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Discussion Starter #1
The last two days we spent going up to a little town in Idaho where my husband had to answer for a ticket he received a couple weeks before (misdemeanor so he had to appear). The check engine light was on the entire time.

Today, he went to work and called me after he got there. The engine had overheated. We have to budget for the ticket ($300) and now we have to fix something in the engine! The van is a 2002 and has served us well. We are nearing the last year of the loan and of course, it is breaking down. We just got $1000 in repairs done two months ago. We aren't snowballing this debt yet, so we are praying the van will last.

Any ideas?
 

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Water pump or coolant issue would be my guess, but I'm certainly not a mechanic. I suggest getting on a forum for your make of vehicle, and posting your situation. I've had people online walk me through diagnosing and repairing a fairly large issue with my mustang.

Next time a check engine light comes on, stop by an Auto Zone or the like, and have them see if any codes have been thrown. Actually, you can do that now, it may give you an idea of what to look for.
 

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maybe its possible the thermostat is just stuck and caused it to overheat. If thats the case it shouldnt be a costly repair.

I know how you feel though, seems its always something. Luckily my dh fixes our cars, but parts still get expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the suggestions. We heard the AutoZone commercial saying they will diagnose too late to take advantage of it. We'll remember for next time. It turns out that it is the head gasket and it is in a bad place - meaning not much to replace but labor is going to be huge because of its positioning in the engine block. The one disadvantage to a Chevy Venture. We were leaking coolant. Fortunately, it didn't over heat until after our Idaho trip. The coolant has been topped off so we should be fine until we can get it into the shop on Monday.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Frugal Village saved me money!

I was getting ready to post about how things were going when I had a realization: I hadn't called around for quotes.

Literally. I had just gotten off the phone with my husband, the bank asking about a small loan, and the auto place that was quoting us $2500-$3200 for a head gasket replacement on a Chevy Venture. I was logging in and getting set to reply to this thread when I had the thought to call our usual mechanic who takes care of the small stuff. He told me it sounded steep so I began calling around to places recommended by friends.

We got my brother to drive my husband down to the $3200 place and follow him to a place that quoted us $1500 for the replacement, up to $1800 if things got difficult. So, even if we end up having to take out a small loan to cover what exceeds our EF and our monthly snowball money, that will go to this instead this month, it won't be as much as it would have been if we'd just been lazy and hadn't followed through.

So Frugal Village and the frugal mindset, helped us out today. THANK YOU!
 

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We had a head gasket go in our 1997 Montana and had it fixedcost us about $1100. Just a piece of advise if not to late have them do a complete tune up as our machenic told us half of the spark plugs cant be reached when engine is all back togather. :)
 

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My 1994 Ford Tempo wants to get hot to the point of overheating, until we get the money for the part (the part has to be ordered), my husband hooked up a toggle switch that runs from motor to the inside of the car, so when I turn on the car I flipp the toggle switch and the fan comes on and keeps the motor from overheating and then turn it off when you park the car.

I am fortunate that my husband is a good mechanic and does all the work on our car.
 

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Get it in writing because they could say that they did not tell you this. I have had that happen before.

My ds's truck to get all the spark plugs you had to change the manifold.
 

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Leaking coolant, bad gasket, and faulty temp gauge == recipe for disaster. These are seriously bad things to have at any time, never mind all 3 at once. Get it fixed ASAP or you are looking at buying a new engine.

Been there, got the new car.

And smack DH over letting that engine light go for so long.
 

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we spent 1200 dollars on my dh's 1998 ford tauras still cheaper than a new car. engine is in good shape this was for the stupid computer that controls everything plus maintenance and new tires.
 
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