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Old 11-10-2014, 06:14 PM   #1
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Question Overheated Ė Where Do I Start?

Iíve done a bit of reading on the subject, and I assume Iím dealing with a water pump issue, but I wanted to post my experience first to make sure Iím heading in the right direction.

My 2002 Boxster S has roughly 67K miles on it, and my wife and I took the car out of storage last weekend to head into the city for a concert and hotel stay. We were in very heavy stop-and-go traffic for about an hour before we valet parked at the hotel with no issue.

Upon retrieving the car in the morning, I got a dash warning that my coolant was low (1st time seeing that). The temps seemed fine as we made our way along city streets, but as we were accelerating onto the expressway, I got another warning that the engine was too hot (about 15 minutes after leaving the hotel). The temp came back down as the RPMís came down, and they stayed steady (warm, but not dangerous) for the 40 minute drive back to drop my wife off with her SUV and pick up my daughters (still an hour away from our house).

I stopped at a local grocery story to pick up some distilled water for top-off. There was a very small puddle under my car, the trunk lid was steamy/wet, and I added just under a gallon of water to bring it to the proper level. I started the car, and the low coolant warning was gone, so I figured I was good to go. I proceeded to get onto the expressway, and within a minute, I got the engine too hot warning again.

This time the needle was maxed out and not coming back down, so I immediately pulled off to avoid engine damage. I turned the engine off while waiting for a green light, and when I started up again to cross the street and pull into a gas station, I got the low coolant warning again. I figured I had already lost the gallon of water I had just added, but when I checked the trunk, the coolant was still at the proper level I had brought it to.

Fortunately, my step-dad owns a car trailer, so he was able to pick me and the car up to avoid a towing bill, but now I need to figure out the next step. I figure one of two things is happeningÖ either my cooling system has failed, or I have some major engine issue causing more heat than the cooling system is able to keep up with (hoping the latter isnít the case). Do I start with pulling the water pump out for inspection before ordering parts, or should I start looking elsewhere?

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Old 11-10-2014, 06:42 PM   #2
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You are obviously losing coolant. The expansion tanks have been known to fail. Steam in the trunk is a pretty big clue. I don't see how a water pump failure would cause a wet trunk. Do you have the upgraded expansion tank cap?
Good luck!
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Old 11-10-2014, 07:04 PM   #3
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You are obviously losing coolant. The expansion tanks have been known to fail. Steam in the trunk is a pretty big clue. I don't see how a water pump failure would cause a wet trunk. Do you have the upgraded expansion tank cap?
Good luck!
could be your filler cap.
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Old 11-10-2014, 07:08 PM   #4
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Like mine the impeller may have broke and clogged the flow so that the short half boils off into the trunk.
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Old 11-10-2014, 07:49 PM   #5
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Needs a visual inspection of the WP with belt off. Any wobble or play in it at all? Any sign of water lines around the pump?

Pressure test cooling. The reservoir may be cracked.

Old cap would leave trunk moisture but not a puddle like you describe unless it was half screwed on.

If pump failed however, then boil over into the trunk would be next.
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Old 11-11-2014, 07:49 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Phil C View Post
You are obviously losing coolant. The expansion tanks have been known to fail. Steam in the trunk is a pretty big clue. I don't see how a water pump failure would cause a wet trunk. Do you have the upgraded expansion tank cap?
Good luck!
This is what I thought at first since I overheated again after topping off, and I got the low coolant warning again. However, there was no puddle under the car when I pulled off the second time, and the coolant was at the exact level it was when I topped off. I don't have the upgraded expansion tank cap.

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Like mine the impeller may have broke and clogged the flow so that the short half boils off into the trunk.
Hmmm... this would make sense as to why I was still overheating after top-off. Remember, I was able to drive the car for 45 minutes the first leg of the trip back, which would give plenty of time to boil off the coolant. And, we were in very heavy traffic the night before, even though I didn't get a warning. I was only able to drive for about 5 minutes after top-off because the temp got dangerously high without coming back down, so obviously the problem got worse. But, I'm baffled as to why I got the low coolant warning the second time when my reservoir was showing the correct level. So, you obviously had to replace your pump, but how did you clear the clog in your cooling system?

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Needs a visual inspection of the WP with belt off. Any wobble or play in it at all? Any sign of water lines around the pump?

Pressure test cooling. The reservoir may be cracked.

Old cap would leave trunk moisture but not a puddle like you describe unless it was half screwed on.

If pump failed however, then boil over into the trunk would be next.
I think this will be my next step, since it sounds like we're all on the same page. The original puddle under the car was very small... maybe the size of a silver dollar. I think visible trunk moisture would be the best way to describe it. I wish I could've seen where valet parked my car to see if a puddle was visible there. I guess it may have continued to steam off coolant after the engine was turned off, which might be why I was presented with the low coolant warning immediately upon retrieving my car in the morning.
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Old 11-11-2014, 09:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timco View Post
Needs a visual inspection of the WP with belt off. Any wobble or play in it at all? Any sign of water lines around the pump?

Pressure test cooling. The reservoir may be cracked.

Old cap would leave trunk moisture but not a puddle like you describe unless it was half screwed on.

If pump failed however, then boil over into the trunk would be next.
+1 ^^^ what Tim said ^^
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Old 11-11-2014, 09:29 AM   #8
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If you swap the WP, you really should do the thermostat.
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Old 11-11-2014, 04:00 PM   #9
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I just replaced my expansion tank. Car acted in a similar manner to yours. Sometimes it would leak, sometimes not. The last time there was steam in the trunk area from the leaking tank.

Pull the carpet in the trunk and see if anything is wet. If it is then the tanks cracked. Replacing it is a DIY project but isn't real fun. My bruises are just healed after two weeks doing that fun little thing. But it works fine now.
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Old 11-11-2014, 05:44 PM   #10
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So you valet parked and then had a bunch of problems? Ever see Ferris Bueller's Day Off?
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Old 11-12-2014, 09:26 AM   #11
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So you valet parked and then had a bunch of problems? Ever see Ferris Bueller's Day Off?
I actually thought about that for a moment!
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Old 12-03-2014, 09:03 AM   #12
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System low because car originally has a coolant leak. Topping off with over a gallon of watet without proper bleeding will cause the car to overheat. Pop the plastic cover off of the coolant oil fill to reveal the bleeder.(do a search on bleeding air from coolant if you do not understand the methods of bleeding a coolant system) Open it, fill tank, leave bleeder open and wait 10 mins. Fill again, leave fill open and start car, wait until temps rise, leave bleeder open, and the radiator fans come on. If the radiator fans do not come one after the mwater temp is warm there is an issue with the fan circuit or you still has air in system. After the fans come on, drive car with bleeder open. If the car does not overheat, close bleeder. Now find source of coolant leak, repair, and bleed again. Hopefully you did no serious damage.

Last edited by healthservices; 12-04-2014 at 08:10 AM.
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Old 12-03-2014, 09:14 AM   #13
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That's great information... thank you!

The car had been sitting in storage until last Friday (Black Friday), when I was able to do a little more troubleshooting. I pulled the firewall with intent to pull the belt, but I didn't have a big enough socket with me for the tensioner... otherwise, everything looked good there (from what I could see with the belt still on).

I also pulled the carpet and foam from the trunk, and the was a small amount of moisture present. I don't have tools to pressure test, so I'm not sure if the moisture came from a bad cap, the original overheat (boiled out), or a crack in the reservoir.

I did notice that the reservoir was empty again, so I plan to pick up more distilled water and take it for a test drive to troubleshoot further. I'll be sure to report back with my findings!
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Old 12-03-2014, 11:12 AM   #14
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Hi Dja,
My 03s had exactly the same symptons as your car after last Winters layup, car ran faultllessly the first day back on the road, then on the second day whilst slowing down at the outskirts of a small village the-warning light came, temperature maxed and a pool of coolant appeared below the engine. I let it cool down and topped up the cooling system but to no avail, it just repeated the previous performance, so I had to have it trailered home. I phoned my non franchised Porsche guy and without hesitation he replied " stick a new coolant cap on it and buy a spare to keep, its a common fault ".
I didn't believe it would make a difference, but low and behold it completely cured the problem, also when I purchased the cap from the Dealer , the spare parts guy told me that he sold quite a few caps every year.
Note.. My Boxsters trunk never got soaked when the coolant boiled, only a little trace of condensation around the outside of the filler.
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Old 12-03-2014, 11:20 AM   #15
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I would start by checking the coolant reservoir, they're popular to crack. Also try to get the car off the ground and check the coolant hoses to the radiator. Over time the claps can corrode. I would also inspect the water pump to see if there are any leaks. Also ALWAYS make sure that the coolant reservoir cap is tight.

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