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Old 06-23-2021, 11:41 AM #1
jheymann jheymann is offline
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Question Engine Shake and Failed Startup. Coolant issue?

I’m new to posting here, so let me know if this is the wrong part of the forum. I have a base 2000 2wd 4cyl automatic; bought it at 134k mi, with new fluids, sparkplugs, and front balljoints and tirerods. It’s at 150k mi right now.

I got a P0115 code for an Engine Coolant Temperature Circuit issue two weeks ago, which is pretty severe. I checked it out and saw there was no coolant in the radiator or reservoir, so my engine was running super hot. Luckily I caught it right when it popped up. I had spare coolant and after replacing the reservoir and getting coolant back into the radiator the code went away and the car ran fine. I keep track of my fuel economy and the days leading up to that code I had about 15mpg whereas I normally get around 17, but after adding coolant it was better. Obviously that didn’t address the issue of losing coolant in a closed system, but I didn’t have the money to get a full diagnostic and have enough coolant to add more now that I know it’s leaking.


Issue number two started today as my car won’t start now. From replacing the coolant up until this morning, it’s ran fine (no black or white smoke, no control issues, no bad idles, and returned fuel economy). My battery seems to be fine as my radio, dash, lights, and ac turn on and stay on when I rotate the key partially. The key is able to turn and I can hear it click. The engine turns and shook pretty violently at first, but is clearly trying. I thought it could be the starter, so I had a friend poke it hard with a metal stick a few times while starting it and it got the engine to what seemed an idle, until it immediately stalled when I tried to rev it up. All the vacuum hoses seem to be connected fine. The engine oil was just replaced, and the transmission oil looks fine. The radiator is also still full. Since the battery works I was able to get a code, which was the P0115 one again, even though the dash light went away two weeks ago and wasn’t there last night. I don’t think it could be the spark plugs cause they replaced less than 20k miles ago, but maybe they can go bad quickly depending on if the engine has enough coolant?

I haven’t checked the fuses yet, but are there any ideas on what else to check or do? I don’t have a ton of spare change to get it all diagnosed by a mechanic and then go about replacing parts. I’m hoping there’s something I could fix myself with some spare tools and an ordered part or two. Thanks for any ideas or help on this. Anyone else go through a similar situation?

Last edited by jheymann; 06-23-2021 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 06-23-2021, 12:47 PM #2
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High chance of top end damage. I'd do a leakdown test. Shaking at start-up was my IAC and throttle body gunked to hell. You could give it a shot, but I do not think it is the cause. Stop hitting the starter, it is fine.

How is your radiator looking under the cap? Is it dirty and orange? That corrosion will cause leaks to show up in the worst possible places. Figure out why your coolant is disappearing before going any further.

If your truck has a rear heater then check those lines for rust. They have killed many engines.

Last edited by T4R2014; 06-23-2021 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 06-23-2021, 06:26 PM #3
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I can only tell you my experience with the shaking. Turns out the truck was hydrolocking on coolant from a headgasket leak which would explain the shaking. I pulled the plugs and looked inside the cylinders. #6 was clean, no carbon. Meaning the steam from burning coolant was cleaning it off which is where the leak was. I hope this helps somewhat.

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