I am about to lose my mind with this car! Its a 2004 Kia Optima EX 2.4
I just installed a 2005 motor and trans in this car, after learning the original motor was bad - we bought the car in 2006 with 15k miles on it, and it NEVER ran right at all. At 58k I found out it had a blown head gasket between 2 cylinders, after taking it to a shop that did a chemical test on the oil. Kia, along with several shops could not find this problem, and it did not display the typical signs of a blown HG or even overheat. The heater NEVER worked. This motor ran from 15k to 58k with a head gasket that was so blown, it essentially was running on 2.5 cylinders!
Fast forward to last year, I got a replacement motor with coincidentally the same mileage as the old motor. I played around with the newer motor a bit, and ported and polished the intake manifold and throttle body. I installed a new timing on the new motor (even though it looked like one was installed a few thousand miles before) since I wanted to play it safe. Installed the 2005 motor and transmission, and despite the little oddities left, the car runs great, although the heater still never worked all that good. The power difference between the new and old motor was HUGE! It actually isnt too bad with power as long as the motor is running right!
On a side note - The temp gauge never worked in this car, and I am totally disgusted with the way Kia handled this problem, and I will probably never buy another one again despite really liking the new turbo model. I know that the temp gauge is a defect, and despite installing a new ground wire I still dont trust the gauge, so I am about to install one left over from my Tbird.
AND for now - A month ago, I was driving the car and I noticed a coolant smell. I pulled over and saw coolant coming out of the overflow container after popping the hood. The car was not even running hot, but the radiator hoses were rock hard. I let pressure off the radiator and let it cool, and topped it with water and took it home.
The heater still would not work. I have a radiator cap that has a valve that allows you to release a little pressure on the radiator if needed - I flushed the motor I changed out the thermostat for a new one, since the old one was trashed. I disabled the heater core with a bypass hose since the heater core is original and I as worried it was plugged and may have screwed the new motor up - I flushed the heater core and got a LOT of crap out of it, but its still disabled for now until I get this completely figured out...
I just replaced a coil pack because it was weak on take off and that is normal again, but I noticed that the radiator hoses are rock hard at times; intermittently. The new thermostat is not plugged (the flow of coolant is not as strong as it should be when I squeeze the hoses), but I hear a "shizzling" sound coming from the area where the thermostat is, or somewhere in the head near that area. When the hoses are rock hard, the starter motor has trouble turning over the motor - when I let pressure off the radiator, it spins easily and starts like it should without struggling. The motor does not run hot when it does this, as I cant get it over 195 with my infrared temp gauge (just under 190 with the AC on). When I turn the motor off and check it a few minutes later, the motor is actually a few degrees hotter!
This is where it gets even more weird... It almost seems as if combustion gases are leaking from the head gasket possibly into the coolant system. When driving around town, and stopping the motor and starting it again numerous times it seems to do this more versus taking the car on a longer drive with less stops. I turn the car off, and let pressure out of the radiator, and then tighten the cap down well AFTER the car cooled off - I opened the cap 20 minutes later, and pressure came out of the cap, but not violently - just air, or gasses of some kind with no coolant pissing out.
In a nutshell...
-- There is no coolant and oil mixing together
-- The car is occasionally idling in the same way that the old motor did before I replaced it, then it goes back to normal.
-- The car does not overheat, nor has it overheated on the new motor
-- The car has under 64,000 miles on it now so not much time has been put on the new motor. When I installed the new motor, I swapped transmission from the donor car as well because the old trans casing was cracked where the front trans mount (in front of the radiator) and the mount was attached to the trans with only 1 bolt.
-- What else would cause the heater to completely fail like that?
After the crap that the Kia dealer tried to feed me, I am just flat out disappointed even though I can tell this is a good car.. How many cars out there can drive over 40k miles with a blown HG? I was going to rebuild the old motor with bigger pistons, but when I saw one of the cylinders scuffed really badly, I decided to just do a swap to make it go faster.
Do you guys have any input by any chance? I am thinking of testing the coolant tomorrow for the presence of combustion gases to be certain.. but before I get to that point. What else could be causing this? Its starting to get hot here in LA again, and my girlfriend is going to want to start using the AC again, and wants to be able to depend on the car and go places this summer. She is having trouble accepting the fact (and so am I) that this new motor could possibly have a blown head gasket, and just the thought of it really pisses me off and could not have happened at a worse time. I really thought that it would be a matter of installing the new motor, and there would be no other issues, other than maintaining it properly.
-- Is this car known for eating head gaskets, or cracking heads?
-- Money is a little tight right now to be going out and getting another car.. I know I wont get much for this car for a trade in either...
I almost want to go into the "I hate my Kia Optima" thread and start ranting at this point, but that is not going to fix it.