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What are the chances I damaged my engine?

1256 Views 7 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Gearbox94
My car has been running strong. It still does. In the mornings it would sort-of bog after I had driven a mile or so for a little while. Then it would run great later in the day. I was trying to figure out what would cause this. I thought of "intake icing" I knew I had a leak in the radiator and figured 2/3 of the way full was low but would probably be okay since my engine temp gauge was reading dead center. Maybe it wasn't full enough to get to the intake to warm it it up. I got looking at things trying to figure it out when I noticed that the coolant level in the radiator when cold was about level with the middle or upper 2/3 of the water pump. I removed the water temp sending unit and put a pencil in to see where the coolant was. It was about 4 inches down from the top. I only did emissions like that ( I drove it pretty hard that day for 45min) and then 4 separate 20min commutes. It has been parked since waiting for a new radiator. It still runs and startd good.

My question before I put a new radiator in and fill with new coolant is.. From your experience what are the chances I have damaged something or warped the heads in that ammount of time? Mid 90 degree days temp gauge was always reading dead center. How much will reading change without coolant touching it?

Would I have noticed a performance change if something were damaged?
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I haven't ever had steam coming from the car. I noticed the radiator leak immediately upon filling with coolant and start-up two days after I had replaced the water pump. It leaked down to the level of the corrosion on the radiator. I guess I will wait and see what happens after a new radiator.

Thank you for the reply.
I put the new radiator and coolant in yesterday. I let the car run for a few minutes and then drove it to get some dinner. On my way back I could see coolant on the road. I got home and Popped the hood. I had coolant all over the the front of the car. I hadn't tightened the cap on all the way. The strange thing (probably just a coincidence) is that when the car cooled down I took the cap off and the coolant level was back to where it was with the old radiator. Should I fill the resevoir tank as well? I thought it was just an overflow tank?

Maybe the old leak would only leak under pressure? so when the coolant was warmed up it would do basically the same thing as with the cap loose?

Yes it is over 20 years old, but I am not used to working on cars this new.
I took it for a short drive today after filling the tank on the side. I also put a new cap on. I could smell a little antifreeze burning and was worried, I will smell the exhaust later, but for now I think I have found the only leak to be at the hose coming from the thermostat. It just seeps a little when hot.
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