1988 Olds Cutlass Cooling Issues

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Today I replaced a leaky heater core in my 1988 Olds Cutlass Ciera (56k miles, and yes that is only 56k). In the process, I drained the radiator, (by simply popping off the lowere radiator hose) but did not drain the resevoir or the block. The coolant came out nice and clean and green. And now to the problem. Firstly,aAfter the core swap everything appears normal but the "low coolant" light comes on while the motor(2.8L w/AC) is at idle. As soon as the motor revs above idle the light goes off and then reappears after the engine has been idle for about 10 or 20 seconds. This happens with the car in neutral and while driving. I have waited for the cooling fan to kick on and it does but the "coolant light" problem still persists.
Secondly, Even after the fan kicks on and everything seems to be working as normal, the top radiator hose is still soft. The car has only ran for maybe a half hour since the swap, but the top hose has been soft the whole time. Any help would be greatly appreciated. And don't assume I did or tried anything, my cooling system knowledge is novice at best. Thanks guys and hope you can help.

posted by  casacel2

Just though of somemore information that may or may not help.

3 days before The heater core started leakin, I stalled on my way to work after maybe 6 or 7 minutes in the car. I thought I had run out of gas, since I was low, added a couple gallons, it still wouldn't start right away, but after cranking it over for a little while and pullin out the air cleaner, it started back up. Everything was then fine, so I thought, The next day the car ran fine and I put in another ten bucks of gas to get it back above half a tank. The day after that, the day before I noticed the leaky heater core, the car once again wouldn't start. I cranked it over and played with it for a good 20 minuets before grabbin the starting fluid sprayin it in and it started right up.

I have no other history of any problems with this vehicle, I bought it off my neighbor's mother who was 86 and probably hadn't drove it in a year or two. That was about 2 months, 2500 miles and an oil change ago.

Some of that might help maybe not. Thanks again guys.

posted by  casacel2

First, verify serpentine belt of other belt driving the water pump is routed the right way. If this is OK, thenI would look for a bad thermostat or a bad water pump if the top hose is soft.

posted by  tbaxleyjr

did u put all the fluid back in? when the engine is hot, does the resovior show Full Hot, and when the engine is cold and u pop off the rad cap, is the fluid all the way to the top? feel the upper rad hose when the car is warming up and when the stat opens u should feel it instantly becoming warm

posted by  speedy266

I did refill the radiator with 50/50 antifreeze and water after re-attaching the bottom hose, I then replaced the cap, allowed the engine to warm and filled the reservoir to the full line. The top hose does get hot but it is soft, I have yet to check the rad again once cold, that'll be for the morning. But I have a feeling it will be, since it was when I put the cap on. There are no signs of any leaks, and as I said the top house remains soft after the electric fan kicks on.

posted by  casacel2

This morning I checked the radiator cold and it is full. Also today I had no issues with the "low coolant" light, it hasn't come on. The only thing that concerns me now is that the top rad hose is always soft. Is there something that could be an issue with the thermostat? The electric fan does kick on so i would think it would be working fine but the hose is still soft. I do not have a temp guage in the car so I cannot monitor the coolant temp. My heat and A/C also work which would once again make me think everything was okay, it is just that upper hose, everything else sems to check out.

posted by  casacel2

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