I just got 2004 Nissan Sentra had been setting up for about year now.

I was told at the time only thing that could be wrong with it was the cam shaft position sensor, and possibly the catalytic converter, so eager to know if the engine was worth time and effort. I put a battery pack on it jumped it and it fired right off. It idled well but when giving it gas (reving the engine it seemed to cut out and lose power)

Moving on from problem 1, I then cranked the car to let it warm up to drive it home so I stepped away from the vehicle while it was running for a bit only to come out and see white smoke from engine. I immediately killed the car noticed the temp gauge was running hot. And then the plastic on top the radiator just exploded. What causes that?

And what should I do for troubleshooting after I replace the radiator tomorrow?

2 Answers 2


One of the most popular symptoms for a damaged head or head gasket is engine compression leaking into the cooling system and pressurizing it too much causing this to happen. You really need to do a compression test to start diagnosing this. Regardless of the results the radiator cap needs replaced. It should have relieved pressure after 16 pounds.


Don't make it too complicated ; 1- junk plastic radiator top cracks , 2- coolant leaks out, 3 -engine overheats and steams. I had a 2004 Nissan Titan , the plastic radiator bottom cracked and leaked at about 100,000 miles ; no other problem. Just needed a new radiator , and more antifreeze.

  • Well it was more like white smoke. I know it was around in-between resorvoir save pulleys then after killing it the top of radiator blew through plastic and I seen red liquid.
    – E Rod
    Dec 25, 2020 at 22:59

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