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1990 passat GL, manual, B3. Started with losing coolant but not a constant amount - sometimes 10 miles and 2 oz and sometimes 10 miles and 2 cups. So took it in to my fave mechanics. Originally flange replacement - said coolant leaking from there. Then a call saying - BTW - water pump is not working. Close to time for timing belt so got both replaced. Picked up car and turned the corner and red light comes on. Turned around back to mechanic - they burped and off I went again. Went about 3 miles, started overheating. Went to 230 and turned on heater to get it back in. Never went over 230 - heater managed to keep it under control.

4 weeks later -- besides flange, water pump, they replaced the thermostat, fan switch, radiator, some wiring to fan, and still overheating. Saying the thermostat is working outside the car but not in the car and so no water circulation either. Had some weird white stuff in the second flush they said - could be scale not sure. Flushed several times till all the stuff was out. Said engine block is not blocked. Get a call today saying they are thinking that they should tear apart the engine to see if the head gasket is shot or if the block is cracked.

Back to the start - car never was over 230. Usually ran at 190 until this current leak problem but even then only got to about 200. No white smoke, no steam from engine area. Heater and A/C running OK. The car ran great. This one was babied.

This is feeling like a kid who goes in to urgent care for a splinter and dies from someone giving them antibiotics they are allergic to because they didn't check the chart that the kid is allergic and now the kid is dead.

Anyone can help on this? Should I believe it could be the engine? Oil looks good and has always looked good. These guys are young motorheads but don't know how long they've been working on older cars. Should I just get it towed elsewhere? But at this point, anyone else can tell me it's been screwed up and I'm going to end up with no recourse on this. Thanks much for any advice.
 

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Thanks for the reply. They did do a compression test and it was good. They've isolated to a section by the sensor on the block but still could be the head. They think there is a blockage there. Been flushed multiple times including cleaned out with CLR.

This car though has had all kinds of idiosyncrasies in the past. So I was thinking that maybe something else is wrong and it's affecting how the system is cooling.
(have a long story about broken motor mounts and not being able to shift for example.)

Anyone have experience with other strange things that affected how the system is cooling?

Also if it is really the block... any advice on getting the engine rebuilt vs putting in a used from somewhere?

Thanks all.
 

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Took it over to another place for second opinion. These guys are saying wiring harness cause fan is not turning on. The first place was saying that fan is not turning on because water is blocked and not getting hot. Hmmmmm.....
 

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have you replaced the radiator. guarantee you its got trash and scale in it and will not flow as it is supposed to. This was a problem that I found on a friends car. if youhad stuff coming out of the flush im sure it went in and couldnt come out. word of advice when you have an overheating problem check every source ( coolant parts specific) when the ater cannot flow through the system there is a block and most of the time mechanics only look at the block or, heater core or waterpump but the radiators do go bad over years. change your antifreeze out every year and make sure you add the right components, A(distilled water if its a mix) I prefer no mix antifreeze, water creates deposit break down in the radiator and heater core over time.
 

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I apologize I did not see where you said they replaced the radiator. :hmmm: make sure those guys did everything. are you located near Raleigh NC? If so try 2nd Shift auto (James Casuol) GOOD guy and very good at vdubs!
 

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Cool - thanks for the info. Yep - Raleigh.

Second place redid a bunch of wires -- not harness. That at least has it driveable. But wait too long at a light and it starts climbing on temp. Have not gone over 230. Drops back quickly once I get going.

Second place confirmed all the replacements from first place.

I find it really hard to believe that it could be the engine block - this thing purrs so softly and evenly. But I'm not a mechanic - just going by gut.

I'm still thinking there is something else that's unusual. Heater core is about 6 to 8 years old. And I am always having strange problems show up when the engine mounts are bad.
 
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