OK so I've spent literally over 1500 on this car not to mention the failed attempts of the previous owners. I finally fixed the engine troubles and then all of a Sudden it decides to start overheating. I drove it all day and then as I was going down the interstate the temp skyrocketed and my car shut off.

After pulling over I found that the top radiator hose was hot as balls and the bottom cold as could be. I also noticed a pretty loud ticking before while I was at the house but figured I would drive it fixed (make it fix itself hopefully). Cheap solutions would be great.

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Which engine is in the Camaro? (Is it the base or Z28?) There going to be different suggestions for the different engines as to what to check first. Sep 30, 2017 at 13:47
  • Its the base 3800 series v6
    – Kobi Daye
    Sep 30, 2017 at 20:59
  • Have you pulled the engines codes yet? How about a cooling system pressure test?
    – CharlieRB
    Oct 2, 2017 at 12:30

1 Answer 1


Assuming it's not leaking coolant and it wasn't just low on coolant, this is optimistically just a failed thermostat or a failed water-pump.

If it is leaking, it's probably a failed water pump or a busted hose somewhere in the cooling system (don't overlook hoses to and from the heater core). The worst case scenario could be a weeping gasket (i.e. intake) that's on its way out and causing you to be periodically low on coolant, which can result in intermittent overheating. FWIW you can nurse it along in this condition for a long time if you're vigilant about checking/topping off the coolant.

An odd case could be if your heater core itself is leaking...if you're seeing fluid in the cab, this is a clue. Like a slow-failing gasket, this may cause intermittent overheating. But it also compromises comfort in the cab. You can get around the issue if you bypass it, but you'll have no cab heater in the winter.

If it's not leaking then hopefully it's just the thermostat (best case), however, it could still be the water pump if your impeller fins are worn away to nubs and no longer circulating coolant (middle case). The worst case would be a deep gasket failure (i.e. head) where coolant is mixing with oil, but you're not seeing any leaks..

Another possibility, which I've never encountered, could be a blockage in the cooling system....I'm not sure what might cause a blockage, but back-flushing the radiator could be a solution. Certainly research this before trying it as there may potentially be consequences for back-flushing an old cooling system that I'm not familiar with.

Aside: Unfortunately, I think continuing to drive it hot hoping it would fix itself was a bad idea, maybe even dealing it a mortal blow. Anecdotal evidence: Once upon a time I overheated an engine in the dead of winter after a cracked lower radiator hose lead to all my coolant leaking out--I wasn't aware it was compromised and didn't realize it was leaking out as I was driving. (I had probably topped it off with water earlier that summer.) It got me to work just as the check engine light started flickering. Afterwards it developed a curious "ticking" sound like you described, and it made it about 3 or 4 months before the head gasket blew while on the highway. When the head gasket blew, it shot a white puff of smoke out the back with an immediate loss of power and poor running, and when I pulled over I found the chocolate-milk-like oil consistency.

  • The coolant has kinda an oily look like brownish and has a granular kind of feeling on the dry bits. The clunking just started but before it overheated. I topped off all the reservoirs with coolant and started it today, the clicking was more of a cracking now but the car was not running hot at idle.
    – Kobi Daye
    Oct 3, 2017 at 20:17
  • Also, there is a pulley that's on a spring loaded type system on the front of the engine that is jumping up and down kind crazily as well. It flacks louder and faster when revved or during take off and at idle deceleration but not at higher speeds like maybe 30 plus
    – Kobi Daye
    Oct 3, 2017 at 20:19
  • Update: tried to run it down the road after filling the coolant and it kept dying so I turned around and had to push it to the side of the road in front of the house cuz now it qpnt start. Cranks but won't start. Also there was no power when trying to accelerate the last time and reduction at first.
    – Kobi Daye
    Oct 3, 2017 at 21:48
  • The "spring loaded system" you mentioned in your second comment is likely the tensioner pully, and it wobbling a little is normal. But if it's moving wildly, that's a problem. However the oily consistency of your coolant is a genuinely big problem, suggesting a deep gasket has failed, probably the head gasket. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but head gasket replacement is intense and will require a shop. The gasket kit itself is not too expensive (appx $100), however the labor fee will be considerable. Sorry fella :/
    – elrobis
    Oct 4, 2017 at 1:48
  • ..just curious are you getting any white or light gray smoke out of the exhaust?
    – elrobis
    Oct 4, 2017 at 1:50

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