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Thread: Overheats, loses power, battery dies, then engine shuts off

  1. #1
    Member Since
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    Overheats, loses power, battery dies, then engine shuts off

    Hello Yall,
    It has been many years, mostly because the VX has been running great. However, I've had a serious issue over the last couple of months that forced me to get the VX towed home twice:

    1- on my way to the GYM, I noticed the head lights were very dim and at a stop sign the VX almost didn't want to move with me flooring it. I managed to turn around to go back home, but the engine died and I could not get it started again:
    I walked home grabbed a spare battery put it in the VX, started immediately and drove normal...When I put the battery on the charger, it was down to 37% of its total charge...The positive battery terminal was lose, so it made sense!
    2- Believing I resolved the issue, I drove the VX to work, but 14 miles into the drive, at a stop sign, the same thing happened, the VX started driving very sluggish and losing power, and the battery did not have enough juice to restart the engine after it died
    3- Okay, now I believed the Alternator was not charging the battery! I took the alternator to a repair shop and $135 later I had it rebuilt
    4- Believing I finally solved the issue, I decided to drive the VX to work...The same damn thing happened five miles into the drive...Lost power, battery died and one more thing...I heard a lot of noise under the hood and started seeing steam/smoke come from under the hood. When I took a look, I quickly could see the Antifreeze was boiling in the radiator reservoir container...So, it appeared obvious the thermostats had been shot

    Questions:
    1- Has anyone experienced this issue before? If so, did replacing the thermostat solve this issue for you?
    2- Is it a bigger problem than just a faulty thermostat? if so, what should I be checking?
    3- Where the Hell is the thermostat located? I cannot find a match for the image on page 6B-8

    Thank you all for your help
    Ollie
    2001 Proton Yellow # 795, Tampa, FL

  2. #2
    Member Since
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    2001Proton 1432, ex 2001 Dragon Green Mica 0168 (RIP May 2017)
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    Thermostat is under the intake and you'll have to remove it to replace the thermostat...gotta love engineers.

    Lot's of VX owners have done the repair themselves. It's messy but not overly complicated.

    While you there check the coolant line o-rings. They are an off size and hard to find if you find one that is hard/cracked and needs replacement.

    Clean your EGR tube while you have the intake off as well.

    Join the VehiCROSS Facebook page for help as well. It's more active than the forum and you can typically get help quicker.
    Live, Love, Forgive and Never Give Up

  3. #3
    Member Since
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    Thank a million for the tip...Isuzu, put the thermostat under the intake...OMG...The two idiots: The one who designed it, and the bigger idiot who approved the design should be banned from the automotive industry! Now instead of an hour tops, I'm looking at a full day...Thanks a lot Isuzu!...I also love how the service guide mentions nothing about removing the intake...WOW!!!

  4. #4
    Member Since
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    Seeing that the coolant in the radiator was boiling after just 5 miles, it is not a thermostat fault, although it probably will need replacing anyway.

    Either the coolant was very low to start with, or you have a blown head gasket, or worse.

    Time to get it checked for combustion gases in the coolant (after you have topped it up).


    PK
    Now that food has replaced sex in my life -

    I can't even get into my own pants!!

  5. #5
    Member Since
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    Good Point PK.

    Hey TexasProton where are you located.

    I'm in Georgetown...moved here about a year ago from CO.

  6. #6
    Member Since
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    I'm gonna second the blown head gasket. I concur that it's an alternator/battery issue originally. Alternators can take out batteries when they fail. It's also possible (unlikely, but possible) that you have a grounding issue causing power drain.

    Coolant issue is hard to diagnose. Could be a thermostat. Could be a head gasket. Could be a connected problem which chained from one thing to another. Could be an old/clogged/bad radiator. Could be fan clutch needs replaced. LOTS of things could contribute.

    I STILL don't know what caused the head gasket in my VX to fail. I did get virtually every other component replaced though--and I haven't had a temp problem in 2 years.

  7. #7
    Member Since
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    Thank you gentlemen for all your tips, it looks that I'm in for a lot of pain before I get this thing figured out!!

    "Mile High VX", I used to live in Austin. Texas (my home town), but I moved two years ago to Tampa, Florida for work reasons!

    Ok, so here is the plan:
    1- Replace the Thermostat
    2- Replace the Head gasket

    Now, I replaced head gaskets on other cars before...I hope I don't need a PHD in VX Head Gasket change!!!

    Ollie North
    2001 VX Proton Yellow
    Tampa, FL

  8. #8
    Member Since
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    Gentlemen,
    I hate to say it, but I think I am going to put the VX up "For Sale", I love the little Dragon, but I hardly drive it, I drive it less than 10 miles a week, and I really don't have the money to spend on it, recently got divorced. If anyone is interested, please let me know. The VX always drove like new, and I always kept it in the garage. No rust, and the interior is in excellent shape.

    Note:
    I live in the Tampa, FL area

  9. #9
    Member Since
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    Super VXer, did you change your head gasket yourself, or did you have it done? If you did it yourself, how complex was it, did you need any special tools, did you have to machine the heads?

    I appreciate any tips

    Thank you

  10. #10
    Member Since
    Jan 2008
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    2001,Yellow, VX, 0795
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    Yesterday, I cranked the little dragon for the first time in two months and drove it around the neighborhood. It drove like new, no hesitation, no rough idling...It was just perfect, I only drove it for five minutes. I googled "Blown head-gaskets" and apparently there are several tests one can run to be certain. I will be running these tests this weekend. So far I have not seen any antifreeze in the oil, or detected gas in the radiator, or seen the "Milky wide residue on the oil cap bottom. I'm hoping all of these are good signs, that may be it is the thermostat, or a wiring issue. I will be running a compression test and a gas test through the radiator...I'll report as soon as I finish the tests.

    Thank you all for your tips

  11. #11
    Member Since
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    Has anyone changed the thermostats? If so would you mind sharing the step-by-step procedure? The service manual is useless!!

  12. #12
    Member Since
    Jun 2016
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    1999 black & 2001 yellow
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    I have done it a few times but never wrote down a step by step.. But I will give a few tips..
    1. Unless your a good bit over 6', Jack up and take the front wheels off, put under by the doors and lower.
    2. Getting "the 1 bolt" out of the thermostat housing, use a rubber hose that just fits over the hex head part of the bolt to unscrew and get it out between the tubes, after loosening with a universal 1/4" 12" socket. (It can suck) . And re-installing.
    3. Take you time and figure out the clips that hold the injector tube to the injectors. They break easy.
    4. Make sure you put back the bolt on the back of the head for the fuel line feed and return. Will cause problems later.
    5. I used NAPA fiber intake gaskets with crush sleeves and haven't had a leak problem ever. Some have with other choices
    6. Replace the tube Orings !! They didn't come in the kit I got. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...U6LV938G&psc=1
    7. Removing the radiator helps a lot too !

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