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So on my way back from New Jersey, I took a pit stop in Charlottesville, VA for the night. I had zero problems with the truck beforehand. I took a routine spin to a coffee shop and the temperature needle shot to hot. The little red light came on. Although I didn't panic at first given the finicky nature of these trucks, I immediately pulled over to the closest shop - no more than 5 minutes of driving.

When I opened the hood, the coolant tank was smoking and looked pretty much bone dry. Upon further inspection, the little plastic nipple at the bottom of the reservoir had failed and was broken. The system was leaking.

The car is obviously benched at the shop until I can get a new Coolant Expansion Tank (part #ESR2935). My question is, when I have the new reservoir installed and refill it with fluid, what are the odds that the engine is ruined? I know it's an aluminum engine, so any prolonged heat could be devastating.

I am worried that something might have been warped or bent in the engine block. If that is the case I can't envision going through with further repairs as that could mean new engine time :crybaby2:

Thanks in advance.
 

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I don't want to give you false hope but I drove my DII about 3mi. after the needle pegged when I forgot to reattach a hose clamp after replacing some radiator hoses. I monitored the coolant, oil and exhaust after that. I drove it 3 more years without issue until I eventually sold it.
 

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You could be fine. Although "immediately pulled over" and "after 5 minutes of driving" aren't exactly the same. If you did the former, you'll be fine most likely... but if it was the latter, it could go either way.
 

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Agreed. Five minutes of driving is a LOOOOOOOONG time with no coolant. Fingers crossed, but don;t be surprised if you are looking at a toasted engine, warped heads, dropped liner...
 

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As you describe it, the engine lost coolant through the expansion tank nipple which connects the tank to the lower radiator hose. That said, and since you were probably driving at lower speeds, you were pulling the fluid down from the top, exposing the coolant sensor which is in the lower intake manifold, and then shutting down soon thereafter. My guess is you are OK. Chances are the block still has coolant in it, because the water pump isn't like a sump pump that forces the coolant from one place to another. It works in conjunction with heat as it rises through the motor and radiator. In other words, at lower speeds, the water pump doesn't have a lot of force to push water from the engine. If you draw a level line between the bottom of the tank and the intake manifold, it's about the same height, so I think you probably lost about four quarts of coolant total. Find out how much coolant was lost and that will tell you your fate.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies gentlemen.

To clarify, what I did was pull over and shut down the vehicle when the needle first pegged. It pegged within a minute of turning on the car to leave the coffee shop. I pulled over and opened the hood. At that time there was no vaporization coming from the coolant expansion tank, nor did it look severely drained. Given that I have had lights and warnings flicker on and off for no good reason before, I thought it may have been a fluke. At that point I restarted the car and drove to the closest shop - which was the approximately 5 minutes of driving. I never drover over 20 MPH. Upon pulling into the shop it was at that time I noticed the smoke. In retrospect, I should have just had the car towed. I am sure depending on the outcome it will be a decision I won't soon forget.

Once I have the new expansion tank installed, reconnect everything, and pour in new fluids, how will I know what if any damage has occurred to the engine?

Thanks.
 

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tjh2dUVA said:
Thanks for the replies gentlemen.

To clarify, what I did was pull over and shut down the vehicle when the needle first pegged. It pegged within a minute of turning on the car to leave the coffee shop. I pulled over and opened the hood. At that time there was no vaporization coming from the coolant expansion tank, nor did it look severely drained. Given that I have had lights and warnings flicker on and off for no good reason before, I thought it may have been a fluke. At that point I restarted the car and drove to the closest shop - which was the approximately 5 minutes of driving. I never drover over 20 MPH. Upon pulling into the shop it was at that time I noticed the smoke. In retrospect, I should have just had the car towed. I am sure depending on the outcome it will be a decision I won't soon forget.

Once I have the new expansion tank installed, reconnect everything, and pour in new fluids, how will I know what if any damage has occurred to the engine?

Thanks.
Well, you did not pour cold coolant into an overheated engine, or did you?
If engine damage had occurred, it should be pretty obvious.
 
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