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My Northstar conversion may be closer than I intended. I took my nine year old son to a football game 150 miles away. On the way home, with 150 miles to travel, my overheat light came on with the obligatory warning on the CRT. I reset the CRT, the lights went out and everything seemed to be okay. I stopped for fuel with about 110 miles left, checked the fluids and everything seemed to be okay although the overheat light did come on momentarilly while I was at the gas station. With about 70 miles to go, the CRT came on and said electrical malfunction, then the check engine light and the overheat light came on at the same time then the AC warning of low coolant came on the the car died right on the interstate. I pulled off onto an exit ramp and the overflow on the radiator started spewing.

While I waited for the tow, the car cooled off and I tried turning the engine with the starter and it did turn so I'm optomistic that I didn't turn the motor into 3.8 liters of slag but I have no idea. It is at the Buick shop as I write but I thought a few of your minds might help me brace for the worst.

When I pulled off, the serpentine belt was lodged behind the crank pulley but was not broken. I did get it out from behind the pulley and it doesn't show any indication of having been stuck back there but it was.

Any thought??

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can't believe that while showing an over heating problem you still seemed to be driving with the a.c. on. At least that is what I get from you post. Anytime you have an overheating problem and [insist] on limping home you turn off anything that take power and makes heat. The exception is the heater witch should have been on helping to cool you motor........Now you say the belt was thrown off of the pulleys......Seem to me that the a.c.locked up and the belt came off and another crt/warning. The belt could have just been sliping the first time and not turning the water pump. Now you have really over heated the motor and have to go from there. Was a post on the board w/a/shorter belt that bi-passed the compressor. Get the shorter belt and see if all is well. This is the cheapest test to see if you hurt your motor............Of corse any of the other pullys could have locked up.,,,,,,,,water pump or the idler.......ken

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I wouldn't believe it either since the AC was NOT ON. The heater was on ...due to the overheat warning I turned on the heater without the fan. I shut down everything else and the overheat warning TURNED OFF. It wasn't until the shut down was at hand that the CRT showed low refrigerant -- even though the AC was OFF (no the defroster was not on).

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Now the Buick shop is telling me the only thing wrong was the idler pulley and the belt. But, the engine cranks forever before it starts. They are looking into that now. Any other diagnosis??

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It's an '89 and they are now telling me head gasket or cracked head. Mechanic says probably a gasket as he has never seen a 3.8 head crack. Don't know yet, they tear down in two days.

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Don't suppose you noticed a stream of vapour from the exhaust? Typically, when a Head Gasket fails coolant will be bypassing into a cylinder. You don't get a massive cloud of vapour so it's not something you'd see in the rear view. The first check should be to pull the Dip Stick, if the Oil is milky there's your evidence of the blown gasket.

The Belt having kicked off you'd as well see Alternator output showing lower then normal Voltage. You obviously had a pretty good Battery, it may actually have been the low voltage condition shutting you down and saving the motor if it turns out to be the Head Gasket only.

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Stopped to get fuel about 40 miles from shutdown and checked everything I could think of including oil contamination and couldn't detect anything other than oil on the dipstick. The motor is up and running but is leaking coolant and the mechanic thinks it is head gasket but is not sure if that is it or the head is cracked. Still no noticeable contamination of the oil.

I was looking for vapor when it started acting up and did not notice anyting. To be perfectly honest, the car exhibited no symptoms of overheating other than the light until it shut down and the overflow started pumping out of the cap (did not do this while the car was moving as I think I would have noticed it -- everything was shut down and I was looking for indications other than the dash panel). I still have no idea why the AC warning came on. The AC had not been on at all for several days up to the failure. I presume the electrical warning came on shortly after the belt tanked (belt was as it should have been at fuel stop).

Remanufactured head is $156.00 with exchange, is that about right??

Thanks

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