Friday, November 13, 2009

Name that car part

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What are these little blue and grey caps called? What do they do? Are they part of the cooling system? What happens if they are not there?

Ellen's 2001 Eclipse is overheating now and then. Her coolant reservoir is empty, we filled it. The radiator seemed to still be full of coolant. Near the coolant reservoir there is a metal pipe/line that looks like it has one of these little caps missing. There is also a short hose coming out of the reservoir that is not attached to anything but we assume this is an overflow hose, are we right?

The picture above is not Ellen's car, it is a later model Eclipse.

UPDATE: It may have just been a radiator hose that was loose. Which makes me happy because that's about 1000% less expensive than if the coolant was mixing in with the engine oil (which would point to a blown head gasket). Thanks for everyone's responses and descriptions of cooling system pitfalls. As for the little blue and/or grey caps, they're probably just covers that keep dirt out of fittings and aren't much to worry about.



Blogger Jesse Mullan said...

The line with the little caps is part of the air conditioning. I believe that the missing cap is just a dust cap -- just something to keep the fittings clean.

The hose that just empties is indeed the overflow hose. If the car is overheating occasionally and it is running low on coolant, then it it probably leaking coolant somewhere, either outside or into the engine, like through a head gasket leak. The first thing that I would do is put a piece of cleanish cardboard under the non-running car to see if there is a slow leak dripping overnight. If yes, you can look into either putting some Bars Leaks into the system or bringing it in, or bringing it in to have the cooling system evaluated. A blown head gasket is usually pretty expensive business. Also, if the water pump or thermostat is malfunctioning and the car is overheating as a result, the system could be venting through the pressure relief or, possibly, through the overflow.

Or something like that. I haven't had coffee yet, so that might be a disjointed ramble. :D

1:29 PM  
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8:05 PM  

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