1992 Toyota Camry Overheats And Dies Out

I have a 1992 Toyota Camry 3.0, 5 speed, that has been having issues pretty much since I got the damn thing. It shocks me all the time (like a static electricity shock). The battery used to die a lot but I replaced the alternator and battery and so it’s fine now. I wish I had a voltage meter on my dash but there is none. Also the car doesn’t produce hot air. The coolant temperature gauge works properly I think…It starts low and goes up to sit steady in the middle, and sometimes it overheats. I flushed the coolant from my block and radiator, and replaced the thermostat and the radiator cap, and another cap on top of my motor that looks like the radiator cap only it has a different diameter and pressure (???).

The flush looked fine. The coolant was of a normal color and smell and there was an appropriate amount of it. Didn’t seem dirty or rusty and no foreign materials came out with it (I flushed into a bucket with a cheesecloth over it so I could try to see if there were any foreign objects flowing around in the coolant system). The radiator cooling fan is hydraulic and it runs constantly, as soon as I turn the engine on, so I was thinking maybe that is keeping the coolant from getting warm enough to actually do any real air heating by the time it gets to the heater core(?)

Lately my car can go about five or ten minutes at normal operating temperature before it starts to overheat. I check the radiator, it is full. I check the coolant reservoir, and it is bone dry. It spews steam from the hose that runs from the block to the reservoir. I squeezed the upper radiator hose and I couldn’t tell if the water pump was actually pumping or not (I read somewhere that you could feel a ”surge” in the hose if the water pump is operational but I couldn’t feel any obvious surging but maybe I don’t know exactly what it is supposed to feel like). I felt the lower radiator hose, and it is cool.

A few weeks ago, my car started to overheat, so I pulled over and let it rest for a minute. I was only a few miles away from home and eager to get there as my registration was expired and I was desperate to not have to deal with getting pulled over/sitting on the side of the road until a nosy cop shows up asking what’s going on. I let it rest for five or ten minutes, and got back on the road. When I went to stop at a stop sign, however, the car died as soon as I hit the clutch. There was no stalling, or gradual change in RPM until the motor quit. I just depressed the clutch and BOOM the car died. I tried to turn it over normally with the starter, and it just turned over and over like it was out of gas. It didn’t sound like it was struggling or anything, it just didn’t want to fire. Luckily, I was on a hill, so I managed to roll start the car. I drove it home floating the clutch the whole way, because if I disconnected the motor from the transmission for even an instant it would die.

I let it sit for a few days in the driveway, and just went out there to try to start it. It spun for a few seconds, then started. I let it run in neutral for a full minute and I didn’t notice any peculiar smells or sounds or vibrations.What in the hell has possessed my poor car? I know this was very long but I’m trying to be as thorough with the details as possible. I’m getting a compression tester tomorrow to test the cylinders, so is there anything I should specifically look out for? Someone please help me!
Also, my car is 20 years old and has WELL over 275k on it, so I have already accepted the fact that it may be forever unfix-able.

Mechanic JK:
If the car is actually shocking you, and not just a little static, then you have a ground wire problem in the vehicle. This would have nothing to do with the engine overheating. No, you cannot FEEL is a water pump is pumping or not. You have to see actually see if the coolant is circulating. No heat, overheating is a sign that there is air in the system. This is caused by either low coolant level- so you need to find a leak, or a blown head gasket. The latter will cause compression to be forced into the cooling system causing air pockets.


The other day my 1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse overheated. Now my temp gauge is stuck on cold but my heater works fine so I don’t think my Thermostat is working. What could be my problem?

Yes, i wo0uld replace the thermostat first, if that does not fix it, then check the temperature sensor. It may be telling the dash incorrect temperature.


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