only two things that I can think of that may have caused it were, accelerating to 6k RPM which I normally don't do too often, as I got on the freeway, and I washed my car (Maybe some of the foam got in the radiators?).

All opinions are appreciated!
Thanks!
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Old 02-11-2008, 02:30 PM   #2
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IMHO, that's pretty normal. On very hot days & while in traffic, mine would move to the border (the right edge) of the zero....but not beyond it.

I have read about this before because, like you, I was worried....I looked on our site, renntech, and a few others and many agree that it's pretty normal....especially after a spirited drive.

BTW, the smell that you described is also normal.

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Old 02-11-2008, 03:06 PM   #3
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might want to bleed the system - could have an air bubble trapped. Your temp is not all that out of line except for it only being 40 degrees.
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Old 02-11-2008, 03:13 PM   #4
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I wouldn't worry about it. like the others have said, it is somewhat normal. could be as simple as leaves in the rad. you wouldn't believe the amount of ewwwwwwwww that gets built up in there. It should be covered by the warantee.
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Old 02-11-2008, 03:19 PM   #5
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I'll chime in also for reassurance that that's perfectly normal. In fact, over the 0 is the only place I've ever seen my needle once warmed up.

Whether it's 40 or 100, the fans come on at the same water temperature to keep the coolant at the correct operating temp. There's a warning light that lights up on the dial when you're in the operating temperature danger zone.

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Old 02-11-2008, 03:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue2000s
I'll chime in also for reassurance that that's perfectly normal. In fact, over the 0 is the only place I've ever seen my needle once warmed up.

Whether it's 40 or 100, the fans come on at the same temperature to keep the coolant at the correct operating temp. There's a warning light that lights up on the dial when you're in the operating temperature danger zone.
By the time the red light comes on, it is almost too late. If you see that light pull over very fast and shut off the car. As a side question do you have a history on the thermostat, and/or waterpump and coolant flush? and lets not forget the obvious...................the coolant lever is correct, right?
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Old 02-11-2008, 03:39 PM   #7
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I agree on the normal report, but when I changed my bumper cover I was shocked at the debris that had worked their way into the closed chamber Porsche designed.
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Old 02-11-2008, 04:03 PM   #8
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I was concerned, because I have never seen it go up so high, but if it is normal, I'll just clean my radiators this weekend, and see what happens.
Thanks everyone!
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Old 02-11-2008, 04:14 PM   #9
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I was concerned, because I have never seen it go up so high, but if it is normal, I'll just clean my radiators this weekend, and see what happens.
Thanks everyone!

Rick, IMHO, cleaning them correctly means pulling the front cover off, headlights, side markers and some misc hardware is part of the disassembly. An easy task the second or third time but be careful the first time. You have to pull the fender liners, there are reusable plastic fasteners that you need to be delicate with. It also helps to have a friend around to help with the bulky bumper cover, however if you're careful one guy can do it. Once inside you will see that the radiators reside in a sealed chamber so any dirt cannot escape, if you have the Bently book it has excellent instructions and pics, if you need any help from me just PM, I've been inside mine a few times tweaking the spoiler lip and playing with radiator screens...
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Old 02-11-2008, 04:22 PM   #10
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Rick, if you don't want to pull off the front bumper, you can try doing some cleaning of the radiators by doing it with the leaf blower. Blow out as much as you can when everything is dry. Then wash everything down, and blow them out again.
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Old 02-11-2008, 04:24 PM   #11
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With all due respect, a vacuum makes more sense although it will never get the packed debris. The radiators are sealed in a closed, briefcase like pocket, a blower wont help at all and may even drive more dirt into the sensitive fins, no dis to B mussanti at all intended..peace boys good luck with the project..

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Old 02-11-2008, 04:31 PM   #12
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Thanks for the advice. I have the Bentley manual to guide me. I am going to try using a leaf blower and see if still heats up so much, then I may opt to remove the bumper. I've read about doing it, and I don't have to much else to do this weekend.
Just as long as running the engine above 180, isn't going to hurt anything.
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Old 02-11-2008, 07:18 PM   #13
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Two things, have your mechanic test the fan resistor, it may have blown casing your fans to not come on which could account for the slight temp increase. Second, if your not going to do a full disassembly to clean out the radiators (see below) then don't bother with the blower as mentioned above. It will do nothing except, well, blow a bunch of air.

Check out this previous thread on cleaning out the radiators:
How much dirt could really be in there?

a lot of debris can collect in there:
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Old 02-12-2008, 03:32 AM   #14
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you're getting good advice; check the fans, burp the coolant reservoir, pull the bumper & clean the radiators. the car's normal temp in hot weather is what you show in your pic. that may be a little high for 40 days, but nothing that will damage your car.

as for being concerned w/ running it up to 6k RPM's? dude, it's a PORSCHE. it's designed to be driven hard. they even stay nice and cool on the race track. don't worry about putting your foot in it now and then.
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Old 02-12-2008, 01:50 PM   #15
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I finally got some time, and checked the front radiators today. They are completely clean, there is nothing wrong with them. Which, from what I have read narrows it down to three things the engine fan fuse, right/left radiator fan fuse, or the coolant.

I checked the coolant and it is about 1" below the minimum mark, which is bad. According to the guy I talked to at the Porsche dealer, if the coolant level is low the engine could be heating up more than the gauge is showing. Is that true?
Also, should I just add coolant, or should I flush it?
Thanks!
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Old 02-12-2008, 02:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick3000
I finally got some time, and checked the front radiators today. They are completely clean, there is nothing wrong with them. Which, from what I have read narrows it down to three things the engine fan fuse, right/left radiator fan fuse, or the coolant.

I checked the coolant and it is about 1" below the minimum mark, which is bad. According to the guy I talked to at the Porsche dealer, if the coolant level is low the engine could be heating up more than the gauge is showing. Is that true?
Also, should I just add coolant, or should I flush it?
Thanks!
How old is the coolant? If more than 4-5 years, I'd flush it. Till then, add some distilled water, and see how the temp reacts.
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Old 02-12-2008, 02:48 PM   #17
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Rick, if you checked them by visual inspection via the ducts you did not view the lower corner. I'm not saying it's your problem, only that debris likely resides where you cannot see.

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Old 02-12-2008, 03:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick3000
I finally got some time, and checked the front radiators today. They are completely clean, there is nothing wrong with them. Which, from what I have read narrows it down to three things the engine fan fuse, right/left radiator fan fuse, or the coolant.

I checked the coolant and it is about 1" below the minimum mark, which is bad. According to the guy I talked to at the Porsche dealer, if the coolant level is low the engine could be heating up more than the gauge is showing. Is that true?
Also, should I just add coolant, or should I flush it?
Thanks!
don't worry about the low coolant; what the mechanic is talking about only occurs when the engine is full of vapor rather than liquid. this only occurs when you're almost out of coolant. if there is any coolant in your reservoir at ALL, this is not occuring.
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Old 02-12-2008, 03:29 PM   #19
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I haven't touched the coolant since I got the car, just under a year ago. So I am not sure how old it is.
I am thinking that the overheating has something to do with the coolant. Because it isn't a fuse, and probably isn't the radiators. I saw a little liquid in the rear trunk on one of my trunk mats, but the carpet was not damp, which is making me think it may be a coolant tank crack/leak or the cap.
I am going to take it into Porsche and have them figure out what is going on. If the tank is broken, then the entire thing is covered under my extended warranty. And if they say it just needs coolant, I have to buy it from them anyway.
I am just glad that I was able to rule out the obvious (fuse, clogged radiator) with your guys help! Thanks!
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Old 02-14-2008, 07:29 AM   #20
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Just a little update.
I took the car into Porsche yesterday, and they did a full inspections and didn't come up with anything. The coolant was a little low, and they didn't even top it off. The car is still heating up, so the needle sits right in the middle of the 0 in 180, but that only happens in traffic. I am still a little concerned because it was 24 yesterday, but when I am going fast it hangs around the 180 mark which is good.
Also, can I top off the coolant with regular coolant, or does it need be from Porsche?
Thanks for the help!


Also, get this. It took me five and half hours to get back home from the Porsche 26 miles away. Yes, five and a half hours! It snowed 1" so people were going 5mph and crashing into each other. The freeway was like a parking lot. The police here are idiots. I like what they do for us , but they are inefficient. It was the worst traffic I have ever seen(worst than LA at rush hour). I now know, why some DD are tips. The manual in bumper to bumper for five hours was torture.
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